Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Asus X551CA 15.6-Inch Laptop (1.5 GHz Intel Celeron 1007U, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Windows 8)
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on February 13, 2014
This Asus x551ca's price has been going up and down like a yoyo for the past couple of week between $250 - $299. I'd also want to note that this item is sold/shipped by a 3rd party seller not Amazon.com Please don't buy this if priced over $259, as its being price gouged.

This model: x550s is is from the budget line non-touch 15" category by Asus. You maybe asking your self, "what can I get from this $250 notebook" "is it enough for my needs" "Am I wasting my time reading this lousy review?"

To give you guys an idea what type of user experience to expect from this machine, ive made this table below. rating goes form: Excellent>Average>Poor

<><>Expected Performance Meter<><>
<>ENTERTAINMENT<>
[Poor] PC Gaming or [Poor to Average] Minecraft, Microsoft Store games, Facebook Gaming
[Average] Social Media surfing (Twitter,Facebook,Linkedin)
[Poor] Video Chatting (Skype)
[Average] Streaming Shows HD (Netlfix,Youtube,Hulu,iTunes)
[Average] Music Library (iTunes,Amazon MP3,Lastfm,Spotify)
<>PRODUCTIVITY<>
[Average] MS Office Suite
[Average] TurboTax, Quickbooks
[Average] Education Free Courses (from basic algebra at Udacity to Advanced MIT's Open Courseware)
<>EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY<>
[POOR] Music Creation (create music recodings, Audacity)
[POOR Photoshop editing (Photoshop Elements)
[POOR] Video Editing (Sony Vegas/MovieStudio, Adobe Premier)
[POOR Website development (Adobe Dreamweaver CS3)

This product line has been in the market since summer 2013, its backbone is being ran by an entry level CPU, Celeron1007U which is a processor based on IvyBridge early 2013. [CPU Passmark Score: 1642]

Although it competes against other processors such as AMD E sieres or AMD A4-1200 at the same sub $320 15" budget notbook market, this Intel Celeron1007U is +40% [CPU Passmark Score: 1642] > AMD E, A4 series [CPU Passmark Score: 650-750]. Keep that in mind...

Asus has improved their overall product with this X551 series entry level notebooks. Unlike other manufactures this budget notebook does not feel as cheap as the competition. Its of course still made out of plastic but imo it still has a very good sturdy feel to it.

Its missing an Optical Drive, although you could buy your own external usb disc drive here at amazon for less than $30 if you really need it. Preinstalled with windows 8 and not 8.1, so when you decide to get the free Windows 8.1 upgrade at MS store, expect 2.5hr upgrade time duration. Another Con is the webcam because it has a low quality picture during video calls. If web video calls / Skype is important to you, I strongly suggest to stop reading here and look at another product. Again this is an entry priced notebooks so sometimes companies will try to cut some corners to keep the prices down and for this model, its the camera not having HD resolution.

Luckily decided not to cut corners on critical components such as the RAM and Memory. At 4GM Ram +500 Hard Drive space its good to see no cutting corners here. But sadly this notebook is not Ram upgradable, 4GB is its max capacity. (unconfirmed)

THe keyboard layout is slightly narrow, raised but has a clicking noise. especially the space bar.

THe Trackpad's surface perimeter is much wider. Its supports multi gestures, thus the reason for the large trackpad design says Asus. I myself would make multiple errors because my palm would accidentally rest on the trackpad while navigating. A little frustrating at first but you do get used to it after a few uses.

There's nothing special on the display panel, just your regular budget TN panel at 720p resolution range. The notebook could run hot if pushed to the limits, which is easy to do.

in addition I'll also share with you guys some of my favorite picks for 2014 Amazon laptops. I made this list when I was researching which notebook to buy but decided to keep updating it :)

I also got some tips and tricks in regards to setting up Windows 8.
Installing 8.1 , etc.

thanks for reading and goodluck with your search for your perfect wallet friendly versatile notebook.

(pls thumbs up, I put a lot of hours making compiling this review. ty:-)

==CONTENTS==
1) Alternative Options
2) TOP 3 ($280-$399)-(11.6"-14"Touch between (3.7-2.6 lbs)
3) TOP 2 ($399 - $499)-(14"Touch between (4.7lbs-5.6lbs)
4) TOP 2 ($500-$800)-(15"Touch between (4.8 Ibs - 5.6 lbs or higher)
5) Windows 8.1 Tips & Computing Safety between

==Alternative Options==
I was doing my research my goal was to find the value laptop without hurting my wallet, I continue to update and filter through the entire amazon laptop list! YES indeed! I've done the hard work of searching for the best performing, best priced, that best fit our needs. This is a list of economical touch-screens Windows8 laptop which also offers excellent performance+battery

==TOP 3 ($280-$399)-(11.6"-14"Touch between (3.7-2.6 lbs)==
Here are the best choices for 11" functional, portable, light weight, bang for your buck notebooks.

