on November 29, 2013
This laptop will end up on the books as a solid four-star ultrabook unless various "picky" reviewers show up and start downgrading the notebook below that, which can happen. However, as a fairly proficient PC user and one that has never been a "gamer" and thus I have never needed the high-end money laptops I have always searched for an affordable, fast, and stylish laptop that would see be pushing strong after 2 years of solid productivity use. This laptop is an absolute BARGAIN (I got it at 479.00). Anyone that thinks they could get anything with this package for less or the same is not being truthful. I spend hours researched, watching youtube reviews, and etc. I already knew ahead of time based upon reviews what to expect (pro and con) thus I wasn't upset or surprised.
Very Thin and Stylish
3rd Generation i5 processor (never go with Celeron or AMD chips, stick with i3-i7. I chose i5 because my other laptop which my wife is getting is a solid i3 so I needed an upgrade)
Hybrid SSD Hard Drive (this isn't a full out SSD drive which reflects in the cost. You could easily purchase a full SSD for around 150 but it isn't necessary. This drive does what you need it to do in efficiency and speed. Anyone going from HDD standalone to this will think they are in heaven)
Screen Size: Love the 14 inch screen. This is of course what adds a bit more weight to this than other ultrabooks...however I am amused when I see people acting like 4lb total weight is like lugging around a desktop computer)
Black Aluminum Top: I don't find it to be a "fingerprint magnet" as many have described. I expected huge greasy smudges after touching it. Yes fingerprints show but not in the greasy way you envision. I don't find this a big deal at all.
Touchscreen: Takes a little getting used to at first. Found the screen to be very solid and doesn't really shake when using the touchscreen features. Reflection and glare isn't an issue to me because I typically don't type and work on a laptop out in the park under a blazing sun. This shows fingerprints more than the cover but any touchscreen you use will do that.
Fan Noise: Absolutely ZERO. This is one of the quietest laptops I have ever owned.
Heat: Like any laptop it will give off heat but I don't find it giving off a ton of heat at all like others I have owned. I always use an aluminum cooler for laptops.
Windows 8: Ok I know that I am listing this under "pros" but it isn't really a con or a pro for me. I personally like Windows 7 better but you can immediately install "START8" which gives you the desktop you typically would use in windows 7 or Ultra. I don't need all the extra apps and fluff that Windows 8 uses. However, you get two start menus basically side by side when using "Start 8." One is the APPS screen which you use your touchscreen for and the other is the classic start menu. However...immediately upgrade to the 8.1 version of Windows 8. I found that it fixed a few software kinks I was having.
MEMORY: The 4GB memory was fine but I went ahead and ordered 4 GB more (Corsair Vengeance 4GB DDR3 1600mhz (PC3 12800) for around 35 dollars. Very easy to install. Search youtube for a video that shows how to install it. BE SURE YOU are grounded on something so you don't get static output from your hands to the internal components. However, it is PLUG and PLAY memory...super easy...now I have 8GB!)
Wireless: Ok...PLAN ON ORDERING A REPLACEMENT INTERNAL ADAPTER. Just trust me. Every review practically states this and most internet searches reveal major issues with Atheros Qualcomm adapters. I ordered the ($33.99) Intel 7260HMW IEEE 802.11AC, dual-band, 2x2 Wi-Fi - OEM from Newegg since it is a little cheaper and actually ships from the company whereas amazon ships from an external company. Trust me...ORDER THIS! It's either that or plan on sending the laptop in to get them to either replace it with another junky Atheros model and wait all that extra time or be prepared ;) )
Keyboard: Ok...it isn't a big deal at all and not a true CON. The keyboard is a little more spongy I guess than other keyboards I've used. However, I'm not a hard key banger so I don't have issues. If you are a huge key slammer you may have to get used to the keyboard. Other than that...I type great with it and don't mind it at all.
TRACKPAD: This one takes a little getting used to for me. It is much more sensitive than other laptops I use. However...it is manageable. Just not the old drag and scrape pushpad I consider older laptops to have. Very sensitive and so you learn to just easily use your fingers and no problem. The "click" parts on the bottom of the track pad (right and left) have a little more "click" to them. You will see what I mean when you get the laptop.
