A few weeks ago we did a review of the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE gaming laptop with the GTX 1050 Ti on board. But aside from the pricier GTX 1050 Ti configuration, ASUS is offering a more budget-friendly variant with GTX 1050 and we really hope it’s just about the same notebook with just a different GPU on board. That’s because we liked the GL553VE with the small exception of the price.
What you may have already noticed from the headline, the model we are reviewing isn’t named ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD but instead carries the simple name FX553VD. Even so, both laptops are absolutely identical spec-wise and pretty close when it comes to user experience. However, the FX553VD tends to be more on the budget side of things and can only be found in some regions. In any case, the gaming and synthetic benchmarks, temperatures and display tests apply to the more widely available GL553VD. But what to expect differently from the FX553VD compared to the GL553VE (with GTX 1050 Ti)? Well, the keyboard isn’t RGB LED illuminated – it uses only red backlight – the chassis isn’t branded with the ROG logo and we expect slightly lower thermals due to the virtually undemanding GTX 1050. There’s one thing for sure, though, the IPS panel delivers identically good image quality compared to the GL553VE, which sets ASUS’ budget gaming solution apart from its competitors.
You can check the available configurations and their prices here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
Although the FX553VD isn’t ROG Strix branded, it comes in identical to the ASUS ROG Strix box with the usual stuff like AC power adapter, power cord, a cleaning cloth, a cable tie and the usual user manuals.
Design and construction
As we already mentioned, the ASUS FX553VD comes in identical to the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD/GL553VE chassis with the small exception of the lid. Now instead of the flashy orange ROG logo in the middle, you will see the standard ASUS logo. However, the brushed aluminum lid is here to stay.
Speaking of which, it’s fairly flexible and fingerprints are quite prominent but the former applies only to the middle section of the aluminum plate. Twisting the whole lid isn’t easy and the bottom bezel seems pretty solid despite the fact that hinges are placed far apart. While we are on the hinges, they are plastic but don’t compromise in stability – the screen remains firmly in place even when used in unstable environment. Also, the lid can be opened using one hand only but the base lifts up a little. The bottom cover is made of the usual hard roughened plastic and a few extra vents for better airflow.
The sides of the laptop measure at exactly 30 mm in height – again identical to the GL553. The distribution of connectors is also the same – RJ-45, HDMI, 3.5 mm audio jack, two USB 3.0 and one USB-C 3.1 connector on the left while the right side accommodates only the optical drive and one USB 2.0 port. The SD card reader is positioned on the front side along with the stereo loudspeaker grills. While the port distribution is more than okay, we think it might be awkward to some users because of the near-frontal positioning. Cables sticking out from the front corners isn’t the best design solution in some cases.
Unfortunately, our opinion of the interior remains the same. The only thing we really like about it is the keyboard – long key travel, clicky feedback, WASD keys highlighted, relatively big arrow keys, media controls and good key spacing – excellent for gaming. However, the touchpad is still wobbly, attracts fingerprints and the mouse clicks feel mushy. Moreover, the keyboard tray is flexible in some areas and that’s due to the thin plastic finish imitating brushed aluminum. It’s also a huge fingerprint magnet. We do have to note again that the laptop we’ve reviewed is the ASUS FX553VD and comes with only red LED keyboard illumination while the standard GL553VD model still ships with the RGB LED.
Like always, the GL, in this case the FX, lineup has always been performance-centric instead of relying on build quality and outstanding design. The FX553VD (GL553VD) remains as one of the best price/performance gaming laptops with a crisp IPS panel but be ready to sacrifice some of the premium materials along the way. We liked the Lenovo Legion Y520 and Acer Aspire VX 15’s chassis design better, although they use plastic as well.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
We’ve already did the disassembly on the GL553VE model and the GL553VD doesn’t offering anything out of the ordinary. You just need to unscrew all the bolts that hold the bottom panel in order ot access the upgradeable hardware. Be careful, though, as there’s one screw hiding under the silicone cap in the middle.
Storage upgrade options – M.2 SSD, 2.5-inch HDD/SSD
The unit uses the same HDD and SSD as the previously reviewed GL553VE – SK Hynix 256GB M.2 SSD running on the SATA interface, unfortunately, and a standard HGST 1TB HDD @7200 rpm.
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD||HGST 1TB HDD @7200 rpm||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
|M.2 slots||SK Hynix 256GB M.2 SATA SSD (2280)||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
Like every motherboard from this class, it holds two RAM slots one of which is taken by an SK Hynix 8GB DDR4-2400 chip.
|Slot 1||SK Hynix 8GB DDR4-2400||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
|Slot 2||Free||Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)|
The Wi-Fi module can be found next to the battery and it’s from Intel with model number 7265NGW.
No surprises here – the battery is 48Wh.
And again, we remain fairly disappointed by the fact that the cooling design hasn’t changed for quite some time now. And by some time, we mean four or five generations since one of the first N-series ASUS laptops. With a more powerful hardware, the single-fan cooling solution just isn’t enough to keep the internals running at lower temperatures. This is once again proved by our stress tests towards the end of this review.
