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Asus K55VM review - a powerful all-round 15.6 inch laptop

Computers Asus K55 - the powerfull all-round laptop we could all afford

Published on April 27th, 2012 | by Mike

29

Asus K55VM review – a powerful all-round 15.6 inch laptop

I got to play with the Asus K55VM for the last week or so and in this post I’m going to share with you guys a couple of details about this experience.

First of all, this is a freshly launched laptop that’s not yet available in stores, so I did test a pre-release unit, which means that benchmark results might get even better as drivers mature. Except for that though, this unit is identical to what you’ll be able to buy in store. The new Asus K55 series will house a bunch of different laptops built on different configs, but all have an Intel Ivy Bridge processor and an Nvidia 6XX graphics chip as a foundation.

The K55VM is going to be the most powerful config and it’s still going to be quite affordable. Our test unit comes with a quad-core Core i7 processor and good graphics, and these make the K55VM much faster than last year’s Asus K53SV, which we also reviewed here on this site.

Overall, this is a solid machine. Of course, it still has its drawbacks and most of you guys might not really appreciate the bulky body and the poor screen, but hey, you can’t have performances, silhouette and a good price together. Not yet at least.

If you’re interested in buying a good all-round laptop with a bit of extra power, the Asus K55VM is definitely a device you should at least consider. Read the review below to find more about it.

Asus K55 - the powerfull all-round laptop we could all afford

Asus K55 – the powerful all-round laptop we could all afford

The specs


Asus K55VM
Screen 15.6 inch, 1366 x 768 px resolution, glossy
Processor Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3610QM quad-core processor
Chipset Intel HM77
Video Intel 4000 HD and Nvidia GT 630M 2GB graphics
Memory 6 GB DDR3
Hard-disk 750 GB 5400 rpm
Connectivity Wireless N, Fast Ethernet, Bluetooth 3.0
Ports 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, LAN, card-reader, webcam, DVD-RW unit
Baterry 6 Cell 4700 mAh 50 Wh
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium
Size  251 x 378 x 25,5~31,9 mm
Weight  2.6 kg

Video review

Design and exterior

One thing is for sure, the K55VM is a solid laptop. On the other side, it is quite massive and bulky, plus a bit heavy, or at least that’s how i feel. But it may be because I haven’t touched a 15.6 incher in a while. Still, keep in mind that this is not really the kind of laptop to log around.

The case is made from textured plastic and it feels good. The bottom is also covered in plastic and you get an easy to access bay for upgrading memory and HDD.

Opening the lid, you’ll notice some silver aluminum on the palm rest (haven’t seen it in this price range in the past) and matte plastic around the keys and the screen. Overall, while the entire thing isn’t exactly stylish, it’s not bad either, and the entire case screams reliable, which in the end is actually more important than looks.

Keyboard and trackpad

Asus changed the keyboard on their new mainstream laptop. It wasn’t bad before but it is actually better now, as the keys are softer and the overall feedback is decent. Still, they are not stiff enough to ensure that perfect feedback and there’s no click that could tell you if the hit was indeed registered or not. However, I had no problem writing a couple of thousands of words using this keyboard and the experience was alright, once I got used to the overall feel.

A decent keyboard

A decent keyboard

The trackpad is new as well and it’s massive and slightly positioned towards the left part of the laptop, like it should be. You’ll notice from the picture that we have one of those clickbale trackpads in here and unlike many other I’ve tried, this actually works.

It’s not a MacBook like experience, but it’s close. Plus, you’ll hardly going to have to click the touchpad anyway, since multitouch gestures and taps are working just the way they should.

The trackpad is accurate and comfortable to use

The trackpad is accurate and comfortable to use

Screen

The screen is probably the only thing I resent on this laptop. It’s not awful, but we’re talking about a rather poor 15.6 inch 1366 x 768 px panel with average viewing angles. And I don’t know about you, but 720p resolution on a 15.6 incher, that’s not something I’d go for these days.

However, there isn’t any option for a higher res display on the K55 line. If you’ll want that, you’ll have to go for the next laptop in Asus’s line, the N56.

Rather poor screen: HD readey resolution and narrow viewing angles

Rather poor screen: HD ready resolution and narrow viewing angles

Hardware and performances

The Asus K55VM is going to be available in a bunch of different configs, I got to test the fastest one, with a Core i7-3610QM quad-core processor and Nvidia GT 630M graphics.

