ASUS’ X lineup aims to please the average Joe with decent specs and good looks rarely found in this price range. The very same laptop is found under the name K555 in the European market but it’s practically the same machine. We should also note that the unit we are testing sports a Broadwell CPU and GeForce 930M GPU and the updated version with Skylake CPU and 940M discrete graphics card are more common on the market with an almost identical price tag.
Yes, the ASUS X555 won’t surprise you with blazingly fast performance or any other unique features but it’s shamefully cheap and will probably do fine with your day to day tasks. Not to mention the excellent keyboard and touchpad experience we had during testing making it an ideal replacement for your big old desktop working station.
Here you can find most of the available configurations of the notebook: http://amzn.to/1YB7TIX
The notebook comes in a standard ASUS package with all the user manuals, AC adapter and the notebook itself.
Design and construction
In terms of design, the notebook stands out from the crowd with seemingly simplistic and clean design. We’ve got the usual concentric brushed circle on the lid with ASUS’ logo in the middle and the silver-colored plastic for the interior that strongly resembles aluminum.
The lid is kind of flexible, yet feels stronger than most laptops we’ve tested. But the hinge, well it’s a bit over the top because it’s so tight that the notebook can be opened only with two hands. At least it’s better to be overtightened than too loose if you consider using the machine in the long run. As for the bottom piece, it’s plain black plastic with a small service cap giving you access to the only RAM slot (there’s an integrated 4GB RAM chip into the motherboard), a vent opening for extra airflow and two speaker grills near the front.
The sides measure at 25.8 mm – pretty average for a notebook – and offers the bare minimum connectivity options. The left side accommodates the DC charging port, LAN, VGA, HDMI, and two USB 3.0 connectors. Whereas the right side, it holds one USB 2.0 port, optical drive, SD card reader, and the 3.5 mm audio jack.
Interestingly, for a notebook costing around €500-600, the ASUS X555 offers exceptional keyboard ergonomics and touchpad usability. Both devices performed excellently throughout the testing as the keyboard features long key travel, nice feedback while the touchpad is “clicky”, responsive and stable. We do have to mention, though, that the keyboard tray is a bit spongy and flexes even during light key presses. It’s even visually noticeable. Even so, this doesn’t affect the typing experience but questions the build quality of the product. Still, the wrist rest area feels stable and gives you the notion of brushed aluminum, although it’s not the real thing.
Disassembly, maintenance, internals and upgrade options
The bottom piece comes off fairly easy, although you will need some kind of thin plastic tool to pry up the keyboard tray without damaging the internal clips. But if you just need to pop in a RAM chip, use the provided service lid instead.
Storage upgrade options – 2.5-inch HDD, no M.2 slot
Just like every other low-end notebook, the X555 doesn’t offer anything rather than one 2.5-inch HDD slot but you can always swap your optical drive for a caddy with another 2.5-inch HDD.
|2.5-inch HDD||HGST 1TB @5400 rpm||Check price|
The motherboard integrates one RAM chip slot and one additional 4GB RAM chip, which is soldered to the mainboard. The slot supports up to 8GB DDR3L-1600 SDRAM.
The battery unit is rated at 37Wh.
The cooling system consists of two small heat pipes and a small fan but as our temperature tests confirmed, it’s sufficient to support the hardware under heavy workload for exntded periods.
You can find more information about the disassembly and internals in our dedicated article.
The ASUS K555 uses a WXGA TN panel with 1366 x 768 pixels resolution in a 15.6-inch diagonal. The display is manufactured by LG Display with model number LP156WHB-TLB1. The pixel density, in this case, is 100 ppi and the pixel pitch is just 0.253 x 0.253 mm so the screen can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 86 cm.
Of course, viewing angles aren’t good but this is the nature of TN panels. You can see the color shift under 45-degree incline.
We measured a maximum brightness of 230 cd/m2 in the middle and only 206 cd/m2 as an average value. The maximum deviation is 20%. As for color temperature, we measured 6790K in the center of the display and 6730K as average so colors will appear a bit colder than the optimal 6500K.
Keeping in mind that dE2000 shouldn’t go beyond 4.0, the color accuracy on the screen is a bit off with a maximum of 5.4 in the lower-left part of the display.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. Starting with the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy. Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that has been used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used by professional cameras, monitors and etc. for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook. Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios and the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s hard to be covered by today’s displays. You can also see the so-called Michael Pointer (Pointer’s Gamut) gamut representing natural occurring colors perceived by our eyes.
You can see the yellow triangle of the sRGB gamut representing only 54% coverage.
Below you will see practically the same image but with color circles representing the reference colors and white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut before and after calibration.
The profile has been created with 140 cd/m2 luminance, white point D65(6500K) and sRGB gamma.
The contrast ratio is really low – 300:1 before calibration and 270:1 after.
Below you can see the results from the accuracy color checker with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. The results are before and after calibration.
Gaming capabilities (Response time)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We measured Fall Time + Rise Time = 18 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
The ASUS X555’s display uses PWM across all brightness levels, except 100%, of course, but the frequency of the emitted light is pretty high (22 kHz) and reduces the negative impact on one’s eyesight.
We can’t really say that we are disappointed nor pleasantly surprised by the results of our tests because the panel here is incoprorated into a budget-friendly machine with the main focus on the hardware (Core i7 CPU and discrete multimedia GeForce 940M GPU for exceptionally low price. We do have note, though, that the low contrast and low maximum brightness will be insufficient for multimedia purposes, so you might want to resort to an external monitor, especially if you have sensitive eyes – it has PWM after all – and you plan on using the machine for extended periods of time.
