Ultrabooks may be the current head-turners amongst PC notebooks, but they always come with a premium that is indirectly proportional to their size. Asus’ S56CA illustrates this well. With many of the same components as recent Ultrabooks we have tested, this system is that little bit fatter and quite a bit heavier. But it also comes in at around £600, where Ultrabooks generally leave your wallet as light as the bag you carry them in. Asus is still calling this an Ultrabook, although like it breaks from tradition by packing in an optical drive.
Despite weighing 2.3kg and sporting a 15.6in screen, the S56CA has a very portability oriented specification. The processor is an ultra-low power Intel Core i5 3317U, which runs at 1.7GHz, although Turbo Boost allows a single core to skip to 2.6GHz when needed. There’s also Hyper-Threading at hand to divide the dual physical cores into four virtual ones to squeeze out that little bit of extra performance in multi-threaded scenarios. The processor is from the Intel Ivy Bridge generation, so has the latest enhancements.