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on July 26, 2014
*Update 10/5/14: Well, about two and half months after I got it and the wireless adapter has crapped out. Wasted a couple of hours troubleshooting the problem and I am 99% sure that it is a hardware issue. I won't change my initial review at this point, but this could possibly be a sign of the long-term reliability. I'll update later.*
*Update 11/1/14: Forgot ever making that update, sorry. The wireless adapter wasn't broken, I think it was an issue with the proxy software my school makes us install to use the university network. As a side note, I've since installed Linux (Ubuntu) on it as a second OS and it runs it beautifully without a hitch.*
*Update 2/11/15: Still running strong. I've been using it with Linux almost exclusively for the past few months, so I've added a small write-up at the end of this review for people interested in that aspect.*

This is a nice budget laptop for students and/or people just looking for something to do basic computer tasks. I'm a student, and although I already have a nice custom-built desktop computer that I do most of my work on, I felt like I would benefit from having something portable to have in-class or while hanging out on campus.

This is, obviously, not a laptop for gaming. Out of curiosity I installed Skyrim on it and surprisingly it did run the game on low settings (albeit not with ideal fps) and it ran Minecraft fairly well (minor stuttering from time to time--but still definitely playable). If you're buying a laptop with the intention of gaming or any other intensive computer tasks I would highly recommend you look into the $500+ price range for a laptop with more capable specs.

In my case, it runs all the programs I needed it for: Visual Studio 2013, Eclipse, and other IDE's run perfectly fine. Word and other Office 2013 programs run perfectly fine. Browsing the internet with Chrome is perfect. Streaming HD video or playing a 1080p movie file is perfect. Unity3D (a game engine) and Blender (3d animation software) run acceptably. For $250 I really can't ask for anything more.

Pros:

Price: $250 for a brand new full featured Windows 8.1 laptop is insane. I would recommend one of these over a similarly priced Chromebook any day.

Extremely lightweight: I was surprised when I took it out of the box at how little it weighed for the size--very easy to carry.

Quiet and stays really cool: Even while testing out the gaming I didn't notice any sound from fans and even after using it for a while it didn't feel warm at all.

Nice design: Not a flashy laptop, just clean and non-descript aesthetics. Doesn't look like a high-end laptop but also doesn't look like a budget one. I like the textured matte plastic on the back. Screen hinge feels solid with not much play.

No optical drive: I know for some this is a con--but I can't even remember the last time I used a CD/DVD and would much rather have the savings on weight, power consumption, and cost. If you need to format and reinstall the OS or something just make a bootable USB stick (very easy to do).

Nice screen: The screen is bright with decent contrast and a 1366x768 resolution that's pretty much the standard for this size of laptop (at least until you get to the $600+ price range). I don't think it is LED backlit but it does its job well. *EDIT: The screen does have an LED backlight.

Nice keyboard with a number pad: If you're doing office work or programming it's pretty much essential to have a keyboard with a num pad. The keyboard as a whole is decent, no complaints except there's just the tiniest bit of rattling noise when tapping away. The trackpad is offset so that your hands don't rest on it when typing in a normal position.

Cons:

Not upgrade friendly: There's no easy way to access the RAM, HDD, or even the battery. Although I really didn't have any intention of upgrading it so it's not a huge deal. This laptop is what it is and the slow-ish processor with low-end integrated graphics will always be this computer's bottleneck. If I need a faster laptop I'd rather just save the upgrade money to buy a new laptop.

Power cord input is very snug: I guess this could be a pro, but where the power cord plugs into the laptop is so snug and secure that if you (or a pet) tripped over the cord it would certainly pull the laptop off the table before it came out. Makes me a little wary.

No light for caps-lock or num-lock: It has a power/charging light and an HDD activity light on the front and that's it. Wish it had an indication light for caps lock and num lock. Also, it sometimes doesn't seem to remember if num-lock is on when waking up from sleep etc. I find myself having to reactivate num-lock even though I'm positive I didn't deactivate it.

Trackpad buttons: The left-click and right-click on the trackpad are a little hard to press for my taste and they are kind of noisy. Using the Asus Smart-gesture or whatever it's called makes it where you can just tap/double tap (or tap with both fingers to right-click) the trackpad to avoid using the buttons at all which seems like a better alternative.

