The ASUS F556UA-AB32 is an inexpensive, yet fully featured Windows laptop that packs lots of extras including: a full HD screen, decent battery life and 1TB of storage.
PROS: Solid overall performance for the budget category. A full HD (1920 by 1080) screen. Good connectivity.
CONS: Would do with a faster hard drive. No SSD/Flash storage.
Earlier in the year, we had the ASUS F555LA-AB31 in our labs, and it has remained our Editors’ Top Pick budget desktop-replacement owing to solid overall performance and a sound feature set including: a Broadwell (fifth generation) Intel i3-5010u processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, a Full HD display and Windows 10. Now it gets an update in the newest ASUS F556UA-AB32, a decent Windows 10 laptop with: a 2.3GHz Skylake (sixth generation) Intel i3-6100U processor and 1TB of hard drive storage.
The F556UA-AB32 carries forward the same 4GB of system memory and a Full HD (1920-by-1080) resolution as well the same great design and connectivity options from its predecessor. It’s one of the least expensive systems we’ve seen with a full HD display, ideal for schoolwork, basic image and video editing; but either way, it would be a good selection for an everyday-use PC.
The Asus AB32’s design and features haven’t really changed from its predecessor the ASUS F555LA-AB31, so I’ll focus more on performance and other distinct features. The system is compact for a desktop-replacement, measuring 1 by 15 by 10.1 inches (HWD) and weighing 5.1 pounds. In addition to its size, it sports a sleek and elegant exterior with the matte coating on the grey palmrest and concentric circles on other parts which is also good for protecting from scratches and fingerprints.
The 15.6-inch display has a maximum resolution of 1920 by 1080 (Full HD), and dishes out vibrant colors and clear text. The non-touch screen is also gives sharper and clearer visuals for photos, videos and basic games. The non-backlit keyboard with 10 key numpad is ergonomic and comfortable and with IceCool technology your palm rest stays cool- never at an uncomfy temperature. Large speakers and ASUS SonicMaster offer clearer sound and deeper bass- better than most budget computers. If you need to carry it around, you can slide it into the Bonvince 18.4″ Laptop Backpack, which has nicely placed compartments for the power adapter, mouse and other peripherals.
Ports and Storage
Connectivity options are standard for a budget laptop: one USB Type-C port, one USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI out port, VGA port for connecting to external displays, audio jacks, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and a 3-in-1 card reader (MMC/SD/MS). Others include the 802.11ac wireless that is three times faster than 802.11bgn, Gigabit Ethernet with RJ-45 connector, Bluetooth 4.0, and a Super Multi DL DVD±RW/CD-RW Optical Drive.
Its 1TB 5,400rpm hard drive will provide plenty of storage space for your files, although 5,400rpm is too yesterday and 7,200rpm would have been better. To that, add 4GB memory and you have a decent laptop for day-to-day use. All these are upgradable, with the RAM hitting a maximum of 16GB as supported by the processor, while you can swap the traditional hard drive with a snappier solid-state drive (SSD).
With a 2.3GHz Intel “Skylake” Core i3-6100U, Intel HD graphics and 4GB RAM, the F556UA-AB32 isn’t the most powerful, but it does crunch the numbers where it really matters–basic day-to-day computing. The combination makes it possible for the system to handle a mix of light multimedia usage, Web browsing and productivity without an issue. During testing, I managed to multitask by browsing the Web in Google Chrome, was able to stream the latest episode of “Seconds from Disaster” in 1080p from YouTube while at the same time typing a document in OpenOffice.
To test its resilience, I pushed it a bit higher with more browser tabs, and felt the purge at eight tabs, but was still able to type in OpenOffice without any serious lag. This is at par with its direct competitors including the Acer Aspire E 15, though the latter delivers impressive battery life, though both includes a Type-C port.
The graphic card here is the Integrated Intel HD graphics – I just hope that you love Solitaire, since this card can’t play any complex game. Still, it is fine for some Facebook and Flash games, but you don’t expect anything more from this budget system. Additionally, you have a webcam that is just fine for Skype and other video call services, and it doesn’t promise anything beyond that.
On battery life, the laptop lasted 4 hours 8 minutes, during testing which entailed continuous video streaming in full HD and surfing on multiple tabs. This is quite impressive for a budget system, but its competitors do deliver even longer battery life. For instance, our Editors’ Top Pick, the Acer Aspire E15 lasted 10 hours 45 minutes, which is good enough to make it through an entire workday or a Netflix binge-watching session.
The Bottom Line
The ASUS F556UA-AB32 has enough features and performance to shine as an above-average entry among budget desktop-replacement laptops. It boasts class-leading performance, good build and design, a decent amount of storage space and a full HD screen that’s easy on the eyes. The Acer Aspire E5-576-392H remains our Editors’ Top Pick award, however, for having much better performance thanks to an eighth-generation processor, a good number of ports and longer battery life. Still, if you’re on a budget and looking for a 15-inch notebook for light college projects or office tasks, browsing, checking Facebook or text editing, the ASUS F556UA-AB32 is an easily recommendable choice.