“A great multimedia laptop”
ASUS is one of the leading manufacturers of laptops in the world and have in their arsenal everything from inexpensive models (like the ZenBook UX305) to 2-in-1 models (Transformer Pad TF103C) to high-end gaming machines (ROG G751).
The ASUS F555LA-AS51 Core i5 is a 15.6-inch mid-range laptop which is built to compete with similar devices from HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc. The F555LA looks like it continues ASUS’s tradition of making an easy to use, durable and well-designed laptop which is also affordable (prices start at $599).
Connectivity wise, the F555LA has everything you would expect from a laptop in this class. There are 2xUSB 3.0 and 1xUSB 2.0 ports, a VGA-out and a full-size HDMI port along with a headphone jack and an SD card reader. Since this isn’t a really slim device, ASUS has also managed to fit in an Ethernet port for wired LAN connections. Unlike modern Ultrabooks, there is a DVD drive as well, which helps improve its multimedia credentials.
Overall, it looks like the F555LA has all the makings of a decent mid-range multimedia notebook. Let’s take a closer look to find out how good it really is.
Looks wise, the laptop is aesthetically pleasing with ASUS’s trademark concentric ring pattern on top. The outer portion of the chassis is black while the keyboard area is silver. The body is made almost entirely of plastic and has decent build quality. However, the material does have a bit of flex and pressing on the back of the lid could cause the screen to distort a bit. Slight flex is noticeable when typing too. But, these issues are not uncommon with laptops in this category.
As expected, the notebook is quite bulky. It is 2.6 inches thick and weighs 5.1 pounds which affects overall portability.
The 15.6-inch display has a native resolution of 1366×768 which is pretty low, especially for power users since most modern laptops offer 1080p screens at least. The display performs well otherwise and has a decent amount of brightness and reproduces colors pretty well too – great for watching videos. But, viewing angles are limited and colors start to fade once you look from the side. Thankfully, the screen has a matte finish which makes it easy to see in sunlight.
Keyboard and Trackpad
If you have ever used an inexpensive ASUS laptop before (like the ZenBook), you will feel right at home when typing on the F555LA. Keys are well spaced out and have a decent amount of travel and stiffness which makes typing a comfortable experience. It also has the company’s IceCool technology which keeps the palm rest at a cool temperature – and works quite well too. The F555LA even has a 10-key number pad which can be of great use. Unfortunately, the keys are not backlit which could make working in the dark a bit of a headache.
The trackpad, while large and reasonably accurate, can be a bit tricky at times. It doesn’t track long finger movements quickly and you may have to end up performing gestures once or twice before they are registered. Sometimes, the touchpad causes you to zoom into a page or photo even without you wanting to.
As the name suggests, the F555LA-AS51 Core i5 comes with an Intel Core i5 processor – the Broadwell i5 5200U to be precise. It runs at 2.2GHz (TurboBoost up to 2.7GHz) and is coupled with 8GB DDR3 RAM. The storage device is a 1TB HDD which runs at 5400rpm. There is no SSD for faster drive performance.
The CPU handles most processing tasks with aplomb and returns decent scores in most synthetic benchmarking tests. Test scores are affected a bit because of the slow HDD compared to newer models which have SSDs.
Graphics is handled by an integrated Intel HD 5500 GPU which manages reasonable performance. It is obviously not as powerful as a dedicated graphics chip but can run some modern games at really low settings. Battlefield 4 managed to run at 30fps with both resolution and graphics turned down. But, it can handle older titles without any issues.
While overall performance isn’t breathtaking, considering the F555LA’s price and the fact that it is intended to be a multimedia device, it is pretty good.
Unfortunately, battery life isn’t one of the F555LA’s strong suits. It has a two-cell Li-ion battery which runs for around four hours of casual use at half-brightness. The battery will run out quickly once you start doing more intensive tasks like video playback. But, this is true about its competition as well. The Dell Inspiron 15, for example, has a similar battery life.
- Decent performance
- Good storage
- Great value-for-money
- No keyboard backlighting
- Low-res screen
The ASUS F555LA-AS51 Core i5 is not a fancy Ultrabook, nor does it try to be. ASUS has combined some features of both Ultrabooks and workstations to create a well-performing multimedia device with a decent amount of storage at a highly competitive price. It certainly has its share of problems but none that should be a deal breaker.