The ASUS K55N-DB81 15.6-Inch Laptop is a budget-friendly machine, designed to perform everyday computing tasks well, and still have a little power to spare for slightly more demanding tasks.
As its price tag suggests, it is by no means a top of the range computing powerhouse, but it should be more than capable of meeting the day-to-day computing needs of most people. Social media updates, email, surfing the web, household budgets, researching term papers and general productivity software are well withing its reach, as are HD video and casual gaming.
At its heart lies an AMD 1.9 GHz A-Series Quad-Core A8-4500M processor. This CPU is capable of automatically adjusting its speed up to a maximum of 2.8Ghz thanks to AMD’s Turbo Core technology, which is designed to – and does – significantly enhance performance for single threaded workloads.
The processor also features an integrated Radeon HD 7640G GPU for graphics handling. Although far from being a top of the range GPU, this DirectX 11-compatible GPU is still relatively powerful, running at speeds between 497 and 686 MHz, as dictated by the needs of whatever software the user is currently running. It is in roughly the same league as a dedicated Radeon HD 7610M, making it more capable than the integrated HD Graphics 4000 GPUs found in Intel’s competing Ivy Bridge-class processors.
The CPU is supported by 6GB of DDR3 RAM, which should be more than enough to allow the pre-installed copy of Windows 8 64-bit to multitask your favorite applications with ease. The K55N-DB81 provides two memory slots, both of which are occupied in the machine’s default configuration – one with a 4GB DDR3 module, and the other with a 2GB module, giving the advertised total of 6GB. This is both good and bad, in that it means that the machine’s memory can be upgraded, should the need arise. However, the 2GB module will need to be discarded and replaced with a 4GB module, in the event that you wish to upgrade to a total of 8GB. In truth, the relatively low price of DDR3 memory means that this is unlikely to be a significant problem, but it is something to keep in mind.
- AMD A-Series Quad-Core A8-4500M 1.9 GHz Processor
- Large 750GB Hard Disk
- 6GB DDR3 RAM
- Windows 8
- Excellent Everday Computer
- Underpowered For Serious Gaming, Though Casual Gaming Should Be Fine
For permanent storage of software, documents, pictures, movies and music, this machine provides a 750GB Hard Disk. While not quite as large as the hard drives on offer in some other laptops, 750GB is still a substantial amount of storage space, particularly in view of the everyday, relatively undemanding tasks for which this machine is likely to be used. And, if more storage space is required, it is an easy matter to connect an external hard disk as needed.
The machine offers two high speed USB 3.0 ports, which would be ideal for the rapid data throughput required by an external hard disk, or any other high capacity connection, and a standard USB 2.0 port for more conventional, less demanding peripherals. Together, these ports ensure that there should be no difficulty in attaching wired devices, such as scanners, printers and memory sticks to this laptop.
Of course, many modern devices operate over wireless connections, and the K55N-DB81 is equally capable of communicating with them via built-in Bluetooth 4.0, making it easy to connect wireless headsets, mice and other peripherals. Staying with wireless connectivity, wireless network connections are supported via the machine’s built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, while an Ethernet port accommodates more conventional wired networking.
The machine features a 15.6-inch HD (1366 * 768 pixel), LED back-lit display, that is ideal for watching movies on the move, whether streamed from an online service or played directly from disk or DVD from the built-in DVD +/- RW optical drive. However, there will be times when you want / need to hook up the laptop to an external display, either as a secondary monitor or as much bigger alternative to the built-in display. Fortunately, the K55N-DB81 provides both a VGA port for connecting to older monitors and projectors, and an HDMI port for connecting to modern monitors, HDTVs etc – perfect for watching your favorite movies on a big screen!
A built-in webcam makes this machine video-chat capable right out of the box – Windows 8 includes the popular Skype application, meaning there’s no additional software to install. Just sign in, and start chatting with your friends and colleagues.
No matter what you intend to use it for, you’re going to spend an awful lot of time interacting with your computer’s keyboard – trivial though it may seem, a poor keyboard can make even the best computer seem almost unusable. Fortunately, this machine features a sturdy, full-sized keyboard and numeric keypad that should satisfy the most demanding typist. Nor does the machine’s good build-quality stop at the keyboard; the body is relatively robust, as might reasonably be expected from a major manufacturer, weighing in at a reassuringly heavy 5.3 pounds and measuring 14.9 x 10 x 1.3 inches. Battery life is reasonable, too, with the 6-cell Li-ion battery pack offering up to 5.5 hours of use.
Overall, the ASUS K55N-DB81 15.6-Inch Laptop is an excellent choice for everyday computing needs, offering a relatively powerful processor, plenty of memory and lots of storage space. It isn’t, and doesn’t claim to be, a games machine, so if you’re in the market for a powerful gaming laptop this may not be the machine for you. Nor is it a lightweight Ultrabook, where portability is the ultimate design objective, to the exclusion of all else. However, it should have no difficult with casual gaming or light video editing, and other routine tasks shouldn’t trouble it at all. For day-to-day tasks at a great price, this machine is hard to beat.