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July 17, 2015: ASUS X550ZE-026H Gaming Laptop + Windows 10 Upgrade (Re-Written From Scratch!)

July 17, 2015: Unboxing and Review of My New Asus X550ZE-026H Gaming Laptop (Updated!)
July 17, 2015: Unboxing and Review of My New Asus X550ZE-026H Gaming Laptop (Updated!)



This post was previously from my www.LadyRattus.com blog. Everything has been re-written from scratch. The photos and video were shot with my old Canon SX510 HS.


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July 17, 2015.

My old PC was becoming a big headache with the super slow system and it's becoming excruciating to edit photos and videos. In the past, the PC also had a long history of repairs and viruses. So spending more money for it is more expensive in the long run.

After weeks of methodical research, a gaming laptop like this Asus X550ZE-026H was the best value for money in terms of price and performance.




For complete product info, visit this link:



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Specs


SRP: P29,999.00

Dimension: 38.0 x 25.1 x 3.17 cm
Display : 15.6-inch HD Display
Processor : AMD Quad-Core, A8-7200P
Chipset : AMD A76M FCH
Operating System : Windows 8.1
Graphic : AMD Radeon R5 M230, 2GB VRAM
Memory : 4GB DDR3L 1600 MHz, SDRAM
Storage : 500GB

Optical : Super-Multi DVD
Card Reader : 2 -in-1 card reader ( SD/ SDHC/ MMC)
Camera : VGA Web Camera
Networking : Integrated 802.11 b/g/n
Audio : Built-in Speakers (SonicMaster) and Microphone
Battery : 4Cells 44 Whrs

Built-in Bluetooth™ V4.0 (Optional)
10/100/1000/Gigabits Base T
Interface : 1 x COMBO audio jack 
1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor
2 x USB 3.0 port(s) 
1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert 
1 x HDMI



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Asus X550ZE-026H


Although a little huge for portability, the 15-inch display makes this laptop my perfect editing companion for videos. Its large area allows me to zoom in and check on pixel-level details with clarity. The monitor can be tilted to roughly 45 degrees.








In case you're looking for a memory card slot, it's neatly tucked under the keyboard. It's hidden a little too inside so I often have to lift the laptop to insert or remove the card.




On the left side of the keyboard you can find a slot for the Kensington lock, air ventilation for the device (it gets real hot!), slots for projector/external monitor, HDMI and Ethernet cable, slots for 2 high-speed USB 3.0, and a slot for the combo microphone/earphone.




Looking at the right side of the keyboard, you'll find one slot for USB 2.0 (believe me, it's worthless), a DVD reader/writer, and then the slot for the power plug. The Sonic Master speaker produces a rich middle register and clear sound even at the loudest setting. However, it's pretty sensitive and on the third week it's gone bonkers!





The last two features are the juiciest part of this laptop, and the things that help me edit videos without lag: AMD A8-7200P 2.4GHz 4-core processor (roughly equivalent to Intel Core i5) and the AMD Radeon R5 M230 (2GB VRAM) graphics card. Additional bonus features are the 4GB RAM and 500 GB SATA hard drive. There's still alot of room, but with the large raw video files, I had to delete the old ones.





The Asus Smart Gesture feature is very neat, but I prefer to turn this off and stick to the mouse.

unboxing of the Asus X550ZE-026H

unboxing of the Asus X550ZE-026H

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Upgrade To Windows 10


The first time I encountered Windows 8.1 was at work back in 2014. Gee, the customizable interface was really perfect for those touchscreen tablets, but on a laptop without touchscreen, it could be very frustrating.

So this laptop came with the dreaded OS and there was no choice but to get to terms with it. First thing to do was to personalize everything. It took me hours and nearly a week to get everything perfect. After a while, I've come to love Windows 8.1, but switching alot between Desktop and Start Screen was one big frustration that I never got over with.







Notification of a free upgrade to Windows 10 was already available 2 weeks after I got this laptop. For some reason, the download was frustrating me by progressing up to 99% then getting an installation failure. So I gave up after many tries until March of 2016.




This time, I wasn't aware this OS was being installed, but was shocked when the laptop suddenly shutdown and restarted in the middle of some important tasks. My blood pressure dropped and my body felt ice cold... I thought something was wrong, but then it re-booted and prompted to the installation window. The good thing about this late upgrade is that the OS is pretty stable by now (I get a few sudden restarts once in a while, not sure if this is Chrome-related).

The thing that impressed me about Windows 10 is the simplicity of the interface. Once upgraded to this OS, I didn't feel like changing any of the designs. The only changes I did were to restore my taskbar to the right of the screen and pin some folders to the Start. I also became very fond of the 'Quick Access Folder' because it saves so much time searching for the most recent folder that I used. Some new apps were installed but I paid no attention because they were irrelevant to me.







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Rants


Putting a USB 2.0 slot on the right side is not useful at all. If I use this for the mouse, then my hand keeps bumping into the USB plug. So the mouse is always connected to the USB 3.0 Port on the left side.




I wish the built-in webcam had at least a 'decent' image quality. Sometimes it looks okay, sometimes not. But it's best when there's ample lighting.




The built-in microphone makes decent recordings for speech, but also captures too much hiss. In the end, there's too much fuss with too many edits to correct the voice recordings especially since I do them frequently.




There's only one slot for a combo headphone/microphone so my old headset -- which has 2 separate slots for the audio out and mic in, cannot be used here. For the purpose of a good voice recording and for good stereo sound, I had to purchase a USB headset at an additional cost. 


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Conclusion


It's been over half a year now since I got this Asus X550ZE-026H Gaming Laptop. Surely there might be a change in how I perceive this laptop now, or it probably might show signs of slowing down in performance. But let's see...

There are no games installed in this laptop and I primarily use this for browsing the web (with more than 10 tabs open at the same time) and editing recordings/videos/photos.

Editing Full HD videos at 32-bit is easy as a breeze with no lags. Rendering a 5-minute Full HD video takes about 45 minutes to finish.

There's sufficient RAM and processor speed and this laptop runs smoothly even as I open up to 5 apps at the same time, with 10 or more tabs in Chrome.

I've never encountered random restarts prior to the upgrade, but there's been about 4 incidents since last month. I sense that Chrome has partly something to do with this. Moreso, this belated upgrade is now more stable so I could only imagine the plight of early movers.

There's a tendency for the processor to get hot when I'm editing videos or have tasks that are graphics intensive. A few tweaks in the Advanced Power Options helps to prevent overheating.

Overall, the Asus X550ZE-026H is a good performer and never let me down. Windows 10 is a perfect OS to go with this laptop and it's more stable than before.




For more info, check it out here:








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Your generous donations help me to review more products
and re-sell them at budget prices.
That way, more people will become happy!


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The Nikon D5200 as my weapon of choice.

Vintage lenses are my poison.

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