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[Review] Asus X550ZA-WB11 - High end Specs at a Mid-range Price

Pros: Quad-core AMD A10 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB of internal storage, great price/spec ratio (see price here).
Cons: Hard Drive instead of an SSD, Integrated GPU (shared graphics).

Asus is a very popular brand in the mid-range laptop market, and while most of their laptops pack intel components in their insides, there are still quite a few that use AMD technologies. One of them is the Asus X550ZA-WB11, a powerful machine with a quad-core processor, 8 GB of RAM and a tight price tag (check availability at Amazon here).

It also has an excellent 1 TB hard drive and a very elegant design, making it a great device for both office and personal use. If you want to know all of the technical details, then come with us because we’re about to start our in-depth review of the Asus X550ZA-WB11, as well as it's pros and cons.

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Asus X550ZA-WB11 Review, Pros and Cons

Screen & First impressions

We kick off our review of the Asus X550ZA-WB11 by talking about it's display. The new Asus laptop comes with a pretty standard 15.6-inch display that rocks an HD (1366x768) resolution. The laptop also comes with HDMI and VGA ports if you need to hook it up to your TV or external monitor, but I’d say that the screen it comes with is big enough for most multitasking needs.

The design is very attractive as well, as it comes in a very good-looking “dark grey” color with a textured “spun-circle” finish and patterned palm rests. The keyboard and the edges of the screen are black, giving the laptop a nice two-tone look.

In my opinion, the greatest feature of the design is its keyboard with an integrated numpad, as it allows for a more comfortable writing experience (specially when you’re trying to write your long, overly-complicated passwords).

 CPU, RAM & Graphics

As I stated in the intro, the Asus X550ZA-WB11 uses AMD components instead of Intel’s. To be more specific, it comes with a quad-core AMD A10-7400p processor that runs at 2.5 GHz and comes with 4 threads and 4 MB of L2 cache.

You can also overclock it to a maximum of 3.4 GHz, according to AMD. The CPU’s architecture is 64-bit, so it will take as much advantage as it can from the 8 GB (1600MHz) of RAM. 

The Radeon R6 graphics card is not that strong, though, as it comes integrated in the CPU itself and it has to share its memory with it. Although, it should be strong enough for videogames such as League of Legends, StarCraft 2, COD: Black Ops 2, Dishonored and many others as long as you lower the visual detail a notch or two.

The interesting thing is that this laptop is better at video editing than most mid-range laptops with dedicated graphics, because the efficiency of most video editing software depends more on the amount of RAM and CPU cores than the amount of graphics memory. Therefor, here lies one of the biggest pros of this laptop.

This means that while it’s not that good when it comes to hardcore gaming, the Asus X550ZA-WB11 is still a pretty powerful machine and an excellent device for aspiring youtubers, video editors and anyone who requires a laptop for work; especially when you consider the $560 price tag.

Storage & Battery life

The storage is one of the greatest advantages of the Asus X550ZA line, as it comes with a 1 TB hard disk drive (HDD) that runs at 5400rpm. And while I admit that it might not be as fast as an SSD, you have to remember that an SSD would have meant a lot less storage, as this technology is more expensive and complicated than it looks like. 

However, if you would like to increase the speed of this laptop's overall performance by a substantial rate then we can't help but recommend you take a look at the option of switching the HDD for an SSD, especially when you can get a 256 GB Samsung EVO SSD for roughly $100.

When it comes down to battery life, the 44 watt-hours battery is pretty good as well, giving you around 5 hours with medium to hardcore use. Many customers have also stated that it charges very fast, giving you at least 2 hours worth of use with just half-an-hour of charging.

Connectivity & Extras

Rounding up our Asus X550ZA-WB11 in depth review, it's time to talk about connectivity. All in all, it comes with basic WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) and Bluetooth (v4.0) compatibility, as well as an ethernet port for your wired LAN connections.

As for the physical ports, this laptop is pretty standard for a mid-range device as well. We’re talking about 1 USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and VGA ports, a headphone/microphone jack, a Kensington security slot and that’s pretty much it.

The good thing is that it also comes with a DVD/CD optical drive, so if you still need that kind of compatibility for work, you’re pretty much covered. The same thing goes for video-conferences, because the new Asus laptop also comes with an integrated webcam and microphone.

The laptop’s OS is kind of outdated, as it comes with Windows 8, but you’ll be able to update it to Windows 10 for free as soon as you receive it. The Windows 10 update will be free until mid-2016, by the way, so make your choice before it’s too late.

Veredict : 8/10

In conclusion, If what you need is a relatively cheap laptop for video editing or work in general, but also good enough for casual gaming, then the Asus X550ZA-WB11 is a pretty good choice. The design is attractive but not too flashy, and it comes with lots of internal storage (1 TB).

It also packs lots of RAM (8 GB) and a 15.6-inch screen, making it particularly good for multitasking. The keyboard with an integrated numpad and a good distance between the keys is also very appreciated, because it takes full advantage of the size of the laptop. All in all, the price-spec ratio is one of the best of it's kind, making our review of the pros and cons pretty much a no brainer.