Reviewing ASUS PRO PU551JA - A Budget Notebook For Business Professionals
The ASUS PRO PU551JS is a classic looking and a robust notebook, designed to appeal mostly to business owners. The notebook promises to be reliable and also budget-friendly. We received this model to test a few weeks ago and, after working, testing and playing with it for quite a while, we now want to share with you everything we've found out about it. If you want to learn more about what ASUS PRO PU551JA has to offer, don't hesitate to read our review:
Unboxing The ASUS PRO PU551JA
The box in which ASU PRO PU551JA comes in, is very simple and follows the same design line we saw with all the ASUS PRO notebooks. The box is made of cardboard and not much information is printed on it. The only thing that tells you what you bought is a small name tag.
Inside the package you'll find the laptop and its charger, a quick start guide, the warranty letter and a safety precautions leaflet.
The ASUS PRO PU551JA is sold in multiple hardware configurations. The CPU can be an Intel Core i7 4712MQ Processor, an Intel Core i5 4210M Processor or an Intel Core i3 4000M Processor. The model we received runs on the less powerful Intel Core i3 4000M processor, running at a frequency of 2.4 GHz.
In terms of RAM memory, you get 4GB of DDR3 running at 1600MHz, which you can expand up to 16GB, by using the 2 DIMM sockets available.
The graphics are handled by an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600. This video chip won't be of any help in playing new games, but the notebook itself isn't designed for that. The Intel HD Graphics 4600 will do its job just fine when it comes to doing office work, streaming 1080p content or watching Full HD movies.
When it comes to the storage side of things, you get to make your choice from a wide array of devices. The ASUS PU551JA can be equipped with either a traditional hard drive or a faster solid state drive. These are your choices: 500 GB HDD at 5400 RPM, 500 GB HDD at 7200 RPM, 1 TB HDD at 5400 RPM, 1 TB HDD at 7200 RPM, 500 GB HDD with 8 G SSD SSH or 128 GB SSD. The model we received was equipped with a 500GB hard drive running at 7200 RPM.
The notebook also offers choices when it comes to the display it uses. While the size and the aspect ratio is the same (15.6 inches and 16:9 ratio), the resolution can differ. The screen is available either in an HD version (1366x768 pixels) or a Full HD variant at a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The model we received for tests was the the one with the lesser HD (1366x768 pixels) screen resolution. A nice thing about the screen is the fact that it uses a matte coating, thus reducing glare. On the bad side though, the panel ASUS chose to use for the display is a classical TN and not an IPS. This means the viewing angles aren't impressive, the brightness levels are somewhat low and the colors are not that natural. However, for its price range, this is to be expected.
On the top rim of the screen, you also get a 1.0 megapixels camera. As for the networking options you get to choose between an integrated wireless network card that supports the 802.11 b/g/n standards, or a wireless network card that supports the 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac standards. Also, a built-in Bluetooth V4.0 chip is available.
The ASUS PRO PU551JA offers plenty of connectivity options: 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 audio jack (which can be used both for connecting a headphones set or an external microphone), 1 RJ45 (Ethernet) jack, 1 VGA output, 1 HDMI port and an SD card reader. On top of all that, any professional will be happy to learn that you also get a Fingerprint scanner and a Kensington Lock slot.
The notebook's autonomy is powered by a 6 cell 56Wh Li-Ion battery. In terms of size and weight, the ASUS PRO PU551JA has the following specs: 380 mm x 256 mm x 36 mm (15 in x 10 in x 1.4in) at a 2.4 kg (5.3 pounds) weight.
In terms of the operating system used by the ASUS PRO PU551JA, the model we received had Windows 8.1 Pro pre-installed.
For more information on the ASUS PRO PU551JA notebook, check this link: ASUS PRO ESSENTIAL PU551JA Specifications.
Using The ASUS PRO PU551JA
We've been using and testing this notebook for more than a week and we are mostly pleased by it, especially considering its price tag. Even if its case is all made of plastic, it uses a matte and brushed texture that looks and feels great. Also, the simple and edgy design gives you the feeling that you are using a professional device. While working and testing the ASUS PRO B551LG, we didn't notice any excessive heat coming out, nor did we feel the notebook to become extremely noisy.