This is only four stars because of the WIFI needs to be replaced which ASUS should take care of. However, I promise you, for the price you cannot find a better laptop with the i5, hybrid SSD, the ability to upgrade to 8gb ram, the style, thinness, touchpad, etc. This is hands down one of the best laptops I have owned in this price range. I would take this any day over many of the other laptops which are higher priced. If anything changes I'll let you know!
on November 26, 2013
Summary: This is a perfect laptop for budget-conscious folks who want decent power and portability at a low-cost.
So far, I believe this to be one of the best bangs for your buck in terms of thin/light PC laptops. I was personally also looking at the Aspire S3 which was in a similar price range and about 1 lb lighter. I'll list my primary reasons for purchase and how I chose between the two later:
My primary criteria for selection with a new laptop:
* A 3rd generation i5 or higher/later (and I checked passmark.com on benchmarks repeatedly, debating with myself)
* At least 4GB RAM (upgradeable to higher preferred obviously)
* Either 13.3" or 14" screen-size - to me, this is the sweet-spot for functional and portable
* Fast boot-up
* Minimum of 4.5 hrs battery life (e.g. a flight coast-to-coast in the U.S., not including take-off/landing)
* PC - Windows; and despite the concern over Win 8.x, I preferred to get the latest OS just out of longevity
* USB 3.0 port(s), HDMI; an RJ45 (preferred, just for wired situations)
* Cost: In the $500 range or lower
* Something that should hopefully last at least 2 years with reasonable performance
It was a really tough battle for me to decide between this and the Acer Aspire S3 (391-6811), but here were my deciding factors between this and the S3:
- Upgradeability for RAM (8GB max vs. S3's 4GB max)
- Slightly higher price for S3 with similar internal specs (at least when I purchased)
The competing S3 was lighter, has a slightly better CPU (i5-3337 vs. i5-3317) and probably a better wi-fi card. I loved the form factor on the S3 too, but am pretty fond of the S400CA's looks too now. Both were upgradeable in terms of changing to a full-on Solid State Drive (SSD)-- but for the value, the S400CA seemed like too good a deal to pass up. Obviously, I'd prefer a true SSD, but the Hybrid SSD (which is present in both models) does work decently well in boot-ups at least in my first week of use.
The Cons - everything always has some trade-offs; I personally found these acceptable:
- WiFi card isn't the greatest; some other comments have mentioned this. It is replaceable for relatively cheap though.
- Resolution: it's pretty much 'standard' resolution, but definitely many premier ultrabooks have way better (again, price is a factor)
- You will almost certainly have to do a lot of Windows updates (first on Windows 8.0, and then to 8.1) after purchasing. I am not used to Windows 8.x myself, but am growing to get used to it honestly. I don't think it's as bad as some people say, though my two cents is that I wish it integrated with non-Microsoft stuff better - e.g. Google Calendar (which I use frequently)
- At about 4 lbs, it isn't the lightest laptop (though definitely light enough IMHO)
- 2 of the 3 USB ports are USB 2.0 for whatever reason (but at least one of them was made into USB 3.0, right?)
- Yes, the screen lid and the screen itself does get smudgy. Not a deal killer in my opinion as of yet.
Also, may not be relevant for everyone and mileage may vary, but I ordered on a Sunday from Amazon as a Prime member with two-day shipping. This may not happen for everyone, but I was pleasantly surprised when it not only shipped on Sunday, but arrived at my house the next day (Monday). That has got to be one of the most incredible, fastest buy-to-receive times I've ever had without paying for one-day shipping. Thank you, Amazon!
If you're trying to get a laptop on budget, to me, this seems like a good deal. If anything bad happens, I'll try to update my review though. You generally get what you pay for, but in my opinion, you're getting a strong value for this package.
on November 19, 2013
My MacBook is seven years old and on its last leg. I needed something relatively inexpensive and sturdy since I travel a lot. I wanted (needed?) a computer that could compare to my beloved MacBook. Mournfully, I researched EVERY computer within this price range and this computer gives the most bang for the buck. It's light enough. The computer is very sturdy (almost as sturdy as the MacBook Air). When I looked at computers in person, I would try to flex the cover to see how much give it has. This has none which made me feel more confident in buying it. It does, like another reviewer said, show finger prints like mad. I keep my hands clean and lotion-free but it looks like I've been digging in a fried chicken bucket and then palming my computer.
