ASUS K53 Review: Mass Market Dual-Core Sandy Bridge
Heat and Connectivity, Battery Life and Portability
Heat and Connectivity
Opening SpeedFan revealed very typical internal temperatures. The ASUS K53E idled around 42 degrees Celsius and would launch as high as 58 degrees Celsius under load. Those temperatures are not a problem, but the increase of the K53E’s external temperature is more uncomfortable. After running our benchmarks I found that the left side of the keyboard was quite warm, as was the same side of the laptop’s bottom.
At idle, the system fan is pleasant and easily blends into the ambient noise of my apartment. At load, however, the fan spins up to gaming-laptop levels of whoosh. The K53E certainly seems capable of moving some air, and it’s a shame that doesn’t result in more comfortable keyboard temperatures under load.
Most of the K53E’s connectivity can be found on the left side in front of the fan exhaust, where one USB, one HDMI, on VGA and one Ethernet port reside. Oddly, the power adapter also plugs into the laptop on the left side, and rather far forward as well. Although this placement felt a bit awkward, it isn’t terrible in practice. The right side reveals two additional USB ports, and a card reader can be found on the front left near the touchpad.
Battery Life and Portability
The ASUS K53E ships with a 56Wh six-cell battery, which is about average for a laptop of this size and a bit larger than the battery shipped with the Sandy Bridge quad-core powered ASUS N53 we recently reviewed.
When thrown into the Battery Eater test the ASUS K53E died in just one hour and twenty-seven minutes. Yet when placed into the Reader's Test, the K53 lasted over five hours and thirty minutes, which is nearly as long as the dual-core Atom powered Eee PC 1215. The K53 also managed just over four and a half hours in the continous use WiFi test, although that's just half an hour longer than the N53.
I'm slightly confused by the results here, as the Battery Eater standard test really ripped through the battery. It's only natural that an increase in GPU performance would come with a battery life penalty, but the results are so dramatic that I doubt that's the whole story here. Fortuantely, the battery life performance in less intense use is far better. There's more than enough battery endurance available for a trip to your local cafe or a long layover.
You may have trouble taking advantage of the K53E's battery life, however, because it isn't a portable package. The 15.6" frame isn't massive, but it does require a fairly large bag. The laptop’s 5.73 pound weight is hefty, as well. While a trip down to your local coffee shop wouldn’t be an issue, traveling long distances with the K53E could be a pain.