Asus X53E review
15.6 in 1,366x768 display, 2.6kg, 2GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM, 4.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
The Asus X53E is a Comet exclusive, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's a bargain-basement model, because it isn't. It has Intel's Core i7 processor inside it. It’s also a close cousin of the Asus K53SC, and it's well built too, although Asus has cut some corners to keep the X53E's cost down. There's only 320GB of hard disk space, for example, and it doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, which means it isn’t suitable for those who want to fire up a game now and then.
It shares its chassis design with the slightly more expensive Asus K53SC, although its metallic-finish keyboard panel is a passionate red rather than the K53SC's more staid brown. Also, it only has three USB ports, and none is of the faster USB3 variety, which is a shame. Instead of the K53SC's dedicated Nvidia graphics chip, you have to rely on the Core i7's integrated Intel graphics chip, which can decode HD video content but isn't suitable for gaming. It only scored 14fps in our Dirt3 benchmark.
A cramped numberpad sits to the right of the keyboard, and we reckon Asus could have spread things out a bit more if it had added about a centimetre on each side of the keyboard. At least the layout is standard, with the Control key being situated in the bottom-left corner and the Function key being situated to its right, modifying the F1-F12 keys so that they activate shortcuts such as volume, brightness and Wi-Fi.
There's a bit of flex in the keyboard, but there’s not enough to dull feedback, which is amply provided by the keys themselves. Their light action has a definite bite at the top of the keystroke, and although their flat tops are a bit slippery, they’re well spaced, which means there's less chance of hitting a neighbouring key by mistake.
A large and responsive touchpad provides cursor control. It doesn't have scrolling areas, relying instead on two-fingered multi-touch gestures for both vertical and horizontal scrolling. Two large buttons sit underneath.