Overall, the new platform is 20-25% faster than the previous platform on the K53SV, as this post comparing the i7-3610QM and i7-2630QM benchmark results proves.

The scores are also available below and as you can see, those are some high numbers, especially since the 750 GB HDD inside this laptop is a bottleneck, as it’s a slow 5400 rpm unit.

The system is snappy in everyday use, can handle multitasking, can play all kinds of video content at ease and can also handle games. Of course, since it has hybrid graphics, there’s also Nvidia’s Optimus on board, switching seamlessly between the integrated and dedicated graphics chips when needed, thus preserving battery life.

As for the games, I couldn’t actually test many of them, but this laptop can handle titles like Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fifa 2012 or even Crysis 2, all on native 1366 x 768 px resolution, with details set around medium. Should handle high details in most cases as well, but I’d rather have some extra fps for a smoother gameplay. The video review will show you a bit of the gaming experience you can get with this machine.

Overall though, this is fast. Faster than most of you guys will actually need and if you’re after a powerful machine on a budget, you’re probably at the right door.

Noise, heat, speakers and others

There is a fan and a spinning hard-drive inside this unit, so this is not a noiseless machine. However, most of the time the fan is pretty quiet. Once you start to push the system (like playing some games), it will become active and a bit loud, but as long as you’re playing a game or watching some movies, the speakers should be able to cover the noise. If you’re using the laptop in a quiet room though, the fan blow will be a bit annoying.

As for the heat, the bottom-left side gets warm when playing games, but it doesn’t get hot. That massive cooling fan on the left edge probably helps and overall this is going to be cool enough to use on your lap or on your bed (you know, not the recommended flat surface) if you want to.

The speakers are loud enough, but I was actually expecting a bit more in terms of overall sound quality, knowing that Asus laptops tend to impress on this front. It’s not the case here, at least that’s what my ears are telling me, as the sound quality is just average.

There's an Altec lansing mark-up on the speakers, but the sound quality ain't impressive

There’s an Altec lansing mark-up on the speakers, but the sound quality ain’t impressive

Battery life

With the new hardware from Intel and Nvidia, we should expect decent battery life out of the K55 line. The K55VM features a 50 Wh battery and that allows nearly 3 hours of daily use, with Wi-Fi, screen at 50% and Balanced mode selected.

If you’ll try to run games, you’ll only going to be able to do it for a little over an hour, but for watching a 720p clip the K55VM can stretch to about 4 hours of life on a single charge.

And all these numbers are actually quite good, considering the battery ain’t huge and inside there’s a quad-core Core i7 processor and dedicated graphics.

Pricing and availability

The K55 is a mainstream series and as a result these laptops need to be affordable, so everyone should could buy one. And that’s indeed the case.

This test config, with the Core i7-3610QM quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, 500 GB HDD and Nvidia GT 630M graphics should go for about 750 euros over here in Europe, so about 800-850 bucks in the States.

But less powerful configs part of the Asus K55VD series are going to start at about 550-600 dollars, which is actually very good, considering all the K55 laptops are built on the latest Intel Ivy Bridge and Nvidia 6XX hardware.

Wrap up

In these last years, I’ve tested many Asus devices and I got to see how they evolved year after year. The K55VM is as well a significant improvement over the K53SV line, bringing a solid and decent looking case, good keyboard and trackpad, plus excellent performances and battery life.

The speakers are a bit under what I was expecting and the screen is limited at HD Ready resolution, but I’m pretty sure the average laptop buyer can live with these slight issues. Especially since the Asus K55 series is aggressively priced.

Asus K55VM - a solid pick if you're looking for an affordable, powerful and sturdy laptop

Asus K55VM – a solid pick if you’re looking for an affordable, powerful and sturdy laptop

Of course, the K55VM will face some proper competition, coming from Acer, HP, Dell and the other big brands, with some devices perhaps better priced than the K55 for the same config. We’ll know more in a couple of months, but judging by previous years experience, the Asus machines have a good chance of becoming popular, as they usually offer a good price/features ratio. And that’s actually what most buyers are looking for in this class.

