ASUS X555LA-XX290H

£300 inc VAT • asus.com/uk

Tech Advisor - - GROUP TEST -

The per­fect all-round value lap­top for work and play. That’s how Asus bills its X555LA-XX290H, and for once we’re al­most in­clined to agree. This 15in bud­get lap­top can be found for un­der £300, and while suf­fer­ing the com­mon fail­ings such as low-res­o­lu­tion dis­play and slow Wi-Fi, it presents a bet­ter bal­ance in over­all per­for­mance.

Build and de­sign

The X555LA has a two-tone fin­ish, fea­tur­ing a dark lid back with fine cir­cu­lar pat­tern­ing, a black plas­tic base and sil­ver-painted plas­tic top deck. At a lit­tle over 2.1kg in weight and 26mm thick, it fol­lows a sim­i­lar tem­plate to the Acer Ex­tensa, and sim­i­larly also of­fers a du­al­layer DVD RW writer with pop-out tray on the right-hand side.

Two USB 3.0 ports, gi­ga­bit eth­er­net, VGA ana­logue and HDMI dig­i­tal video out­put on the left, are joined by one USB 2.0 socket on the right and a card slot able to ac­cept SDXC cards. You can also use head­phones and mi­cro­phone from the 3.5mm combo head­set jack.

A stan­dard-is­sue tiled key­board in­cludes a num­ber­pad, and its key ac­tion is firm and easy to type on. There is a lit­tle flex un­der the key­board un­der typ­ing pres­sure, but not enough for con­cern.

The track­pad fol­lows the same sil­ver-coloured fin­ish as the wristrest area, a large but­ton­less multi-touch type 103x73mm for easy cur­sor con­trol. Asus in­cludes its branded Smart Ges­ture soft­ware to op­tion­ally al­low two- and three-fin­ger ges­tures. The pointer pre­ci­sion could be bet­ter but it works well enough to get around.

Like most bud­get Win­dows lap­tops, the dis­play is a weak point, of­fer­ing a rel­a­tively low res­o­lu­tion at 1366x768 pix­els across the 15.6in panel. Its colour is lim­ited to just 61 per­cent sRGB and the low

Build Fea­tures Per­for­mance

Value

Over­all

con­trast ra­tio of 80:1 means im­ages and text lack the def­i­ni­tion we now ex­pect from con­sumer tech­nol­ogy such as smart­phones and tablets. A gloss fin­ish gives a bet­ter im­pres­sion of clar­ity but suf­fers from an­noy­ing re­flec­tions in day­light con­di­tions.

For wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity Asus fits the most ba­sic sin­gle-stream 11n adap­tor, along with the usual Blue­tooth 4.0.

Per­for­mance

Asus of­fers the X555LA with AMD or In­tel pro­ces­sors – our sam­ple had a 1.9GHz Core i3 from In­tel’s fourth gen­er­a­tion, lack­ing any Turbo boost but use­fully in­clud­ing Hy­per Thread­ing Tech­nol­ogy to pro­vide pseudo-quad core ca­pa­bil­ity. Only 4GB of mem­ory is in­cluded, but a spare SO-DIMM slot is avail­able through an easy-ac­cess trap­door on the un­der­side. The 1TB hard disk and 37Wh bat­tery are not easily ac­ces­si­ble, and in our tests the lithium-poly­mer bat­tery meant the Asus ran for five hours 17 min­utes in our video run­down test.

Over­all speed was good for the cat­e­gory, scor­ing 2028 points in PCMark 8 Home, while raw pro­ces­sor and mem­ory per­for­mance reached 1906 points in Geek­bench 3 sin­gle-core, and 3981 points with four threads ac­tive.

Some light gam­ing may just be pos­si­ble – we av­er­aged 26fps in Bat­man with Low de­tail and na­tive res­o­lu­tion, ris­ing to 30fps at 720p. VER­DICT: Asus has re­stricted build and com­po­nent qual­ity to fit the at­trac­tive £300 price point, but all the essen­tials work well to­gether. The Haswell In­tel chip means over­all per­for­mance is bet­ter than any Celeron-based com­pe­ti­tion.

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