ASUS 15-Inch X551MAV Review
Designed for multimedia enthusiasts on a tight budget, the ASUS 15-Inch X551MAV is a modern laptop for basic home or office use that looks more expensive than it is. You get reasonably good dual core Intel Celeron processor, 4GB memory, 500GB hard drive, a 15.6 inch HD display screen, decent 5 hour battery and the necessary connectivity ports for daily use. A more powerful graphics engine and a 1080p screen would be nice, but neither omission prevents the Asus X551MAV from getting our nod in the budget desktop-replacement category.
Budget-class laptops rarely offer much niceties like metal finishes and the Asus X551MAV Laptop doesn’t break the jinx, with its bald but glossy black cover. As with most 15-inch notebooks, the chassis is big and fairly heavy, measuring 1.20 by 15 by 9.90 inches (HWD) and weighing 4.7 pounds. Still, it is manageable just like the Dell Inspiron, which also weighs 4.7 pounds and measures 1 by 15 by 10.20 inches, but battery life is better at 6.5 hours on a single charge.
Its non-backlit keyboard is comfortable to type on, so is the built-in multi-touch trackpad. The 34WHrs 3-cell lithium ion battery offers approximately 5 hours of battery life on a single charge- this makes it quite energy efficient for its class.
Available connectivity ports include: IEEE 802.11 b/g/n for wireless LAN, RJ-45 Ethernet Connector, 1 x USB 2.0 port, 1 x USB 3.0 port, a Combo Headphone/Microphone jack, a VGA port, an HDMI port, a Media Card Reader (SD,MMC) and a webcam with built-in microphone.
The ASUS 15-Inch X551MAV comes with Windows 8.1 installed, with less bloat except for the proprietary Windows 8.1 apps. It lacks an optical drive-after all most modern day laptops don’t have them- and Bluetooth is also missing. With all fairness, this is a slight drawback, you can easily get a Bluetooth dongle such as the Kinivo BTD-400 Bluetooth 4.0 USB adapter for a few dollars.
The ASUS X551MAV is equipped with a 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2830 processor, 4GB DDR3 SDRAM (just a single slot with maximum capacity 4GB) at 1600MHz, 500GB SATA hard drive (5400rpm) and Intel’s HD Graphics. Although this configuration is not what you would call powerful, it does provide ample horsepower for running multimedia and everyday home office tasks.
It does compete strongly against the Dell Inspiron i3531-3225BK and the Acer Aspire E 15 ES1-512-C88M, both of which cost slightly more. The Asus 15.6’s HD Graphics solution fared a little better on my gaming tests and whipped even pricier laptops, but it still doesn’t have the graphics horsepower required for smooth game play. If you need a gaming rig, the Toshiba Satellite C55-A5245 is a better inexpensive option.
The ASUS X551MAV’s 15.6-inch non-touch HD quality display with a maximum resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels and widescreen capability is quite decent for the price. Its Graphics Card is the integrated Intel UMA (Unified Memory Architecture) that shares memory with the system RAM as its base memory.
This is quite OK for home office use but for gaming or any video intensive situations, you will have to look a bit higher and pay slightly more. With AudioWizard technology, you’ll hear the world differently with optimized sound on five different preset modes. This is further enhanced by Asus SonicMaster technology for immersive sound output.
With the ASUS X551MA, you get a lot of laptop for less. Granted, its 15.6-inch screen won’t display high-definition content at 1080p, but it displays 720p with aplomb and delivers vibrant colors. At is price we didn’t expect to see high-end processors and blazing HD graphics, but the dual core Intel Celeron processor is quite decent for home office computing needs. As a bonus, you get a modern-looking laptop with decent speakers, and a webcam. You also get over 5 hours of battery life. As such, the 15-Inch X551MAV deserves a long look as you shop around for a budget desktop-replacement laptop.
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