ASUS F555LA-AB31 Laptop Review

We’ll be taking a look at another popular budget laptop today in this ASUS F555LA-AB31 laptop review.

This laptop was released in the second half of 2015, so it offers some good performing, recent hardware for the price. Let’s take a closer look at what you get if you are thinking of buying the F555LA-AB31.

Overview: ASUS F555LA-AB31 15.6 Inch Full-HD Laptop

The F555LA-AB31 is a well-priced, midrange performance laptop with 15.6 inches of crystal-clear display. It’s main selling point is its full high definition 1080p display, a feature not often seen in laptops in this price range.

This is another laptop which comes preloaded with Windows 10 as the operating system becomes more popular with consumers. Additional selling features of this laptop are it’s fifth-generation Intel Core i3 processor, 500GB hard drive, DVD burner and integrated HD webcam and microphone. It has a dual-tone design features a silver matte coated palmrest and keyboard surround, with a black fingerprint and scratch resistant exterior.

This ASUS laptop is suitable for general-purpose users, and is a suitable desktop replacement laptop for those looking for the occasional portability of a laptop without sacrificing performance or display quality.

Pros

  • Full HD (1960 x 1080p) display
  • Smart gesture touchpad
  • 1 year manufacturer’s warranty, including 1 year warranty against accidental damage
  • Preloaded with Windows 10

Cons

  • No touch-screen functionality
  • No backlight on keyboard
  • 500GB 5400rpm hard disk drive(HDD). No solid state drive (SSD)

Who Is It For?

The ASUS F555LA-A31 is not the most portable laptop by today’s standards and it seems better suited to be a desktop replacement.  The biggest selling feature on this notebook is definitely it’s Full HD 1080p display and everything has been thought of – including 4 one-click visual modes (normal, vivid, eye care mode, or manual mode for those custom adjustments), a matte finish to reduce glare, and even 30 days of a Zero Bright Dot Guarantee from ASUS. The screen is definitely a strong feature considering most competing laptops only have a display resolution of 1366 x 768p.

Style-wise it has a very nice image, with ASUS’s concentric circles on the outer cover making sure it looks very elegant especially when it catches the light. You can see this in the video below which shows this PC from a few different angles.

This laptop will suit those looking for a general purpose machine which can also be portable, without compromising on display visuals. For regular tasks like general office applications and other non-demanding programs, internet browsing, watching multimedia videos and movies, browsing social media sites, skype chats etc, it will have no problems performance-wise. The 500GB hard drive offers plenty of space for videos, photos and other files.

The i3 series processor in this laptop is one of Intel’s premium dual-core offerings. This particular processor is an i3-5010U and decent enough to handle these kinds of tasks, running video processing programs like Adobe Premier. However with only 4GB of RAM if you are planning on running many applications at once or heavily demanding programs, you may need to upgrade in this department.

This laptop does not have a dedicated graphics card but the integrated Intel HD graphics is still able to run less demanding games like DOTA 2, Couterstrike Global Offensive, League of Legends, Minecraft, Portal 2 etc. However, be aware that you’ll likely have to run on medium or low graphics settings to get good framerates.

Who Isn’t It For?

If you’re after an ultra-portable laptop for a daily traveler you might find this one to be a little on the large side, but it’s still quite portable for the odd time you need to take it with you.

Performance wise, it’s decent and will handle most tasks without any trouble, although if you are planning on using this laptop for demanding tasks like high-end gaming, intense multi-tasking, or advanced video editing, you might find it a little on the slow side unless you upgrade the RAM and 5400rpm HDD to a much faster solid state drive.

Performance

Performance wise, this laptop gives quite good value for money. At the entry level price point it’s definitely not the best hardware, but it’s certainly able to perform. And when you weigh in nice features on this laptop like the Full HD screen, ASUS’s intuitive touchpad ‘smart gesture’, separate numeric keypad, bluetooth and more it starts to look pretty good for the price.