That’s about it with our review of the Asus K55VM, the most powerful config in the new K55 Asus line. If you have any questions though, feel free to add them below, I’ll do my best to answer if I can.

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About the Author

Hey guys, I'm Mike, the guy behind this website, a tech geek always looking for the latest pieces of tech to gets his hands on. Here on Mike's Quarter I mainly publish guides and reviews, but I tend to put most of my efforts in my other project: TLBHD.com . You can also follow me on Twitter for the latest updates.


29 Responses to Asus K55VM review – a powerful all-round 15.6 inch laptop

  1. kanaksinh jadeja says:

    dear sir,

    my name is kanaksinh jadeja i m from jamnagar gujarat India .
    i m going for asus k55vmsx086 ! is it a right
    ? or u suggest some other ? in india asus is having some service related problems that’s y asus is not popular brand in India. so i m worried abt it also . & i cant find this laptop in any of asus site so please get all reviews for me & please guide me . thank you in advance ………….

  2. Simon Jønsson says:

    Is the noise really bad? i really hate the laptop that i have now because it becomes like 95 degrees (C) and is very noisy (it’s an HP), i just don’t want this one to be the same.

  3. Mike says:

    it’s not that bad for sure

  4. Joey Tribianni says:

    Where can I purchase this laptop in the United States?

  5. Mike says:

    I don’t think it’s available just yet, but will be soon enough.

  6. Vikramjeet Kapoor says:

    Hey mike, i heard there is a limitation for resolution of 1360×768 for this laptop. So i have two questions for you:

    1) If i connect this laptop to an external widescreen monitor wont i be able to increase the resolution more than 1360×768 ?

    2) If i connect this laptop to my LED TV via HDMI, wont i be able to increase the resolution more than 1360×768 ?

    Thanks!

  7. daya says:

    hii mike…i got this laptop in last week…everything is working fine…but when i play battlefield-3 ..the lappy is getting heated and will turn off suddenly within 15min of gameplay…i tried formatting nd installing new os…but could get rid-off the problem..plzz help….

  8. somesh says:

    Hi, I was planning to get this laptop to build my tech labs like VMware,Hyper-V,Win2k8 Server etc. Will this laptop support BareMetal installations of these products? thank u very much and all d best!

  9. Mike says:

    You’ll be able to get up to 1080p resolution from what I know on an external monitor or TV. Not sure if you can go above that though, the specs for the Nvidia 630M should tell you more about this

  10. Mike says:

    Sry, I’m not familiar with that software so can’t say how well it’s going to work on this machine

  11. Mike says:

    This sucks. You should monitor the temperatures with something like HWMonitor or other software. Looks like it’s overheating and turn itself off automatically, which should not happen. Perhaps you should contact the stores for that and see if they can replace it

  12. António Almeida says:

    Hi Mike, I am seriously considering buying this laptop, but first I need to get a question answered: Will I be able to upgrade the laptop’s processor or graphic card (by my own hands or at a store with that service)? I am asking this because in my country the only available version is the one with a weaker processor than the one you reviewed.

  13. Mike says:

    No, i do not think you can upgrade things on this laptop

  14. Arvind says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thank You for a very informative post.

    I am planning to buy either this model (ASUS K55VM) or DELL Inspiron 15r Special Edition. Would like to specifically know about how hot ASUS K55VM laptop becomes in different situations: viz running Auto-Cad, Playing Games, Watching Movies. Is AutoCAD’s graphic usage similar to Gaming Graphics.

    I already own the standard version of DELL inspiron 15r which gets heated up pretty much during gaming and turns warm during regular work hours. Would like to know in addition which would be a better bid DELL Inspiron 15r SE or ASUS K55VM?

  15. azhar says:

    hyy mike how ru..
    i bought this laptop… i have daught about speakers…. when i play song and i just on only one side speaker mean in audio setting just on right side speaker so get different kind of sound friquency and when set only left side speakar on so get different kind of sound frequency… is it right or i get faulty laptop.. plz reply me fast.

  16. Sue says:

    Bought this laptop 2 weeks ago. Deceived by the poor quality (plastic) around the keyboard…but since I never let anyone touch my computers and take good care of them, it’ll do.

