Planning on ditching your old desktop PC and finally getting a laptop? Asus wants to tempt you with the A555LF, which offers the bells and whistles of a PC with the portability of a notebook computer. But can it really deliver an experience where you won’t miss your desktop?
Specs: 15.6-inch screen (1366×768 pixels) | 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 5200U processor | 8GB DDR3 RAM | 1TB HDD | 2GB Nvidia GeForce 930M graphics | Ethernet, HDMI, VGA, 2xUSB 3.0, 1xUSB 2.0, SD Card reader | Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, SonicMaster Audio | 8x DVD Writer | 2-cell Lithium Polymer battery | Windows 10
Price: Rs. 48,999
What’s Better Than a Desktop?
If you have a desktop that’s a few years old, you’ll notice a significant boost in performance. The hardware in the A555LF, with the dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and the Nvidia 930M graphics, runs almost everything smoothly.
For regular tasks like browsing the web, working on MS Office, and watching videos, it’s buttery smooth. I was surprised by how good the multi-tasking experience was, as the system didn’t lag or crash even once. I could even play several popular games without a hitch, as long as other programs (especially Google Chrome) were shut.
The full-size chiclet keyboard (complete with a number pad) is more pleasant to type on than a desktop keyboard. The trackpad is responsive, although not as good as others in its price range.
And of course, you get all of this with the ability to take your laptop with you anywhere, which is impossible with a PC.
What’s Worse Than a Desktop?
The screen is the most obvious point of contention here. The 15-inch screen on the Asus laptop has poor viewing angles and a low 1366×768 pixels resolution, which is not fun for playing games. It actually means your games run well, but you aren’t really getting the best experience. And the poor viewing angles mean that moving even a bit or moving the lid even a bit will change how all the colours look.
The audio was the other big bone of contention. Asus has tried its best to boost the audio output, since low volumes plague laptops. But in its quest to increase the volume, Asus has compromised on quality. It’s fine if you’re going to watch a movie or a YouTube video heavy with dialogues. But if you watch an action movie, you’ll hear pops and fizzes and crackles all the time, ruining the experience.
How Is It as a Laptop?
If you consider it purely as a laptop and not as a desktop replacement, there is almost nothing going in favour of the Asus A555LF, mainly because of the Asus Zenbook UX305 (read our review). The Zenbook costs the same, but offers an infinitely better experience as a laptop in terms of weight, performance, and battery life.
The A555LF has crammed so much hardware in it to make it a desktop replacement that the battery life is understandably not great. On average, I had to plug it in every 3-4 hours even when not watching movies, which is a really poor “portable computing” experience.
And the other effect of all that hardware is the device is heavy! Lugging this thing around, you can afford to skip a workout or two.
Anything Else I Should Know?
Asus offers cheaper variants of this laptop, going down to a Core i3 processor and 4GB RAM. However, we haven’t tested those, so we can’t offer any advice on whether you should consider them or not.
Who Should Buy the Asus A555LF?
The A555LF, unfortunately, is a laptop that seems like it’s trying to solve a problem which doesn’t exist any more. It has good graphics, but its poor screen makes it a no-go as a viable gaming device. It has good performance, but its weight makes it difficult to carry around. It is portable, but the poor battery life means you need to keep it connected to a charger most of the time.
The A555LF, in essence, is a compromise device. You’ll specifically need to care about getting all those ports and a DVD writer, care about having a dedicated graphics card, not care about the poor battery life, and not care about the poor screen.
For my money, I’d rather buy the Zenbook UX305 and get an external DVD writer, than put up with this jack of all trades, master of none.