The Smart Gesture is pretty cool as it makes scrolling, navigating Windows, zooming and even rotating images super easy. Check it out in the video below:

The Intel fifth-generation i3-5010U Broadwell processor in this computer is decent and was released at the start of 2015, though it is not the highest series (Intel’s i7 series is the top of the range, below that is the i5 series, followed by the i3). The i3-5010U model is a dual-core chip which can support hyperthreading, meaning it can perform as though it has quad cores in some applications. It has a clock speed of 2.1GHz.

The graphics are integrated into the i3 CPU in the form of the Intel HD Graphics 5500 module. While it’s no dedicated graphics card, it is certainly suitable for everyday use and can even handle resolutions of up to 3840×2160p if you plug an external screen into the VGA or HDMI ports.

Memory wise, you get 4GB of 1600MHz DDR3L RAM, a standard memory size offering in today’s laptops. It can support up to 12GB of RAM (4GB + 8GB). The original manufacturer 4GB RAM is actually soldered in place and cannot be switched out, however, there is a single free slot available for a quick RAM upgrade if you feel it is necessary.

Storage capacity is good, with a 500GB hard drive, though this is just a standard 5400rpm drive. It is possible to upgrade the hard drive to a SSD for a very noticeable speed increase, though be aware this will void any manufacturer warranty on the laptop.

Extra features like the SD card reader, bluetooth connectivity, webcam, and multi-touch smart gesture touchpad make this an excellent all-rounder computer that will suit most people’s needs.

Check out the user reviews on Amazon >>

Display

The key feature on this laptop is the 15.6 inch Full HD display, so let’s take a closer look at it. Most laptops in this price range only have a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768p, whereas the F555LA-AB31 sports a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080p (Full HD), which is excellent for viewing movies and photos.

If you want larger still, it can support up to 3840 x 2160p resolution on a separate display, connected via the HDMI port.

Software

The F555LA-AB31 comes preloaded with Windows 10 Home edition (64 bit), as well as a free 30 day antivirus subscription to McAfee.

Unfortunately it doesn’t come complete with any Microsoft Office software so if you plan on using this laptop for work, school or college and need applications like Word, Excel and Powerpoint, you’ll need to purchase a separate subscription to Office, or opt for a free alternative like LibreOffice or OpenOffice.

The home and student Office 2016 package from Microsoft is available from Amazon.com

Warranty & Support

ASUS offers a 1 year warranty on the F555LA-A31, which is obtained by completing the warranty card with the product.

This product falls under ASUS’s “360° Complete Notebook Care Package”, which includes some very valuable options for peace of mind:

  • 1 year international warranty
  • 24/7 phone support
  • 30 day Zero Bright Dot guarantee (on display)
  • 1 year accidental damage warranty (spills, drops, power surge, fire)
  • Free two-way standard shipping in the event of any product return or warranty claim

We particularly like the accident protection warranty which will cover you from any unfortunate clumsy accidents like liquid spills or accidental dropping.

Upgradeability

While the F555LA-AB31 is already a pretty decent computer straight out of the box, you can definitely perform a couple of upgrades to increase the performance.

We identified two weaker areas on this laptop which can be improved – the memory and the hard drive.

Upgrading RAM on the F555LA

Upgrading the RAM on the F555LA-AB31 is quite simple and can easily be performed yourself without too much trouble. This should not void the manufacturer warranty as the user manual even contains instructions for how to carry this out.

 

RAM installation. Source: ASUS F555LA manual
RAM installation instructions. Source: ASUS F555LA manual

For those who would like a little more detail, the video below shows how to perform a RAM upgrade on this laptop.

The laptop comes with a non-removable 4GB of RAM, but there is a single empty slot should you wish to install more memory.

It can handle up to 8GB of extra RAM, although installing a additional 4GB RAM stick should be sufficient for most users. The difference between installing an extra 4GB versus an extra 8GB would not really be noticeable by the user unless you are doing some very intensive multitasking, in which case other hardware parts like the CPU may become the limiting factor rather than the RAM.

If you are interested in performing a memory upgrade, you will need a 1.35V stick. To find a suitable RAM module, many manufacturer’s have a “RAM Configurator” tool on their websites where you can type in the Make and Model of your PC to view compatible products.

