Review: Asus R558UQ isn’t beautiful, but it has brains
Asus R558UQ is one of the few notebooks that are already running the latest 7th generation Intel Core processor. And at Rs48,990, it is not very expensive either. It succeeds the Asus R558UR notebook which ran Intel’s 6th gen processor and sported a price tag of Rs46,598. What makes the new notebook interesting, apart from the interesting price tag, is that it is available in more eye popping colours, has better configuration newer specs and is lighter than its predecessor.
Design: Ordinary looking, plastic body
The R558UQ is a big screen notebook which like most other similar notebooks has a bigger footprint and requires a bigger bag to carry it. It looks slim and weighs 2.3kg, which makes carrying it around easy. It is available in four colour options — matte golden, glossy dark brown, red and dark blue. The all plastic exterior helps keep the weight in check but also gives it the look and feel of a budget laptop, especially the glossy brown variant.
Despite the slim profile, the side panel carries all relevant connectivity options. The optical drive, VGA port, and LAN are still in vogue in many workplaces. The there is the HDMI port so you can hook it up with a bigger display or a projector. It also offers one USB 3.0 port and one USB 3.1 Type-C connector for faster data transfer.
Keyboard: Small keys but well spaced
The keys look flat and small but allow for quick typing after a while. They are also responsive and don’t require extra pressure to be applied on them. There is ample space between the keys which means you can type for long hours without worrying about tapping the neighbouring keys by mistake. The big letdown, in the keyboard, is that the keys are not backlit, which means you can’t use it in the dark with ease as laptops with backlit keyboard. The compact size of the keyboard leaves ample space for hand rest and touch pad. The touch pad is responsive but feels a bit small.
Display: Big and non-reflective
The laptop’s 15.6-inch LED display has a resolution of 1,920x1,080p. It has a matte finish on it which makes the display reflect less when the light source is directly behind the user’s head compared to laptops with glossy display.The display feels a bit dull due to the matte finish but you can liven up the display by bumping up the brightness a bit. The wide viewing angles are good which means you can use it for teamwork or watching movies with a friend or family member. Text looks crisp which makes reading and typing enjoyable.
Performance: Smooth with most tasks
Asus R558UQ is the first crop of Windows 10 notebooks running on Intel’s 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) Core i5-7200U Processor clocking at 2.5GHz and paired with 4GB RAM. It uses a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 940MX (2GB) graphics card which is a bit old but powerful enough to handle modern games. It was able to play some of the most demanding games like the Crysis 3 or the Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 at lower resolution and special effect settings without any stutter. The notebook offers 1TB HDD storage which means you have ample space for your movies, HD movies and games. Powered by a 2 cell Li-ion battery, the laptop lasted four to five hours on modest use and about an hour of non-stop gaming session, which is quite impressive. We also liked the audio output. Powered by Sonic Master speakers, we didn’t have to fall back on headphones even once while watching a movie or gaming.
Asus R558UQ is powerful notebook capable of handling most day to day chores and some amount of gaming with ease. While build quality is not one of its strong areas, its performance, dependable battery backup and price tag makes it a solid proposition for professionals looking for an all-round notebook that can handle the personal chores comfortably.
Its closest rival is the Dell Inspiron 5000 series 5567 notebook which looks slightly better. It is priced at Rs 56,190, runs Intel’s 7th Gen core i5 processor too, with 4GB RAM but with AMD Radeon R7 M445 graphics. It offers a 15.6-inch full HD display too and weighs as much as the Asus laptop.