ASUS K52Jr (K52JR-SX070V) notebook

ASUS K52Jr review: A 15.6in, Core i3 notebook with good graphics performance for the price

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ASUS K52Jr (K52JR-SX070V)
  • ASUS K52Jr (K52JR-SX070V)
  • ASUS K52Jr (K52JR-SX070V)
  • ASUS K52Jr (K52JR-SX070V)

Pros

  • Good graphics performance for the price, stylish, good touchpad

Cons

  • Squished number pad, reflective screen with narrow vertical viewing angles, battery life could be a little better, no Bluetooth

Bottom Line

The ASUS K52Jr (K52JR-SX070V) is a fine desktop replacement-style notebook with a manageable footprint that allows it to also be transported relatively easily between home and the classroom or office. It possesses good graphics power for its price and it's a comfortable notebook to use overall. However, we wish it had slightly better battery life and that it had a screen that was less reflective and had better viewing angles.

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ASUS K52Jr: Specifications and performance

On the inside of the K52Jr are components that are more than adequate for tackling office tasks, media encoding, music and photo editing, and also basic gaming. It runs a 2.26GHz Intel Core i3-350M CPU, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 5400rpm, 500GB hard drive and a 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics adapter. The 2.27GHz CPU offers plenty of speed for media tasks, and this was shown in our Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tasks: The notebook recorded times of 1min 5sec and 1min 11sec, respectively. These times compare favourably against other Core i3-350M notebooks we have seen, such as the Toshiba Satellite C650 and the Samsung Q330-JS03AU, although the iTunes encoding time is a couple of seconds off the pace of the Samsung.

For gaming, the ASUS K52Jr offers decent performance, and it can be used to comfortably run role-playing games in addition to car racing games and sports games — although not at maximum detail levels. The graphics adapter doesn't operate at full capacity when you run the laptop on battery power, even if you select a high-power profile. It recorded 4155 in 3Dmark06 when plugged in, and 1740 when running on battery power, using the same power profile.

In our hard drive transfer test, the ASUS' 500GB, 5400rpm drive recorded an average speed of 25.23 megabytes per second, which is faster than the 20MBps achieved by the Toshiba Satellite. The one test in which the K52Jr was a little sluggish was our DVD encoding test. In this test we use AutoGordianKnot to turn our test DVD file into a 1.5GB Xvid file; the ASUS K52Jr finished this task in 1hr 19min, which is 2min slower than the Toshiba, and 5min slower than the Samsung. In the overall scheme of things, the extra couple of minutes won't make much of a difference, and you'll still be able to use this notebook for tough tasks such as archiving your DVD collection and compressing files for your iPod or iPhone.

ASUS K52JR: Battery life

Away from an outlet, the K52Jr's 47 Watt-hour battery will last you close to two and half hours if you use medium screen brightness and just browse the Web and write documents. In our video rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise the screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video, the laptop lasted 1hr 47min, which is similar to what we saw out of the Samsung R590. It's not a spectacular time — it's merely average — and we think it could be better considering that the notebook's Radeon HD 5470 graphics adapter will be running on reduced graphics power when it's not plugged in to an outlet.

If you tone down the brightness and employ a power management scheme while using the notebook for office-type work, then the battery will last longer. It's worth noting that if you ever use ASUS' built-in Power4Gear battery saving option, it will aggressively change the aesthetics of your desktop (it will change the background to a white colour and auto-hide the taskbar) and will not restore them if you ever go back to a regular power scheme.

Conclusion

Along the edges of the ASUS K52Jr you'll find a built-in DVD burner, an SD card slot, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, microphone and headphone ports, and it also has three USB 2.0 ports. You also get 802.11n Wi-Fi and a webcam. You don't get Bluetooth or eSATA. It's a standard set of features for a laptop that costs just over $1000; the ASUS K52JR's biggest selling point is the ATI graphics adapter, which gives the notebook a little more graphics juice than other notebooks in this price range. It allows the notebook to be used for gaming when you've got it plugged in to a power outlet.

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