<><>Expected Performance Meter<><>
<>ENTERTAINMENT<>
[Average to Poor] PC Gaming or [Average] Minecraft, Microsoft Store games, Facebook Gaming
[Excellent] Social Media surfing (Twitter,Facebook,Linkedin)
[Excellent] Video Chatting (Skype)
[Average] Streaming Shows HD (Netlfix,Youtube,Hulu,iTunes)
[Excellent] Music Library (iTunes,Amazon MP3,Lastfm,Spotify)
<>PRODUCTIVITY<>
[Average] MS Office Suite
[Excellent] TurboTax, Quickbooks
[Excellent] Education Free Courses (from basic algebra at Udacity to Advanced MIT's Open Courseware)
<>EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY<>
[POOR] Music Creation (create music recodings, Audacity)
[Average] Photoshop editing (Photoshop Elements)
[POOR] Video Editing (Sony Vegas/MovieStudio, Adobe Premier)
[Average] Website development (Adobe Dreamweaver CS3)

<> NO.1 +/- $359 Lenovo IdeaPad S210 59387503 11.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop, 1.9 GHz Intel Pentium 2127U ULV(dualcore,2 MBCache, 3rdgen/Ivy Bridge,July2013chip$134), 4GB RAM, 500GB HD(Black)

PROS: Light weight at 3.1lbs,.9"thick. Great 720p camera for Skype, 1usb 3.0, TouchScreen.
[CPU Passmark Score: 1873]
CONS:Battery life, No Bluetooth. not a great deal if prices increase to closer to $400. at +$400 price rage, I'd advise looking into 14" notebooks options listed below, to get more for your money. Sold by 3rd Party seller, not amazon

<> NO.2 +/- $335 HP Pavilion 11-e015nr TouchSmart 11.6" Touch Screen - AMD Elite Quad-Core A6-1450(06/01/2013) / 4GB DDR3 / 320GB HD / Windows 8 64-bit OS

PROS: Quadcore A6-1450 SoC are usually in notebooks at +$450 category but for HPs asking $350ish ? DEAL! but downgraded the Hard Drive , Touch, 4GB, / one of the better CPU/APU options in this category for gaming(Portal 2 and Torchlight 2 on high settings but lag free! /Upgradable to 8GB verified) 3.37lbs
[Passmark Score: 1642]
CONS: 320GB instead of 500GB, HP build quality is avg compared to ASUS or Lenovo but thats subjective. Prices fluctuates too much, if sellers increase their prices closer to $400 i would not recommend buying this or any 11.6" note books. At $400, finding a better 14"-15" touch screen size is possible. I made my Top Notebooks List at $400 tag below, for details. Sold by 3rd Party seller, not amazon

<> NO.3 +/- $454 Acer Aspire V5-122P-0637 11.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop (Chill Silver)(1.0 GHz up to 1.4GHz AMD Elite Mobility Quad-Core A6-1450 Accelerated Processor, 6GB DDR3 SDRAM, 500GB 5400RPM hard drive, Windows 8 64-bit

PROS: IPS screen better color and viewing angle(probably best screen on this list), Same CPU/APU as HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11 listed above thus Pros are identical, + 500GB Hard Drive , 6GB RAM! best gaming capable system at the light weight 11.6" Touch screen category. Enough power in this noteboko to deliver performance that it could act as secondary main PC.
[CPU Passmark Score: 1642]
CONS: Expensive at $450 but it has 6GB RAM(instead 2GB) and 500GB HD(instead of 340GB) with the AMD A6-1450 Quadcore (instead of poor performance AMD A4-1250 Dualcore AVOID at all cost!) 3rd Party Seller, not amazon.

______________________________________________________________________________

== TOP 2 ($399 - $499)-(14"Touch between (4.7lbs-5.6lbs) ==
These 14" touch screen laptops are designed for those who are always on go or need a portable computing device, bigger than 10.1-11"display without sacrificing performance. These notebooks are powerful enough to act as your secondary main PC machine for school, work and home.
WHAT YOU DESERVE AT $400 (Typically an increase in price fallows an increase in quality of parts. At this price range expect a 14" Screen Touch , with CPU Intel i3 or AMD's A6 or A8 processors) I favor AMD due to their graphics performance doubling that of Intel variant.

