Asus K55VM Review

  • price

    ₹56,999.00

  • tech2 rating

    3.5/5

  • user rating

    4.8/5

Today we have our very first Ivy Bridge based notebook in our labs from Asus – the K55VM. Most of the top tier manufacturers have already begun phasing out Sandy Bridge-based notebooks for Ivy Bridge CPUs and with that, we’ve seen AMD’s HD 7000M series and Nvidia’s GT 600M series make their way to the new notebooks as well. Ivy Bridge is a more efficient Sandy Bridge as it’s built on a smaller fabrication process and we can expect much better battery life and a cooler system with a slight performance increase.

Design and Build
The K55VM is their highest-end offering in the K55 series and is dripping with the latest tech. The design is nothing fancy but it’s far from dull or boring. The lid uses a textured surface freeing it from finger prints so maintaining it is a lot easier. The 15.6-inch screen is held securely in place and there isn’t too much flex in the bezel. The screen also has a glossy finish which makes colours pop but also causes reflections indoors. Thanks to the extra width of the screen, the internal components are spread out better making the notebook fairly slim for a 15-incher. At 2.5kg, it’s a bit heavy but nothing out of the ordinary.

A good looking front

A good looking front

 

Asus bundles a good set of connectors with the K55VM. On the left we have two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Gigabit LAN, VGA, card reader and large vents for exhaust. The right side houses the DVD burner, a third USB (2.0) port and the microphone and headphone jacks. Taking a peek inside, we have a full-sized chiclet keyboard along with a numpad. We wished Asus would have added support for a backlit keyboard as an optional extra. There’s plenty of space on the palm rest, enough to accommodate even the largest of hands. We also have a very generous multi-gesture trackpad and the two mouse buttons don’t require too much effort to use. The status lights are placed near the edge on the left hand side of the notebook. Overall, Asus has once again delivered on a well built and sturdy notebook which is perfect for the abuse of everyday use.  

Good set of connectors

Good set of connectors

 

Features
Starting with the core components, the K55VM is powered by Intel’s 3rd Generation Core i7-3610QM which run at a native 2.3GHz with the ability to Turbo up to 3.3GHz. This is a quad-core CPU with Hyperthreading which means it can handle up to eight tasks simultaneously with ease. Accompanying the CPU is 8GB of RAM running at 1600MHz, a 1TB hard drive running at 5400rpm and for graphics, we have Nvidia’s GT 630M onboard with dedicated 2GB of memory. Now before you get too excited, this card has nothing to do with Kepler although its name belongs to that series. There are a total of three versions of the GT 630M, each based on a different older generation card. The one used by Asus is a renamed GT 540M based on the GF108 core, featuring 96 shaders. The GPU does support Optimus so battery life should be better than average. Asus also packs in Wi-Fi ‘n’ and Bluetooth 4.0. The speakers are by Altec Lansing so they do sound a little better for music and movies.

Smooth trackpad

Smooth trackpad

 

Asus also bundles along plenty of their own software utilities like Live Update, Virtual Camera, USB Charger Plus, Life Frame, Splendid Utility for adjusting the colour and many customized Power4Gear battery modes. We wished they had included a shortcut button to quickly switch between the modes like they do on netbooks. Overall, the K55VM comes across as a very well equipped notebook in this price range. Next, let’s take a look at what the notebook can deliver in our benchmarks.

Performance
The Asus K55VM is a solid performer when it comes to CPU intensive tasks. Compared to a quad-core Sandy Bridge CPU like the one in the Dell XPS 17, the K55VM shows strong performance in SiSoft’s Dhrystone and Whetstone tests as well as memory bandwidth. Real world tests such as rendering graphics and video encoding have improved. The GT 630M is actually slower than the GT 555M in the Dell XPS since it’s actually a GT 540M. This clearly shows in the Cinebench 11.5 tests but in the real world, the more powerful Ivy Bridge CPU delivers better performance in CPU intensive games. This is why we got a much higher frame rate in FarCry 2, with everything set to ‘Very High’.