To our surprise, the laptop uses a high-quality AH-IPS panel from LG with model number LP156WF6-SPB6, which is also used in the ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS – a higher-end 15-inch laptop with GTX 1070. The panel has Full HD (1920×1080) resolution with 142 ppi and 0.18 x 0.18 mm pixel pitch. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 60 cm.
NOTE: The panel that we found in the FX553VD might be different from the original GL553VD model so we suggest checking the panel of the notebook before buying our profiles or before purchasing the machine in the first place. Our best guess is that if the panel isn’t from LG, it’s from BOE and matches the one of the GL553VE version we’ve reviewed a while ago.
As expected, the display offers excellent viewing angles.
The maximum recorded brightness in our lab was 312 cd/m2 in the middle and 305 cd/m2 as average across the surface with only 6% deviation. The color temperature is exactly the optimal one – 6500K. The contrast ratio is also good – 980:1.
We’ve also measured the color deviation (dE2000) compared to the center of the screen and it turned out to be 2.1, which is once again a good result. Values above 4.0 are usually unwanted, especially for color-sensitive work.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The sRGB coverage is a tad lower than the BOE variant of the GL553VE – 88%. However, this is still enough for good gaming and multimedia experience.
Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut pre and post calibration.
The “Gaming and Web Design” profile is created at 140 cd/m2 brightness, D65 (6500K) white point and optimal gamma in sRGB mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
Gaming capabilities (Response time)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 27ms. Demanding gamers will notice the so-called ghosting effect (blurred frames) during fast-paced racing games and first-person shooters.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
Our equipment detected PWM from 0 to 99% screen brightness which isn’t good news but at least the frequency of the emitted light is fairly high and reduces the negative impact.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SDP) graph.
Now we can see why the GL553 series cost a little bit extra compared to its direct rivals – the screen uses a high-quality IPS panel with wide sRGB coverage, high contrast, high maximum brightness and fairly accurate color reproduction out of the box. Of course, you can make most out of this panel by using our custom profiles and also get rid of the harmful PWM, which is present from 0 to 99% screen brightness.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for ASUS FX553VD (GL553VD) configurations with 15.6″ LG LP156WF6-SPB6/span> (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
The sound quality is good – there’s enough clarity in the low and high frequencies.
The specs sheet provided below is for the model used in this review. Hardware specification may vary depending on your region.
|CPU||Intel Core i7-7700HQ (4-core, 2.80 -3.80 GHz, 6MB cache)|
|RAM||8GB (1x 8192MB) – DDR4, 2400MHz|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (4GB GDDR5)|
|HDD/SSD||1TB HDD (7200 rpm)|
|Display||15.6-inch (39.62 cm.) – 1920×1080 (Full HD) IPS, matte|
|Optical drive||DVD burner|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Thickness||30 mm (1.18″)|
|Weight||2.5 kg (5.51 lbs)|
We used a fresh install of Windows 10 (64-bit) for our testing and if you wish to perform a clean install yourself, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from ASUS’ official support page.
As expected, the results from the battery test aren’t too different from the ones we got in the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE review. Only the video playback time is considerably different but we are not sure why. In any case, the scores suggest of average battery performance due to the demanding Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU and FHD IPS panel combined with a relatively low capacity battery rated at 48Wh.
Of course, all tests were performed using the usual settings – Wi-Fi running, Windows battery saving feature turned on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
Not a bad result for an entry-level gaming laptop – 350 minutes (5 hours and 50 minutes).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Lower than expected result here – 293 minutes (4 hours and 53 minutes).
We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
It’s quite unlikely that you will start a gaming session without being close to a power source, but it’s good to know that you can play for more an hour – 110 minutes (1 hour and 50 minutes).
CPU – Intel Core i7-7700HQ
The Core i7-7700HQ is Kaby Lake’s top-shelf direct successor of the Skylake Core i7-6700HQ offering slightly higher clock speeds on the almost identical architecture and TDP. While Intel markets Kaby Lake’s architecture as “14nm+”, the Core i7-7700HQ is still on the same 14nm node with the only significant update being in the iGPU department. That’s why the slightly altered clock speeds (2.8 – 3.8 GHz vs 2.6 – 3.5 GHz) bring not more than 10% increase in performance compared to the Core i7-6700HQ. We still have the supported Hyper-Threading technology with 4/8 – core/thread design, the same 45W TDP and 6MB cache.
However, the Kaby Lake generation boasts an updated video engine for the iGPU, although, its performance is just about the same. Branded as Intel HD Graphics 630, the GPU offers slightly higher clock speeds (350 – 1100 MHz vs 350 – 1050 MHz) compared to the Intel HD Graphics 530 and support for H265/HEVC Main10 profile at 10-bit color depth and the VP9 codec for full hardware acceleration. In addition, the HDCP 2.2 is also supported allowing Netflix’s 4K video streaming.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://freesmart.biz/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://freesmart.biz/processor/intel-core-i7-7700hq/
Results are from the Cinebench 20 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (4GB GDDR5)
The GeForce GTX 1050 GPU for laptops is part of the latest NVIDIA Pascal lineup of GPUs featuring a brand new architecture design but on contrary to the rest of the GPUs from NVIDIA’s lineup, the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti feature a Samsung-made FinFET 14nm chip instead of the TSMC 16nm found in the GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080. The graphics card is based on the GP107 chip paired with 4GB of GDDR5 memory via 128-bit interface.
