While we love how the market is moving towards SSD as the standard storage option for newer laptops, there will always be a segment of people who would rather have a laptop with a vast hard drive then a limited Solid state drive.
It's for this group of people that Asus has designed a very interesting new laptop that stands out thanks to its low price point, Core i3 CPU and 4GB of RAM. You guessed it, today we're going to review the Asus X540LA-SI30205P.
The Pros: Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM (upgradable), 4.4 pounds, 1TB of storage, USB Type-C port, DVD reader, 15.6 inch HD display, entry level price.
The Cons: Integrated graphics not suited for gaming.
Asus X540LA-SI30205P Review of a very cheap mid range laptop
Ultra-light design with a standard display
It's not everyday that we find a lightweight laptop that doesn't fall onto the "entry level"category or worse; the "high end" category. Fortunately for us, the Asus X540LA-SI30205P escapes both of these segments, locating itself comfortably in the mid range. That said, while it's not the lightest machine in the market, at 4.4 pounds it definitely makes a point of being significantly lighter than the competition.
What's more impressive is that it does so without compromising its screen which comes in at a standard 15.6 inch HD display with LED-backlit technology and since we've got a standard screen size we've also got a standard chiclet keyboard with its own dedicated numeric pad on the side.
In terms of design we're quite impressed by what Asus has managed to pull off over here. While this laptop comes with an entry level price point it doesn't have an entry level design, maintaining what we could say is a "premium look and feel".
Mid level performance that doesn't disappoint
Once we move on with our review onto the performance segment we can appreciate that despite its low price point, the Asus X540LA-SI30205P has managed to come through with some very good components, starting off with an Intel Core i3-5020U processor.
Sure, this isn't a 6th generation CPU, but a 5th generation processor but that's a compromise we're willing to make if it gets us a "core" model and not a standard celeron or pentium processors. That said, the Core i3 in place is a dual core CPU that works at a 2.2 GHz base frequency with 3MB of cache and four logical threads.
All in all, it's a very good processor for most "average tasks". It's not as slow as a Celeron model but it's also not as fast as an i5 model. Upon actual usage you can expect to work fluently on tasks such as browsing the web, editing documents, streaming movies, launching virtual machines, editing pics and so forth. Overall it's a pretty good CPU for general purposes.
However, performance can't be measured only by looking at the CPU, RAM also plays an integral role and in this case we've got 4 GB of DDR3 SDRAM (1600 MHz). 4 GB in and of itself will perform well for average multitasking needs (having a few browser tabs open and a two/three apps working in the background).
Nevertheless, if you're an intensive multi tasker we would urge you to upgrade the system memory to 8 GB (the maximum allowed) since you'll really appreciate the difference of not being "held back". Also, even if you're not a very demanding user, upgrading to 8 GB be it now or later on will be a good way of future-proofing the X540LA-SI30205P
What games can this laptop play?
Considering the price point, it should pose no surprise that this is not a gaming laptop. On the contrary, it comes with an integrated graphics chip that shares the system memory with the processor and therefore would be a very bad gaming machine. Perhaps you can get away with playing games like minecraft and Fifa 16 at low settings but demanding games are most definitely a big no-no on this model.
Average battery life and plenty of storage
There's not much information in regards to the Asus X540LA-SI30205P battery life. However, knowing it's basic set of specs we could go ahead and guess that it manages between 3.5-5 hours of battery life. Our arrival at this "time bracket" is composed of two elements; 1) it's list of specs and 2) nobody has neither complained that the battery lasts very little nor bragged that the battery lasts a lot when looking at the comments.
Storage, on the other side, is a more "exact science" and in this case we've got a 1TB hard drive working at a standard speed of 5400 rpm. As we said at the beginning of this Asus X540LA-SI30205P review, though the market is currently leaning towards SSD storage units it's understandable that many people still prefer to have vast storage capacity over a 128/256 GB unit that works a lot faster.
Also, while laptops with SSD storage have become much cheaper in recent months they're still significantly more expensive than the Asus X540LA-SI30205P which budget conscious users should also take into account.
Impressive connectivity options
Aside from the price and general list of specs, something that has surprised us quite a bit when reviewing this laptop is that it comes with 1 USB Type-C port amongst many other connectivity options. Sure, this might not be a big deal today but as technology moves forward and USB Type-C becomes the new standard it never hurts to already have a USB Type-C port on your next laptop.
Other than this, there's also a USB 2.0, USB 3.0, HDMI, ethernet,VGA ports and your standard SD card reader as well as a DVD reader, HD webcam and a set of pretty decent Sonic Master Speakers.Wirelessly we've got your standard Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and an average WiFi antenna.
Final Thoughts: What's the verdict?
After looking over the pros and cons in this review of the Asus X540LA-SI30205P it's obvious that we're not in front of the best laptop in the market. However, considering its extremely tight price we could be looking at one of the most balanced models in the current landscape.
The processor alone is worthy of a sizeable recognition and when we add to that an expandable RAM, 1 TB of storage, a USB Type-C port and an impressively lightweight design we're looking at one of the biggest bargains in the mid range segment.
If you're looking for a mid level laptop or looking for an entry level laptop but don't mind spending a tiny bit more we most definitely recommend this model to get the most value out of your hard earned money.