The PC market has in the last few years become more and more commoditized. Every manufacturer is looking for their own angle and a way to stand out of the crowd. The launching of Windows 10 has provided two more obvious OS supported hardware features – fingerprint readers and facial recognition cameras but let’s be honest most people don’t want or need that.
What people want is a nice, reasonably snappy, well made and reliable laptop. It needs to be not too heavy and have a reasonable battery life. Beyond that the factor that is most important for the general public is price.
The Asus X55 series tries to answer all of these points. For the last few months I’ve been using a X55CA with an Intel i7 and a touchscreen and I’ve been surprisingly satisfied with it. Do not misunderstand me – the machine isn’t a powerhouse and forget even thinking about gaming but for the 99% of other things I want to do its been great.
Included in the box:ASUS X550 Laptop, AC brick adapter, Quick Start guide
Retailer:£539 on Amazon
Asus is a Taiwanese PC, tablet and accessory manufacturer that arguably is the largest PC vendor in the world. It started making motherboards in 1989 and has grown to employ over 20,000 with an quarterly profits in the hundreds of millions of Dollars. Most will probably know them best for their laptops and the hugely successful Nexus 7 tablet.
As you would expect from such a large company they have very detailed Environmental and societal responsibility policies. They generally have better conditions in their factories and supply chains than most multinationals although they have been caught with unsafe and underage workers a couple of times.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
The X55 is accessible to people with diverse abilities.
When Microsoft put out Windows 8 they were envisioning a future where we all used touch on our desktop PCs as much as we’ve gotten used to on our smartphones. It was a forward thinking and possibly correct notion but was much, much to early. The X55 is the first laptop I’ve really used with a touch screen and it has its good and bad points. It does make the battery life worse than it would otherwise be and the biggest problem is that I tended to forget that it was there! Once I’d trained myself to remember it I found it actually useful in very specific circumstances – for reading my RSS feeds and for browsing. All in all the touch screen is a plus from both an ergonomic and versatility perspective and with the update to Windows 10 even more so.
It is simple to set-up, use and maintain and Asus have wisely chosen to put a minimum of extra bloatware on the system.
The X55 has a relatively have an ergonomic design with a grippy cross hatching across the top of the computer that makes it easier than I expected to carry.
Windows laptops are not really renowned for the best possible keyboards so it was a pleasant surprise to find that the X55’s chicklet keyboard has near full size keys and feels surprisingly nice to type on. It’s not the best laptop keyboard I’ve used but it’s certainly up there. The touchpad is useable although I’d recommend investing in an external mouse.
Whilst it is more than possible to get PC’s at lower costs they have considerably lower specifications and are usually bigger and not well designed. Compared to equivalently specced systems the X55 is good value.
Operating System: Ships with Windows 8, upgradeable to 8.1 and then Window 10
Size: 38 x 25 x 1.9 cm
Item Weight: 2.3KG
Colour: Silver and black
Processor: Intel Core i7 2GHz
Operating System: Ships with Windows 8.1, upgradeable to Windows 10
Memory: 8GB DDR3
USB: 2 – 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0
Display: 15.6 inches, HDMI and VGA out
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz) capable
Battery: Lithium ion
Warranty: Asus’s standard warranty covers a return for an reason within 30 days and for 24 months if the problem is caused by a manufacturing defect.
In conclusion the X55CA is exactly what is seems to be. A fairly powerful productivity and business focused laptop. It is well designed and built with decent components and although I could have hoped for a better trackpad and more USB ports it more than lives up to its price point. If you are going to be gaming or involved in video processing the laptop is not for you but it’s specs will keep almost everyone else happy. Recommended.
The review is based on the Asus X55CA. This post contains affiliate links. First published on 10th September 2015.