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ASUS UX31 13-Inch Laptop [2012 model]
ASUS UX31 13-Inch Laptop [2012 model]

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in so many ways, June 28, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Primary complaint: backlight bleed. Near the edges of the screen are patches that are brighter with washed-out color. This is almost impossible to spot unless the screen is completely black and the backlight is on, but is then quite noticeable and can be distracting. Amazon very helpfully and promptly replaced my first unit and while the replacement is marginally better, the problem is still visible. This is particularly a shame since the display is otherwise one of this notebook's best qualities.

But I'm enjoying it so much I'm likely to keep it anyway. This is no netbook. The screen has as many pixels as you could hope for from something that fits on your lap (MacBook Pros notwithstanding), the keyboard is complete and uncramped, and it's *snappy* (TF2 runs beautifully at 90 fps). And yet the lightness and battery life means this is a very mobile device. It even comes with a cute cloth envelope to carry it in, if you're into that sort of thing.

So many nice touches:
- The display contrast is stunning. In a dimly-lit room, almost painful at full brightness, which leaves enough range that I can use this outside in the shade on a bright, sunny day.
- At 165 pixels per inch, even antialiased text is crisp, and white expanses are smooth.
- No confusing grid of status lights. The power status light (green for charging, amber for charging) is on the power connecter, where it's easily visible when in use, it's meaning obvious, and isn't visible at all when not plugged in. Wifi status is by the wifi toggle fn key, power light on the power key (plus another on the right edge so you can see it blink when suspended with the screen closed).
- Booting and resuming from suspend are pleasantly quick.
- There is sometimes some fan noise, but even while I was using the notebook the fan often shut off completely.
- People complained about the keyboard on earlier zenbooks -- I have nothing to complain about on the feel or travel of this one.
- My initial charge gave me a full 5 hours of light wifi use, even in linux.

Little annoyances:
- I miss having separate page-up/page-down buttons. It seems like the case is big enough that they could have fit them in, but I suppose I'll get used to using the fn key.
- When sitting back from the keyboard, the points of light backlighting the keyboard are visible in a sparkly, distracting way.
- I don't like the feel or sound of the touchpad buttons. They feel a bit wobbly, and sound hollow when you click. But I expect not to use them much as two- and three-finger gestures are fully supported in Windows and Linux.
- Out of the box only 72.4GB of the 128GB SDD are free. There's nothing like starting your use of a new computer by taking out the garbage.
- In Windows while I'm typing, the touchpad is susceptible to interpreting the palm of my hand as a mouse movement or click. There's a control panel with settings that seem meant address this, but I couldn't figure out how to make it work well. In linux I'm pretty happy with: synclient PalmDetect=1 PalmMinZ=1 PalmMinWidth=4

Ubuntu 12.04 (Linux) works well. Some notes:
- Make sure you install the 64-bit version of Ubuntu in order to get EFI support
- After initial install the computer would sometimes lock hard, requiring holding the power button for 6 seconds to reboot -- this seemed to happen most when scrolling rapidly so I suspect an X or GPU problem. I haven't tested very thoroughly yet, but since upgrading to kernel 3.4.0-030400-generic and intel xorg driver 2.19.0 I haven't seen this problem again.
- Touchpad clicking acts weird -- can't drag while holding the left button, right-click is taken as a left-click. But as I said above I don't really like the feel of the buttons so I'll be using the well-supported gestures instead.
- Use <ESC> during ASUS splash screen to bring up the EFI boot menu to boot off your installation USB device.
- The way Ubuntu installed grub, the grub menu items for Windows didn't work. Use the EFI boot menu mentioned above instead.
- Lots of things work well without any tweaking: camera, speakers, mic, USB/ethernet dongle, suspend/resume, wifi, bluetooth
- Some things do not: keyboard and screen backlight fn keys
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 22, 2012 2:17 PM PDT

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