Our stormtrooper-white A53S certainly has quite the impact. If you're not a fan of the black-in-white look, there's also red, green and pink. Those who are more conservative can opt for the K53SC, a dark bronze or black version with identical hardware.
A 15.6-inch laptop, the 1366x768 screen can certainly get quite bright, although we find ourselves once again wishing for a higher resolution at this screen size.
Asus has bundled Altec Lansing speakers in, fed by standard Realtek sound. There's even a "Sonic Focus" app to adjust the sound quality; it's exactly the same as Asus' Sonic Master app, offering adjustments for "Vocal Clarity", "Surround" and "Bass". Despite all this branding, the speakers can be best described as a disappointment, with a strange hollow sound and no real presence — best to stick to headphones.
The keyboard is a little bit flexy, the keys a little too mushy. The Synaptics pad is a pleasure to use though, coming with a hidden feature that we'd like to see more of: tapping two fingers acts as a middle mouse button, three fingers down at once will open the right click menu. Unfortunately the three finger press often gets confused with the two finger press, so more attention is required on the software.
Coming with an Intel i5 2430M @ 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, a 750GB hard drive (split into two partitions), it contains a GeForce GT 520MX, but also leans on Nvidia's Optimus technology to save battery by switching to the included integrated graphics when the GT 520MX is not needed.
Expansion options are reasonable, with a USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI, gigabit Ethernet, headphone and microphone ports, a DVD drive, 2.4GHz 802.11n, although like theBluetooth is missing.
Unlike Asus' other laptops, its budget A and K range only comes with a one year warranty instead of two.
Handbrake encoding (in seconds)
- 396Asus A53S (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 520MX)
- 476Acer Aspire 5750 (Core i3 2350M, 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Intel HD Graphics)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)