Here we are again, going over another laptop of Asus. The combination of Decent specs and flawless design made Asus X550CA an ideal business-oriented Ultrabook. This 15.6-inch laptop has an immense range of advanced technologies and that made it capable of delivering well-balanced performance while holding an elegant and classic look. If you are looking for a laptop with excellent configuration and fashionable appearance, this is the right thing for you.
Practical and sensible users who are in need of a laptop for everyday entertainment and tasks, consider getting this beauty which is available on Amazon with base price as low as $450.
- Good build quality: Lighter, thinner and stylish shape.
- Cool and quiet: Has exclusive ‘ice cool’ technology of Asus, what made it perfect for using on lap even if it is a long time.
- Cheap: People who are in need of a laptop with a bigger screen and fancy look but don’t want to spend a lot. This one can be a good choice for you.
- Large Display: 15.6 inch screen made it suitable for watching movies and light graphics work.
- Quality Speakers: The sound system is so good for watching movies or songs that you will barely feel the need for an external speaker.
- Bad port placement: Not only the placement is bad, but there are only 2 USB ports so far.
- No keyboard backlit: This is not usually a bad thing, but considering the current situation, the backlit is a necessity.
- Reflective display: The reflection is annoying and it is often visible, especially when the environment is brighter than the screen.
- No SSD: It’s a disappointment for someone who was expecting a better performance.
- Poor webcam: The webcam is only 0.9 megapixels, which is almost obsolete nowadays.
- Brand: Asus
- Model: X550CA
- Color: Glossy White
- Processor: 3rd Gen Intel Core i3-3217U 1.8 GHz
- Chipset: Intel HM76
- Memory: 4 GB DDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM
- Display: 15.6 inch TFT with LED Backlit
- Resolution: 1366×768 Pixels
- Graphics: Integrated Intel HD 4000
- Storage: 500GB HDD 5400 RPM
- Optical Drive: Super-Multi DVDRW
- Card Reader: 3-in-one card reader (SD/ SDHC/ SDXC)
- Pointing Device: Touchpad
- Keyboard: Standard Keyboard with numeric keys
- Camera: 0.9 MP HD Web Camera
- Bluetooth: V4.0
- Ethernet: 10/100/1000
- Video Output: 1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor, 1 x HDMI
- USB: 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x USB 2.0 port
- Audio: Built-in Speakers and Microphone
- Battery: 4Cells 2600 mAh 37 Whrs
- Dimensions: 14.96 x 9.88 x 0.98 inch / 38.0 x 25.1 x 2.5 cm (WxDxH)
- Weight: 2.3 kg / 5.1 pounds (with 4-cell battery)
- Operating System: Windows 8
- Warranty: 1 to 2 years (different by country)
- Base Price: $449
Build & Design
Asus laptops are renowned and popular for their stylish and solid build quality and this X550CA is no exception. It is a lot more fashionable than your everyday average mid-end laptops. To be honest, if the weight wouldn’t pull it down; this one easily could be an Ultrabook.
Though most of the laptops nowadays promoting matte outlook, but unlike them The X550CA sport a spin-line finish, sturdy build and an attractive lid pattern. To elaborate the design, there is a series of concentric circles made of dots radiating out from the middle of lid where there is a logo of Asus.
Now if we open the lid, there is a big patterned palm rest along with a spaced keyboard deck and pleasant contrast. All status LEDs are located on the lower left corner of the palm-rest what made it easier and user-friendly to track components just by a single glance.
The display has a 15.6 inch screen featuring traditional 1366×768 pixels resolution, which is common for low-end laptops. The color and brightness are acceptable, but the viewing angles are marginally limited and unpleasant; pictures start to fade out completely if the angle is greater than 60 degrees to either side. But there is “Splendid Technology” suite what allow you to adjust the display’s contrast, brightness and color easily without effort. The suite features three preset and custom options. They are Normal, yellow shaded Theater, Vivid with pumps up color and a Manual option which allows you to set the color temperature and tone from red to blue or anything in between.
