The ASUS K501LX-EB71 delivers the performance of best desktop replacements in the market for hundreds of dollars less, including stable performance and a great design. PROS: A sleek design. Powerful performance in our tests. Full HD display. CONS: The touchpad is sometimes baggy.
The ASUS K501LX-EB71 delivers the performance of best desktop replacements in the market for hundreds of dollars less. For those looking for the superb desktop replacements in the market, you might find yourself paying upwards of $1500, for an assortment of high-end features like Wireless Display (WiDi) technology, Blu-ray drives, and giant hard drives.
If you want comparable performance without breaking the bank, the ASUS K501LX-EB71 is a what you can call a step in the right direction. Be aware, however, that that price won’t get you all of the bells and whistles you see on premium laptops.
The ASUS K501LX-EB71 measures 0.90 by 15 by 10 inches (HWD), with a 15.6-inch widescreen display. Its 1920-by-1080 resolution is suitable for watching video in 1080p high definition, and the screen size provides plenty of visual real-estate for multi-tasking with several windows open or viewing two documents side by side. Weighing 4.4 pounds, the K501LX-EB71 is noticeably lighter than the Dell XPS 15z (5.5 pounds) and MacBook Pro 15-inch (5.5 pounds).
The system sports a plastic lid with a textured pattern accentuated by a brushed aluminum palm rest. The combination of metal and plastic keeps the cost down, while providing solid construction and a rich feel. The palm rest stays comfortably free from heat, as the “hotter” components are on the underside of the motherboard and toward the back of the chassis.
It has a Smart Dual Cooling System which works hard to keep the system cool, no matter the tasks you’re working on. This set-up does so much reduce the heat that the laptop generates as it does redistribute where those hotspots are to provide a more comfortable user experience.
Keyboard and Touchpad
It comes with a full-sized chiclet keyboard with backlights. The layout and typing experience are quite comfortable, thanks in part to keys that are slightly wider than those on other laptops. These keys are also dust-repellent, a thoughtful feature for a desktop replacement that may be fairly stationary.
The Asus K501LX-EB71 has a multitouch trackpad, and though its color blends into the palm rest, it is slightly recessed and surfaced with plastic, making it easy to find and use by touch alone. The multitouch features are competent, and the touchpad responsive, but the separate right and left mouse buttons don’t have the same color as the rest of the laptop, and are a bit stiff to click.
The K501LX-EB71 comes with a fairly standard collection of ports, offering 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 HDMI output, headphone and microphone connectors, a wired Ethernet port, and a multi-format card reader (SD, MMC, MS). Internally, you’ll find it equipped with 802.11 A/C Wi-Fi. There’s also a slot for a laptop lock on the right hand side, letting you easily secure your laptop when necessary. The K501LX-EB71 may be considerably more affordable than a top-flight desktop replacement, but it does so at the expense of its feature set.
For basic functionality you’ll still find everything you need as far as components and ports are concerned, but the higher-end features, like Blu-ray drives, and WiDi, are all noticeably absent. For those who aren’t swayed by the lack of bells and whistles, the 256 Solid State Drive is not quite enough for the price, but transfers speeds are at an advantage, especially when using an external HDD on the USB 3.0 ports for programs and media collections alike.
The K501LX-EB71 packs a decent set of components available. The 5th generation 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-5500U processor is one of the best in Intel’s laptop processor line-up, and Asus complements it with 8GB of DDR3 RAM. For high-end apps, the processor can clock a maximum of 3GHz, and the Turbo feature makes it even amazing.
This same combination is found in the ASUS F554LA-WS71, and both laptops have strikingly similar performance results. So far, these two are among the best entry-level systems, but they are both outclassed by more expensive laptops like the Dell XPS 15 (Touchscreen) and the Apple MacBook Pro, both of which are among desktop replacement laptops in the market.
Despite the higher processor performance rating of the Dell XPS 15 and MacBook Pro, the ASUS K501LX-EB71 can still go toe to toe with either one in terms of multimedia performance. If your hobbies include photo and video editing, the 501LX-EB71 has the chops for multimedia work for half the price of those other two laptops. Thanks to an Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics processor, the ASUS K501LX-EB71 also makes a strong showing in the gaming department, putting up scores that will please all but the most hardcore gamers.
In addition to providing raw graphics, the ASUS K501LX-EB71 would perform better with Nvidia’s Optimus technology, which seamlessly switches automatically between the discrete graphics processor and Intel’s integrated graphics solution to reduce power consumption when high-end graphic performance isn’t needed.
The ASUS K501LX-EB71 offers much of the same core functionality as the more expensive Editors’ Choice laptops, the Dell XPS 15 and Apple MacBook Pro. Getting that raw power without the price tag means sacrificing some of the finer aspects of those elite machines. If those details are essential to you, then buy either one with confidence.
If, however, you can do without a few of the niceties and want to save yourself a few hundred bucks, the ASUS K501LX-EB71 is a smart value buy.