<><>EXPECTED PERFORMANCE METER<><>
<Entertainment>
[Average to Poor] PC Gaming or [Average] Minecraft, Microsoft Store games, Facebook Gaming
[Excellent] Social Media surfing (Twitter,Facebook,Linkedin)
[Excellent] Video Chatting (Skype)
[Average] Streaming Shows HD (Netlfix,Youtube,Hulu,iTunes)
[Excellent] Music Library (iTunes,Amazon MP3,Lastfm,Spotify)

[Average] MS Office Suite
[Excellent] TurboTax, Quickbook
[Excellent] Education Free Courses (from basic algebra at Udacity to Advance MIT's Open Courseware)
<Express Your Creativity>
[POOR] Music Creation (create music recodings, Audacity)
[Average] Photoshop editing (Photoshop Elements)
[POOR] Video Editing (Sony Vegas/MovieStudio, Adobe Premier)
[Average] Website development (Adobe Dreamweaver CS3)

<> NO. 1 +/- $448 Lenovo IdeaPad S415 59385549 AMD A6-5200M(May 23, 2013) 2.0 GHz Processor (2 MB Cache05/23/2013, Kabini), 4 GB DDR3 RAM, 500 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, 14-Inch Screen Touchscreen, ATI Radeon HD 8400 Integrated Graphics,Windows 8, 5-hour battery...,

PROS: Its an IdeaPad brand+build quaity, 14" touch, Battery life 5hrs!, 720p HD webcam , Sold by Amazon.com
CPU Passmark Score: 2450
CONS:

<> NO. 2 +/- $479 HP Pavilion 14-f027cl 14" Touch Laptop, AMD A8-5545M 6GB Memory 640GB Hard Drive

PROS: Battery life, +5hrBig 14" touchscreen, Higher grade AMD Elite Quad-Core A8-5545M Accelerated Processor with 4MB L2 Cache, Bigger 640GB Hard drive, and 6 GB RAM, More USB 3.0 . A8-5545M is higher step APU compared to next 2 laptops below sporting an A4-1450 APU thus this is faster and better choice for gaming.
[CPU Passmark Score: 2539]
Cons: 1.7lbs heavier than 11.6" notebooks, Expensive if your budget goal is to get a capable notebook for under $400. don't buy if +$475 asking price. +$500 price range there are better product selections at 15" Notebook category. Sold by 3rd Party seller not Amazon.com

______________________________________________________________________________

== TOP 2 ($500-$800)-(15"Touch between (4.8lbs - 5.6lbs or higher) ==
These touch screen laptop is designed for those who requires performance over portability.

<><>EXPECTED PERFORMANCE METER<><>
<Entertainment>
[Average to Poor] PC Gaming or [Average] Minecraft, Microsoft Store games, Facebook Gaming
[Excellent] Social Media surfing (Twitter,Facebook,Linkedin)
[Excellent] Video Chatting (Skype)
[Excellent] Streaming Shows HD (Netlfix,Youtube,Hulu,iTunes)
[Excellent] Music Library (iTunes,Amazon MP3,Lastfm,Spotify)

[Excellent] MS Office Suite
[Excellent] TurboTax, Quickbooks
[Excellent] Education Free Courses (from basic algetbra at Udacity to advance MIT's Open Courseware)
<Express Your Creativity>
[Excellent]Creation (create music recordings, Audacity)
[Excellent] Photoshop editing (Photoshop Elements)
[Average] Video Editing (Sony Vegas/MovieStudio, Adobe Premier)
[Excellent] Website development (Adobe Dreamweaver CS3)

<> No.1 $479 Acer Aspire E1-572P-6857 15.6" Touch,Intel i3-4010U Processor 1.7Ghz,6GB RAM, 750GB HDD

PROS: SOLD by Amazon. an Intel i3 touchscreen at 15" for under $480 is rare. Way under priced for what you're getting. Could easily be marked up close to $600 for sure. Battery life is good due to (new)Haswell processor. Great IPS screen. SD card reader , Nice solid Metalic feel unlike most notebooks in this price range made of plastic.
[CPU Passmark Score: 2514]
CONS: Weight, standard weight 5.6lbs for 15" notebook. Great for Video chat with 720P HD camera.

