The Bottom Line
Jan 23 2013 - For those wanting a larger screen laptop but don't need flashy designs or overpowered components, then the ASUS X75A-XH51 offers a very basic design and features. The laptop is certainly functional but doesn't quite fall into being a value oriented laptop either. It also lacks some of the ergonomics like the keyboard that stray from ASUS's exceptional past designs. At least ASUS hasn't packed it with unwanted bloated software like many other companies do. With its $700 price tag, there are offerings from other companies that come with better performance or features and you can get a lot more for just a little more.
- Good Build Quality
- Relatively Little Unwanted Software Installed
- Integrated Graphics
- Very Plain Styling
- Keyboard Not As Nice As Other ASUS Models
- Intel Core i5-3210M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900) Display With VGA Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- One USB 3.0, Two USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 3-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.5" x 11.1" x 1.4" @ 6.6 lbs.
- Windows 8, Office Starter
Review - ASUS X75A-XH51
Jan 23 2013 - The ASUS X75A is a relatively new no-nonsense design that is made for function rather than style. It has a simple black design that wouldn't that looks similar to the standard black laptop for nearly a decade ago. The exterior is covered with a matte surface that helps keeps smudges and fingerprints off it but isn't quite the soft touch surface seen in some laptop designs out there.
The system is based around the Intel Core i5-3210M dual core mobile processor. This differs from the Core i7 quad core processors that it found in many 17-inch laptops but this is a more value oriented system. Frankly, the Core i5 processor will meet the needs of many people for your average tasks. It is really only people that are looking for high performance computing from gaming or video editing that really need something faster. The downside here is that it ships with just 4GB of DDR3 memory which is really the minimum now for functionality. It would be nice to see either 6 or 8GB of memory for a smoother experience between applications but Windows 8 does a pretty decent job with memory management.
As this is a value oriented system, the storage features are a bit more relaxed. For instance, it features a 500GB hard drive that is a bit smaller than many desktop replacement class systems that generally feature 750GB or even terabyte drives now. In addition to this, the drive spins at a more sedate 5400rpm spin rate . ASUS may tout near instant-on experience but this is only when the system is put in a sleep or hibernate modes. A cold boot will take a good deal longer at over thirty seconds. If you do need additional storage space, there is a USB 3.0 port for use with high speed external drives. It is disappointing that there is only a single port when many competitors in this laptop size offer two or three. There is still a dual-layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media even though it is losing its relevance.
The prime reason that most people opt for larger laptops is for the display. The 17.3-inch panel on the X75A features a native resolution of 1600x900. While this doesn't fully support native 1080p high definition video, this is a standard resolution for most laptops in its price range. Performance from the screen is pretty typical with a good level of brightness and decent viewing angles. The big downside here is that the graphics are powered by the Intel HD Graphics 4000 that are built into the Core i5 processor. This is fine for anyone that doesn't really intend to use the system for 3D gaming or potentially accelerating some applications like Photoshop. What the graphics does provide though is the ability to accelerate media encoding when using Quick Sync compatible applications.
ASUS has been one of the big companies to embrace the isolated keyboard design layout but the X75A strays somewhat. In particular the keys offer a tapered front edge that isn't found on many of their other laptops. The result is an experience that doesn't quite live up to the accuracy and speed as some of their other models. Part of this might have to do with the size and spacing of the keys as well. The keyboard has a good amount of space on the left and right making this keyboard more designed to fit a 15-inch laptop. On the other hand, the extra space does allow for a very spacious trackpad. It does use integrated buttons which are a bit disappointing as they do have problems registering between left and right clicks at times but at least the multitouch support for Windows 8 is good.
The battery for the ASUS X75A uses a fairly standard six cell pack with a rated capacity of 47WHr. In video playback testing, this resulted in just over three and a half hours of running time before it had to go into standby mode. This is a bit below average but not that far off from many laptops using a similar capacity batter pack. Lighter usage could stretch it out to over four but all day computing is not something that 17-inch laptops are generally known for.
With a price tag of between $700 and $800, the ASUS X75A-XH51 is certainly in the more affordable range but it falls between a pure budget and a performance offering. In terms of competition, there are several in a similar price range and a few that cost a bit more. The Acer Aspire V3-771G cost around $900 but also features a faster quad core processor, double the storage and dedicated graphics. The Dell Inspiron 17R is roughly the same price but uses a different lower voltage processor for longer running times but sacrifices some performance as a result. Lenovo's Essential G780 offers similar features to the ASUS but comes with a dedicated graphics processor at the same price point. Finally, the Sony VAIO SVE1712ACXB is also more expensive at $900 but comes with a quad core processor, higher resolution display and dedicated graphics.