Introduction and Design

Llano offers inexpensive mobile gaming.

Back in June of 2011, we reviewed AMD’s new Llano mobile processor line by taking a look at a testbed system. The overall review was favorable, but it was also based on the best AMD had to offer, a quad-core A8-3500M processor running alongside a separate Radeon discrete GPU. 

If you take a tour through your local electronics retailer, you’ll find that this is not the most common combination of parts on store shelves. The less expensive and less powerful A4 and A6 processors are more common. In our original Llano laptop review, I theorized that these would remain competitive at their respective price points, but we didn’t have the opportunity to test a laptop equipped with the less expensive hard. 

Now, via the ASUS K53T, we finally have a chance to thoroughly examine a mid-range Llano laptop.

As you can see from the specifications, this is as mainstream as it gets. Priced at about $670 on amazon, this laptop is affordable, but at this same price point you’ll be able to buy some Core i5 laptops. Let’s hope the K53T has been eating its Wheaties, because that’s a high bar to jump.


ASUS has a tendency to heavily reuse a chassis among various different configurations, and the K53 is no exception. Search Amazon for “ASUS K53” or “ASUS A53” and you’ll find that this same design is used in a number of laptops ranging in price for $350 to as much as $750.

Although I’m sure this helps keep the accountants at ASUS in the black, it’s a tactic that sometimes bites the company in the rear. In our earlier ASUS K53 review, I concluded that the laptop’s high price wasn’t supported by the chassis, which was clearly suited for less expensive products.

That story doesn’t change with the K53T which, as far as I can tell, is simply a variant of the chassis used for the Intel-powered K53 we reviewed. The only significant difference is that the palmrest, once constructed with a thin layer of mocha-infused metal, is now mocha-infused plastic. Any luxury previously felt is gone as a result. 

Connectivity isn’t incredible, either. While VGA and HDMI are provided, USB 3.0 is limited to a single port, with two additional USB 2.0 ports backing it up. Some competitors are offering two USB 3.0 ports, so ASUS is at a bit of a disadvantage. 

There are more attractive laptops in this price range – HP’s latest entries, even those in the sub-$500 range, are more attractive – but it’s not bad, either. Enthusiasts will enjoy the widespread use of matte materials, and consumers will enjoy the solid construction. Adequate is the proper word to use here – the K53T’s design won’t blow you away, but it’ll do.


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