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ASUS K53T Review: Mainstream Llano Offers Inexpensive Mobile Gaming

Author: Matt Smith
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: ASUS
Tagged: llano, k53, asus, amd, a6

Cooling, Portability, Software

Cooling

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As a large laptop, there’s a fair amount of room inside the K53’s chassis for airflow. You don’t have to use the laptop long to begin seeing the benefits of this. Under light loads, there is minimal fan noise - but more importantly, under heavy loads, there is relatively low fan noise. Yes, it is still audible, but no so loud that it will disturb someone in another room.

Sometimes slow, quiet fans result in high temperatures, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. I noticed some warming of the keyboard and palmrest area during activities that engaged the GPU, but otherwise the unit remains cool. I even managed to play Minecraft with the laptop on my lap. My MacBook won’t do that without roasting my thighs. 

What heat does exist exhausts out of a large vent on the left side of the laptop. So long as you keep that clear and don’t place the laptop on an insulating surface, you should be able to use this laptop wherever you’d like. 

Portability

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Though 15.6” laptops are not known for their portability, there is a range between the biggest and smallest. The K53T is in the middle of that range. The chassis is about one and a quarter inches thick throughout and the total weight is 5.4 pounds. 

What this means is that the laptop will fit in many backpacks with laptop compartments, but will be a little too large for many messenger bags. I took this laptop with me on a few trips to Starbucks and found that it was a bit cumbersome at some of the smaller tables, but if you don’t make such trips frequently, it should be adequate. 

Normally a laptop with discrete graphics will have a hard time in battery life benchmarks, but AMD has a switchable graphics solution similar to Optimus available on all its Fusion laptops. It’s not as smooth as Optimus because it constantly prompts users for input, but it does offer decent battery life. 

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Combined with ASUS’s own custom power management schemes, the K53T manages to squeeze out over 5 hours of general use with WiFi on even though the battery is a completely average 6-cell unit. 

Software

Like the ASUS U36 we just reviewed, there is some bloatware on the K53T, but it’s mostly unobtrusive. This is the first laptop I’ve had in a while that did not badger me constantly to purchase a specific anti-malware solution. 

Instead, I was badgered constantly to upgrade my drivers. Which, in the realm of things a computer could badger you about, is not bad. That's something you should probably do anyway. 

Like all other systems from ASUS, this laptop came with the company’s proprietary power saving schemes which include a Windows widget that allows for switching between power modes. It works well and makes a noticeable impact in battery life, making it a rare example of pre-installed software that really improves a product.

December 29, 2011 | 03:15 PM - Posted by HSMagnet (not verified)

nice review

December 29, 2011 | 10:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I would suggest to anyone buying this laptop to turn off the crossfire feature. You actually loose performance in many games especially since there are no official regular driver updates for the gpu.

December 30, 2011 | 03:09 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Got a similar one with 4GB RAM for $450 at BB. At that price it was a no brainer though AMD could do a better job with crossfire and drivers though.

January 2, 2012 | 02:28 PM - Posted by Anoyingmouse (not verified)

If glossy screens and that fupid stawful ucking 1366 - 768 resolution (or all 16:9 resolutions) would just go away, these cheap, generic McNotebooks would be a lot more appealing.

Also, if Asus is going to give it discreet graphics anyway and harbor a pretense of gaming, would a faster clocked dual core A4 be a better fit.

January 6, 2012 | 02:28 PM - Posted by Matt Smith

"Also, if Asus is going to give it discreet graphics anyway and harbor a pretense of gaming, would a faster clocked dual core A4 be a better fit."

Maybe. The only potential problem is that the A4 has a less powerful IGP component. It's hard to say if the reduction in graphics performance from that would be made up for by a higher processor clock speed.

January 6, 2012 | 03:31 PM - Posted by Annoyingmouse (not verified)

"Maybe. The only potential problem is that the A4 has a less powerful IGP component. It's hard to say if the reduction in graphics performance from that would be made up for by a higher processor clock speed."

That's a good point. I guess I should be posing my question to AMD instead of ASUS as to why they are giving their higher clocked processors the worst GPUs,(160 or 240 SPs vs 400 for the A8) but I guess I already know the answer to that. The A4 is the binned processor that salvages any yield issues.

January 3, 2012 | 09:54 PM - Posted by Justin (not verified)

I Brought 10 of these laptops for use as rental laptops for my video production company and they have not faulted me yet.

January 18, 2012 | 01:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is a good computer I bought it for less than $500 at a local Best Buy Store. the one I have has the Same Processor but it came with a 1GB Video Card. Computer runs good but after 5 months of use the computer screen stopped working. I called the ASUS Customer service since they don't have help online. I explained them the problem and They asked me to take the computer to the Geek Squad for repairs. Geek Squad took care of fixing the screen, and now my computer runs like new once again and I'm happy of having purchased about 6 months ago for less than it costs now.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005OCBPX0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=...

April 13, 2012 | 09:04 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Uhh, you talk about the A6 yet use an e series cpu... That one's meant to compete with atom, of course it will be slow.

April 13, 2012 | 09:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

woops, re read. nevermind, my bad.

June 8, 2012 | 02:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

as far as the research iv dont including this page, it sounds like a decent laptop, im looking at one slightly used for $450

June 8, 2012 | 02:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

as far as the research iv done*

June 8, 2012 | 02:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Here are the specs:
Display: 15.6" 1366x768
CPU: AMD A6 - 3420M 2.2 Ghz
RAM: 6GB DDR3
Video cards: it has 2 videocards - one is Radeon 6520G , another one is Radeon 7670M with 1 Gb memory
Hard space: 750 GB

March 22, 2014 | 06:47 AM - Posted by Janice (not verified)

"What is the difference between DSL, IDSL, HDSL, SDSL, ADSL, CDSL, Ci - DSL, etc. I'm Roni"
( you might want to use your own name) off course, don't forget to look
directly into her "bridge" this will completely
create a subconscious breakdown in her mind.
I often equate the process of self-hypnosis as something that is as similar to driving a car.

December 18, 2012 | 07:37 PM - Posted by Deandrea Thoe (not verified)

Rattling nice design and wonderful articles , absolutely nothing else we want : D.

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