When you’re shopping for a laptop, you don’t always have to go for a brand new one. Because a refurbished item can turn out be real good, too. The risk of getting a lemon is there, but lower price and higher performance for the money are indeed tempting. ASUS Q550LF-BSI7T21 is one of those refurb laptops, sporting high-end components that even professionals would find sufficient for their needs. So let me tell you the positives and flaws of this notebook has below.
The processor in ASUS Q550LF-BSI7T21 is called Intel Core i7-4500U. It’s one of the faster laptop CPUs, with a dual core configuration and clock rate of 1.8GHz. There’s also a turbo feature which ups the clock frequency to 3GHz when need be. In benchmark tests, it does a better job than most i5 processors (which is logical, considering it’s an i7). High performance can expected from this model, which makes it a good choice for power users and multitaskers.
The laptop has eight gigabytes DDR3 memory installed. That should be enough for most users. Sadly I couldn’t find the total amount of memory slots, but usually this kind of notebooks come with two slots. That’s probably true also here, especially considering the 16GB maximum supported RAM.
Hard drive allows for storing 1024GB worth of data which is plenty for a notebook. If you want to get quicker user experience, swapping the HDD for an SSD should happen. The current drive runs on 5400RPM so it can’t provide excellent read/write ratios which a solid state drive can.
Display and graphics
The best thing of ASUS Q550LF-BSI7T21 is probably the screen. It’s an IPS 15.6″ touch display, with solid 1920×1080 resolution. IPS, In-Plane Switching, is a panel type that differs from regular Twisted Nematics screen, giving better colors and viewing angles. The resolution is Full HD so there’s a lot of screen estate for you. The touch feature is a perfect (although not required) match for Windows 8.1 64-bit.
The laptop has a pretty good graphics for its price. The nVidia GT745M unit gets ~1000 points in Passmark’s benchmarks, easily beating the common Intel HD chips – for example, the HD4600 gets a bit above 700 grade. You should be good to go with most games, even the latest ones, if you keep settings low to medium. Battlefield 4 should run ~50FPS on medium settings, and even the heavyweight Thief around 25FPs on similar settings. Of course, with old titles like Minecraft you can turn full eye candy on and enjoy smooth frame rates.
ASUS Q550LF-BSI7T21 has three USB ports, but a small advantage, all of those are USB 3.0. For external monitors, there are miniDisplayPort and HDMI outputs.
Networking connections include a Gigabit Ethernet and dual-band WiFi adapter that also supports Bluetooth 4.0.
A DVD drive and media card reader (SDXC/SDHD/SD/MMC) are installed, so transferring and storing data locally should be easy.
The laptop has a one-megapixel webcam, allowing for video chats on Skype and similar programs.
Other noteworthy things
ASUS Q550LF-BSI7T21 doesn’t have a great portability. It weighs 6 pounds which is a half or a full pound heavier than most 15.6″ laptops are. However, battery is reported as lasting 6 hours at maximum.
Being a premium model, the notebook features a backlit keyboard with numeric keypad on the right.
There should be an external subwoofer included in the package. It supposedly gives rich audio experience, although some user reports said it’s not worth much in terms of increasing the sound quality.
ASUS Q550LF-BSI7T21’s price, after a careful review of its specs, seems to be spot on. Of course, the refurbished condition is the very fact the price seems so tempting, and I’ve read some people receiving a bad unit. But if we disregard that fact, and take a look at what’s on the paper, we see a lot of good things. For example, the IPS display with touch support and Full HD should be great. Likewise, the ample storage size and solid connectivity (three USB 3.0, dual-band WiFi) are well worth having. One possible grievance could be the lowish 1.8GHz speed and a mere dual-core setup of the processor, although the general performance seems to be good for casual and power users like. All in all, a laptop of good value, if you can appreciate the many premium features it has.