Asus K52F

We like the Asus K52F a lot. For less than AU$1000, you get a heck of a lot of value in a design that usually comes at a much higher premium. If you don't need Bluetooth, this is an excellent laptop indeed.


9.0
CNET Rating
7.3
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


Design and features

You wouldn't pick the Asus K52F as a sub-AU$1000 laptop — it's stylish, with patterned copper and gloss black looks, and has an excellent build quality that hints it's significantly more expensive than it really is. Even the screen follows this trend, offering the best visuals we've seen on a laptop this cheap, offering excellent contrast and brightness.

The keyboard is excellent too, featuring the island-style design that Apple made so popular. Asus' keyboard manages to squeeze in a horizontally squished numpad as well, complete with dedicated Home/End and Pg Up/Pg Dn keys. Bucking recent trends, Asus' F keys have stayed as F keys — with things like volume control and brightness remaining as secondary functions needing the Fn button to be pressed in order to activate.

The touch pad is textured like the surface of the laptop, but is highly responsive and also multi-touch, supporting two-finger swiping to scroll, and two- or three-finger tapping for middle and right clicking. We only wish more vendors would support this.

Beneath the touch pad are the status lights; however, you'd barely be able to tell, as the lights themselves display a subtle, low intensity green. This is great for minimising distraction, but what isn't great are the labels, which get hidden in the texturing of the laptop and are difficult to see in all but the most optimal lighting conditions. The only other light is a soft white light next to the silver power button at the top right.

While we're usually down on laptop speakers and their ridiculous Dolby logos, Asus' SRS solution does actually make a difference due to an included control panel that lets you alter the tonality. It's not a silver bullet; almost any pair of headphones will provide better quality than the built-in speakers, but it's appreciated that Asus is trying to do something about the problem.

Specs and connections

Powered on a Core i3-350M, the K52F is a dual-core processor with hyperthreading, presenting as four threads. It's supported by 2GB RAM, a DVD+-RW and a 15.6-inch, 1366x768 screen. While there are cheaper SKUs that offer a 320GB hard drive and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, ours came with a 500GB drive running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

The K52F offers three USB ports, VGA and HDMI out, an MMC/SD/MS card reader and 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks. Networking is supported by gigabit Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n, although Asus has chosen to leave out Bluetooth support, presumably to keep costs down.

Software

Running on Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, Asus' desktop is one of the busiest we've seen, with a mix of home-grown tools and a swag of crapware to go with it. It has clearly decided that "with the most software wins", regardless of quality.

Trend Micro is the antivirus trial of choice, with Office 2007 and the horrifically bad "GamePark" trials to go with it. Not all is software of the expiring kind though — Windows Live Essentials is bundled in, as is CyberLink's Blu-ray Disc Suite and PowerDVD 9. Curiously, Asus has also bundled Google Chrome, perhaps in place of the Google toolbar in Internet Explorer — instead it's hijacked by the Windows Live toolbar, courtesy of the Live Essentials installation.

There's an eBay icon on the desktop too if it wasn't cluttered enough already, and a sign-up installer for Boingo, a subscription wireless hotspot service.

Asus' own tools are a hit-and-miss affair. ControlDeck, a series of shortcuts put on a 3D plane overlaying the screen, looks great, and is effective but is slow to load. Asus Access is purely a link to a website where Asus attempts to on-sell cloud-based services, and can thus be thoroughly ignored. APBank is much the same, but attempts to sell you software instead.

SmartLogon Manager lets you log into your computer using the webcam, and attempts to recognise your face. Like all of these programs, from a security point of view it's worthless. This particular solution takes 30 pictures to cover a variety of situations, and with security set to highest, it's a little more secure than previous solutions, refusing to recognise a black-and-white print out of a face taken by the same webcam. We managed to get a colour print to fool it, although it took some time, and required us to fill the frame with the image — any white borders on the paper threw it off. Even our real face took long enough to identify us that you could have logged in three times by text in the amount of time it took to recognise our face.

There are useful tools though: Asus CopyProtect allows you to "lock" storage devices, stopping them from appearing in Windows Explorer. Asus Data Security Manager is an encryption tool that allows you to drag-and-drop files into secure "vaults". Annoyingly, you can't preview files stored in a vault — you have to extract it to another location first.

LifeFrame 3 is your typical webcam tool, whereas MultiFrame allows you to snap selected windows to eight different sections of the screen. It's like Windows 7's Aero Snap feature, just with greater granularity and less intuitiveness.

