Asus K52J Laptop Review

January 17, 2011

I’m not usually one to go Boxing Day shopping, let alone make an impulse purchase on something this expensive, however I couldn’t resist the urge to pick up an Asus K52J laptop when I was at Staples helping my father pick out a new computer. Normally I spend weeks researching a purchase of this magnitude and make sure I know all of it’s strengths and weaknesses before I walk into the store with a pocket full of cash. In this case, I was waiting in line at 8am for the store to open when the employees worked their way up the line asking each visitor what they were waiting in line for, and would give them a piece of paper guaranteeing them the item once they got inside (to avoid customers trampling each other when the doors opened). Although I had been humouring the idea of buying a new laptop for several months, I had intended to wander around the store and look at each laptop and it’s specs before making a decision, as the flyer gave very minimal details about each build. When put on the spot and asked what I was there to buy, I pointed at the best Asus laptop they had in the flyer and said I would take it — still unsure of whether I’d go through with it or not. I was ensured one of only three units of that model that they had in store. After we were allowed into the store I tried to find the laptop I had agreed to buy, and it was not on display anywhere, rather I had to wait in another lineup to redeem my ticket for the item. So I waited yet another 45 minutes in line and during that time I decided I’d just buy it and spend my holiday playing around with it, knowing their return policy was flexible enough that I could return it if I was unhappy So, how did it hold up?

First Impressions
I won’t bore you with the details of unboxing the unit, as the packaging was rather bland. After removing it from the box and peeling off the protective plastic layer I gave it a good look over. The unit was black and the only marking it had on the top was the Asus symbol, one which I have come to associate with quality. Once I lifted the lid and took a look at the inside I found myself very impressed with the keyboard, the keys looked similar to the ones you’d find on a Macbook and are very pleasant to type on. Being a programmer who spends many hours per day bashing away at a keyboard this was the most essential quality about the build of the laptop (not taking into consideration things like processor speed and memory). What impressed me the most was that they still managed to fit in a numpad on the right and it was not overly cramped, though some keys were placed in some rather odd positions. The track pad is centered between where your palms would naturally rest so unlike most computers I haven’t had an issue with accidentally moving the cursor with my palm as I type. The track pad also has multi-touch functionality for those who like to use gestures, which I will cover in more detail later. The plastic surrounding the keyboard is a textured black pattern that does a remarkable job of resisting fingerprints and smudges. Overall the keyboard is very sturdy, the keys do not stick and have a great tactile response, and the whole computer does not flex when you type as some do.

First Boot
After setting up the unit and booting it for the first time I was asked to make a backup. The employee at Staples had urged me strongly to do this as the unit did not come with an installation disc in case something happened. Knowing that I may very well be returning it I figured it would be best to have this backup to restore if I did decide to take it back. So I clicked yes and popped in a blank DVD-R. At that point I was told it would take 5 DVDs and it then went on to start making an image, that stage took about 45 minutes, then it proceeded to start burning. Each disc took an extremely long time because after burning it, it insisted on verifying each disc before allowing you to proceed. To make matters worse, it simply refused to verify the third disc. It sat at 1% verified for several hours before I gave up and ejected the disc, at that point it complained and said I had to redo the disc. So I let it try again only to find myself in the same boat. After several hours of frustration I finally gave up. Needless to say I was not impressed as I had wasted half of my day and several blank discs, when all I wanted to do was play with my new laptop.

After giving up on the backup process I proceeded to cruise through the menus and shortcuts on the desktop, I’ll admit I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of software that came preinstalled. I’ve owned many Asus motherboards and other various products over the years so many of the programs were familiar but there were far more that I did not recognize. Since I am not one who likes a cluttered computer I went to work and started removing everything I did not need on the system. I found a great forum post that covered all the Asus software that came preinstalled and made recommendations on what should be kept and what needed to be purged from the system. I suggest all owners of a new Asus laptop take a look at that site and clean out the junk you don’t need, as my computer had over 70 processes running on start.

The one piece of software you’ll want to leave installed is their facial recognition software. It’s a bit slow at times but once you train it you can have a lot of fun logging into your computer. Half the time I end up logging I manually because the room is too dark for it to recognize me, and there’s no equivalent software for Linux (I’ve mostly been running Arch Linux on it). Though it’s fun to show off you don’t want to rely on the facial recognition software for security as it can be fooled, according to many bloggers, but in all honesty if someone is sitting in front of your computer it has already been compromised.


Operating System Windows® 7 Home Premium
CPU i3-350M
Memory 4GB
Storage 500GB
Video NVIDIA GeForce 310M (1GB)
Screen 15.6″ HD
Wireless 802.11n

Build Quality
One thing I really wanted to talk about was the quality of the keyboard, trackpad, plastic housing as well as things like the USB and audio jacks. Quite often when you get a laptop in this price range the actual build of the system feels cheap, the whole keyboard can flex and making crackling noises as you type — especially if it’s sitting in your lap. The connectors are all positioned in useful places, there’s USB plugs on each side so whether you’re a lefty or righty you wont be catching your mouse on memory sticks and cables.

