I’ll have to be honest up front and say I wasn’t exactly expecting a whole lot from the ASUS X-Series X555QA AMD Quad-Core Laptop I was sent to test out and review. The thing costs about the same as an iPad, so my eyebrows were already raised, and my eyes were rolling before even opening the box. Obviously, a cheap laptop is going to have sub-par specs under the hood, and deliver a mediocre performance, right? However, when I took a closer look at the ASUS AMD Quad-Core Laptop’s hardware, I was pleasantly surprised and honestly impressed with what’s packed into this 15.6“ computer. You usually see these kinds of specs and hardware options on models that retail for quite a bit more. Just looking at the majority of the specs had me feeling major buyer’s remorse about the super gaming laptop I recently purchased for more than three times the price of this ASUS model. But, how does it really perform?
Out of the Box
The ASUS X-Series AMD Quad Core comes with a power cable and the usual documentation, manuals and CD. Hey, for the price of this laptop, I didn’t expect any bells or whistles in the box. The laptop itself has a black outer plastic outer shell, and grey body with black keyboard. It looks nice, but the design doesn’t particularly stand out from other similar laptops out there. I found the keyboard a bit too bouncy for my tastes, however the nice bright 15.6“ screen delivers crystal clear images.
Setting It Up
Set up was fairly easy with this laptop. It booted up pretty quickly, and after choosing country and language (for some reason I was tempted to choose “Vatican City” and “Swahili” just to see what would happen) and the obligatory several minutes of critical Windows updates, I was off to the races. The built-in WiFi found my wireless router, asked for the password (which my 13-year-old provided because I can’t remember anything anymore) and I was zipping around the ‘Net in no time.
Under the Hood
ASUS X-Series (X555QA) Specs, as Tested
The sleek, lightweight and semi-stylish ASUS laptop offers a 15.6” screen with a native resolution of 1366×768. The LED backlit display unfortunately does not feature a touchscreen, nor is it 3D or VR capable. The lack of a touchscreen (something more and more consumers seem to want) is a bit of a downside, however, if you’ve not fully embraced the technology, then the ASUS X-Series AMD Quad-Core won’t disappoint in any other way. The laptop runs an AMD Quad Core A10-9600P with a processor speed of 2.4ghz, and I think that is why this laptop is so gosh darn affordable.
Instead of opting for the more popular (and quite a bit more expensive) Intel chipset to power this baby, ASUS chose to go with the AMD processor. And while many will bemoan the use of the AMD processor, I can assure you that AMD is just as solid and successful at making chipsets as Intel, and you shouldn’t have any misgivings about performance at all. Rounding out the specs is a whopping 12GB of RAM (as opposed to the usual 8GBs you’d find in a similarly priced laptop), a roomy 1TB drive, SD card reader, plus, interestingly enough, a DVD±RW/CD-RW optical drive.
I say it is interesting to have an optical drive, because although physical media (DVDs/CDs) is slowly being phased out in favour of the convenience of digital downloads (for games, apps, programs and more), lots of folks still like to have the ability to read and write to those physical formats. Unfortunately, many (or most) newer model laptops simply don’t come with this option. For instance, my expensive gaming laptop didn’t come with an optical drive, and I totally lament that fact every time I look at all the games, music and software I still own on physical discs. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve had to re-purchase digitally, just to have it on my new laptop. So, the ASUS AMD Quad-Core’s inclusion of a good optical drive is a huge pro in my books. And speaking of games; while this laptop does have mostly powerful hardware, it’s only running an AMD Radeon R5 for graphics (with a paltry 512MB of memory onboard), which is perfect for your everyday work/play scenario and usage for regular multimedia and entertainment, but not going to get you far with anything that really demands a beefy graphics set-up. Finally, the laptop comes pre-loaded with Windows 10, which I am really growing to like as an operating system.
Testing the ASUS AMD Quad-Core’s Performance
What can I say? This is a solid laptop that performs admirably with almost anything you can throw at it. From regular web surfing to music (it manages to pump out some pretty good sounds with the help of its SonicMaster audio system), movies and other multi-media, the ASUS X-Series AMD Quad Core is ideal for every day at home or the office. Again, it’s also at a remarkably affordable price point for what this laptop offers inside. As I previously said, this runs about the same price as an iPad, and for my bucks, I’d certainly chose this laptop over a tablet any day of the week. ASUS is also a pretty darn good name in computing, so I trust the build and components have gone through rigorous enough testing that this stock laptop is just going to work for the long run. I do wish the keyboard was a tad more solid, but I’m a writer, so I tend to dish out a bit more punishment to my keyboards on a daily basis, and like that visceral feel of a more solid, or harder keyboard. It’s a personal preference. You may like the particular “give” and squishier feel of the X-Series keyboard.
Otherwise, it is really hard to nitpick a laptop that offers such solid everyday entertainment multimedia performance at such a budget-friendly price point. The ASUS X-Series AMD Quad-Core certainly merits a closer look if you are looking for anew laptop this year. DO you like what you’ve seen? Is there another comparable laptop you’ve been looking at on the Best Buy site? Let me know how the laptop shopping has been going in the comment section below.