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on September 19, 2014
How to fix this computer and make it run correctly:

For those of you that haven't noticed, this computer was inaccurately listed as including Windows 8.1. The computer comes preloaded with Windows 8 and will have many issues with updates and update install loops if you do not take the following steps. Be aware that if you have already started messing with updates and are not starting from scratch, you may need to begin this process by completing a factory restore to get a clean slate (but not necessarily). From start to finish this process took me 5 or 6 hours on a broadband internet connection. Use this process at your own risk. If you are willing to take the time to do this, the computer is a great machine at a great price.

Step 1. Go to the following link and run the Windows Update Troubleshooter

http://support.microsoft.com/gp/windows-update-issues

Step 2. Manually download and install the Windows Update that is causing the problem. You can find the update at the following link:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40033

Step 3. Repeat Step 1

Step 4. Manually download and install the Windows Update that will allow you to move from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 at the following link:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40098

Step 5. Uninstall the trial version of anti-virus that comes pre-loaded

Step 6. Repeat Step 1

Step 7. Go to the Windows Store and click on the upgrade to Windows 8.1 link

Step 8. Allow several hours for the download and install of Windows 8.1. Be aware that there will be many instances where the computer appears to be frozen mid-process. Be patient – if you re-boot it can ruin the whole process.

Step 9. Install all Windows 8.1 updates via the Windows Update tool.

The computer should now be loaded with Windows 8.1, fully updated, and trouble free.
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VINE VOICEon April 26, 2014
Asus is the third highest rated manufacturer of laptops (behind Apple and Lenovo) according to LaptopMag. This is the Asus D550CA-RS31 X-Series model notebook. It's a good laptop for the most part. The screen has a sharp picture and the colors look good, but there are some disappointments. It was fast enough for general use but it's not a gaming machine. The speakers were OK but not excellent. Windows 8 is installed, so plan on spending some time to get the free upgrade to 8.1 and then the 8.1 Update (because Microsoft has announced it will no longer support Windows 8.1 - see the Comment below).

SPECS:
* The CPU is the Intel Core i3 3217U 1.8GHz, which is a 64-bit, dual-core CPU that rates 6.2 out of 10 (10 is highest) on the CPUBoss ratings. With hyperthreading this CPU can run 4 threads, but turboboost is not supported. Core i3 is not as fast as some other laptops with Core i5 or Core i7 but is faster than some other laptops with the Intel Celeron CPUs.
* Intel HD 4000 graphics. PC Magazine said the Intel HD Graphics 4000 will let you play 3D games at low to moderate settings, depending on the game.
* 6GB DDR3 memory, expandable to 8GB.
* 500GB hard drive (5400 rpm) made by HGST, a Western Digital company.
* 15.6" high-definition display with 1366 x 768 resolution.
* Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support.
* HDMI out for connecting to an HDTV or other devices.
* VGA D-sub port for connecting to an external monitor
* 2 USB ports, one is 2.0, one is USB 3.0
* Chicklet style keyboard

What's in the box: The notebook (black), charging cord, abbreviated user manual, and warranty card.

Performance: The Windows Experience Index shows the following scores: CPU processor 6.3, Memory (RAM) 7.2, Graphics 4.7, Gaming graphics 6.3, and Hard Disk 5.9. I opened a number of programs, was playing a Youtube video and a DVD and downloading some files, then opened Word and started typing. Word responded well, so there did not seem to be any slow down from all of those programs running simultaneously.

Boot up time: Boots to the log-in screen in 17 seconds.

Speakers: Sound quality was OK but not excellent when I played a DVD using the Asus software.

Software: Includes AsusDVD by Cyberlink for playing DVD's as Windows 8 no longer has a feature to play DVD movies. Has a number of Windows 8 apps installed (some of which you may not want).

PROS:
* The screen has a really good picture and color, but also see the Cons below.
* 6 GB of memory will help keep programs running fast and is more than a number of other entry laptops with only 4 GB
* Fast enough for office work, emails, surfing the web, and some gaming
* The touchpad was very nice and supports gestures with up to 3 fingers
* Sometimes the system announces events over the speakers, like when updates are completed
* HDMI port to connect to a TV
* VGA port to connect to an external monitor

CONS:
* Viewing angle of the screen is not wide. When watching a DVD I'm guessing the viewing angle is about 80 degrees (out of 180).
* Some glare on the screen
* Only 2 USB ports (although one is USB 3.0)
* Chicklet style keyboard; some of the keys are less than full size.
* Windows 8. The upgrade to Windows 8.1 is free and then you still need the Windows 8.1 Update. I probably spent 7 hours installing all of the Microsoft updates and 8.1 upgrade and 8.1 Update. I don't know if all those updates to 8 were needed since 8.1 was available. After some of the updates were installed I went into the Windows Store and clicked on the Windows 8.1 upgrade about 10 times, but nothing happened. No new window opened, no error message told me that certain other updates were still required, it did nothing. So the stupid Windows Update wanted all of the 83 updates. And my internet connection isn't that slow.

