So, armed with our earlier primer on entry-level laptop buying, what can we recommend? The bad news is that we can’t single out just one laptop and say that it’s the best for everyone — no two people have the same laptop needs, after all. The good news is that we can instead recommend a range of models that all share common features and differ only in their core specification — the ASUS K Series.
Introducing the K Series
Designed from the get-go to suit entry-level buyers, the K Series has one feature we haven’t mentioned so far, but that so many more affordable laptops lack — good looks. Available in a choice of six colours (champagne gold, silver blue, pure white, passion red, seduction pink and electric blue) and with a textured aluminium finish, the K Series looks like a laptop that costs considerably more, plus its slim design slips easily into a bag, too.
Scorching performance without scorching temperatures
A choice of 3rd-generation Intel® Core™ processors and discrete NVIDIA® 600 Series graphics mean the K Series has more than enough horsepower for a multitude of tasks (gaming included), but blistering performance doesn’t equate to blistering temperatures.
Some entry-level laptops can get surprisingly hot when being worked hard, but not the K Series. It makes use of clever IceCool technology that keeps the hottest components away from the keyboard and wrist rest areas, and keeps them cool with an efficient heat transfer system. As a result, the K Series runs much cooler than the similarly specified competition, and is much more comfortable to use as a result.
Quality in, quality out
The K Series is available with 14”, 15”, 17” and 19” screens, with a choice of resolutions that include Full HD on the top-end models. LED-backlight technology ensures a bright even image too, while ASUS Splendid display technology gives the optimum image quality no matter what the viewing material. Better still, ASUS SonicMaster technology delivers superlative audio quality too, which means every K Series model sounds as good as it looks.
A full-size floating-key keyboard with dedicated numeric keypad means the K Series is a laptop that’s perfectly suit for prolonged productivity software use, but each model is also equipped with a well-proportioned multi-touch trackpad.
In addition to working well as a mere pointing device, the trackpad is also designed to complement the new touch gestures used in Windows® 8, which means K Series users will be able to fully exploit the new features in Microsoft’s newest operating system.
Better battery life
Battery life varies across the K Series range, but mains free use of between four and six hours is possible, depending on the model. Super Hybrid Engine II technology means every model has a two-second ‘instant on’ resume from standby time though, so there’s no waiting around for Windows® to load when there’s work to be done. Up to two weeks of standby time also mean that K Series models won’t run flat when not used for some time — not that there’s any chance of that!
ASUS SmartCharge technology also prolongs the total battery lifespan by optimising the recharge cycle. No rechargeable battery lasts forever, but the K Series’ batteries can last up to three times longer than normal and can maintain up to 70% of their original capacity after 1000 recharge cycles. Ordinary laptop batteries typical only maintain around 42% of their original capacity by this point of their life.
Take your pick…
Hopefully we’ve given you some insight into the world of entry-level laptops and provided some food for through for anyone who’s thinking of buying one. More importantly, by explaining why the K Series is the best choice for a first-time buyer, we also hope we’ve done most of the hard work for you — all you need to do is decide which model is best for you.