The ASUS X550CA-DB51 15.6-Inch Laptop is a general purpose machine with enough power to tackle relatively demanding tasks packed into a stylish shell that looks equally at home in the boardroom or the living room.
The machine is built around a dual core, third generation, Intel Core i5-3337U processor. This is an Ulta Low Voltage component, specifically designed to balance power consumption with performance in small laptops and ultrabooks. Thanks to Intel’s Turbo Boost technology, each of the processor’s two cores is capable of adjusting its own speed as needed, to meet the demands of the current software application, from their base speed of 1.8GHz, up to a maximum of 2.7GHz. The i5-3337U also supports Hyperthreading, which enables each core to handle up two threads simultaneously. Together, these technologies ensure that the processor is always making best use of available resources to deliver performance when it is required, and save power when it is not.
The processor is supported by 8GB of DDR3 memory. Although this is less than is supplied with some other laptops currently on the market, it should be more than adequate to allow the pre-installed copy of Windows 8 to perform well, showing off its new features and multitasking your applications with ease.
For permanent storage of documents, music, pictures, movies and software applications, the X550CA-DB51 is fitted with a 750GB hard drive. Again, this is smaller than than the drives fitted in some other laptops (and considerably larger than others!), but should be quite capable of coping with needs of most users. In the event that more storage capacity becomes necessary, it should be a relatively simple matter to upgrade the hard drive to a larger model or, if desired, use an external USB hard drive in addition the machine’s own.
- Good General Purpose Workhorse Machine
- 1.8 GHz Core i5 3337U Processor
- Large 750GB Hard Disk
- 8GB DDR3 Memory
- Windows 8
- Underpowered For Serious Gaming
The machine’s 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel, LED backlit, HD display is driven by integrated an Intel GMA HD graphics controller. This should be quite capable of handling day-to-day tasks, such as surfing the web, email, productivity software, HD video and even some casual gaming, but it will almost certainly struggle with the demands of more sophisticated games. In fairness, this is not – and doesn’t claim to be – a gaming machine; it is a general purpose workhorse, and the integrated graphics controller is good enough to fulfill that role. If you are looking for a gaming laptop, however, this may not be the machine for you.
As you would expect from a modern laptop, this machine offers a range of connectivity options and ports. Internet and network access are facilitated by both 802.11 b/g/n WiFi for wireless networking, and an Ethernet port for conventional wired network access. The machine also supports Bluetooth 4.0 for connecting to wireless devices such as mice, headsets and other peripherals.
For wired connections, there are two USB ports – one high speed USB 3.0 port for devices such as external disk drives that benefit from high speed data transfer, and one standard USB 2.0 port for less demanding equipment. Naturally, the USB standards are interchangeable, such that USB 2.0 devices can be used in a USB 3.0 port, and vice versa, but only a USB 3.0 device in a USB 3.0 port can take full advantage of the high speeds on offer.
It is often desirable to connect your laptop to a much larger external display – perhaps for watching movies in comfort, either played directly from the built in DVD-RW or streamed over the internet – and the X550CA-DB51 makes this a breeze. It supports both an HDMI port for connecting to an HDTV or modern monitor, and a VGA port for connecting to older monitors, projectors etc.
An audio combo jack, an SD card reader and a built-in HD webcam round off the list of input / output ports arrayed around this machine’s outer shell, which measures 15″ x 9.9″ x 1.0″ and weighs just 5.1 pounds – small and lightweight enough to be easily portable, but not so small that it is flimsy or difficult to use. And, with a battery life of up to 5.4 hours, you can be sure that this machine can cope with getting real work done on the move.
Overall, the ASUS X550CA-DB51 15.6-Inch Laptop is well worth considering if you’re looking for a small, relatively powerful yet easily portable general purpose laptop. It isn’t a gaming powerhouse, by any means, but it should be more than able to cope with routine tasks, and still have enough power to spare for more demanding jobs.