Specs: Windows 8, 15.6" HD , Intel i5-3317U. 4GB DDR3 RAM, 750GB + 24GB ROM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M graphics, 38.0 x 26.6 x 2.2 cm (WxDxH), 2.6 KG
It has been a good year for Ultrabooks. But it has also been a year of change - they went super slim, they went super expensive and they even added touch. Now, it seems like we are back to square one. How else will I explain the Asus S550C?
It is a full 15.6-inch ultrabook that weighs a hefty 2.1 kilograms. The screen size coupled with this weight makes it a big unwieldy to be used, and classified, as an Ultrabook. Yes, it is slimmer than notebooks with a 15.6-inch display, especially since it has a DVD drive. It better be a performer to justify this bulkiness.
To cope with Windows 8 there is a touchscreen on the HD 1366x768p LED panel . The touch is very responsive as we could test with the superb Fresh Paint app. The keypad is well spaced out and the keys have a good travel, making them ideal for long hours of use. The touchpad is even better and you can pinch, zoom, swipe and use all Windows 8 gestures here as well.
The sound quality has to be one of the better features of this device. As you open the display, the long speaker strip comes into view. The SonicMaster technology makes good use of these and give sound that is fuller than what you would see in regular laptops. We would have loved it to be a bit louder too.
The performance of this Ultrabook is just above average. We were not really impressed by the fact that it took a leisurely 20 seconds to open a high-resolution picture and had a longer lag in playing a HD video from an USB drive. Most Ultrabooks do this without any delay. However, it took us to the Windows 8 log in screen from power off in just 8 seconds. It is also quite cool considering its size. You, would have any trouble using it for regular computing, but for high-end stuff buy the Intel Core i7 version instead of the i5 we tested.
One thing that confused us was that despite 750GB + 24GB (SSD) marked on the device, we could find just under 680GB on the device. The OS seemed to be on an HDD partition and the SSD was not visible. There is additional storage on the cloud that Asus is packing into all of its devices at the moment.
The S550C is a good device for those who need a larger screen with touch and can live with a few hundred grams extra in their backpack.
BAG IT OR JUNK IT:
Really heavy for an Ultrabook, decent performance