A good performer

A good performer

 

The Asus K55VM runs cool and quiet for the most part. Even when gaming, the fans aren’t noisy and the notebook seldom gets very hot. The keyboard is very comfortable to use even for long typing sessions and the keys also have a good tactile feedback. The sound quality is also pretty good. Don’t expect great bass or anything but it’s not bad for casual listening or the occasional game or two. 

The keys are very comfortable to use

The keys are very comfortable to use

 

Battery Life
Before we ran Battery Eater Pro, we made sure it ran on the integrated graphics along with the brightness set to max. Here we got a very good 2 hours and 10 minutes, which is above average for a 15.6-inch notebook with a quad-core and discrete graphics. In the real world, you should be able to squeeze out around 4hrs to 4.5hrs of use which is good.

Verdict
The Asus K55VM is priced at Rs.56,999 which is pretty good considering the configuration and the overall package. The Toshiba Satellite L850 is also another good option as it has a very similar specification but it also comes with Windows pre-installed. The K55VM is a well built and pretty powerful multimedia notebook that offers good value. A couple of things we wish Asus could have done differently were perhaps offering an option for a high resolution screen and backlit keys. Bundling an OS along would have also been a big bonus but I guess you can’t have everything.


Specifications

The ASUS K55 features an aluminum construction and comes in luxurious smoky brown and dark indigo colors. It features a sleek, wedge-shaped design with a textured finish. The ASUS K55 features the 3rd generation Intel Core i7 processor and the NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphics card with Microsoft DirectX 11 to provide all the computing power users will ever need. The K55 has an array of features designed to make computing easier. It features an ergonomically-designed iF Design award winning chiclet keyboard; while IceCool Technology places heat-generating components away from the palm rest, ensuring a comfortable typing experience for users even after prolonged periods of use. Keeping computing cool and easy. It is accompanied by a large multi-touch pad for smooth, intuitive fingertip control. ASUS SuperBatt Technology provides an extended battery charge-cycle lifespan that is up to 3x that of normal notebooks. The K55 features a smartphone-like “always on” user experience thanks to the ASUS Super Hybrid Engine II with instant on technology. It enables the K55 to resume from sleep mode in just 2-seconds, and provides up to two weeks of standby time. In addition, it automatically secures and backs up data when the battery drops to 5% charge. ASUS SonicMaster Lite gives the ASUS K55 the ability to deliver more powerful sounds and richer bass to provide the best audio experience in the mainstream notebook class.

Processor Description

Processor Intel Core i7-3610QM
Speed 2.3 GHz
Cache 6MB

Memory

RAM 8GB
Type DDR3
Speed 1600 MHz
Expandable upto 8GB
Memory Slots 2

Hard Drive

Inbuilt HDD 1TB
Speed (RPM) 5400
Format 2.5 inch
Optical Drive DVD Writer

Display Features

Screen Size 15.6 inches
Maximum Display Resolution 1366 x 768
Panel Type HD LED Backlight

Chipset

Chipset Model Intel Chief River Chipset HM76
GPU Model NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
GPU Memory (shared) 2GB DDR3
HDMI Port Yes

Networking

Ethernet Port (Nos) 1
Ethernet Type 10/100/1000 Base T
WiFi Type 802.11 b/g/n

Audio

Speakers Altec Lansing Speakers

Connectivity

USB 2.0 ports 1
USB 3.0 ports 2
Bluetooth 4.0
Built-in Camera Yes, 0.3MP
Microphone Yes

Battery

Battery (Type) Li-Ion
Battery Cell 6 Cell

Operating System

OS DOS

Dimensions

Dimensions (W x D x H) 251 x 378 x 319 mm
Weight 2.52

Misc Bundled Software

Other Features Kensington Lock|#|BIOS Booting User Password Protection|#|HDD User Password Protection and Security|#|IceCool Technology|#|ASUS SuperBatt Technology

After Sales Service

Warranty Period 1 Year

Price

Warranty Period 1 Year

Published Date: Jun 20, 2012 09:50 am | Updated Date: Jun 20, 2012 09:50 am