ASUS F556UA-AB54-BL Laptop Review

     
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When choosing a laptop you should consider what you will use it for. If you are more inclined to travel while not wanting to compromise on performance, a mid-priced, thin and light laptop might be your choice. These notebooks don’t weigh much, while they offer everything a casual or power user would require in terms of performance. This kind of notebook seems to be ASUS F556UA-AB54-BL, and knowing the company’s competence in making world-class ultrabooks I was interested in finding out more about this piece of computer electronics.

Full HD Display for Sharp Image

While Full HD is becoming old technology, making way for Ultra HD and the like, in a notebook in this price range the 1080p resolution is well accepted. On a 15.6″ screen, it will give quite spacious screen estate and image sharpness compared to less resolution. The aspect ratio is 16:9 which is the best for viewing videos and movies, although 3:2 is often considered the choice for web browsing (because of the way web sites are created). A cheaper model as it is, the panel is not IPS – so you can not expect very wide viewing angles, the colors will start to invert when you look from sides or above.

Performance Great for The Price

Storage drive plays a huge role in the performance of a computer. Thankfully, in ASUS F556UA-AB54-BL the storage drive department is in good condition. The 256GB solid-state drive is as snappy as it gets, propelling up the performance to the point where Windows start-up times are about 10 seconds. The only downside of such a drive is the decreased storage capacity; a quarter terabyte might be pushing it for file hoarders. However, if you possess some practical and technical skills, you could replace the drive with a bigger one.

Another thing I’m happy to see in the engine room is Intel Core i5-7200U. It’s the dual-core processor of this laptop, offering ample 2.5GHz clock speed with a high-speed 3.1GHz turbo boost for tight spots. It’s a low-voltage processor (recognized by the letter U at the end of the model), meaning the battery life could be good – although as you will read later, the battery is not the strongest point on this system. Anyway, also the performance of this processor is spot on, it can take general purpose and power user workloads easily.

The notebook contains 8GB DDR4 memory. Half of it is soldered on the mainboard, while the other half is installed on a stick. You can replace it with a 8GB stick, so the maximum memory would be 12GB for this model.

Video Opinion

Graphics for Watching Videos, Not Gaming

The graphics section of the ASUS consists of Intel HD 620, an integrated chip. It runs all the videos and movies so you can watch YouTube, streaming services or videos on your storage drive no problem. However, the Intel HD chip is not strong enough to run games very well: you would need to have only minimum eye candy on with many newer games, including GTA 5 at ~30 frames per second. That being said, there is enough oomph in the Intel HD 620 engine to run older games fine, including the popular titles of Counter-Strike: Go and League of Legends.

You Have the Choice of Ports

Logically, the bigger the notebook is, the more ports on the sides it can have. Unlike smaller ultrabooks, thisĀ ASUS F556UA-AB54-BL – with a 15.6″ screen – has space for a good selection of ports. Available are two regular USB ports (one USB 2.0 + one USB 3.0) and one new USB Type-C connector. The USB-C will be handy because it supports many technologies that are often used with laptops – in another words, you only need that one port, not several different ports, as long as you have the right adapter at hand. However, the USB ports are not everything you get, as also VGA and HDMI connectors are available to plug in a monitor of yours!

In 2017, I don’t see many laptops with DVD burners anymore. However, this ASUS is one of the rare ones to include an internal optical drive. Another handy feature you’ll find is the 3-in-1 card reader that is most often used to upload the photos from your camera to laptop.

The 802.11ac wireless adapter will keep you connected to WiFi networks from long range and with robust signal. Bluetooth support is not forgotten either, and the Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port will be useful if you want wired networking.

Does the Battery Last Long Enough?

One less desirable thing about this ASUS is the battery life. People have been reporting everything between three and six hours. According to this article, ultrabooks should run for at least four hours, and this ASUS is between ultrabook and regular laptop, so in theory the battery life is not that bad. However, when you hear many notebooks running for 6-8 hours or more, you begin to wonder why they didn’t include a stronger battery here. The current is a 2-cell 38Whrs unit and is not considered user replaceable.

For a 15.6″ laptop, the actual size and weight are a bit less than on average. The unit weighs 5 pounds and is about an inch thick. It welcomes people on-the-go, however the real ultrabooks with 13-inch screen – or even less – are the real workhorses for travelers.

Please remember this notebook comes without backlit keyboard.

Pros:
Performance - The proper components (i5 and SSD) inside the ASUS ensure the system is up for every task you have in mind.

Not big - This notebook seems to be one of the smallest 15.6" laptops, it's not tough to carry at all.

Cons:
No backlit keyboard - The ASUS is quite a laptop, however it is lacking illuminated keys - this might annoy some people.

Battery life, maybe - If you get the idea this ASUS is a proper ultrabook and has battery life accordingly, you will be disappointed to see a four hour or so operating time.

ASUS is a master of ultrabooks. Recently, we have seen other premium notebooks from them, and ASUS’ new model, the F556UA-AB54-BL does not seem too bad either. Granted, it has a bigger screen than most ultrabooks, but light weight and thin size put it in the category of portable, possibly traveling friendly laptops (although battery life could be better). Also important part is the performance which is strong in this ASUS, considering a 7th generation Intel Core i5 and a solid-state drive are speeding the system up. Since the computer does not cost much at all, it’s a safe choice for both performance and portability.

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