Pros + Reliability is top notch
+ Including Bluetooth, HDMI out, USB 3.0 and an optical drive that not all ultrabooks have
+ Best sounding laptop I ever owned
+ Decent battery life
+ Screen is average like most mid level laptop screens
Cons - Some states that the cooling fan is very loud
Summary As soon as I got my credit for the Dell return, this laptop goes on gold box deal. Talk about good fortune. This laptop that qualifies as an ultrabook (barely) is easily 5 stars for the price I paid. Not many people can say that they paid just over $400 for an ultrabook.
Performance is commendable. Even though I'm a casual user and don't do much that is graphics or processor intensive, I have yet to see any slowness of my applications and, with the hybrid HD setup, is the fastest booting computer I ever owned.
Reliability is top notch. Not a single hiccup detected at nearly a month's use. You also get the Asus warranty including accidental drop/spill damage protection.
Full of features including Bluetooth, HDMI out, USB 3.0 and an optical drive that not all ultrabooks have. Drive tray does stick out by a sliver when closed and isn't completely flush as some other reviewers noted but I wouldn't even have noticed if I hadn't read that on others' posts.
Sounds great. Best sounding laptop I ever owned. The speakers are down firing so having this on a flat surface is best for listening.
Excellent design. At .83" and 4.6 lbs, it is thin and light and I am a big fan of the brushed metal look of the aluminum body. Yes, it does leave finger prints but what laptop doesn't?
Decent battery life. Was able to squeeze 5hrs. Not the best but good for having 4 cell battery.
The keyboard, while not backlit, is nice and feels well built. Touchpad is responsive but is big, bigger than other laptops I owned so it took a little getting use to.
The screen is average. Like most mid level laptop screens it has good color and contrast with a little backlight bleed at the corners and short viewing angles. It definitely is not an Apple Retina Display.
Win8. Some hate, some like and some get use to. I got use to it. Works fine for my needs. Just glad that it came with minimal bloatware.
The 500gb HDD is 5400 rpm not 7200 as stated in some places but it fits my needs. Swapping it out for a SSD would improve performance no doubt but I really don't have the need to invest in that. I did put a $25 4gb RAM in the open slot and that will be the extent of my hardware upgrades.
Some states that the cooling fan is very loud. I have yet to notice after 3+ weeks of use and is quiet as a whisper. Will update post if it starts doing so.
This computer looks, feels and sounds great. While not the ultra of the ultrabooks, its performance is excellent for a casual user.
PS: I suggest to check for low price of this laptop at: Ultrabookdeals2013.blogspot.com/p/asus-s56ca-wh31.html
I hope this review is helpfuls, good luck.
Pros Aluminium Uni body
3rd gen Ivy Bridge Core i3 1.8 ghz with turbo boast and Hyper threading
Cons 5 Hour Battery Life
No mini-display port
Grainy Webcam although HD
Summary The ASUS S56CA-WH31 delivers strong performance, a speedy boot time and good sound inside a slim and solid design. We just wish this system lasted longer on a charge and that the keyboard had a little more spring in its step. If you want to dip your toes into the Windows 8 pool --and you don't need touch -- then the S56CA-WH31 should serve you well for years to come.The Asus S56CA-WH31 is another new 15-inch Windows 8 Ultrabook that has an attractive aluminum design and a speedy Intel Core i3 CPU to back up its looks. Thanks to a 24GB SSD HD, it boots up quickly but the keyboard and battery life need some work.
It does have Bluetooth and it works well. However it does not have a mini-display port it does have VGA and HDMI though.
BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY
Great Buy Because of Price and Speed and Ports