Although it is not listed on the manufacturers official website, the new 15.6-inch budget notebook called Asus F55 is now available at select retailers.
Amazon has put on pre-order an Intel-powered F55A version, while Newegg lists the F55U with an AMD processor, both with Windows 8 pre-installed. The F55 notebook looks very similar to the 2011 K53 series, but the newer one lacks physical trackpad buttons as the most obvious difference. The laptop is wholly made of matte textured plastics.
The available configurations sell for less than $400. The Asus F55A-AH91 sold through Amazon, with Intel Pentium B980 dual-core “Sandy Bridge” processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB hard drive is $399. The ASUS F55U-NH21 on Newegg for $390 sports the AMD “Brazos 2.0″ E2-1800 1.7GHz dual-core chip with Radeon HD 7340 integrated graphics, and also 4GB and 320GB RAM and HDD capacity, respectively. The U model very likely delivers a better battery life, since it has a 6-cell unit, whereas the F55A ships with a 4-cell one, and its processor has a lower power consumption than the Pentium.
Both systems have DVD burners, Altec Lansing stereo speakers, built in 0.3 megapixel cameras, and HDMI. As expected, the screen resolution is 1366 x 768, which a is standard one for the 15.6″ category andsufficient for running apps side by side Windows 8 Metro-style.
Overall, the Asus F55 is an affordable Windows 8 laptop, but specifications-wise its competitors such as the Intel Core i3 equipped Samsung NP300E5C for the same money and other cheaper Pentium-powered configurations appear to be a better choice.
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