The screen's matte coating also adds to that feeling. However, the viewing angles are limited and the color reproduction is not great. The rather small resolution offered by the model we tested isn't a strong point either, but looking at what the competition has to offer at this price range, we cannot be unhappy. The text looks reasonably good but the images are not standing out. Also, if you plan on using this notebook outdoors, you should know that its brightness and contrast levels aren't out of the ordinary. It's a device built to be used in offices, not outdoors.
The sound quality is average, but this isn't a major drawback, as we're talking about a notebook designed for business professionals, not one designed for multimedia tasks or multimedia editing. The sounds aren't distorted – it's just that their levels are low.
A thing that we enjoyed about this notebook is its keyboard. It felt comfortable when we typed on it and it also includes a dedicated numeric keypad. The long key travel and the generous spacing make you feel like you're typing on a regular desktop keyboard. All that makes long work hours possible without you getting tired.
The touchpad is large and supports taps and gestures. That means you can slide your finger(s) from the sides to switch between Windows 8.1 apps, open charms, zoom in or out and so on.
The notebook also includes 1.0 megapixels webcam that does its job just fine when you're on Skype or other similar apps.
The ASUS PRO PU551JA notebook that we received for testing purposes was equipped with a Hitachi hard drive. It's a 500GB model running at 7200 RPM. Earlier in this review, we noted that you can also get this notebook running SSDs or hard disks with larger storage capacity. We highly recommend that you buy a version equipped with an SSD, as using a mechanical hard drive is a drawback to this notebook's overall performance. The boot times are slower, launching apps or desktop programs takes a while and things like copying or moving files also takes longer. However, if storage space is essential for you, it may be worth choosing a larger hard drive rather than a smaller solid state drive.
In normal usage scenarios, the notebook's autonomy is about 3 to 4 hours. This means you're doing a mix of things like web browsing, working with Office applications or watching some videos.
Apps Bundled With The ASUS PRO PU551JA
The ASUS PRO PU551JA that we tested came with Windows 8.1 Pro pre-installed. However, the notebook can also be used with Windows 7 Professional. Because this notebook is targeted mostly at business professionals, it makes sense for ASUS to let you choose your operating systems.
When it comes to apps bundled with this laptop, ASUS chose to keep things simple. You'll find only a few additional apps:
- ASUSPRO Business Center is an application that helps you manage your computer, from both a hardware and a software point of view. You can use it to manage backups, monitor essential software like Windows Defender, perform automatic computer maintenance functions like software updates or disk defragmentation and so on.
- ASUS Fingerprint allows you to capture fingerprint biometrics using the built-in fingerprint sensor and use it to authenticate into the notebook's operating system and applications.
- ASUS HDD Protection Tool uses internal sensors to detect any movement of your laptop and offers protection for your hard drive in case of imminent physical shocks.
- ASUS On-Screen Display turns on or off the on-screen display of notifications, other than those already shown by Windows.
- ASUS Smart Gesture lets you configure various settings for the touchpad. You can use it to set the actions performed when tapping or swiping your finger(s) on the touchpad.
- ASUS Install is an app that lets you install other ASUS software. This may be useful if you plan to use some of the apps that are bundled by ASUS.
- ASUS WebStorage - a cloud storage solution from ASUS that offers 5GB of free cloud storage space.
- ASUS USB Charger Plus – a tool that lets you charge devices over the USB ports faster, even when the notebook is in sleep mode.
- ASUS WinFlash – a program specifically designed to write new BIOS firmware and make BIOS updates. You should keep it and use it.
- Twitter - the official Windows 8.1 app for this social network.
- Fresh Paint - a simple painting app for Windows 8.1, which you will probably not use if you're a business professional.
- Music Maker Jam - a music app for Windows 8.1 that allows you to mix different loops and sound effects. This is another app that probably won't offer value for a business professional.
- Line - a chat application that you may want to experiment with before deciding on whether to keep it or not.
