The ASUS X555DA-US11 is a budget mid-range notebook geared towards the everyday consumer who does a bit of everything, including- gaming, multimedia (movies, songs, photos, etc.), programming, and even light creative design work. It comes with what many would describe as one of the more budget-oriented laptop CPU’s currently on the market, an AMD A10-8700P APU. Although the A10 APU is not of the caliber of an i5 in terms of compute performance or efficiency, it is still capable of performing at i5 levels in most multitasking workloads, with the exception of some heavier software that require raw single threaded performance along with multi-threaded performance, such as certain games and creative design suites (Photoshop, Vegas Pro, etc.). This laptop is priced at just about 500 dollars, and you are sure to find hundreds of competing models from both other companies as well as ASUS itself in this extremely crowded price range (the 400 to 500-dollar laptop market is filled with 15.6” and 14.1” laptop models). But there is a reason this particular model stands out from the rest, and that is what we are about to discuss in this article- why you should consider buying the ASUS X555DA-US11 laptop over the several other competitors in the same exact price range.
Let’s get straight to the point. For the processor, you are getting an AMD A10-8700P APU (Accelerated Processing Unit). This is the equivalent of an Intel Sixth or Seventh-generation Core i5 in most scenarios, although it falls behind the i5 in terms of power efficiency and single threaded performance. It is however much better than a Core i3 CPU, and the inbuilt graphics consists of a Radeon R6 unit that is simply put, miles ahead of any Intel HD integrated graphics solution that you will find on 90% of competing laptops at this price range. In fact, the R6 built-in graphics unit is almost as powerful as some of the dedicated on-board graphics from NVIDIA, such as the GT 630M (an older model, but still capable of running older or indie games at 1080p), or even the 820M. Combined with 8 GB of DDR3 memory clocked at 1366 MHz and a generous 1 TB hard disk drive, this should take care of all your everyday multitasking needs. You will be able to play games such as Fallout 3, Battlefield 3, Witcher 2, DOTA 2, Counter Strike Global Offensive, and many other older or less demanding modern titles with ease. Modern AAA releases such as the Witcher III or Deus EX Mankind Divided will struggle to play on this machine, thanks to its relatively feeble graphical power, which is nowhere near what true gaming laptops such as the MSI Ghost or ASUS ROG series offer.
You are still getting an insane amount of performance for a relatively small sum of money. For under 500 bucks, most other laptops would probably come with an i3 and Intel HD graphics. The combination of an Intel Core i3 and HD graphics is far inferior to the AMD A10-8700P APU, both in terms of graphical performance as well as processing capabilities. You will be able to multitask with ease on the A10 8700P, which is a true quad core processor (no hyperthreading, so each core can process only one thread at a time) that runs at a base clock of 1.8 GHz and can turbo all the way up to 3.2 GHz when you need that extra boost of power. You can use the 1 terabyte of storage space on your hard drive to keep all your games, software, music, movies, and photos, with space left over to spare. This is a 5400-rpm hard drive though, not a 7200-rpm hard drive like the ones on more expensive laptops (above the 1k dollar range), so don’t get your hopes up thinking that data access or boot times will be low, because a 5400 rpm HDD is considerably slower than a 7200 rpm HDD. Of course, you can always pull out the optical drive if you find yourself not using it very often, and slide in a SSD in its place to transform your mediocre storage system into something capable of rivaling the performance of a high-end gaming laptop as far as loading times and data access rates are concerned. You can also add an extra 8 GB of RAM by removing the little hatch on the underbelly of the laptop. It is attached to the base by a couple of screws, and once you remove it you will be able to gain access to the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo adapter, RAM modules, and hard disk drive.
Build Quality and Design-
In terms of build quality, this laptop is very impressive for the price. It has a plastic chassis and upper body, however there is virtually no flex or creaking even if you purposefully try and pressure the chassis or back of the display. Everything feels well-constructed and durable enough to last for several years if proper care is taken, and the cooling system is most likely one of the better ones that we’ve seen on a laptop under 500 dollars. It does not allow the CPU or graphics unit to heat up too much, even if you use the laptop on a bed or on your lap for extended periods of time, while executing heavy workloads at the same time (Photoshop, games, 1080p movies, etc.)
The 15.6” full HD 1080p display is also pretty crisp and vivid in terms of color reproduction (for a TN panel, it is indeed impressive), and the keyboard feels really snappy and tactile thanks to the intelligent key placement and 1.5mm of travel (enough to make you feel like you pressed a key, but also fast so that you can react quickly in competitive online multiplayer games). This is a full-sized keyboard of course, unlike the ten keyless versions that you’ll find on most HP and Dell laptops in this price bracket. Audio quality is also fine, and while the volume might seem a little bit on the lower side, clarity is beyond what most laptops in this price range offer, with perfectly tuned drivers that provide crystal clear dialogue quality while watching movies, and subtle bass that really enhances the overall experience while watching movies. Viewing angles are about as good as it gets for TN panels, and dimensions are standard for a 15.6” notebook, at 15” x 10” x 1”. It is definitely one of the slimmer notebooks out there, and weighs about 4.56 pounds.
Storage and Connectivity-
For storage, you are getting a moderately sized space of 1 terabyte- enough to store movies, games, videos, and photos for an average user. For power users or creative professionals though, a USB 3.0 external hard drive would definitely be a great choice. You do get 2 USB 3.0 ports on the side for connecting dongles or external storage media, as well as a single USB 2.0 port for connecting something like a wireless mouse/keyboard combo or some other external USB peripheral. There is also a Headphone out/Microphone in combo 3.5mm jack on the side for connecting headsets or stereo speaker systems, and a RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port for hooking up your college or home internet connection to the laptop (sometimes Wi-Fi just isn’t enough, you need that extra bit of security and reliability that only a wired LAN connection provides). Of course, you can also choose to go wireless with the 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
In terms of gaming performance, you should not expect this to behave like an 800 or 1000-dollar gaming laptops because this is not one of those. It cannot play every modern AAA title at 1080p and 60 fps, but is powerful enough to handle older games and indie titles at 1080p with ease. MOBA’s such as League of Legends and DOTA 2 will run perfectly fine on this machine even on high settings, and you will be able to play older AAA titles such as Witcher 2, Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, and NFS Rivals. It is also capable of handling World of Warcraft’s latest iteration, and carries enough battery life to keep running for approximately 1.5 hours when it is disconnected from the mains (1.5 hours while gaming). If all you plan to do is watch movies or browse videos on Youtube, then expect 3 hours or more of battery life.
Conclusion and Final Verdict-
We would say that if you are into light gaming, multimedia, creative design, or just want a portable entertainment station to watch movies and listen to songs, then this is probably one of the best laptops that you can get for about 500 dollars. It packs enough storage space to handle all your movies, songs, and photos, as well as game library and software suite. There is plenty of connectivity in the form of a 3-in-1 card reader, b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 3.0. USB 2.0, and an optical drive. All of that, in an extremely compact form factor that measures just 1 inch in thickness. And oh, let’s not forget the fact that it comes with a 1080p screen whereas most similarly priced competing models still use 768p panels. To top it all off and seal the deal, Windows 10 Home 64 bit comes pre-installed.