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Asus K55VD review: Asus K55VD

The K55VD gives decent performance for the price, but the clickpad and battery life are left wanting.

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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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4 min read

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.

asus-k55vd_1.jpg
7.0

Asus K55VD

The Good

Decent specs and performance. Clickpad aside, good build quality and design for the price segment.

The Bad

No Bluetooth. Clickpad was loose and clacky on our review sample. GeForce GT 610M is underpowered enough that you may as well just run Intel. Ordinary battery life.

The Bottom Line

The K55VD gives decent performance for the price, but the clickpad and battery life are left wanting.

Connectivity

  • 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.

Choose a benchmark: Handbrake | iTunes | Photoshop | Multimedia

Handbrake encoding (in seconds)

  • 352
    HP dm4 3114TX (Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7570M)
  • 353
    Asus K55VD (Intel Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Nvidia GeForce 610M)
  • 378
    Acer Aspire V3-571G (Core i5 2450M, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 630M)
  • 380
    Toshiba Satellite C850/02D (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7610M)
  • 386
    Sony Vaio E SVE14A15FGB (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7670M)
  • 541
    HP Envy 6 1010TU (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 4GB SSD cache)
  • 763
    Dell Inspiron 13z 5323 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD)
  • 766
    Dell Inspiron 14z 5423 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 8GB SSD cache)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


Thanks to the third generation Core processor inside, Asus' laptop tussles with HP's Pavilion dm4 for pole position in the sub-AU$1000 category.

Gaming performance

"="">NOT
PLAYABLE
Batman: Arkham Asylum
FPS
MaxAvgMin
715522
1366x768, 0x AA, Detail level: Very low, PhysX off.
"="">NOT
PLAYABLE
Metro 2033
FPS
MaxAvgMin
82358
1366x768, DirectX 9, 0x AA, Quality: Low, PhysX: Off.
"="">NOT
PLAYABLE
The Witcher 2
FPS
MaxAvgMin
15117
1366x768, low spec.
"="">NOT
PLAYABLE
Skyrim
FPS
MaxAvgMin
463124
1366x768, low detail.

The GeForce GT 610M is most certainly not a gaming chip — even for, usually, forgiving games. Given that gaming only starts becoming feasible at the GeForce GT 630M level, there may as well be just Intel's HD Graphics in here, to save on cost.

Battery life (time)

  • Heavy battery test
  • Light battery test
  • 4h 15m6h 11m
  • HP dm4 3114TX (Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7570M)
  • 3h 34m5h 10m
  • HP Envy 6 1010TU (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 4GB SSD cache)
  • 3h 25m5h 0m
  • Sony Vaio E SVE14A15FGB (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7670M)
  • 2h 37m4h 9m
  • Acer Aspire V3-571G (Core i5 2450M, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 630M)
  • 3h 13m4h 7m
  • Dell Inspiron 13z 5323 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD)
  • 2h 51m4h 3m
  • Asus K55VD (Intel Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Nvidia GeForce 610M)
  • 2h 54m3h 49m
  • Dell Inspiron 14z 5423 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 8GB SSD cache)
  • 2h 36m3h 32m
  • Toshiba Satellite C850/02D (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7610M)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


While application performance is hot, battery life is dead ordinary on the K55VD. Sony and HP still look good though, riding the top of the charts.

Conclusion

The K55VD gives decent performance for the price, but the clickpad and battery life are left wanting.