£300 inc VAT • asus.com/uk
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
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.
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.