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CNET First Look
Asus K53E-B1Sharp design and excellent battery life, plus a surprisingly affordable price, make the 15-inch Asus K53E a smart alternative to more-expensive midsize laptops.
-I'm Dan Ackerman and we are here taking a look at the Asus K53E. Now, when you think of Asus, you think of a company that's probably best known for making those little netbook computers, those 10-inch Intel Atom machines that are usually like $300 to $400 (very popular for a couple of years). However, they've really kind of fallen off the radar recently. So, Asus now has to rely on more mainstream laptops such as this 15-inch guy right here. Now, that's actually not such a bad thing because the company actually makes some average 2 very good, mid-sized mainstream laptops. This guy right here has Intel's current generation of Core i Series processors. We previously called that Sandy Bridge. A lot of the 15-inch are mid-sized laptops with these new Intel parts so far this year have been kind of expensive, like Apple's MacBook Pro or Dell's XPS 15. The Asus, however, comes in at under $800 and you know what? It has pretty much the same parts, so you're gonna get fairly comparable performance even though maybe it's not quite as fancy-looking, although it certainly has some metal parts right here, brushed metal, looks pretty nice and kind of a dark, bronzy brown. The back of the lid and the underside are still plastic, but you do get that standard sort of Asus chiclet keyboard that everybody likes, and they even squeezed in a full number pad over here, although these keys are kinda narrow. And I also liked that the touchpad is pretty generously sized. You can do some basic multitouch gestures on there and the left and right mouse buttons are pretty big, especially on Asus systems. Actually sometimes, the left to right mouse buttons are very small and sometimes, they're even just like a little rocker bar, and we certainly don't like that at all. I think one of the only things we're really missing out on, on the K53E is some sort of high speed data connection, like an eSATA connection or USB 3.0. Most laptops, especially mid-sized ones like this, have one of those. That is missing here. On the other hand, the battery life gets to almost 5 hours. I think we had about 4 hours and 40 minutes out of it, and that is well past our 15-inch cut off point of about 3 hours, although a lot of that credit has to go to Intel and its efficient new CPU platforms. So, we may have to raise our expectations there because a lot of the 15-inch laptops we've seen in 2011 so far do have excellent battery life. And one final note, you usually get 1-year, you know, basic mail-in warranty with any mid-priced/budget laptop like this. Asus at least gives you a 2-year basic warranty along with 1 year of accidental damage protection. That is very rare, so kudos to them for that. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the Asus K53E.