These memory modules will work in the F555LA-AB31 (click the images to view prices on Amazon.com):

4GB Options

Crucial 4GB RAM
Kingston Hyper X 4GB RAM

8GB Options

Kingston Hyper X 8GB RAM
Kingston 8GB RAM

Upgrading the HDD to a SSD on the F555LA

The 500GB hard drive on the F555LA-AB31 will do what you want it to, but if you are really looking to improve the speed of this laptop, an SSD upgrade is one way to do it.

This upgrade is not for the nervous though, as you will need to open up your laptop (ASUS have not made this the easiest task), and doing so will void your manufacturer’s warranty. If you’re concerned about this, you may wish to only consider a drive upgrade once your PC is out of warranty.

The video below shows what’s involved in an SSD replacement.

Possible SSD’s include:

The HyperX Fury is a cheap entry level SSD. Check out our review of the HyperX Fury 120GB SSD for more.

Samsung’s 850 EVO is an extremely popular SSD. You can read our review of the 850 EVO 120GB SSD for more on this drive.

This Crucial 480GB SSD is officially listed on the Crucial website as a compatible drive for the F555LA-AB31

Portability

Size-wise, the F555LA is not the most portable with dimensions of 10″ x 15.1″ by 1″, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be easily transported. In our opinion, at around 5.1 pounds it’s not something you’d want to cart around on a daily basis – we think it’s more suited for a desktop computer replacement while still allowing the occasional on-the-go use.

Battery wise, although you may think that the higher resolution display would consume more power, the i3 CPU is fairly energy efficient. Some sources have set expectations at around 4-5 hours with low CPU activity, no wireless and lower screen brightness. We have seen a few user reports stating the laptop averages more like 2.5 to 3 hours battery life though, so we assume this must be a more realistic estimate based on more heavily loaded conditions.

F555LA-A31 Notebook Specifications

The official full specifications for the ASUS F555LA-A31 are summarized below.  The e-manual for this product is located here (note the manual is for the X555LA series, though we believe the F555LA has the same user manual).

Product Name:

F555LA-A31

Dimensions:

1 inches (H) x 15.1 inches (L) x 10 inches (W)

(25mm (H) x 383mm(L) x 254mm (W) )

Weight:

5.1 pounds

Operating System:

Windows 10 Home (64 bit)

CPU:

Intel 5th Gen Core i3-5010U Broadwell (2.1GHz Hyperthreading dual-core with 3MB cache)

Graphics:

On-board graphics adapter model: Intel HD Graphics 5500

Display:

15.6 inch diagonal Full HD TN display with matte finish

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

External Ports:

2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI (max supported resolution 3840 x 2160p)
1 x VGA
1 x RJ-45 (LAN)
Multi-format Digital Media Card Reader
1 x Headphone-out/Microphone-in (combination jack)

Memory:

4GB DDR3L 1600MHz RAM (non removable)

1 free user accessible memory slot

Max memory supported: 12GB

Storage:

500GB 5400RPM hard drive (Travelstar Z5K500)

Power Supply:

AC Adapter 100-240V ~ 50-60Hz 1.5A

Battery:

Non-removable 2 cell 37 WHr lithium-ion battery

Battery life -approximately 2.5- 5 hours (user reported, not officially specified by ASUS)

Connectivity:

802.11 A/C wireless LAN

Gigabit Ethernet LAN 10/100/1000

Bluetooth v4.0

Optical Drive:

9.5mm optical disk drive DL DVD/CD read/writeable

Other Features:

Sound: Stereo speakers with SonicMaster

Keyboard: Full size keyboard with numeric keypad (non backlit)

Touchpad: Multi-touch touchpad with in-built buttons supports ASUS “smartgesture”

Camera: Front facing HD VGA webcam with integrated digital microphone

Security: Security lock slot

Summary

The ASUS F555LA-AB31 is a good value-for-money laptop for general use, and with it’s Full HD 1080p anti-glare display and 5th generation i3 processor, it certainly stands out from the competition.

Performance wise, this Windows 10 preloaded PC offers decent performance and the 1 year warranty includes coverage against accident damage for extra peace of mind. It will serve well as a portable desktop computer replacement and offers a few nice extra features like ASUS’s smart gesture touchpad control.

Click here to check out the ASUS F555LA-AB31 Laptop on Amazon

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