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Asus S56CA review

Ultrabook size, with an optical drive

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Great price
  • Good usability
  • Good battery life
  • Optical drive

Against

  • Not super thin or light
  • Low-res screen
  • Performance not as good as other Ultrabooks
  • Noisy
  • Bloatware

The Asus S56CA-XX024H comes equipped fairly lightly in the processor department, as you might expect for its low price.

It features an Intel Core i3-3217U, which is a dual-core chip running at 1.8GHz. It features Hyper-Threading too, meaning that it has four virtual cores, but doesn't have Intel's Turbo Boost technology to run any faster than its normal clock speed.

It's very much an Ultrabook choice of chip, but when you combine the reasonably slim size and low cost of this model of the Asus S56CA, it's not surprising - there are smaller and lighter Ultrabooks with more powerful options, but they cost a lot more. Similarly, there are more powerful chips in thicker, heaver laptops.

Asus S56CA review

Being an Ivy Bridge chip, the processor is designed to be fairly light on power consumption. It also offers built-in graphics capability, with Intel's newest HD 4000 graphics chip.

Intel's 4000 graphics series isn't exactly a gamer's dream, but it's more than adequate for most people. Dedicated graphics cards can produce much higher performance, but they take up a lot of space and use power, so it's no surprise not to see one here. Intel's graphics have proven more than satisfactory for this kind of machine in the past.

There's 4GB of RAM for Windows 8 to play with, which is a perfectly reasonable amount for the price.

Asus S56CA review

As part of Asus's tight meeting of the criteria to be an Ultrabook, the Asus S56CA features a solid-state drive, but it's only a small one. There's 24GB of fast flash storage, paired with a standard 500GB laptop hard drive.

Setups like this are designed to balance size of storage, speed and cost - 500GB of all-SSD storage would likely nearly double the cost of this machine.

As we said, one of the most unusual features here for an Ultrabook is the optical drive - it's a DVD drive only, though, so you won't get Blu-ray playback out of it.

Asus S56CA review

There's plenty more here in terms of connectivity, with Wi-Fi, VGA and HDMI video ports, one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 connections, an Ethernet port and a headphone/microphone jack. There's also an SD card reader on the front.

The screen is 15.6 inches, with a resolution of 1366 x 768. This is fairly standard for the price, and while it matches many other lower-end Ultrabooks in terms of pixel count, this screen is a fair bit larger than the 13- or 14-inch affairs you usually get on those.

This means you get more screen to look at, but the image quality won't be as sharp.

Asus S56CA review

Tech Specs

Product TypeUltrabook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD 4000
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time4 Hour
Solid State Drive Capacity24 GB
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyS56
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor Modeli5-3317U
Operating SystemWindows 8
Brand NameAsus
Processor Speed1.70 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells4-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.39 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM76 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyColour Shine
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1600/PC3-12800
Height21 mm
Width380 mm
Depth266 mm
Screen ModeHD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesS56
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelS56CA-XX081H
Product NameS56CA-XX081H Ultrabook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberS56CA-XX081H
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing InformationSleek aesthetic design

Beyond being extra thin and light, ASUS S56 ultrabooks pack a full feature set in just 21mm. The cool grey hairline design expresses a personal professional approach. One-piece molded top casing reinforces notebook strength and rigidity, and the entire style embodies subtlety that meets all your performance portability needs.

User-centric innovations

The large Smart Gesture touchpad enables always fingertip-natural computing, and the back-assembled chiclet keyboard assures extra-solid typing for greater comfort.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Package Contents
  • S56CA-XX081H Ultrabook
  • Standard Battery
  • AC Adapter
Limited Warranty1 Year