Posted in: Mobile computers, Windows

ASUS S56C laptop mini review

During the last several years, ASUS has steadily developed into a quality ultrabook manufacturer, and with the new S6 series it’s raising the bar even further.

The “Extra-Thin” S6 series offers a redesigned aluminum build that’s 35% thinner and 10% lighter than the S5 series. Join us as we take a look at the new S56 series from ASUS.

Our particular model, the S56C, boasts the same thin profile, alongside a sleek brushed aluminum unibody. Here is the full specs list:

  • Dimensions: 38 x 26.6 x 2.10 cm
  • Weight: 2.30 kg
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 3317U Processor
  • Operating System: Windows 8
  • Chipset: Intel HM76 Express Chipset
  • Memory: 4GB DDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM
  • Display: 15.6″ 16:9 HD (1366×768) LED Backlight
  • Graphic: NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M with 2GB DDR3 VRAM
  • Storage: 750GB 5400RPM Hybrid Drive; 24GB SSD Cache
  • Battery: 4Cells 2950 mAh battery
  • Features: Super-Multi DVD, SD card reader, HD Web Camera, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.0, 10/100/1000 Base T Ethernet port, COMBO audio jack, VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x HDMI port, built-in speakers and microphone

Build quality

One thing that quickly stands out is how slick the design is. The brushed aluminum cover gives off a premium feel, as does the one-piece molding. Unfortunately, the cover is very prone to fingerprint smudges, which take some effort to remove. We were also impressed that ASUS managed to fit an optical drive in just a 21mm vertical footprint.

The Chiclet-style keyboard is pleasantly usable, although if you want more feedback to your keys, you may find it ideal. The large Touchpad measures 104 x 76 mm, and supports Smart Gesture input for up to four fingers at once. We found the gestures to work well in Windows 8.

The screen is glossy buy not overly so, and is complimented well by the matte bezel. The 15.6″ diagonal is only of 1366 x 768 pixels resolution, which may be low if you’re a display enthusiast and are used to seeing 1080p everywhere, but should be sufficient for the casual user.

Benchmarks

Since this is a budget-range ultrabook, benchmark performance is understandably not the best around. Still, the low-voltage Intel Core i5 3317U dual-core processor can perform most tasks relatively easily, and while the 750GB hybrid SSD/HDD isn’t the same as having a full-fledged SSD, it does improve performance notably.


3DMark 11

  • ASUS S56C
    1070

PCMark 7

  • ASUS S56C
    1505

SiSoft Sandra 2013

  • ASUS S56C
    1,890k

We even put the S56C through our web browser battery test, to get an idea for how it performs in a real world test. It lasted for 5 hours of non-stop browsing before running out of juice, which is a decent if unspectacular achievement.

Conclusion

Depending on system configuration and market availability, the S56C series is priced between $600-$700. Taking into account the solid build quality and adequate performance, the ASUS S56C is an enticing offering. True, it won’t be breaking any records when it comes to GPU-intensive tasks, but we got some good test results from the low-consumption processor in terms of battery life, which means you can take the S56C on the go without worrying about running out of juice.

Ultimately, the solid build quality and low pricetag of the S56C should entice many users to ASUS’ new S6 series ultrabook camp.

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