While we pay out Asus' Splendid function on its monitors as nothing more than glorified presets, on the laptop it's genuinely useful, allowing you to modify RGB values and set colour temperature, something you rarely see in the mobile space.

There are others, but we've written far too much already. We think Asus could benefit from minimising and consolidating its software bundle.

Performance

While Core i3 offers entry-level performance, it should be comfortable with most basic computing tasks. The K52F is not a gaming machine, as is shown by its score of 1487 in 3DMark06, but it should be fine for office productivity and internet browsing, as its PCMark05 score of 5196 attests. It happily played back our 720p test video on YouTube, something that netbooks and lower-powered processors have a hard time with.

In regards to battery life, the K52F does well for its price point, clocking two hours, five minutes and 55 seconds with all power-saving features turned off, screen brightness and volume set to maximum and an XviD video played back.

We like the Asus K52F a lot. For less than AU$1000, you get a heck of a lot of value in a design that usually comes at a much higher premium. If you don't need Bluetooth, this is an excellent laptop indeed. Just expect to be doing a lot of uninstalling on the first run.

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larojf
6
Rating
 

"Average, but not all that good"

larojf posted a review   
Australia

The Good:multi finger touchpad

The Bad:battery life

Overall and average laptop. I like the multi finger touchpad however, the battery life is only about 1.5 hours. I would not recommend this laptop on this basis.

mallu_achayan
9
Rating
 

"Excellent value for money"

mallu_achayan posted a review   
Germany

The Good:Great Looks, Great performance, Great Keypad, Silent processor

The Bad:Glossy lid is a hotbed for fingerprints!!

This is an excellent laptop for its price. While I paid only around 400 euros for this laptop, i feel its really more worth than the money i paid. My primary reason for chosing this brand was the option of system langauges it gave during the set up. I currently live in Germany and was in need of a a laptop with english OS option. Most of the brands sell only German OS in Germany. But unlike most other brands, this ASUS asks you for the system langauge choice during the set up. Most of the other brands doesnt give you this option now.

After buying it, I should say i am quite happy. Its performance is excellent. It is very silent also. The only thing i didnt like about this laptop was the fact that its lid will always be covered with your finger prints as it has a highly glossy surface..

Over all, I would recommend this laptop to all those who are looking for a value for money laptop, which is also a great performer!!

Walkin.mn
9
Rating
 

Walkin.mn posted a review   

The Good:Style, resources, brand

The Bad:Crapware, Battery life

I love it, it's a great computer for that price, i paid about $680 in Mexican Best Buy.
The keyboard it's great and the general quality it's really good,i haven't had any problem working or with photoshop.
My only problem it's the battery life, it could be a little better, but for that price, no complaints here.

Wohali
10
Rating
 

Wohali posted a review   

The Good:Looks and feels much more expensive than it is

The Bad:Nothing but good!

I picked this up on sale at Best Buy for under $500 as an emergency back-up and it performs flawlessly. Great speed and very smooth operation and great screen quality and acuity. Really love this unit and what a great bang for the buck!

Steve
10
Rating
 

Steve posted a review   

The Good:Smooth, quiet operation, easy to set up and use. Clear screen graphics, good battery life.

The Bad:Haven't found anything I don't like yet.

I bought this laptop at BestBuy for $470 as a backup and companion to my desktop. I use two 20" monitors on my desktop, so getting used to the 15.6" screen is challenging, but not a machine problem. Mine boots up and shuts down quickly, possibly because of the Win 7 OS, combined with the hybrid drive and fast boot option.

I feel I got way more machine for the price than I expected. I sync it to my desktop for file duplication; there's plenty of room at 500GB to do that. The look and feel are great and it's one I don't mind being seen in public with.

Using a touch pad has been different for me, but I also use a wireless mouse or USB keyboard/mouse combo. I like the feature that automatically disables the touchpad when the others are plugged in.

All in all, I am very pleased with this purchase and would higly recommend it to anyone of my friends.

Danny
1
Rating
 

Danny posted a review   

The Good:Its at the cheaper end of the scale when it comes to practical laptops,has a good battery.