Other thoughts: Windows 8 sucks as in this "Jekyll-and-Hyde monstrosity" Microsoft threw desktop and laptop users under the bus in order to place the highest emphasis on phones and tablets in one convoluted operating system. It is not user friendly on a PC. Windows 8 was called a disaster by some experts and Windows 8.1 has been called "slightly less terrible" as it did not fix many user complaints. The Windows 8 learning curve has been described as steep. Just as one example, Windows 8 and 8.1 have a hidden Start button, but it doesn't do anything except take you to the metro or modern screen with the colored tiles. I would recommend the free utility Classic Shell to bring back a real Start button with a Start menu like Windows 7 (or XP). Maybe Windows 9 will be better.
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on August 9, 2015
One year ownership:
This Laptop is awesome, for the price you just can't beat it. It has a beautiful diplay I don't notice it anymore unless I see someone using another laptop besides me then you can really compare the resolution. The only real problem I have had with this computer is that the mouse pad started to stick just a little bit. It doesn't happen a lot probably 4 times in total but is a little annoying, once you get it unsticked it works perfect again.

For Gaming:
I am a casual gamer and usually play on Xbox and not my laptop but I do play Knights of the old republic from time to time. It is possible to play at full graphics but it will be REALLY laggy. So while this may not be for the hardore players if you do some casual gaming it will do an OK job.

For Work:
This is primarily used for work, I use office everyday and runs great. Haven't had an issue.

For TV and Movies:
I also use this a lot to watch Netflix and with the app pre-installed it works flawlessly. The only downside may be with the speakers being a little on the silent side. Nothing a pair of headphones can't sort out. It also has an HDMI output so you can see your netflix account on a TV.

Pro:
-Beautiful display
-Great Value
-Asus Smart Gesture is awesome.
-Installed apps are enough.
-You can install windows 10 is working OK right now.
-Depending on what you use it for, 500 GB is more than enough memory space for me.
-It is very light weight.

Cons:
-No bluetooth. I actually didn't relized this one untill I tried to use it. It is such a regular feature in todays electronic devices that I thought it SHOULD be included. It is actually the only reason I am giving this 4 stars instead of 5.
-It's the only thing against it. Like seriously WTH? Why no bluetooth ASUS?

Over all, it's a great value and since it works great for the office I guess this could also work perfect for school.
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on February 4, 2015
This laptop is only *just* powerful enough to meet my personal minimum for happiness when using a laptop. I am not referring to gaming or anything like that, I'm strictly talking about surfing the net and using office, etc.

It has a pretty legit i3 processor and 6GB of ram which make it an exceptional buy for the deal I got it for (299). Had I paid what it costs currently, it would not be worth it since there are other comparable or even better laptops at this price point.

I absolutely can't stand the fact that it does not include a removable battery. For some reason some engineer thought this design was a wonderful idea, and no one has had the courage to slap him across the face and tell him to cut it out yet.

The build quality is a great attempt at being high class with cheap hardware, but I'll be honest, if I were to have paid over 400 for the laptop (lets assume I got an i5 model), I would not be happy with the build quality at all. The whole thing is pretty flimsy, especially towards the center.

Overall, this laptop seems to fit the role I had in mind perfectly. It handles itself very well performance wise and was at a great price point. The design is simplistic and has often overlooked touches that make the laptop a pleasure to use. For example, the nice keys with a logical layout and number pad off to the right. The multi-touch pad is sooo nice once you know how to use it, so take some time to do that because you will be glad you did (hint: if you ever find yourself actually pushing down and clicking the mousepad, you're doing it wrong). It even also still has an optical disc drive which is absent in many -if not most- low end laptops.

Pros:
Cheap
Powerful-ish
Optical Disc Drive
Multi-touch track pad
Full keyboard with numpad
Solid wireless performance
USB 3.0
HDMI out
Built-in SD card reader in the front

Cons:
Non-removable battery (really?)
Flimsy
Only 720p display with fairly limited display angles
No microphone port (headphone port can be used with certain headsets, but not traditional ones)

Neutral:
Speakers volume is riiight in the middle where I don't want to call it a pro or a con. Having struggled to hear so many laptops in my life, I know that it seems to be at least average or perhaps a touch better than average, but not loud enough for me to consider it a pro
Has a webcam & built in mic, but the quality isnt anything to get excited about.
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on March 4, 2015
The only reason I don't give this 5 stars is because it ships with Windows 8.