- Netflix - depending on where you live, you'll either love this app or dislike ASUS for bundling it. In the US and a couple of other countries where Netflix is available, you will want to use this app and stream movies and TV shows to your device. In countries where this service is unavailable, this app is useless.
- Zinio - a magazine reader app for Windows 8.1. Unless you like to read magazines, you'll probably uninstall this app.
- Flipboard - another magazine reader app for Windows 8.1, which if you don't need, you can safely remove it.
- WildTangent Games - a portal where you can purchase and download various PC games. From a productivity point of view, this app is not needed.
- Microsoft Office - a trial version that you can use for 30 days before buying or registering your license.
Performance In Benchmarks
Just sharing with you our subjective opinions about the ASUS PRO PU551JA is not enough. So, in order to get a better idea of what it has to offer in terms of performance, we've also tested it with a few popular benchmark applications.
The first thing we measured was the time this notebook needs in order to boot Windows 8.1 and start all its processes. To do that, we used Bootracer. The average boot time we measured was 45 seconds, which is quite a good result considering the fact that the model we tested was using a traditional hard drive. If you want a better performance from a storage point of view, you should consider buying a variant equipped with a SSD. That way, you'll get much faster boot times and a general faster response when opening programs on your notebook.
Next, we checked to see how well does the ASUS PRO PU551JA in normal everyday use, by which we mean doing things like surfing on the web, working with Office apps, some video calls, a bit of picture editing and maybe some casual gaming sessions. To measure the notebook's performance when doing such tasks, we used the Home accelerated tests offered by PCMark 8. The ASUS PRO PU551JA got a score of 2237 points. This score shows that the notebook handles everyday tasks with no problem whatsoever.
Because the ASUS PRO PU551JA is a notebook targeted mostly at business professionals, we also tested it against a battery of tests aimed to show how well it fares from a productivity point of view. The laptop obtained 3298 points in the Work accelerated preset from PCMark 8. That means it will handle with ease any kind of office activity.
The ASUS PRO PU551JA is a business oriented notebook and because it's a budget choice it doesn't include a dedicated video card. Despite that, we still wanted to know if games would be playable on it. So we ran 3Dmark Vantage using the performance tests. The notebook only managed to get 3687 points. This confirmed what we already suspected: you won't be able to play most of the newer games on this notebook. However, older games are playable, even if you might need to use the lowest video settings for them to work.
Next, we moved on to the storage tests. As we've briefly mentioned earlier, this notebook is available in with multiple storage choices. The model we tested was equipped with a traditional 500GB hard drive, spinning at 7200 RPM. Its speed results are average, as you can see below.
Next, we checked the cooling system of the ASUS PRO PU551JA. In order to do our measurements, we used Prime95 to stress the notebook and CoreTemp to check the temperatures of the CPU. After almost an hour of "torture", the CPU didn't get higher than 75 degrees Celsius.
Intense video tasks is another demanding thing that usually gets the heat up. To test how the laptop fares in such scenarios, we ran Furmark for half an hour, while monitoring the temperatures with the same CoreTemp. The highest temperature we recorded was 76 degrees Celsius. We expected this value, because the video chip is integrated with the CPU.
Finally, we tested the batteries of the ASUS PRO PU551JA. In order to do that, we used the PowerMark benchmark. This test aims to measure how long your battery will last when you use your laptop for normal tasks like surfing the web, using Office applications or playing media files. The benchmark revealed that, in such scenarios, the notebook won't last more than 3 and a half hours, which isn't that much.
Where To Buy
The ASUS PRO PU551JA notebook is a device targeted at business professionals. Its looks are classic, simple and it's built to be robust and reliable. The hardware inside is powerful enough to handle any kind of office work. Other things to consider are the large number of ports it offers, the matte display and the generously sized keyboard and touchpad. On the other hand, this notebook is rather bulky and the display is not great. In fact, we found the display to be the weakest point from our perspective. However, we are talking about a budget notebook and, at this price point, the competition offers the same type of screens. You will have a hard time finding something better. The ASUS PRO PU551JA is a well balanced notebook, that will prove to be a good buy for any budget conscious business professional.