All in all it's a decent and capable budget-friendly laptop with only a few minor gripes. I would definitely recommend it.

***Notes on LINUX: I've been using this laptop with Linux (currently Ubuntu MATE) dual-booted alongside the pre-installed Win8.1 for several months and have found myself using Linux almost exclusively. Figured I'd mention a few things regarding that:
*I have never been able to get the screen brightness adjustment keys (fn of F5 and F6) to work in Linux at all. The key to turn the display off works (fn of F7), just not the ones to turn the brightness up or down. I've read through tons of forum posts etc. trying to get it work but finally just settled on putting a little widget in the top panel to adjust the brightness easily on the fly. (Just want to note that I never had *any issues with the brightness keys in Win8.1)
*Also regarding screen brightness--with one of the Ubuntu flavors I tried, I wanna say Kubuntu, the screen brightness would not adjust at all (control panel, manually through terminal, etc). I ultimately didn't feel like trying tons of fixes so I just went on with trying other Ubuntu *flavors.
*UEFI boot: While all flavors of the Ubuntu distro will install just fine (and very easily) on this laptop without adjusting any of your boot settings in the BIOS, some other popular distros will require some extra steps. I tried both ElementaryOS and Linux Mint, but neither of them will boot or install while in UEFI. You can, however, boot to them and install if you switch to legacy boot instead (I explained how to do this is one my replies to this review). Downside is that if you still want to dual boot with Win8.1 you will have to manually switch the boot settings between UEFI and legacy depending which one you are booting to.
*Battery life: I haven't done any real benchmarks yet, but the battery life using Ubuntu MATE seems significantly better than with Win8.1. When I have the time I'll look into getting some actual data on that.
***
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on September 28, 2014
First, let me start by saying this Asus Laptop may very well be the best buy out there for the money. Now, reasons? First, it comes with a dual core Intel Processor. It has a 500gb Hard Drive, and 4GB of ram. Now, set up is very simple, even if you have never used window 8.1 before, which is another factor. You don't want a laptop with just windows 8, be sure it has the upgraded 8.1 version installed. That has eliminated the nagging little issues that windows 8 originally had. When you first turn the Asus on, it will ask you to verify your Microsoft email account, meaning Hotmail, Outlook, Msn. I would suggest opening up one of these before ordering the laptop, it will just save you time prior. Then, after a few quick clicks to accept the system setting itself up, you are good to go. Honestly, this should take about 15 minutes or so. Now, remember, it will quickly identify your wifi connection, and establish the connection for you. Once that is done, you are ready to go. Don't be intimidated by the small window panels you see on your screen, they are nothing more than options to select, to move around on the laptop.. It comes with McAfee Virus and Internet protection, which is good for 30 days, then you can decide to either keep it, or simply use any other program. I strongly suggest McAfee or Norton on this laptop. Now, it does not come with a DVD/cd Rom Drive, so if that is a major factor for you, then there is another Asus model, about $15.00 more that does include the optical drive. Most people find very little use for it these days, since almost everything can simply be downloaded these days anyway. The screen is 15.6", bright clear. The sound is also very nice from this laptop. It has a full size keyboard, 2 USB Ports, one is a 2.0 and one is a 3.0, which is for faster performance. It has a trial version of Microsoft Office also installed. All things being equal, I have nothing negative at all to say about this Asus laptop, and highly recommend it. Feel free to ask me any questions, and I will do my best to answer. I believe you will be very happy with this product. I will also mention there is one other laptop out there I also would suggest, the same price and specs is the Acer Aspire ES1-511-C59V 15.6-Inch Laptop (Diamond Black) This is also an excellent buy for the money, in case you prefer Acer over Asus. Both great performing laptops.
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on July 24, 2014
UPDATED 06/25/16: (BEST THING TO DO NOW IS UPGRADE to WINDOWS 10 or Install Linux)
Let me start by saying I am a tech guy, love buying and trying new things. The reason I bought this was to see how something so cheap could be any good. I witnessed how terrible chrome $200 laptops are (if you are smart, you know what I mean). But this laptop is by far a great piece of technology for the price tag of $250-280, if you are on a budget I think you should try this out. I know a lot of you may think because this doesn't have a touchscreen you shouldn't get it because of Windows 8... But realize it is very useful even without a touchscreen. I have yet to use windows 8 on a touchscreen(Besides a phone) and I am still in love. So like I said before just give it a try.

