So are you looking for a decent and reliable laptop but not sure which one to get? Well, ASUS X550ZA-WB11 might be something to think about. First, it comes from the reputable manufacturer ASUS – some sources say its notebooks have the lowest failure rate. Second, the components in this unit are quite impressive: AMD A10 quad-core processor, 8GB RAM and a spacious 1000GB hard drive. The price is also good, almost placing this laptop in the budget category. So, let’s examine this computer further and see if it would really be worthy of getting.
ASUS X550ZA-WB11 has appropriate performance for home and small office users. It runs on the AMD A10-7400P, a quad-core CPU with 2.5GHz clock speed and 3.4GHz turbo. It’s as powerful as 5th generation i5s from the Intel side, reaching ~3600 points in CPU Mark. There’s also integrated graphics unit in it which allows decent FPS on many games, I’ll elaborate that below.
The laptop has two 4GB (1600MHz) RAM sticks, so the total memory is 8GB. The maximum the system accepts is 16GB which you can achieve by upgrading both current sticks. Starting with the 8GB total is a good idea, there are not many folks who would really need more than that.
Storage option is a 1024GB 5400RPM hard drive. It’s big but these mechanical drives tend to be slow. If you want to tinker, you can always replace the drive with an SSD to get better performance. As long as you choose a 2.5″ SATA drive you’re good to go.
Display and graphics
The screen of ASUS X550ZA-WB11 is 15.6″ big with 1366×768 resolution. Indeed, a basic display, many people long for Full HD screen. That, however, rarely happens for this affordable price. Aspect ratio is 16:9, also remember there is no touch support.
Radeon R6 (Kaveri) is the engine responsible for bringing enjoyable gaming sessions to you. That might just happen if you can accept lower details and resolutions on many games: the R6 is not a dedicated card but similar to integrated Intel HD 5xxx models. As a real life example, you should get playable frame rates on heavier titles like GTA V if you dare to keep eye candy at minimum. However, many users dig older titles such as World of Warcraft and Minecraft which run without issues on this rig.
You can hook up different kinds of devices and peripherals to ASUS X550ZA-WB11. There are three USB ports (two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0) ready to take your keyboard, mouse or digital camera etc. Also HDMI and VGA outputs are available, so connecting HDTV or desktop monitor works, too.
The laptop contains a DVD burner which is good news for many. You might also find some joy in the SD/MMC media card reader.
Networking interfaces include 802.11bgn WiFi adapter and Gigabit Ethernet LAN (RJ-45) port. Bluetooth doesn’t seem to be enabled, for that you’d need a simple USB dongle.
There’s a basic VGA webcam allowing for occasional video chatting.
ASUS X550ZA-WB11 weighs 5 pounds, just the same than other 15.6″ notebooks. Traveling with this kind of unit is not too tough if you ask me. The internal 4-cell 44Whr battery should last for ca. 4 hours. Remember such a battery doesn’t just pop out at a push of a button, you have to take some screws off and remove the bottom to change the battery here.
There are no lighted keys on this model. Numpad is still installed on the right.
Summing it up
There are many things you can do with ASUS X550ZA-WB11. It is good for web browsing, paper editing and other lighter stuff – just like any other notebook – but you’ll see the difference to entry level ones when you’re up to running some heavy duty applications. The A10 is a decent CPU and together with 8GB RAM, they should run most fancier programs, such as virtual machines, no problem. Also some games can be played, the integrated Radeon R6 has similar performance to the newer HD 5500 model from the Intel side. The best thing seems to be the price, for an ASUS laptop this item is rather inexpensive. If you don’t mind the slow (however big) hard drive, there are no obvious negatives here. Power user at home or office should get the most out of this ASUS for sure.