No, I don't care about the start menu, or the metro interface, or the fact that Windows 8 feels different. My issue with Windows 8 is the fact you can't turn off Desktop Window Manager. To make it simple, DWM is basically what allows for hardware acceleration to render the graphical user interface, meaning the blue taskbar in Windows XP, Aero in Vista/7 and Metro in 8/8.1. Which usually slows down performance considerably if you don't have a dedicated graphics card, which this laptop doesn't have.

There's a workaround to turn it off in Windows 8 but it brings about all sort of complications because W8 pretty much depends on it.

So I downgraded to W7 (thankfully there are drivers for all components available) and the computer is as smooth as a $399 laptop can get. I run Photoshop, FL Studio for music production, and it handles them well enough.

Also, I took back up to 100GB of space wasted in recovery partitions.

If you're ready to take some time into downgrading and installing new drivers, you'll get the best out of this laptop. On the other hand, if you don't want to go through all the hassle, Windows 8 performs good enough in it aswell if you're going to do minor tasks like Word Processors and that kinda stuff. All new Windows 8 updates will also make it better.

Someone said the BIOS was crippled and you couldn't boot from a DVD or USB to install Windows 7, but there is also a workaround. It requires a couple tweaks in the BIOS and should be good to go.

It took me a while, but I'm very satisfied. I just wish Asus would ship computers like these with an OS more suitable for its capabilities.

Happy tweaking!
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on February 6, 2015
I don't know how to put this kindly, but for almost $400, I somehow expected better quality. The touchpad sucks. When you click, there is no solid feeling, but a flex followed by a loud plastic 'click'. Scrolling doesn't really work well, but I place partial blame on Windows for that as well. The body of the laptop is entirely black, unfriendly plastic. The bottom is a single piece, which hampers RAM upgrades or quick battery swaps. The screen is decent, but very pixelated. It does have plenty of ports and expansion options, so I can't have to drop any stars for that. The one virtue is the charger. It is a single wall brick and a slender cord, instead of a brick midway through the cord.
I may just be biased, coming from HP and Apple, but these are my impressions.
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on February 4, 2015
So I purchased this laptop in November and so far have had no issues. Setup was easy enough. My had my last Asus for about 6 years and finally decided to buy a new one since it was definitely going much slower. This computer is decent enough for light gaming and general everyday use. It's a good computer for the price.

1 year update...
So I did like this computer, unfortunately, my 1 year warranty just expired when my hard drive decided to freak out. I kept getting blue screen over and over again, so I wiped the system with a complete restore, and it still didn't help. Just had it looked at and they said it would be $300 to replace the hard drive and make sure nothing else was wrong with it. For $300 I decided to buy a cheap Lenovo instead. I was really hopeful for this ASUS as my last one I had for years.
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on December 5, 2014
It's an average computer for the average user, it will not excel in any category but it is sufficient enough for my needs (Office, web pages, youtube and old games such as counter strike and world of warcraft). The screen looks good, it's not the best but it's serviceable, the keyboard and touch pad feel a bit flimsy but I tend to use an external keyboard and mouse most of the time.

The onboard graphics are enough to support a second screen via HDMI or VGA connection and to play some older games at low-medium settings.

I don't like the fact that the computer only has 2 USB ports, I knew that when I bought it but it still annoys me now that I have received it. I added a 4-port USB Hub and my problems were solved.

It comes with Windows 8, updating to Windows 8.1 is taking forever, prepare to spend several hours waiting for the updates to download and install.

Overall it's a good computer, most definitely an improvement over my old Acer Netbook from 2009. I am able to view 1080p youtube videos without a problem.

I am satisfied with my buy specially with the price I paid during the pre-BF sale.
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on April 7, 2015
Certainly not worth the price. I keep losing one or both USB ports and having to reset the laptop if I plug in something it doesn't like. Or one day it likes it, next day it doesn't. For other owners, hold down the power button for 30 seconds. It was recommended to do this after unplugging the power and removing the battery. I have not removed the battery because it is internal and would require unscrewing the case. YES. That is how poorly designed this thing is. As I am writing this I have again lost the USB port and am struggling to get it going again.
Later a new issue developed: Screen going bad, no contrast...going into the white light.
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on March 13, 2015
This is a great laptop. I needed a new computer that I could transport to college and have the battery life to last me a while. This met and exceeded my expectations. The computer's hardware is very decent. The processor never hits max usage during any normal applications. However, the hard drive is a little slow. Additionally, updating the computer from windows 8 to 8.1, when I initially received the computer, was a pain. I have had this computer for 3 months now and it has worked pretty much flawlessly. The battery lasts between 2-3 hours when on lowest screen brightness and not playing music. The screen itself is extremely bright. You can even see it in direct bright sunlight. The integrated speakers are also a nice touch.
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