Asus K501UW-AB78 Review

REVIEW / Asus ZX53VW Gaming Laptop

 

Asus ZX53VW Gaming Laptop Review

Are you currently in the market for a new gaming laptop?

Do you desire a specific combination of portability, battery life, performance, and ergonomics at a reasonable price point? There are many quality laptops on the market, all competing for market share with slightly different specifications. For example, some cater towards those needing a huge screen at the sacrifice of portability, while others come in a small form factor, but with a smaller keyboard and screen.

Today we will review the Asus ZX53VW to see if it is the right fit for your needs as a portable gaming platform.

 

Asus ZX53VW Specs and Overview

The Asus ZX53VW is powered by the Intel i5-6300HQ processor. Usually running at 2.3 GHz, for additional power, this processor reaches speeds of 3.2 GHz in turbo mode. This 6th generation quad core comes paired with a NVIDIA GTX 960 graphics card. This setup uses an estimated 45 watts under Intel’s predictive test, more efficient than the higher powered i7 line of the same generation. Not surprisingly, when compared to other CPUs, it beats most of the older generation i7s but falls behind the current generation of i7 quad core processors. Passmark’s test gives it slightly over 6000 points in their CPU benchmark tests.

The processor should be up to the challenge of media related tasks while accommodating multitasking with less processor intensive uses as well. Audio or video rendering can be accommodated while loading email without stuttering, for example.

 

Asus K501UW-AB78 Review

GPU

The NVIDIA graphics card installed is an upgraded version of a previous GTX960. In the Asus ZX53VW, the card is integrated into the processor and is given an upgraded 4 GB of memory. This gives ample power to run the majority of current games on the market at 1080p and 60 frames per second.

 

Display

The video display is a standard 1080p resolution, equaling the majority of the competition. While the 15.6” screen size won’t make you feel like you are at a movie theater, it is ample for most games and other uses while on the go. While higher priced laptops are beginning to offer 4k, for most uses, the built-in resolution should be sufficient.

The 1080p resolution is also far more battery friendly than 4k. Most 4k laptops are also unable to render 4k resolutions seamlessly during gameplay, only able to use the native resolution during lighter applications, such as playback of video files and viewing high pixel count photos. This makes limiting the screen to 1080p seem like a good compromise by Asus.

While the display may not bring an ultra high-end experience, the anti-glare matte finish is an upgrade over some of the similarly priced competition. The LED backlight is bright enough to use in all common conditions, including outdoor use when set to full brightness. The backlighting seems to be even at all lighting settings, with no hotspots apparent.

This upside of this medium size display is that it will also be more battery friendly than larger diagonal screens, allowing you to slightly extend your use time over larger displays. Asus did well in minimizing the laptop size for the screen, with very little wasted space. The ZX53VW is just small enough that it should fit into most laptop bags and backpacks that you already have, along with room for a few accessories. While a larger screen may at times be a nice luxury, anything larger would become quickly unmanageable, making this size feel like a nice compromise.

 

PROTIP: For stationary use, two video out connections can be made simultaneously. The D-sub and HDMI ports will give you ample options for external monitors. Combined with the internal display, you can run three separate monitors. For any expected use, the GPU should have plenty of power, for example allowing you to watch a video on one screen with a browser or other less intensive use on the other two screens.

 

RAM

The CPU is coupled with 8 GB of DDR4 ram. Like the graphics processor, this should be power enough for games currently on the market. With the ability to upgrade RAM up to 16 GB, it should remain compatible with new games for at least a few years.

 

Asus ZX53VW Battery Life

The built-in battery is a 4 cell with 45 watt-hours of life. Bring your charger with you for longer trips, because this should be sufficient for about 3 hours of average use. Time to a full charge should be about 90 minutes with the stock charger. While battery and the power supply are reasonable, this is one area where this machine lags slightly behind the competition.

 

Storage

The built-in hard drive is a fast and battery friendly solid state drive. While only 512 GB, it has less storage space than a traditional hard drive, so may be an issue for users who want to start large amounts of data, usually video files or a large number of games.

However, the solid state drive also has multiple benefits. Due to their higher data transfer speeds, in-game loading times will be reduced. OS boot up times will also be significantly improved compared to a traditional HDD. It also removes a component that often fails on other systems, as well as modestly reduces power consumption when compared to a traditional hard drive. This excellent drive is one of the high points of the Asus ZX53VW over other laptops in this range.

More information about solid state drives can be found here.

 

Other Connections

Three USB ports grace the sides of this computer. Two of these USB ports are USB 3.0, one is USB 2.0, and the final port is the new ultra small USB-C. While this last port is not yet in wide usage, it should allow for future external hardware compatibility. Audio is through a built-in microphone, and headphones jack on the side.

Connectivity is accomplished with either the built-in RJ-45 jack found on the rear of the panel or with the 802.11ac Wifi adapter, allowing speeds of up to a gigabit per second. While this will undoubtedly exceed your connection outside of your LAN, it will be appreciated if you take advantage of any LAN connected devices or network storage.