The keyboard is absolutely brilliant. Not only is it pleasant to type on but none of the keys stick like on my Asus 4G netbook, I had to replace a couple of keys before it became usable. The plastic housing around the keyboard is solid and doesn’t flex when you type, but is cluttered with a few decals covering the specs and all the usual jazz. Since it’s a mid sized laptop it has a fair bit of weight to it, so you may get tired lugging it around an airport all day but it feels like it could survive numerous good bumps that are bound to happen when travelling, many of my gadgets over the years have fallen apart at the slightest tap.

The lid of the laptop is a very shinny and high polished black with just a simple ASUS logo on it. Beyond that, once you remove the decals there’s no branding on the laptop and when set up with a black desktop theme it has a very hacker-esque style to it. There are no flashing back lights on some of their higher end models, just a subtle power light and a few green lights on the front to indicate power, hard drive activity and all the other usual stuff. If you’re looking for a laptop that’s built strong and rugged like a MacBook the Asus K52J is the way to go!

The Asus K52J is a powerful laptop with a reasonable price tag. I picked mine up for $500 CDN on a Boxing Day special, however they usually retail for several hundred more. The processor is quick and snappy, programs open almost instantly and task switching doesn’t phase it. On top of that I took it for a run with a few games and was impressed with how it handled them. I could play Half-Life Episode 2 on the same settings I use with my Quad Core desktop computer with a dedicated video card. I won’t go too in depth with how it handled games as I don’t have all the bench marking software, but for a laptop that was intended for business and casual use I was not expecting to be able to play games — so this is an added bonus.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Hello there, 🙂

    was just wondering what is your operating system in this laptop?
    and so far, is it still working great (with no bugs)?

    after reading your review, i think i want to buy this one. 🙂

  2. @don – Wow, can’t believe I didn’t mention that in the review. Guess I did tag it as Windows 7 though. To be more specific, it’s Windows 7 Home Premium that came with my laptop, but it can also come with Basic, Professional or Ultimate depending on what you’re willing to pay and what’s in stock at your local stores. I’ll add it to the review, thanks for pointing this out.

  3. your welcome. 🙂

    now i want to know if your experiencing any bugs or glitches on it? this is the first time ill be buying ASUS laptops. so i dont know how LONG that laptop will last long.

    my IBM and HP still working great like 5 years now. and i wonder if it will go the same to ASUS. i like this one because it has a 1GB Video.

  4. @fettesPS: nice review you got there. ^_^ I had the same laptop as yours… so far its working pretty good. I bought it last December as a Christmas Gift for myself. This is my first laptop and i really hope it will still work 5 or more years from now… haha…

    @don: in my case, so far i haven’t experience any problem with my laptop. its been 4 months already. So good to hear about your other laptop its been with you for 5 years now and its still working… i hope this laptop will last that long or even longer…

  5. is it possible to install win xp on a virtual machine on this laptop or it asnt supported?

  6. I like the laptop but my only complaints are the relatively low battery life before requiring a recharge and I’ve also been a bit unlucky as I’m now replacing my 2nd hard drive that died. The battery also needs replacing and I’ve only had the machine a year and a half.

    But it is quick and I’ve had no other problems. I removed the Windows 7 Home and installed Windows 7 Ultimate.

  7. Hello. I just want to ask if what is the best and compatible audio driver for this laptop? I find my audio not so good, very low. Thanks. Please send me a reply thru my email address. Thank you so much.

  8. Hello. I just want to ask if what is the best and compatible audio driver for this laptop? I find my audio not so good, very low. Thanks. Please send me a reply thru my email address. Thank you so much.

  9. @saeid – I actually just went with what Windows Update installed for me. Haven’t had any sound issues, I watch movies on it and play games with no issues!

  10. Hello. I’v just bought it. It’s brilliant. My specs: intel i-5-480 2,6Ghz mem4GB radeon hd6370 1GB.
    he is white and, my wife said it look like macbook:) and i took it cose i can play on him lot of good games. :):)
    ps sorry for my english:)

  11. Hi guyz!!! Is it possible to rollback and install & operate Windows XP on an Asus K52J laptop?

  12. @Molo
    You know that windows 7 ( any type) contains all the needed drivers for most operating systems, Windows XP doesn’t or their not compatible with new systems.
    I would recommend to keep Windows 7 if you don’t have much computer operating experience

    PS: my Asus k52j is awesome 🙂

  13. I have this model now for about 7 moths and yes the batteries is not that hot mine you I have never owned a laptop that was that great in the first place so I was not surprised. I have friends with Mac, same story,

    The color is not black if you look closely under sun light it is a deep dark sexy brown, this threw me off when I read the specs at asus but they state it is a brown.