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We don’t have any complaints about the sound quality. The provided stereo loudspeakers produce full and clear sound.
The specs below may not apply to your region.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-5500U (2-core, 2.40-3.00 GHz, 4MB cache)|
|RAM||8GB (1x 8192MB) – DDR3L, 1600 MHz|
|Graphics card||NVIDIA GeForce 930M (2GB DDR3)|
|HDD/SSD||1TB HDD (5400 rpm)|
|Display||15.6-inch (39.62 cm.) – 1366 x 7680 (HD) TN, matte|
|Optical drive||DVD burner|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Thickness||25.8 mm (1.02″)|
|Weight||2.3 kg (5.07 lbs)|
ASUS X555 configurations
We used a freshly installed Windows 10 (64-bit) for the writing of this review and if you want to do a clean install of the OS too, we suggest downloading the latest drivers from ASUS’ official support page.
The ASUS X555 turned out to be durable enough to surpass some of its competitors in terms of battery life. The scores are a little above average, although it’s normal given the ULV (ultra-low voltage) processor, the HD TN panel and the 37Wh battery unit. All tests were performed with the following settings: Wi-Fi turned on at all times, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and power saver switched on.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script to automatically browse through over 70 websites.
Decent battery performance – 351 minutes (5 hours and 51 minutes).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Slightly higher result and again pretty good – 375 minutes (6 hours and 15 minutes).
We recently started using the built-in F1 2015 benchmark on loop for accurate real-life gaming representation.
As expected, the gaming test took a toll on the battery with only 115 minutes (1 hour and 55 minutes) of play time.
CPU – Intel Core i7-5500U
Intel Core i7-5500U is a high-end processor released on January 05, 2015. It is part of the “Broadwell” generation and operates at a base frequency of 2.40GHz. If a higher frequency is needed, its two cores can overclock, and if they both operate in tandem, they go to 2.9GHz. The frequency goes up to 3GHz for only one core.
The chip is equipped with 128KB of first level cache, 512KB of second level cache, and 4MB of third level cache. The Core i7-5500U has been developed using a 14nm process, allowing for the integration of the Intel HD Graphics 5500 controller. It operates at a base frequency of 300MHz, while Turbo Boost can increase that to 950MHz. TDP consumption of the whole SoC (System on a Chip) is 15 watts with a maximum operating temperature of 105C.
Intel Core i7-5500U supports TurboBoost (increasing the clock frequency when necessary), HyperThreading (additional virtual core for every physical one), PCI Express 3.0, DDR3/L/ 1333/1600 memory, AVX, AVX2.0, FMA, QuickSync and the SSE4 instruction set.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-5500u/
Fritz is a chess benchmark which tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-5500U managed to get 5.850 million moves per second. For comparison, one of the most powerful PCs, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
GPU – NVIDIA GeForce 930M (2GB DDR3)
The NVIDIA GeForce 930M is a lower-mid-range GPU that’s included in budget notebooks or multimedia-oriented ones. It was released in March 2015 and it is based on last year’s GeForce 840M with GM108 GPU inside. We are expecting the GPU to be marginally faster than its predecessor since the Maxwell generation GPUs mostly improve power consumption and don’t emphasize on performance as much. However, the TDP is rated at 25W (for this particular version as there’s another variant with GDDR5 memory controller). Furthermore, GeForce 930M offers 2GB of DDR3 memory, 16 ROPs, 32 texture mapping units and 384 shaders. The graphics processor runs at 928MHz with Boost clock being 941MHz which should be enough to run most of the new games at lower settings or other software that isn’t that demanding. Memory speed is 1800MHz with a bus width of 64 bit. Notable features like DirectX 12, NVIDIA Optimus support, OpenGL 4.5 and CUDA cores are at hand.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-geforce-930m-2gb-ddr3/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
The two-staged stress test on the CPU and GPU are not a real-life representation of a normal usage but it gives us a good idea of how the system can handle continous and heavy workload. And also, how the laptop will fare against time.
We started off with a simple CPU stress test for about an hour and we noticed that the system was able to utilize almost the full potential of the CPU – 2.8 GHz while the maximum operating frequency for two active cores is 2.9 GHz. But temperatures were slightly higher than expected – about 79 degrees Celcius.
Anyway, after one hour of CPU testing, we turned on the GPU torture test as well. Temperatures did rise up to 86 degrees while giving some headroom for the GPU, which didn’t show any signs of throttling and was runnig pretty cool. The CPU, however, lowered its frequency to the base 2.4 GHz.
Of course, the temperatures on the surface were low as well and don’t cause any discomfort to the user while using the machine.
The ASUS K555 is a great all-rounder with just a few setbacks, which are mostly common for the price range. We are talking about the build quality inconsistencies (spongy keyboard), the low quality of the TN panel – although this is a standard for the industry at the lower-end segment – and the use of PWM across all brightness levels (except 100%).
We are, however, satisfied with the keyboard and touchpad experience as well as the battery life. It will serve well even to users searching for a more durable low-end laptop. But it will be extremely hard for the notebook to beat other similarly priced alternatives on the market such as the HP ProBook 450 G3, which holds the edge over the X555 in terms of build quality and performance, or some configurations from the Acer Aspire F5 and E15 lineup.
Here you can find most of the available configurations of the notebook: http://amzn.to/1YB7TIX
- Good keyboard and touchpad experience
- Decent battery life
- Nice overall design
- Particularly lucrative configurations for the asking price
- The screen uses PWM from 0 to 99% brightness
- Spongy keyboard