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Asus has long played well in the affordable laptop sector, bringing generally good build quality to an end of town that has traditionally tried to cut a few more corners than it should have.
- USB 3.0: 2
- USB 2.0: 1
- Optical: DVD±RW
- Video: VGA, HDMI
- Ethernet: Gigabit
- Wireless: 2.4GHz 802.11n
Things are changing though, as prices trend ever downwards, with greater competition in the quality-for-affordable-price stakes. The K55VD still manages to hold its own, with a mix of bronze, faux-brushed metal, dark brown and black plastic that's worked well for it for quite some time.
Asus usually does a good job of balancing specs for price, and the K55VD is no different, featuring a Core i5 3210M @ 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, a 750GB HDD and a GeForce GT 610M. You get a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, VGA, HDMI, gigabit Ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks, an SD card reader and a DVD&plusm; drive for your money, with 2.4GHz 802.11n but no Bluetooth. Only Acer's offering gives more bang for buck, and it's afforded extra wiggle room by using a last-generation CPU.
Keyboard use is pleasant enough, but the top-hinged clickpad on our sample was a little loose, bouncy and clacky, even when simply tapping. Right clicking, in particular, is annoying, as you have to make sure your finger is at the very bottom of the pad for it to actuate. Good thing, then, that the Elan pad included supports simultaneous double finger tapping as a substitute.
The TN, SEC-supplied, 1366x768 15.6-inch screen isn't anything special, lacking the vibrancy of the competing LG panels. That's not to say it's bad, just that, much like the audio on the K55VD, it doesn't rise above the pack. The latter is certainly serviceable, but you'll get better quality out of headphones.
Handbrake encoding (in seconds)
- 352HP dm4 3114TX (Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7570M)
- 353Asus K55VD (Intel Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Nvidia GeForce 610M)
- 378Acer Aspire V3-571G (Core i5 2450M, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 630M)
- 380Toshiba Satellite C850/02D (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7610M)
- 386Sony Vaio E SVE14A15FGB (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7670M)
- 541HP Envy 6 1010TU (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 4GB SSD cache)
- 763Dell Inspiron 13z 5323 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD)
- 766Dell Inspiron 14z 5423 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 8GB SSD cache)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)