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Asus brings back optical drives with the latest lineup of Comet Lake laptops for the Japanese market

Slate Gray color option (Image Source: Asus)
Slate Gray color option (Image Source: Asus)
The optical drives are making a comeback, but it is only the old CD/DVD burners, not the more advanced Blu-ray ones, signaling that we are dealing with budget-oriented laptops. Users can choose among Comet Lake i3-10110U and i7-10510U builds with 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB NVMe SSDs, while the 15.6-inch displays are limited to FHD resolution.

The push for thinner, lighter laptops, as well as the proliferation of online software distribution and cloud-based video/audio streaming services practically eliminated the need for optical drives. The physical media video industry is not doing great either, as reputable Blu-ray player makers like Samsung and OPPO already stopped producing such devices. However, it looks like there still are regions that rely on the CD/DVD formats. For instance, despite its technological advancements, Japan is not that keen on music streaming services and still favors music CDs. Asus Japan took notice of these developments and recently announced a new X545FA laptop line that combines the latest tech with the good old CD/DVD burners.

Why not Blu-ray burners? Either Asus could not find slim enough drives, or these models are actually designed for budget-oriented users. Looking at the specs, the second assumption seems to be more plausible, since all variants cost under US$1,000. The 15.6-inch displays are limited to 1080p resolutions, while users can only choose between i3-10110U and i7-10510U Comet Lake CPUs coupled with 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. These models are 0.9 inch thick and weigh 4.1 lbs , which is not that bad considering the inclusion of the optical drives.

Other features coming with the X545FA lineup include:

  • Integrated UHD Graphics GPUs
  • 512 GB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD drives across all models
  • Wi-Fi 5 + Bluetooth 5.0 + GbE jack
  • microSD card reader
  • 2x USB-A 3.0 + 1x USB-A 2.0 ports
  • HDMI out, mic + audio out jacks, mic array
  • Stereo speakers
  • Windows Hello-compatible webcam
  • Fingerprint scanner integrated in the trackpad
  • Slate Gray / Transparent Silver color options
  • Up to 6.8 h uptime

Prices start at ~US$705 and go all the way up to ~US$908, excluding taxes.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 02 > Asus brings back optical drives with the latest lineup of Comet Lake laptops for the Japanese market
Bogdan Solca, 2020-02-11 (Update: 2020-02-11)