The all-new ASUS Laptop X509FA is an everyday laptop which doesn’t stand out that much: as far as looks are concerned, it isn’t particularly exciting. Everything about it seems dull, from features to performance, or display quality even. However, this overall grayness does not automatically mean it’s a dud.
There are three current models on sale. In my opinion, the ASUS X509FA-DB51 is the best one, with its Intel Core i5 processor. Sure, there’s an i7 option, as well, but I don’t think the price difference is justified. The only difference between these two models is the CPU. And as far as I’m concerned, there’s no need for extra processing power, when all other components stay the same.
Its design is uninspiring to say the least. However, it does feature some redeeming qualities. The all-plastic body is reinforced with these metal support braces. They’ve added a big one just under the keyboard in order to reduce flexing and two more on the sides of the screen. Presumably to increase the rigidity of the lid and keep it from bending.
So, despite its reinforced chassis, the ASUS X509 still looks and feels like an entry level or low to mid range level laptop, which it actually is. We must also take into account how affordable the ASUS is compared to models with similar specs.
ASUS X509FA review: a people pleaser
Performance-wise, the ASUS X509 is pretty balanced. The X509FA-DB51 model this review is based on features an 8th generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor. This is a Whiskey Lake generation CPU launched in late 2018. It has 4 cores, 6 megabytes of cache and a clock speed of 1.6 GHz to 3.9 GHz.
Compared to the more expensive model, the ASUS X509FA-DB71, which is fitted with the Intel Core i7-8565U processor, the i5 version is about 10% slower. That difference is barely noticeable by most users, even advanced ones. It is my opinion that ASUS should have thrown another upgrade in there to make the switch to this much more expensive model worthwhile.
System memory is rated at 8 gigabytes of DDR4 SDRAM. Considering how the mid range processor will handle everyday tasks, system memory is adequate. You’ll be able to multitask, edit photos with ease and use a host of modern software without glitches with this configuration.
It’s worth noting that out of all available system memory, you can only upgrade part of it. That is because 4 gigabytes are soldered to the main board. Therefore, if you want to extend memory size, you can replace the second memory module with an 8 gigabyte stick to reach a maximum of 12 gigabytes of RAM.
The ASUS X509FA comes equipped with a speedy 256-gigabyte PCIe Gen3 solid state drive. Regardless of model, that all you’ll get. For most users who need an everyday all-rounder, 256 gigabytes are more than enough. However, it would have been nice of ASUS to include a 512 GB SSD on the Core i7 mode.
Still, they’ve included the option to further extend storage capacity by adding another HDD or SSD, as there’s a free available slot.
Graphics and Display
Don’t expect much from the X509FA in terms of gaming. Its integrated graphics card, the Intel HD Graphics 620 won’t take you too far. That being said, less demanding games like Minecraft, CS:GO, popular MMOGs and such will be playable.
The X509FA features a 15.6-inch screen with Full HD display capable of wide viewing angles. It’s nothing spectacular, as colors look more washed out when compared to more expensive laptops. However, considering price, this display isn’t that bad. For around $600 you get a FHD IPS-like display.
While it’s true that this ASUS features narrower bezels, they’re not as thin all across. Therefore, I’ve noticed its profile is still bulkier than similar modern laptops.
Interface and networking options
I/O options are plentiful. This is an area where ASUS usually shines. The laptop features different connection types. Both modern and legacy USB port are present. Here’s the list of all available interface options:
- USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
- USB 3.0 Type-A
- 2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
- Combo audio jack
- Fingerprint reader (optional)
Networking options are rather standard for a mid range laptop. The X509FA features Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) wireless connectivity and Bluetooth 4.2 technology.
Portability and battery life
The ASUS X509FA (see it on Amazon.com) is on the heavier side of things, as far as 15-inch laptops go. Also, it’s one of the thickest I’ve seen this year, measuring just south of an inch, while many models boast 0.7 inches already. This 4.2 pound laptop clearly hasn’t been designed to be a trusty travel companion.
I wouldn’t commute with it, that’s for sure. However, this notebook will feel at home on a desk or around the house or even at your office. It’s not an ultrabook, but a convenient desktop replacement for everyday tasks.
ASUS haven’t published battery life estimates yet. They do say that the X509FA has a 2-cell, 32 Whr battery pack. Which, to be honest, doesn’t sound that good. You should probably expect a maximum of 6 to 8 hours out of one charge, but we’ll have to wait for real-world scenario testing to emerge, just to be sure.
There is one laptop model that can really compete with this ASUS. The Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ (full review here) is an extremely popular notebook which features the exact same hardware components (Intel Core i5-8265U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD), but costs significantly less. Also, it has a slimmer profile and weighs less, making it more portable than the X509.
All in all, the ASUS X509FA-DB51 is an acceptable mid range all-rounder. While it does suffer from a couple of drawbacks, its strength lies in what’s under the hood. At the end of day, this is a workhorse that won’t let you down as long as you’ll use it as intended. It will handle all your daily computing needs, and then some.