Asus K52F-SX065V £496
19th Jun 2010 | 09:00
Impressive performance and portability at a very reasonable price
The Asus K52F-SX065V is a 15.6-inch laptop that packs a cutting-edge Intel Core i3 350M processor and manages to greatly impress with a long-lasting battery and high-quality build.
The Core i3 processor is designed to provide impressive performance at a budget price and the results here are stunning and no doubt helped by the 4096MB of system memory – an amount equalled only by the Acer Aspire 5542-304G32Bn.
The Asus scored far higher in our benchmarking tests than the Acer Aspire 5542-304G32Bn and the Advent Verona SU, and even managed to marginally beat the Samsung R530 – which also comes fitted with a Core i3 CPU – so we had no problem during testing when multi-tasking with resource-hungry applications.
Graphical performance from the integrated Intel GPU also impresses, and is almost on par with the Acer which features a chip from GPU specialist ATi, so there's more than enough power for running basic 3D games and applications.
Despite the impressive performance, battery life also managed to impress, with 261 minutes of power on offer between charges. This did dip, however, to 144 minutes when watching DVDs.
The 2.7kg chassis is one of the largest and heaviest at this price, so you may not wish to carry it far, but at least it won't quickly run out of battery power if you do.
Build quality is solid in almost all respects and on par with the Samsung R530, with a firm chassis that shows minimal flex under pressure and a thick lid for extra protection.
The keyboard does flex in the centre, which gives it a slightly spongy feel, but the isolated-style keys are great for touch-typing. The touchpad is just as usable, with a wide area and a perfectly firm single bar for the mouse buttons.
There's no built-in Bluetooth as there is with the Acer and Advent laptops, but high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet are available for networking. HDMI and VGA outputs are available, as well as three USB ports and a 3-in-1 memory card reader.
The built-in DVD drive allows you to watch movies on the go as well as back-up important files to blank DVDs. The 15.6-inch screen is the same size as the Acer and the Samsung's, and a little larger than the Advent's.
While the Advent's screen was a little brighter, this display still produces fantastic images, with colours springing from photographs, although outdoor use is inevitably hampered by reflections, as with most glossy Super-TFT displays.
The Asus K52F-SX065V is a great performing laptop at a truly budget price – and it all comes at no cost to battery life. The solid build may be a little heavy for regular commuting, but it offers good protection and great usability.
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