Considering the low price, touchscreen was not in expectation, but it still is, unusual to have only Windows 8 and not touch input.
Just like any other Asus laptop, this one has a good sound system. The quality is enough rich and accurate that you won’t feel the need for external speakers. Featured with SonicMaster technology, this laptop has truly large speakers and space in the specially designed speaker chambers. In particular the quality of the bass is so much better than any other laptop in its class and price range.
There is software included to optimize and enhance the sound experience named Asus AudioWizard. It features five preset listening styles, including Music, Movies, Recording, Gaming and Speech.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The Asus X550CA comes with a full size chiclet keyboard and number pad which was only possible because of its large dimension. The keys are less bouncy and well spaced, but there is a noticeable amount of space in keyboard tray and between the keys. The keys are little extra more sensitive than usual, but there are a few chances you will make typing mistakes.
On the other hand, the touchpad is quite large and featured with smart gesture technology, which is essential for using windows 8 without touchscreen. To be exact, the size of the touchpad is 4.2 x 1.8 inch. And the accuracy and responsiveness of the pad are so good that you can easily perform all windows 8 gestures.
There is a 0.9 megapixel camera and we already mentioned that it is obsolete. The image quality is off-color and noisy and it is hard to notice fine details like patterns, hair, and texts.
To get better video chatting experience, you will have to get an external web camera.
Statistically it is the worst part of the laptop if not the webcam. There is a single USB 3.0, a single USB 2.0, one HDMI, one VGA and an Ethernet port. And the worst of it is that all of those mentioned ports are on the left side. While on the right side there is only a multi-DVD drive and card reader.
Without a USB hub you will often face the problem when you have to use both USB and LAN cable at a same time. Our suggestion would be to get a USB hub so you can use this laptop without worrying about ports every minute.
The battery pack of the Asus X550CA is adapted with a four cell and 37Whr battery. It could be better, but since the 3rd generation processors have decent power consumption, it is not much of a problem. While testing with music, videos and internet browsing, we were able to run the laptop for 4 hours. This is not so good these days, but you can live with that.
Despite that fact Asus only used ‘ice cool’ technology only on high-end laptops in the past, you will be happy knowing that this laptop has the technology. It mostly keeps the laptop cool and quiet even when you are using it for a very long time.
And beside that the ventilation system is also well planned. There is a vent system installed on the front-bottom side of the laptop what intake the air while the exhaust ventilation system is on the left side placed beside those connectivity ports. So the air will never blow towards you.
Although on these days, so many mid-end laptops have similar specs; this one somehow manages to outperform almost every one of them. It has impressive file transfer speed and utterly fast boot up time.
To elaborate, there is a 1.8GHz dual core Intel core i3-3217U processor, 4GB of ram and 500GB hard drive. To compare with current trend they are not quite powerful, but if you know how to treat them, they will get the job done.
As for graphics, there is integrated Intel HD 4000 chip, which is able to handle some older 3D games. But don’t get your hope up as you have to remember, this laptop is not really suited for gaming. If you are familiar with Intel HD Graphics 2500 or 3000, there is only few improvements was made in 4000.
Anyway, as we see all hardware components are overall balanced. So improving a single equipment to get a massive boost in overall performance is not possible in this case. But it has to be said that replacing the hard drive with a SSD and get some extra RAM never hurts.
After all, in everyday PC, what people really want is the versatility. And as a 15.6 laptop with decent configuration, Asus X550CA has just the right set of equipment to provide them that.
However, there are few shortcomings you will have to compromise such as, poor display, not so extreme performance, moderate battery life and limited viewing angle. Chances are, you can get a laptop of the same value with better display or better performance or even thinner and lighter, but surely not everything in one. There is a saying that, “to gain something, sometimes you have to lose something”. So if you think about the value of it in proportion to its price, and want a stylish laptop with decent performance and good sound quality for everyday tasks, believe me or not but the Asus X550CA is worth the money you are spending. Grab one as soon as you can.