Likewise, the built-in Bluetooth 4.0 will allow connectivity to the growing range of Bluetooth devices, although you won’t be able to take advantage of the enhanced speed of the small number of Bluetooth 5 devices entering the market. The most likely situation where you may wish you had this faster data connection speed would be for such uses as downloading data from your cell phone to your computer’s hard drive. It seems unlikely that any upcoming gaming peripherals will require the higher bandwidth of Bluetooth 5.

Overall construction is sleek and attractive. With the matte finish and dark color scheme, you could be forgiven for being reminded of a military jet, similar to higher end gaming laptop aesthetics.

The connectors sporting each side are tightly laid out, which may make for some difficulty if you have multiple devices plugged in at a time. However, for a medium sized laptop, this is fairly common.

 

Aesthetic

The back of the lid sports a simple two-tone theme, breaking up the basic shape into a more pleasant design. When opening, the screen rotates back and down on two large hinges recessed into the base, allowing it to be thinner than a laptop with a more traditional hinge for the screen.

This unique lid hinge design also forces all of the connections to be made on the sides of the machine. Traditionally, some of these would have been moved to the rear, but this would interfere with the movement of the lid, a tradeoff that will feel unnecessary if you are trying to use all the connections at the same time.

The result of this thin profile is that it is slighter heavier than expected. While a similar weight to other laptops within this class, it is thinner than average. The result is a machine that feels solid and compact compared to some of the competition, but the slightly higher perceived weight may be a downside for some users.

 

Keyboard

The keyboard layout is typical of the class. The low profile keys lack the response and action of a larger keyboard but meet expectations. The keyboard backlight is a nice touch, giving a pleasant glow, helping with alignment if you are gaming in a dark room.

 

Other Peripherals

Above the screen is a built-in HD camera. It is sufficient as a webcam, with the wide angle view providing an acceptable video quality for such a small imaging sensor. Users wanting to use this laptop for better video quality, or frequent video blogging will definitely want to invest in an external camera, the internal camera won’t cut it.

For the OS, this computer comes preloaded with Windows 10 64 bit version, which is standard for an entry level gaming laptop, with the days of 32-bit windows behind us. To read more about 64 bit versus 32 bit, click here.

 

Is This a Good Deal?

The Asus ZX53VW is a budget gaming system. For a mainstream gaming experience, it packs a lot of performance for the price, able to run all games at full HD with full visual rendering. When compared to other systems at this price point, it tends to have equal or better features, making it a good buy.

Specifically, with regards to the performance of the CPU and GPU, this system outperforms much of the direct competition. Very few mobile gaming platforms in this range are actually capable of running all of the games currently on the market with no stuttering, yet the ZX53VW accomplishes this easily. Coupled with a graphics processor capable of rendering all games at 1080p and the majority at 60 frames per second, it achieves what would be expected of higher end laptops.

The only real disappointment is the lack of battery life when compared to similar laptops. This is perhaps to be expected, as the higher processing power, when compared to similarly priced laptops, has the tradeoff of slightly higher demand on the battery.

If battery life is a priority of yours, try checking out our review of the Asus K501UW-AB78.

 

The Brand

Asus was founded in the late 80s from former engineers with Acer in Taiwan. Originally a manufacturer of motherboards and other related hardware products, they have continued to expand, now making a broad range of products including branded monitors, cell phones, and other devices outside of their start within the core computing market.

With their first laptops aimed at the budget market, in the past decade, Asus has risen to one of the major players in the gaming world. Their top tier line of Republic of Gaming machines can be counted among the best laptops on the market. Their higher end machines are generally regarded as having good specifications for their price point, and with the ZX53VW, it appears they are trying to extend this reputation into the entry level gaming market.

 

Asus ZX53VW Review: In Closing

This laptop excelled in performance for value. While not as powerful as more expensive machines, it did very well when compared to similarly priced machines. The power of the CPU and GPU rivaled machines at a higher price point and were ample for the games currently on the market.

The unique lid design helped to keep the overall dimensions smaller, although the downside of this was that the USB, HDMI, and other jacks were all forced to the sides, which could prove difficult in some situations.

The focus on gaming may make some aspects of this laptop overkill for other general computing tasks. The higher powered GPU required for gaming also means the battery life is poor when compared to lower powered machines for basic tasks like browsing, streaming video, and other basic computing. For these uses, a lower powered processor and GPU would be an acceptable tradeoff for extended battery life.

But overall, the ZX53VX is intended for entry level gaming. For what it is designed, it does well. While more power, a larger screen, and longer battery life would be nice to have, this package is very well priced for what you get. Every design is a series of compromises, and overall, we think Asus made good choices in this design. We rate this new offering from Asus a 7/10 and feel it will be well received compared to other laptops in a similar price level

If you think you might want it, buy it on Amazon here:

 

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