The Bad:Slow start ups,display driver faults,sound card faults,keyboard delay,

I purchased this laptop 4 months ago for business purposes. Now where do I start, I first started noticing that there were periods of keyboard delay which slowly started to send me insane, but I have adapted to that and now type alot slower while looking at the screen-sent me back about 2 years.Then the sound started to have periods of being destorted kinda like Dart Vadar which I too have gotten used to,gets me really funny looks when I am doing presentations I must say, but now it is just closing pages by itself which is the final straw. You may ask yourself WHY I still have it or did not seek to repair it, but the truth is I have gone about getting it repaired,it turns out organising an audience with the Queen would be far easier AND it could be gone for up to 8 weeks which is fantastic as the Goodguys do not give you a temp. replacement but as the guy in the shop told me could sell me a real bargin to replace it while it was gone, wooohooo.I have always wanted 2 laptops.I HATE THIS LAPTOP would be my final comments.

Jaysee
8
Rating
 

Jaysee posted a review   

The Good:Style. Keypad. Res. Features.

The Bad:BSOD!!? :(

I love this laptop!
I have had it for just under a week now, everything was great until..yep BSOD!!
I still do not understand why. I hadn't bothered reading the minidump files. I havn't installed anything except itunes and firefox.
It completed a disk check tonight and seems to be running better but programs like lifeframe, resfuse to work, I trued removing it of my laptop to re install, but will not un install. Eek.

Other that that, all is great. Picks up wireless really well from great distances, keypad is really easy to use as is the mouse pad.
Great sound for a laptop. Res is great, all images etc look great!
I havn't tried games yet. Camera is pretty good in normal lighting.
Lots of space. Maybe tomany crap programs from the driver. haha.

Over all a great laptop for the price!
Now i'll continue fixing it. Well trying. Going to have to cal a tech. >.

JJ
7
Rating
 

JJ posted a review   

The Good:Appearance/Style

The Bad:Feels a little cheap

Okay so I have had it for a few days now & I don't hate it quite so much. The keyboard still seems a little cheap because it squishes but it is quite nice to use regardless. It doesn't run as hot as other laptops I have used so thta's a plus. It costs half as much as my smart phone & it's screen is approx 11 iches bigger. Maybe we can be friends after all.

JJ
4
Rating
 

JJ posted a review   

The Good:External looks

The Bad:Everything

I definitely wouldn't get this for Photoshop work, I don't think this thing has a graphics card & as a result everything on the screen looks awful & wrong. And 15.6" isn't really enough when it's a wide screen format. It is only day one but I expected a lot more based on the reviews. The flimsy piece of plastic that sits below the buttons gets squished as you type. In a practical sense it hasn't been a problem yet but this is no macbook island keyboard. I don't even like Apple by the way so that was just an example. Perhaps comparing it to my partners notebook is unfair as although hers is a couple of years older it was double the price & then some. Hers is an Acer & I find the squarer screen format much more suitable for almost everything. She obviously has a half decent graphics/video card in hers as because there is no comparison hers kills my brand new Asus as far as picture goes. If I had my time again I would spend at least $500 more & get something with a 17" screen & a decent graphics card. Sorry I wanted to like it but nah it's rubbish.

 

catbongo posted a comment   

The Good:Performance, price, warranty

The Bad:No bluetooth (so what)

I bought the K52F from Best Buy in Golden, CO for $530.00 during the Christmas sail. What a deal!!!
This thing has a two year factory international warranty. Free tech support for two years also based out of the Caribbean, easy to deal with.
The I3 chip has yet to max out to 100%, this chip blows the old Pentium dual cores out of the water. With 4 gig of ram and a 500gb hard drive, this thing rocks.
For a laptop, the sound system is very surprising. I have not owned a laptop that can keep with this thing, for the money.
Takes all of 5 minutes to remove junk software from factory.
I highly recommend this machine to anyone other then serious gamers. On the other hand, if you are a serious gamer, would you want it?


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User Reviews / Comments  Asus K52F

  • larojf

    larojf

    Rating6

    "Overall and average laptop. I like the multi finger touchpad however, the battery life is only about 1.5 hours. I would not recommend this laptop on this basis."

  • mallu_achayan

    mallu_achayan

    Rating9

    "This is an excellent laptop for its price. While I paid only around 400 euros for this laptop, i feel its really more worth than the money i paid. My primary reason for chosing this brand was the o..."

  • Walkin.mn

    Walkin.mn

    Rating9

    "I love it, it's a great computer for that price, i paid about $680 in Mexican Best Buy.
    The keyboard it's great and the general quality it's really good,i haven't had any problem working or..."

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