Wednesday, July 8, 2015

ASUS X551MAV-EB01-B(S) Laptop Review

In this article, we're going to examine the Asus X551MAV-EB01-B(S). What kind of person would this laptop be good for? Is it just the thing for globe trekkers, or perhaps more settled people who work the typical 9-5 office job? Is it good enough to game, or will it disappoint those who want to play the latest First Person Shooter or RPG?

To find out, we're going to break it down and see the features it has to offer, and what benefits these features have for what kind of user. We're going to give the pros and cons, and then give some snippets of what other people are saying about it. Finally, we're going to give our overall impressions on who should be buying this, and tell you who we think the best retailer is.

Features and Benefits

Latest Generation Intel Dual-Core Celeron 2.16GHz Processor (Turbo up to 2.58Ghz).
500 GB Hard Drive. 4GB RAM. 64-Bit Windows 8.1.
15.6-inch High Definition Display. Web Camera.
Fast Wi-Fi in 802.11N. Multitouch trackpad. SD Card Reader (SDXC).
USB 3.0 for 10 times faster data transfer speed. 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet ports.
Now the first thing this laptop claims is that it comes with a latest generation dual core processor. In this case, that would be the 2.16GHz Intel Celeron N2840, which is the same processor behind a smaller, more compact laptop that I've also reviewed before, the HP Stream 11. In simple terms, the N2840 is good for simple office work, and has basic integrated graphics for some video playback, but unless you like playing low requirement games like Minecraft, then gaming with this CPU isn't such a good idea.

The X551MAV-EB01-B(S) comes with a 500 GB HDD. That's a fairly standard amount of space these days, and it won't be enough if you're a chronic downloader like me, but definitely enough to host a lot of documents, spreadsheets, mp3's, videos, and maybe even some lightweight games. Not to mention, that's a lot more space than most SSD laptops these days, and space is a very important factor for me.

The 4GB RAM is enough for most daily tasks and multitasking... Or if you're a tab nut like me, support over 20 tabs without freaking out. As long as you don't have two dozen browser tabs, Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Minecraft, and VLC media player all running at the same time, you should be good. I tend to do that, but my rig has 8GB.

The X551MAV-EB01-B(S) runs on Windows 8.1, so for those of you who're still clinging to good ol' reliable Windows 7, there might be something of a learning curve. For you guys who've already moved on and migrated to Windows 8, then this should now be familiar territory.

The 15.6-inch HD display is good for when you want to watch a movie, or not have to scroll down so often when reading your email. At the same time, it's not too big to carry around, and fits nicely into most backpacks. The webcam will of course allow you to take and make video calls... or take selfies if for some reason you can't use your phone.

At 4.7 pounds (2.15 kilograms), it's also pretty light (lighter than my cat, even), although that's somewhat subjective. If you're past 50, it might not be as manageable as you run from airport to airport with it in tow.

The wifi is pretty fast, so you shouldn't worry about buffering too often while streaming videos, or obnoxious long waiting times, and the multitouch pad should come in handy for quick zoom ins and outs.

The X551MAV-EB01-B(S) has an SD card reader for photographers, and several other ports. The USB 3.0 port runs ten times as fast, which is great for when you want to dump a bunch of files onto a thumb drive in a hurry. There's also a USB 2.0 port, for other things, like charging your phone and attaching other USB tools.

It has two video out ports, HDMI and VGA, which means you can connect to both old and new projectors easily. The Ethernet port will also be a big help if the wifi is bad, but a LAN cable is present (along with a wired connection).

So What's The Point?

I would say there are a couple of big reasons to buy this laptop. First off, it's a decent budget computer that's pretty well rounded, and actually has a few redundancy features, like the VGA port and the Ethernet port.

Those are always great for when you happen to be presenting or connecting in a rural place with outdated projectors and a lack of wifi hotspots. The price is of course, also pretty good, all things considered.

Perfectly Imperfect

Now, this is obviously because it's a budget laptop, while I'm a performance jockey who likes being able to play Skyrim at 60 fps, so it's only natural that I've got qualms with this computer. The processor is only good enough for mild gaming, and not for what I want to do with it.

The integrated graphics aren't that great either, and so photographers, video and audio editors, and other such folks who use intensive hardware like Photoshop and Sony Vegas won't be able to use this all too well.

Wisdom of the Masses

The X551MAV-EB01-B(S) holds a score of 3.6 starts out of 5 on our suggested retailer. If we converted that to a scale of 10, that would be 7.2, which makes it rather decent. 45% of customers gave it a 5 star rating, and while that's no majority, that's still pretty darn good, all things considered.

It's described as very light, and highly portable, a work station laptop that does good for the office, and will nicely complement your gaming PC and HD video tablet. It's also said to have a keyboard at the right size, and an excellent performance at its price point of $250.

On the other hand, this laptop reportedly has a little flaw in that it lacks Bluetooth. If you don't like using the trackpad, that means you'll have to use one of the USB ports for your mouse, rather than a Bluetooth mouse. Neither does it have a restore disk, so you'll have to make one yourself with downloaded restore information.

Overall, the X551MAV-EB01-B(S) is what it is: a budget laptop with decent budget performance. It's built for office work rather than gaming, so you should expect to use it for the daily grind, rather than playing Skyrim. And for what it's made to do, it does it admirably. For travel, it's lightweight and has a manageable size, and the backwards compatibility will let you take it to places where many other laptops in its price point will have trouble.

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