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Asus VivoBook X550CA review

Katharine Byrne
27 Mar 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
430
inc VAT

The screen could be better, but this is a well-priced laptop that gets the best out of its old hardware

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The X550CA has a great range of ports. You’ll find one USB3 and two USB2 ports, VGA and HDMI video outputs for connecting the laptop to an external display, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card reader, a DVD rewriter and separate headphone and microphone jacks. Our review sample also came with a 750GB hard disk, giving you plenty of space for all your files.

Asus VivoBook X550CA
Asus VivoBook X550CA

The 15.6in screen hasn’t improved much from previous models, but we found its overall image quality was still perfectly acceptable considering the price. The display isn’t particularly bright, but colours looked reasonably accurate despite its mediocre sRGB colour gamut score of 56.1 per cent. This is around average for a laptop of this price, but the screen’s glossy finish did help to make colours stand out a bit more than usual.

Black levels weren't very good and we measured a reading of 0.67cd/m2 with our colour calibrator. This meant our solid blacks looked almost grey depending on how we angled the screen, and they also revealed that the lower half of the screen was lighter than the top half.

Asus VivoBook X550CA

This made viewing our high contrast image quite difficult, as areas of shadow were almost non-existent. This wasn’t helped by the screen’s ultra-low contrast levels, as we measured a contrast ratio of just 285:1. This is below average even for a budget laptop, so we wouldn’t recommend using it for fine photo editing. Watching films may also be problematic unless you’ve angled the screen just right.

The X550CA’s battery life wasn't great either. It lasted 4h 18m in our light use test with the screen set to half brightness. We'd normally expect at least five hours from an Ivy Bridge laptop, if not more, so to see it last just over four hours was disappointing.

Asus VivoBook X550CA

Nevertheless, screen and battery life issues aside, the Asus VivoBook X550CA is still a marked improvement over its predecessors. Its Ivy Bridge processor may be showing its age, but it can still compete with other budget laptops in raw performance, and it remains one of the cheapest 15.6in laptops we've seen to come with a full ten-point touchscreen.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i3-3217U
Processor clock speed1.8GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size22x380x266mm
Weight2.6kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad and touchscreen

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 4000
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity750GB
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsN/A
Supported memory cardsSD, SDHC, SDXC
Other portsheadphone, microphone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedN/A
Optional extrasN/A

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£430
Detailswww.asus.com
Supplierhttp://www.pcworld.co.uk

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