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Asus A53S/K53SV review: Asus A53S/K53SC

Asus brings us standard middle-of-the-road fare with the A53S and K53S. The slight flex and mushy response of the keyboard works against it, and the lack of Bluetooth may concern some. Still, it provides a solid laptop experience that is decent for the price.

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Craig Simms
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Craig Simms

Special to CNET News

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

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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.

asus-k53s_1.jpg
7.0

Asus A53S/K53SV

The Good

Reasonable performance for the price.

The Bad

Flex in keyboard when typing, slightly mushy response. No Bluetooth.

The Bottom Line

Asus brings us standard middle-of-the-road fare with the A53S and K53S. The slight flex and mushy response of the keyboard works against it, and the lack of Bluetooth may concern some. Still, it provides a solid laptop experience that is decent for the price.

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 the Toshiba Satellite C665/00T Bluetooth is missing.

Unlike Asus' other laptops, its budget A and K range only comes with a one year warranty instead of two.

Application performance

Choose a benchmark: Handbrake | iTunes | Photoshop | Multimedia

Handbrake encoding (in seconds)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


The A53S does a decent job of keeping up with its dual core compatriots; the quad core N53SV shows exactly how much more power an extra AU$400 can get you.

Gaming performance

Choose a benchmark: Metro 2033 | Batman: Arkham Asylum

Metro 2033 (in FPS)

  • Max FPS
  • Average FPS
  • Min FPS

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


The A53S's discrete graphics card manages to eke out acceptable gaming performance under Batman: Arkham Asylum, but can't cope with Metro 2033. This is more an all-rounder laptop than a gaming machine.

Battery life

Battery life (time)

  • Heavy battery test
  • Light battery test

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Battery life isn't class-leading, but is certainly passable for the price involved. An extra AU$100 would get you a laptop with considerably better battery life in the HP Pavilion dv6.

Conclusion

Asus brings us standard middle-of-the-road fare with the A53S and K53S. The slight flex and mushy response of the keyboard works against it, and the lack of Bluetooth may concern some. Still, it provides a solid laptop experience that is decent for the price.