Pros:
Windows 8.1, Running Windows 10 smoothly (upgrades to Windows 10, Ends Late July)
Keyboard, spaced out to perfection IMO
NUMPAD included
Price
Very Light
Sleek
Can watch Netflix, and Play some games.
Games I can play smoothly(All on Low-Med Specs 20-30 FPS): Minecraft, CS:GO, LOL, and GTA:SA. DOTA 2 does NOT work on this laptop, I haven't tried WOW yet either. A LOT of Windows 10 Games work though, so give it a chance and upgrade.

Cons:
Touchpad, IMO they could have done better but hey for the price its fine, get another mouse if you want
Difficulty to take out parts/Upgrade parts
I wish the battery life was a tad bit better. But who doesn't bring their charger ? (AND if you don't that is okay too because the battery can at least last about 5 hours if watching 2 Movies straight.)

Overall: 8/10
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on September 11, 2014
I am a student and i need this for school almost every day for bigger programs like Microsoft Office and Visual Studio, and for smaller things like browsing the web. At first i was reluctant on getting this because of the cheap price, big size, and lack of touchscreen capabilities, but I've had this thing for about a week now and I must say this supports my every needs in a laptop. It is very fast with a great intel processor and a perfect balance between the 4 GB of RAM included/500 GB Hard Drive and 64 bit Operating System; making multitasking and even some gaming a breeze! I've run Minecraft on here with little to no lag, and in the near future i plan on getting games like Titan Fall and The Sims 4 (which if you didn't know all require a good computer if you don't want excessive amounts of lag.) Not to mention its attractive design/build with a finish that isn't prone to fingerprints, has a sturdy feel to it not feeling like cheap plastic, and is very quiet all around generating NO HEAT. If I ever buy another laptop in the future, it will definitely be from ASUS.

If you are looking for a laptop that has a bigger display and keyboard, attractive and durable design, and a fast processor with some gaming capabilities, all for a budget-friendly price then this might be the right computer for you!
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on October 1, 2014
Good starter computer...CPU maxes out a lot which stalls downloads...great screen definition...if you can uninstall the macaffee and let windows defender do it's job it's much better but takes several hours...macaffee is like a really bad virus that leaves several back doors you have to find and close
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on March 14, 2015
Review on Specs and Hardware
- When I opened up my laptop it had a 300 gbs hard drive, instead of the 500 it was meant to. After I installed Linux my missing 200 gbs showed up, and I really don't know what was up with that. I attached a screenshot of the specs. The processor is an Intel Celeron N2830, which does not state "dual core" anywhere I can find in the system information, but if you go on the Celeron website it says that processor model is a dual. Therefore none of the product information in the listing is incorrect, as I initially believed it to be.
- My true complaint with this laptop, the reason for the knocked-off star, is the keyboard. Its fully sized, which was important to me, but the keys just don't feel great under-hand. A few days in the keyboard bulged up slightly and popped up off it's case. I was able to click it back down into place but the plastic is still slightly warped in the center of the keyboard. Typing is unaffected by this bulge, but it worries me and simply should not have happened so early on, if at all.

UEFI/BIOS issue
Secure boot has to be disabled before it will allow you to boot from a live USB. Here's how I did it.
1. Create or procure USB install of Linux because this computer has no disc drive. Plug it into the computer when you're ready to go.
2. Open PC Settings -> Update & Recovery -> Recovery ->Advanced Setup -> "Restart Now" (Will not restart, but trigger a popup) -> Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> UEFI Firmware Settings -> Restart (Actually Restarts).
3. In the UEFI/Boot menu tab over to "Security" -> Select "Secure Boot Management" -> Toggle to "Disable" -> Save and Exit (There's a key command for Save/Exit listed on the right side of the screen.)
4.Computer will boot up as normal. Go back into PC Settings. -> Update & Recovery -> Recovery -> Advanced Setup -> "Restart Now" -> Use a Device -> UEFI "Your Linux USB Name" -> Start Linux. (Be aware that if you have other USB stuff plugged in, like a mouse or printer, that will show up under USB devices. Boot from the one you're sure is your Linux install.)
5.You should now be in a test-run Linux environment. There's an install on the desktop.

