The Bottom Line
Oct 20 2011 - ASUS tries very hard to make the K53E-A1 a compelling system based primarily upon is appearance. It certainly looks like a much more expensive system but functionality is certainly just as important. In this sense, there isn't much that ASUS does to separate it from many other $600 laptops. It does offer a better than average running time thanks to a larger battery pack and the keyboard and trackpad is a step above many. Unfortunately, this is also one of the larger 15-inch laptops on the market as well.
- Above Average Battery Life
- Comfortable Keyboard And Trackpad
- Nice Styling
- Low Resolution Webcam
- Slightly Larger Than Many Similar Equipped Laptops
- Intel Core i3-2310M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With VGA Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 4-in-1 Card Reader
- 15.1" x 10.1" x 1.4" @ 5.7 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - ASUS K53E-A1
Oct 20 2011 - The primary difference between the ASUS A and K series laptops is their appearance. ASUS tries to give the K a more upscale appearance by using aluminum texture surfaces over various portions of the laptop. It does give it a more affluent appearance than many budget laptops but it certainly is not an aluminum clad design found in my more expensive laptops.
Powering the ASUS K53E-A1 is the second generation Intel Core i3-2310M dual core processor. This is one of the lowest grade of the new generation of processor but the performance should be more than enough for the average user. It is only more demanding tasks such as desktop video or heavy multitasking that will suffer. It will still be able to do them, just not as quickly as a quad core or faster dual core processor. For everyday tasks such as web, media viewing and productivity, it is just fine. The 4GB of DDR3 memory is typical of a under $600 laptop and can always be upgraded to 8GB if required.
Storage features on the ASUS K53E-A1 are typical for the laptop in the $500 to $600 price range. It starts with an average sized 500GB hard drive that will likely provide sufficient space for applications, data and media files. The drive spins at the traditional 5400rpm rate which means it lags behind 7200rpm drives but they are very uncommon in this price range. The one area of problem is expanding the storage space. It features three USB ports but none of them is compatible with the new USB 3.0 specification for near internal storage performance rates. Of course, most low cost laptops do no feature this so it isn't that surprising. There is a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.
Part of the new Intel Core i3-2310M processor is the new integrated graphics engine that is built onto the processor. The Intel HD Graphics 3000 is certainly an improvement over past Intel options by providing Direct X 10 support but it still does not provide it with enough 3D performance to be used even for casual PC gaming. What it does offer though is the ability to accelerate media encoding thanks to the QuickSync feature and compatible software.
The 15.6-inch display is fairly typical of most laptop systems. It features a standard 1366x768 resolution and a glossy coating that helps improve contrast and color but causes glare and reflections in certain light conditions including outdoors. Viewing angles and color are to be expected. Somewhat disappointing however is the web camera on the K53E-A1. Most laptops not feature higher resolution cameras capable of HD video. ASUS has decided to use a lower VGA resolution display. While the color capture is alright, the lack of resolution can be annoying when trying to video chat.
The keyboard for the K53E-A1 uses the standard chiclet or isolated design that ASUS has been using for many years now. Overall, it is a nice keyboard that includes a full size numeric keypad even though this does decrease the size of the enter and right shift keys. The trackpad is somewhat recessed with a dedicated buttons of a nice size that make it very easy to use.
ASUS includes a standard six-cell battery pack with a 5200mAh capacity rating. This is a a bit higher capacity than the average laptop in this size and price range. In DVD playback tests, the laptop was able to run for just under three hours before going into standby mode. This puts it slightly ahead of many similarly priced laptops but not by a huge margin. More typical usage should yield roughly four hours or more of use.