Windows 8 isn't as bad as I thought it would be. It takes some getting used to but gives the computer the feel of a tablet. If you use that mindset, you'll be ok. The 8.1 update was supposed to give you the option to have the computer open to the desktop but I haven't figured that out yet. I actually prefer my computer to open to the tiles page rather than the desktop since it makes it look a lot less like my work laptop. It has taken me longer to get used to the touchpad since I'm used to swiping down to scroll down a page and with this you have to swipe up.
The only complaint that I have (other than the fried chicken cover), which might not be a big deal to most, is the keyboard is kind of spongy. The keys take a tab bit more effort to hit than what I'm used to. It makes me feel like I'm typing all angry-like.
I have been getting about 5+ hours out of the battery but I don't hang out online all the time. If you are surfing or streaming movies, the battery will probably last about 3 hours. I would recommend this computer to anyone, even diehard Mac users like my old self.
on November 13, 2013
This is my second laptop from ASUS. My first one had problems. I dismissed it as a dud giving ASUS the benefit of the doubt. This one has been even worse. Here is what to expect if you buy this laptop. Other users have had the same problems.
Problem #1: Mouse Pad. It doesn't work. Two fingers are supposed to scroll down the page. It worked the first day and then worked off and on after that. Now it is completely broken. Also you have to push down on the mouse pad just right to select anything. It's a real pain.
Problem #2: Aside from the fact that it doesn't have a back-lit keyboard the keys don't work. I have to pound them to get them to work. Come on, that's ridiculous.
Problem #3: This by far the worst problem of all. My computer shuts off randomly. One reviewer described hearing a click right before it shuts down. I have had the same problem. It also makes a funny noise. Since the fan is the only moving part it has been deemed defective. The fan sounds like its going to break all the time. I talked to an IT guy about this and because of the way Ultra books are built the motherboard will most likely need to be replaced along with the fan.
Like I said before, these problems are not unique. Others have had the same issues. My advice is stay away from ASUS. It's not worth the headache I currently have because of them.
on November 13, 2013
It's like a macbook but for half the price! I was a bit hesitant at first (since it's Windows 8) ... but I figured that I would 'catch up' with technology and plus I figured it would be great for school so I purchased it.
It's definitely a steal for what you're getting (i5 processor, super lightweight, etc. I don't really know much about computers except for the basics).
Since I'm still not really used to Windows 8, I decided to install the Windows 7 classic shell..WALAH! Problem solved! :)
Starts up in ~5 seconds
Very responsive touchscreen
Comes with a relatively small charger
LOOOVE the two finger scroll & other various 'smart gestures'. Just makes everything EASIER.
Very fast, I can run multiple programs at once
You will get your fingerprints on the black aluminum cover. The best way to clean it is with a microfiber cloth
The brightness level is meh
No backlit keys (may be a con for some)
Sometimes the smart gesture will not be turned on (for me at least). To fix this problem, just search up 'smart gesture' on computer and launch ASTPcenter. From there you can also customize your settings with the touchpad.
I've had it for about 2-3 weeks now and I haven't had major issues with it. Battery life is ok, about 2-4 hours depending on laptop activity.
Love love love it! I would definitely recommend this beaut.
on December 17, 2013
I have been using my new ASUS Vivobook for at least 2 weeks. I have to say that is a good product for the price:
1. Nice design.
2. Very fast boot up.
3. I am new in windows 8 interface but is not as bad as other people say. I kind of like it.
4. Multi gestures mouse pad is amazing.
5. It comes with Intel hd 4000 graphics. ( Info not provided by Amazon product description)
Everything was good until I started to get some problems with my internet connection. I mainly use my computer in my bedroom which is 10 meters away from the router. The internet connection is just horrible. After trying my internet speed in other devices ( computers, phones, etc) My internet service was just perfect. There is other people claiming the same problems with the wireless card on this computer.
Today I received a USB wireless adapter and now my internet is fine, I will change the integrated card in a future so I don't have to occupy a USB slot to get decent internet connection.