Windows 8.1 was way too over-encumbered for this humble laptop. It felt sluggish and got increasingly less responsive even in the short time I used it. I Installed Linux mint 17 cinnamon and had no compatibility issues. The laptop runs significantly faster with Linux than it does with Windows. I did not notice a change in battery life, as others have commented on. Overall I'm pretty pleased.
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on February 4, 2015
I bought this computer because my old one was destroyed in the middle of the semester and I could not be without a computer. I went to a local branch of a chain store and spoke to a self-proclaimed geek in a blue shirt who highly recommended this computer. My budget would have afforded a little more money, but I was told this computer was perfect. It worked really well, for the price. The processor was fast enough to handle all of my schoolwork, watch videos, and all of the random things that I need in a normal day. I was happy, because I could not believe I had gotten such a good computer at such a great price ($249.00). That lasted less than two months. Then, the battery stopped charging. I contacted those of the blue shirts, but it was too late. I needed to contact ASUS. So, I did.

ASUS responded through a person whose syntax in the email led me to believe that they did not understand English very well. When I responded to the email, I received the same exact one back. This went on for a couple of weeks, and I could not get anyone on a phone who could help me. I kept being sent to the email system. I finally found out that I could, indeed, have the battery replaced. Apparently, the batteries that ASUS chooses to use have many problems, and for this reason they offer an extended warranty on the battery. The turnaround time was anywhere between two and eight weeks, but it might take longer if they had a heavy volume. I also needed to provide my credit card information before I shipped the computer to them, in case there were any other issues or problems that needed repair or in case they believed the faulty battery to be my fault. They would pre-authorize the amount of a new computer, and promise not to charge me any more than that to make repairs. There were other problems, but you should know enough by now not to expect any personalized or individual customer service. However, if you wish to pay them for repairing a faulty product that they knew was faulty when it was sold, they will eventually pay attention to you.

The computer still works, as long as one does not wish to move it from the desk, where it must stay plugged in at all times. It has a good screen, and I'm still happy with the performance, if the battery worked. I would be happy if they even offered it with a replaceable battery, so that I could buy a new battery and just replace it myself. If I wanted a desktop computer to check emails and such, I suppose it would work just fine. However, I bought a laptop because portability is important to me. I ended up having to replace it with another cheap computer, because I'd blown almost half my computer budget on this one.

I would not recommend this computer, because you are basically rolling the dice with the batteries ASUS uses. If their customer service were any good at all, I would say take the chance. While it worked, I was happy with it. But, if you get one with a bad battery you cannot replace it yourself and they do not understand that customer service is supposed to help customers with problems. There are other good options for budget laptops: find one from a different company.
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VINE VOICEon September 18, 2014
I can use this laptop to do everything that I have ever done with a computer. And the price I paid for it is outrageous - outrageously miraculous. Yes, it is one third slower than my Desktop, and its display is less than 1080, but it's big while still light t carry, and it has a Full sized Chiclet keyboard with numeric key pad. All my programs and apps run on it's Windows 8,.1, OS, and it automatically synchs with my desktop and my Amazon Kindle account. through Wi-Fi. It's encased in black matte and fingerprints are not visible. It runs quiet and on battery for 5 hours between charges. Except for my Kindle Fire, this ASUS 500GB makes tablets look anemic,

Okay, so it doesn't have a built-in DVD. I don't care because I have an external DVD that I paid fifteen dollars for a year ago - and it fits right into that great $15.00 Laptop carrier that Amazon sells for this sized Laptop. The Laptop and the optical drive both fit in the carrier. For me this is a small problem solved.
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on December 25, 2014
Just powered this up and it looks to be preowned ? Not what I thought I was buying. Can't even use at this point as I do not know the previous owners password. Pissed off to say the least
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on January 19, 2015
Pro: Nice looking unit, easy to work with.
Con: After only a couple of days, the unit has stopped working. When turned on, the monitor just keeps flashing. Now I have to pay a restocking fee to return an item which was never really good in the first place.
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