The centrepiece of the Asus K53S is the impressive Intel Core i7-2670QM CPU that blew through our benchmarking tests and placed one of the best scores for a laptop in this price range.
Although the K53S has one or two drawbacks that might influence your buying decision, the fact you can get that kind of power for under £700 means it's worthy of consideration.
Along with the CPU, Asus has given the K53S a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 610M GPU, which adds an additional 2GB of video memory and means you'll be able to use this laptop for some light gaming action or a spot of on-the-fly editing.
General performance will certainly benefit from this extra processing muscle, and we found the Asus K53S stayed fluid and smooth even with a selection of applications open and running. Moreover, the basic user can be sure the K53S will continue to run comfortably for a few years before needing to be replaced.
If we were being picky, we could argue that the K53S should ideally come with 6GB or 8GB of RAM, but 4GB is still pretty standard and should be more than ample for most people.
Battery life: 202 minutes
3DMark 2006: 5,666
In terms of storage, you're given a 750GB HDD to fill with media and documents, which we found to be more than suitable. If you need additional storage, the K53S has three USB ports (one of which is USB 3.0) for connecting up an external hard drive.
While we love what the Asus K53S offers under the hood, outwardly it's a different story. The lid has a rather bland black striped pattern while the interior of the chassis has a brownish-purple aluminium surface.
Asus is keen to point out, and rightly so, that the chassis stays cool even when you've got a heavy workload running.
The keyboard is an isolation-style affair with decently spaced keys and a (fairly cramped) numeric keypad. It doesn't feel like the most solid keyboard ever, but will satisfy typists as flex was at a minimum.
The chassis itself though is quite a beast, measuring a fairly hefty 376 x 253 x 40mm and weighing 2.7kg. We clocked the battery life at 202 minutes, which trumps the other laptops in this test, but we still don't feel this is a laptop you can easily slot into a bag and carry around for a day. However, if all you want is a laptop for the family to use, then this is a worthwhile choice.
The 15.6-inch screen has a reflective Super-TFT glossy coating that gives colours a greater depth when watching movies or looking at pictures. The 1,366 x 768 pixel resolution is the standard format and allows you to watch 720p high definition content. On top of this, the bezel isn't particularly thick and doesn't get in the way of viewing.
Alongside the aforementioned USB ports, there are the standard connections we'd expect to see, including HDMI and VGA ports, Ethernet and a 3-in-1 card reader. There's a DVD RW optical drive as well, meaning you can burn your own music CDs and DVDs.
Although it's not the best looker by any stretch, the Asus K53S has a serious amount of power under the bonnet. Given the price tag, it's an attractive option for anyone looking for power above all else.