The £599.99 (inc. VAT) X555UA is one of many variants in ASUS's X555 line of 15.6-inch laptops. This model is based around Intel's 6th-generation Core i7-6500U processor running at 2.5GHz-3.1GHz (with Turbo Boost).
The X555UA is bulky and heavy, measuring 38.2cm wide by 25.6cm deep by 2.58cm thick and weighing 2.3kg (5.1lb). It's the kind of laptop that can straddle business and home use, its specifications including 2TB of hard disk storage and 12GB of RAM. On the entertainment front, the speakers are loud but lack real 'oomph' -- despite ASUS offering some fine-tuning via its AudioWizard, which has presets for gaming, speech, recording, music and movies.
External monitors are catered for via VGA and HDMI ports, and there's a Super-Multi DVD drive -- something that's all but extinct on business laptops these days. You also get two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port, a headset jack, an SD card reader and an Ethernet (RJ-45) connector.
Windows 10 Home (Pro is also available) is augmented with plenty of apps and trialware. Among them are Dropbox, Evernote, WPS Office (60-day trial) and a trial McAfee subscription. Routes to cloud storage abound: Dropbox is augmented by OneDrive and ASUS's own WebStorage offering, the latter giving you 16GB free for a year.
Other apps include Asus HiPost, an Evernote-like clipboard that you can use to grab text, images and so on, and then share via apps or sync with other devices -- there's an Android app, for example. You'll also notice something called Eye Care Switcher on the desktop. This app -- which is part of ASUS's Eye Care technology offering -- reduces blue levels to help protect your eyes; you can toggle it as required using the desktop shortcut.
The 15.6-inch screen, which isn't touch sensitive, has a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080-pixels (141ppi). This is enough to accommodate two documents open side by side when you're working, and movies render nicely too. Colours lack vibrancy, though, and viewing angles in both vertical and horizontal planes are quite narrow. You might find it tricky to share content with more than two people.
This is an unashamedly plastic-built notebook. There's quite a lot of flex in the lid, and the keyboard is remarkably bouncy -- I'm a light-touch typist and even I noticed it. On the plus side, the relatively large amount of space for the keyboard means there's room for a number pad, separate number and Fn key rows, and a large touchpad.
The ASUS X555UA's high-end 6th-generation Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM and capacious 2TB hard drive come at a price (£599.99 [inc. VAT] from PC World), but compromises have clearly been made to keep the cost in check. These are evident in the chassis materials, screen image quality and bouncy keyboard. Improvements in these areas would make the X555UA a far more attractive proposition.