    Windows 7 is installed on your hard drive, if you should get a virus or a crash you can reinstall windows it is there, I did not do back up but I had to reinstall widows because I installed the wrong driver for nvidia, just a tip Only use the driver from ASUS do not bother going to Nvidia website it won’t work.

    I only had this problem because I was trying to make it work with the online virtual worlds “Second life” and there software was not really compatible at the time so I had to do a lot of tweaking at one point, but did not have any problems right off the bat with another games or software. I had some problems with the touch pad, it was very sensitive but if you’re using an external mouse look for the touch pad setting , you can set the touch pad to deactivate when it sees a usb mouse, otherwise when you typing and your palm touches the touch pad it screws you up lol.

    The Original Price I saw was around 1000.00 when it first came out and it was on sale at 799.00 but the store owed me a lot of money so I took this model and felt I should of gotten more out of it at that price or at least a I5 but I took it and ran because they were going under. 500.00 is a great price and for what you get. Now around 700 will get you an intel Core I5, but really laptops never made a good gaming machine look at a desk top. but I have many ASUS mother boards over the years and so far it has not let me down and you are with a great manufacture with a long great history.

    No complaints about the built in WI-FI and you should have the Altec Lansing speakers. Sounds great.

    I have a 5 year old acer travel mate 250, still works like a charm, but the same story, it is the batteries. I am sure this product will last a long time as long you take care of it plus this computer is the easiest to clean the cpu fan then other laptops, a few screws from underneath and a cover comes off, get a”Can OF Air” and go for it. Every Six months clean it I would suggest.

  14. Hey,

    So happy to read this… as i am a proud owner of it as well… and i picked it up during the same sale 😛

    its just awesome… it even handles battlefield 3 !!! im amazed!!! 🙂

  15. Hi,

    I am also an owner of this laptop for a year now, and I am having the similar issues as Pete. This is the second time I will be replacing the battery for it. My hard drive is still ok, but batteries are begining to drain my pocket ($40-80 CND + 13% Tax + S&H depending on purchase). Every 6 months the battery looses 96% of its life expectancy.

    FettesPS: any problems yet?

  16. FettesPS: yeah, I got that problem too, it gets stuck sometimes… try moving it around (with a nail or something) 😉

  17. hello man i just formated my laptop now im struglin to found drivers can u plz help me.tanx and sorry for ma english

  18. i am using your brand ASUS K52J Series and system is having a serious problem. Please help me by sending some tips about the repairs, details follow after attending to me. Thanks

  19. Hi everybody ! I bought this lappy beginning of 2011 and it runs sweet still ! Yeah battery stuff as expected but original one ! However if some one knows about turning the sound up that would be awesome and i bought a bluetooth dongle also . Windows says its fine and working dandy but my phone a HTC Incredible S just wont find it and vice versa . Any thoughts ? Its running an I3 with Home premium etc . Also like to say its an awesome gamer as I run Microsoft Flight sim X on it and its sweet !!! Jus no sound or Bluetooth ! Anyhoo Thanks

  20. Bought this laptop 2 years ago and now has a broken mother board. It was nice when it worked though.

  21. @Mike – Ah, too bad! Mine still works great, and I even dropped mine from about 4 feet off the ground a few months back.

  22. hi friends I used asus k52j since 3 year upto now I have no problem in software and virus its so pleasure to say I choosed right laptop its so great

  23. Hello! I bought an Asus K52J series laptop and when I checked I cannot set it on English version.some keys are not in proper position as iy is written and the webcam is reverse position…

  24. Looking to buy a Asus K52J, On question is about the charging votlage input, it states 200-240 volt input but i was under the impression the all computers will be able to us 110-240 volts. I am in asia so i am wondering if this model can only be used in a 200-240 volt enviroment

  25. @Sid – you’d be best to contact Asus about this, not some random guy on the internet. I live in Canada and we use 110v here but I wouldn’t for a second expect it to work with 220v, not without a special power adapter.

  26. I still use one of these, 7 or 8 years old. I replaced the HDD with an SSD a couple of years ago and that gave the laptop a new lease of life. Still original battery, and of course at this age, doesn’t hold charge for long (less than one hour). A bit of broken plastic on the lid.

    But considering it’s age it has not failed me. Keep telling myself time for an upgrade, but the darn thing still goes!

  27. Hello. I have one to.
    My question is can i make a upgrade of cpu?.
    Wich ssd can i put in.

    I’m Pleased to know that are stil many People using one of this. It was a good buy. Now it needs a litlw improvemment. Mine its still an i3 and i hav a hdd. Cant i put a i5 or I5? Board handle it?
    Help me
    Best regards.

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