The Asus F55A-ES01 15.6-Inch Laptop is an entry-level machine aimed squarely at the budget conscious end of the market. This is a computer for relatively undemanding, routine tasks that simply don’t need a more powerful machine.
Email, video chat, updating social status, editing documents and similar chores should be well within its capabilities, but anything more challenging is probably ambitious to the point of being an exercise in patience. Even so, the machine represents good value for those whose computing needs rarely, if ever, exceed its capabilities – there is little point in buying an expensive, powerful machine that will remain largely underutilised.
The machine is powered by an Intel Celeron B830 Processor running at 1.8 GHz. This is a dual core CPU intended for use in entry level laptops, and is noticeably less powerful than more sophisticated, but more expensive, components such as Intel’s i3 range of processors.
Although the B830 is capable of handling up to 8GB of RAM, this machine comes fitted with just 2GB of DDR3 memory. This should be just about enough for the supplied copy of Windows 8 to run adequately, but is a fairly meagre amount of memory by today’s standards. Again, it is suited to the machine’s intended uses, but more would definitely be better.
Permanent storage for documents, pictures, music etc., is provided by a 320GB hard drive. This is probably more than adequate, in view of the things that this machine is likely to be used for, and is a sensible compromise between price, performance and storage capacity.
The machine’s 15.6 inch, LED backlit, 1366 x 768 pixel display is driven by integrated Intel GMA HD graphics technology. Although perfectly adequate for everyday tasks, and capable of handling HD video and, perhaps, some undemanding casual games, this hardware is unsuitable for more demanding games – if you’re looking for a gaming laptop, this is definitely not the machine for you!
- Budget-friendly Entry Level Machine
- Intel Celeron B830 Processor
- 2GB RAM
- 320GB Hard Disk
- Windows 8
- More Memory Would Be Nice
- Underpowered for serious gaming
Despite it’s position at the budget end of the laptop market, the F55A-ES01 is reasonably well provisioned with input / output ports and features. An integrated 0.3 MP webcam ensures that it is video-chat capable right out of the box, while the built-in dual layer DVD-RW makes it easy to install software, backup your data and watch movies.
If you find the machine’s own 15.6 inch display a little small to fully enjoy your favourite movies, you can connect it to an HDTV through the built-in HDMI port, or to an older monitor or projector via the legacy VGA port.
Wired peripherals, such as printers or memory sticks, can connect to the machine via one of it’s two USB ports. One is a standard USB 2.0 port, while the other is a high speed USB 3.0 port. The USB 3.0 port is idea for connecting external disk drives, or other devices that need to transfer large amounts of data to the laptop quickly. It is, however, fully backwards compatible with older USB standards, and can be used with older USB 2.0 devices if needed.
In a move that is slightly surprising for such an budget-friendly machine, it also supports Bluetooth 4.0 – a technology that, although widespread, is absent in many more expensive laptops. This machine, however, should have no difficulty in connecting to wireless headsets, mice and other devices.
Network access is, of course, essential, and the F55A-ES01 is equipped with the usual options. An Ethernet port allows for traditional wired networking, while built-in 802.11 b/g/n WiFi makes it easy to connect to wireless networks.
The machine’s black case measures 14.90 x 9.90 x 1 inches (L x W x H) and weighs 5.8 pounds. Although it is neither the smallest nor lightest laptop on the market, it is certainly not to big or heavy to carry around with relative ease.
Overall, the Asus F55A-ES01 15.6-Inch Laptop is clearly designed for users with fairly modest day-to-day computing needs and a budget conscious attitude. Within those restrictions, it should be entirely capable of fulfilling their requirements. It isn’t – and doesn’t claim to be – a gaming machine, and it may well struggle with heavy duty applications such as video editing, but for hopping online to check email, update your social status and watch the odd movie without breaking the bank this machine may be just what you’re looking for.