    Problem is that I bought it at Best Buy, they changed the model number and the warranty is only a year, eventhough when registered on Asus it is registered as a K55.

    To date, laptop shut down a few times while I was using it. Is it as with my Asus Transformer, as soon as the Asus updates were installed, problems appeared (transformer which was very fast is now slow).

    Husband has the K53, built solid, ”aluminum tough” to use Asus terms, 2 years warranty (not bought at Best Buy).

    Still have my Acer laptop, (not the cheap ones) that works well after 5 years. I do hope I did not make a mistake in buying this Asus.

  17. Shri says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the review. Accidentally, I bought this Lappy. Not planned to buy before. All looks good except the display & sound. I am getting a vibrating sound while watching movie or while video chatting. It just stuck for a second & they continuing. Its happening very frequently. Any adjustments to be done for sound issue? Display is bit dark even after the brightness is 75%.

  18. Mike says:

    Not sure what causes that vibration… perhaps you can narrow down the cause of this and tell me exactly what you’re doing when this happens? Even so, I might not be able to help, so you should probably talk to the guys at your local Asus service about that

  19. Marius says:

    I’m sorry, but your applet with the image slideshow is ruining the whole web-experience. It’s worse than playing some song without being able to stop it.
    My page is continuously shifting up and down as the images change. (and it’s in Firefox, not IE)
    Please change, even drop the slideshow.

  20. gian says:

    i got mine yesterday, when im using it the laptop suddenly turns off, for no reason just like hitting the power button for emergency shut down. What should be the solution for that problem?

  21. Gabriel says:

    Hello Mike how are you?I am really thinking about ASUS K55VD-SX494H (From Simply ASUS) i am searching for a laptop more than one year..I want to use it for Internet,movies,sometimes for gaming and for creating a music(program Ableton).This laptop looks like a best option for me but the screen resolution and the wiew angles are stoping me now.Is it really that bad?is it better to save more money and buy this ASUS N55SL-S1188V i dont know this N55 is behind my price range i did not plan to spend 600…I asked so many people for help but everyone is recommended something else like go for a Samsung or lenovo or this not good for games anyway….and i am really tired of it I dont know what to buy…please can you help?

  22. Mike says:

    Gabriel, the screen is pretty bad but it’s not worse than what you get with other laptops in this price range. SO if you can spend a bit more and get something with a better display, that would be great, otherwise just go with this one.

  23. Leon says:

    I would like to read this review, but one of the images on this page keeps changing and it moves the text on the page…ridiculous.

  24. Gabriel says:

    Thanks Mike for the asnwer…..Well I was thinking about N55 a lot but the i found the N56 with core i5 which looked like the absolute ideal…but then I saw the review where you have been talking about heat which is quite high..even on the top…I mean could that be a serious problem?is the computer going to overheat or something?or get damage?most of the time i will run the software for music… so playing music also movies gaming just sometimes if… would that be a problem?thank you for your help mike…Gabriel

  25. farley says:

    can i upgrade the graphics card? i have the gt 630m 2G

  26. yodapt says:

    To anyone who decides to purchase this laptop model : there’s a lot of people at internet complaining about heat related issues while playing games that make the game close unexpectedly, or in worst cases, the computer shuts down (not restart, really shuts down). In my case, the computer shuts down while playing and refuses to be booted up again in the next 2 seconds at most, giving me an average 20min gameplay. If you do buy this product, and since I’m not one to discourage it, if you have this problem talk to Asus support and ask for a new laptop. The problem is most likely a faulty laptop design that doesn’t allow it to properly cool down and the BIOS procedures are triggered when too hot.

    Overall the laptop is fine, except for the shutdown issue.

  27. yodapt says:

    About my last post : I updated the graphic card drivers on the NVIDIA website and I managed to play for more than a hour on a game that would previously make the PC shutdown … I would say the issue is solved, for now.

  28. poria says:

    my track pad is not working on my asus after using a mouse for it. i have restarted it over and over but still cant work. now i am stuck with using the mouse and also my nums keyboard is not responding. please help me fix these issues

  29. Siddharth says:

    hi mike i read the review of the K 55M but in some reviews i found that the laptop is shutting down while playing games for only 15 minutes, i am planning to buy a laptop so do you have any other laptop to be considered rather than K55………….thanks in advance.

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