Since the GTX 1050 is quite dependent on the cooling design, its performance may vary but if the laptop handles the GPU well and shouldn’t be much different from its desktop counterpart. Anyway, the GPU operates at relatively high frequencies (1354 – 1493 MHz) but incorporates the same amount of CUDA cores (640) while the memory is clocked at 7000 MHz (effective). These specs ensure a huge performance boost over the previous generation of Maxwell GPUs. For instance, the GTX 1050 performs better than the GTX 960M and can be compared to the GTX 965M’s capabilities while running at similar to the GTX 960M’s TDP of around 40-50W.
However, along with all the power consumption and performance improvements, the GPU now supports essential features like DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, HDR, improved H.265 encoding, and decoding.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://freesmart.biz/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://freesmart.biz/video-card/nvidia-geforce-gtx-1050-4gb-gddr5/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||115 fps||64 fps||31 fps|
|Far Cry Primal||Full HD, High (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||47 fps||41 fps||33 fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Very High (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||77 fps||50 fps||13 fps|
|Tom Clancy’s The Division||Full HD, Medium (Check settings)||Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)||Full HD, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||61 fps||47 fps||28 fps|
The ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE did pretty well in our temperature tests, although not as good as we expected considering last year’s model, the ASUS ROG GL552VW, which is kind of strange since the cooling design hasn’t changed over the last few generations including the N-series laptops from ASUS. In any case, we expect the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD (FX553VD) to be able to handle the GTX 1050 a bit better because, in theory, the latter should generate less heat than its more powerful sibling the GTX 1050 Ti. Still, we need to point out that the two-staged stress test that we perform doesn’t represent real-life usage, although it’s still a good way to assess the overall stability and effectiveness of the cooling system.
During the 1-hour long CPU stress test, the chip was able to maintain relatively normal temperatures considering the fact that it’s a 15-inch entry-level gaming laptop. However, the operating frequency varied between 3.0 and 3.1 GHz, which is slightly lower than the performance we’ve seen in the GL553VE model at around 3.3-3.4 GHz.
As expected, when we turned on the GPU stress test, the CPU started throttling at around 2.3 GHz and slowly made its way down to 1.8 GHz. Interestingly enough, we didn’t notice any significant change in the CPU’s temperatures. Compared to the GTX 1050 Ti version, the GL553VD maintains slightly higher CPU clocks but we didn’t notice any change in the GPU department. The system was able to utilize the full performance of the GTX 1050 but at the cost of fairly high temperatures – 82 °C.
Despite the inner temperatures and the CPU throttling that occurs, which probably won’t cause any issues during normal use or gaming but it’s still something to be taken into consideration, the whole interior is exceptionally cool. There’s not a single spot where you can feel warmth. That’s really hard to come across when looking for a gaming notebook.
Despite the lower price and the less powerful GTX 1050, our opinion of the notebook remains largely unaffected. The build quality feels somehow subpar or at least it doesn’t match the competition in most regards. The touchpad is also wobbly and unusable in some cases, although we suspect that the issues we had with it are limited to our unit. Still, the reviewed laptop is not a pre-production sample and we got it directly from the retailer, which means that there is bad quality control. In any case, we liked the keyboard quite a lot, which is more important for a gaming-oriented machine.
It’s obvious that ASUS didn’t stress on the build quality and materials but aims to bring the best possible gaming experience via hardware. For the same price you can get a GTX 1050 Ti-powered laptop easily, like the Acer Aspire VX 15, the Lenovo Y520 or the Dell Inspiron 7567. They are also pretty well-built but if you go with them, you will be sacrificing image quality, which brings us to the main key selling point of the GL553VD.
ASUS continues to use high-quality IPS panels even on its entry-level ROG gaming laptops. Our tests show a best in class panel with wide sRGB coverage, high contrast, high maximum brightness and fairly accurate color reproduction out of the box. This is great news for users seeking an alternative to the current market trend of similarly-priced gaming laptops with mediocre (at best) panels. And finally, if you don’t mind the higher inner temperatures, which apparently don’t reflect the user experience at all, during gaming and heavy workload, the ASUS FX553VD is an excellent choice in this regard.
So, should you buy the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD? Yes, if you are looking for cool operations under load, good keyboard and excellent IPS panel and no, if you are looking for a more powerful GPU, like the GTX 1050 Ti and better build quality overall. In this case, we suggest considering one of its direct rivals – the Acer Aspire VX 15, Lenovo Y520 and Dell’s Inspiron 15 7567.
You can check the available configurations and their prices here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
- Excellent keyboard
- Better battery life than before
- Bright IPS panel with wide sRGB coverage and high contrast – excellent for gaming and multimedia
- The cooling system keeps the surface extremely cool even during heavy workload
- Not the best build quality in its price range
- Wobbly touchpad
- The screen uses PWM from 0 to 99% brightness (our Health-Guard profile fixes that)
- High inner temperatures during heavy workload, CPU throttling