For a brand new product is unacceptable that such a cheap wireless card comes with a nice PC.
on August 19, 2013
This laptop is very light and easy to transport. It's the perfect size! Love the touch screen, which is very responsive, and the display is wonderful. Still getting used to windows 8 though.
on December 3, 2013
I got this laptop for $450 the day before the black Friday deal week started. Got it soon after that but I traveled somewhere else so I just started using it yesterday. I have been using the laptop for two days,and here are some of the issues I have:
1. The smart gesture stops working after a while. It came back after I reboot it, but it disappears again for no reason. It can be quite annoying after getting used to scrolling down pages using easy two finger gesture, but it does not really matter that much.
2. The keyboard does take a little while to get used to, but to be honest,the only issue is the space key. It is so easy to miss spaces using the space key on this laptop. I was a little disappointed at first, but then I just pushed a bit harder than other keys. All the other keys are fine. It takes a little while to get used to the keyboard, but other than the space key,they are pretty easy to type on.
3. The resolution is not high enough to watch HD movies, but they are very standard and I am fine with it.
4. This laptop can get a little slow if you open like 10 browsers even if it has i5 processor.
The laptop is very thin to me, and not heavy at all probably because I have never had an ultra book in my life. It looks very stylish and the touch screen is amazing. It is a great bargain for me with that price. It does everything I need, checking emails, writing codes, watching youtube videos... Also, I have no issue with the wifi, which was a big concern for me when I purchased it since I have read so many bad reviews about the wifi.
on July 11, 2014
So far I've been very happy with this computer. I upgraded the RAM to 8GB, which was very easy to do after watching video on Youtube. Also downloaded and installed Windows 8.1 which is a slight improvement over Windos 8.I use this computer to stream Netflix via the HDMI port to a big screen TV and the picture looks great with no buffering.
Update - 9/3/14 - I still love these little ultrabooks, but unfortunately the cheap hitachi hard drive failed in one of them in less than a year (i bought two of these at the same time). And it was a total meltdown of the drive - it took me 6+ hrs of recovery tools just to try and salvage some of my daughters files off of it. No warnings or SMART events to let me know there was a problem before it cratered. Interestingly, when I pulled the drive and put it in a win 7 desktop, it went crazy warning me that the drive was failing and to back up my data(it was already too late by then, unfortunately). I guess they decided to drop those pesky hard drive warnings in Windows 8.
I decided to change the drive out myself rather than deal with the warranty since I had been wanting to put an ssd in it anyway. I put a samsung evo 840 in it, and it is unbelievably fast now. Worth every penny. Swap out took longer than it should have, since the recovery partition on the original drive was damaged and unable to be cloned. I ended up having to create a system image of the other laptop whose drive is still fine and then restore that image onto the new ssd. Bottom line - if you have this laptop, always keep a system image backup on an external drive for when the drive fails.
Original - 12/14/13 - I didn't buy this from Amazon because they ran out of stock really early, so I bought it from another web seller as I really wanted two of these for christmas presents for my kids. So far, in only a few days of ownership, I am really impressed with both. Neither one had any keyboard issues and surprisingly, both seem to have rock solid wifi even at a great distance from the router. I noticed that the two I received have the Atheros wifi adapter, and I think that maybe some of the earlier units had another lesser known brand wifi adapter (I will update later if it does start dropping signal regularly). I myself have a Sony Vaio 14" Ultrabook, and even though these Asus are considerably less expensive, I like them almost as much and don't feel like too much was sacrificed to meet a lower price point.
Things that are better about the Asus laptops - the core i5 processor is considerably zippier than my older i3 vaio. Also, I actually prefer the keyboard on the Asus to that of the Vaio, as the keys don't require as hard a keypress to register - likewise for the trackpad - a light touch is all it takes to register. I can also touch type on the Asus keyboard easier than I can on the Vaio - I think the keyboard on the Asus is just slightly bigger which makes it easier to touch type on. Also, the Asus laptops came with significantly less crapware pre-installed and they were kind enough to make most of it optional thru their software installer app. I wish all pc manufacturers would do this.
Things that I like better about my Vaio than these Asus - the screen. While all three have the same resolution screen, the Vaio screen looks better. The Asus screens look fine, just not as good as the more expensive ultrabooks. Also, the Vaio has a quieter fan, hard drive, and other internals which makes it obvious that it is a more expensive higher quality laptop. Not that these are loud by any means, just not absolutely silent like my Vaio is.
All-in-all, you really can't go wrong with these Asus ultrabooks if you are looking for a low cost entry into the touchscreen ultrabook arena.