<> No. 2 $599 Acer Aspire V5-552P-X440,A10-5757M,8GB Ram, 1000GB HDD 15.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop (Cold Steel)

PROS: SOLD by Amazon, 4.8 lbs, Thin .9" Ultrabook, Powerful A-10 Quadcore processor, 8 GB of RAM, Huge 1000GB Hard drive(1TB), Fastest APU/CPU for gaming. Powerful still managed to be thin+lighter than standard 15" notebooks. 4.5hrs battery. Back-lit Keyboard, High end non-plasticy shell, Great for HD Video Chats, Acer.com sells this for $700! Great for business, gaming, traveling, home use, main PC, etc. Superb IPS screen. Its the best of both worlds, ease mobility, super thin and ultra light but powerful enough for everything, all premium features without Ultrabook's $1k Premium prices.
[CPU Passmark Score: 2922]
CONS: Need to manually upgrade from Windows 8 to 8.1(free) via Windows Marketplace, No Disc drive, At $600 you shouldn't complain. The power and portability you get from this notebook could easily cost you somewhere near $1000 Ultrabook category. No cons, its perfect at its price.
==Windows 8.1 Tips & Computing Safety==
Bring back the start button: Installing one of these two software will help new Windows8.1 users to ease into "Modern" user interface of windows 8.1
1) Classic Shell (free) or 2) Start8 (Stardock $5)

___________________________________________________________________

Avoiding major damages caused by those pesky malware,virus etc by simply not using an "Administrator Account" with your main MS Account.

Viruses will likely cause more damage and will be impossible to completely remove if they gained Admisitrator's right and have dug deep inside your computer. An "Administrators" account is a backdoor route viruses/malware uses get in and cause unrecoverable distruction to your data. With Admin rights those malware can easily infect deep within your "recovery partitions'! meaning, these's not turning back and you're royally screwed. Theres many more problems that can happen but I think you already get my point.

GOALS: 1) Don't use your Main MS Account as an" Adminitrator" but instead "standard"
2) Create a secondary account called "local account" and set that up as the Administrator instead.

Account Management: steps creating a local account(administrator) and MS Account(standard)

Charms search: type"control panel" > "User's Accounts and Family Safety" > "Remove User account" > " Add a new user in PC settings " located at bottom of window > Bringing you to Metro > click "add Account" > "Sign in without MS accout" located at bottom of page > "Local Accout" > create new user name and PW

You have 2 options on Signing IN
1) Microsoft account or 2) Local Account

1) Create or sign in with your MAIN Microsoft Account. If you already an MS account or uses windows phones/ xbox live or Hotmail/live/MSN email address you can use these as well to link those services to 1 master MS Account.

2) Create a Local Account. Thise secondary account will not connect to MS's ecosytem but only in your local computer. I identical to USERS login on Windows 7,Vista,XP etc.

Once you've setup these two accounts, you must set each account type to: >
Change ACCOUNT TYPE for Main MS Account to "Standard"
Change ACCOUNT TYPE for 2ndary Local Account to "Administrator"

Please do these steps, it only takes 5minutes. Its a small price to pay considering, it may potentially rescue your entire data from a completely erasing your data after sending it for repairs.

__________________________________________________________________________

Making Back ups/ Etc

Another tip is to make a recovery image.

First install Setup all your programs , setup your custom settings, etc
After personalizing your PC. > Its time to Create a Recovery Image right after you've set everything up. This image will allow you to revert back to this pc's state in time, and in perfect working order.

Sometimes system recovery doesn't solve your problems so having secondary backup plan like Recovery Image is key.

________________________________________________________________________

Not optional, must practice these 3 regular computing habits.

#1 (Install McAfee Antivirus, which is now free starting 2014, per Intel's 2014 Keynote at CES) or Paid programs such as Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 is the leading software in the market today. $50. These programs scans your system automatically, so set it and forget it.

#2 (Install MalwareBytes/free, scan your pc every month with this program or sooner when you feel like your system is sluggish or seeing webpages poping up that you didnt click) Because this is a free software, as a user you must manually start the scaning process or by buying retail version you'll unlock the auto scan scheduler feature.

#3 (Install Superantispyware/free, Scan pc every 2wks)
Because this is a free software, as a user you must manually start the scaning process or by buying retail version you'll unlock the auto scan scheduler feature.

Its ok skip a few scans between months, although not advisable, especially if your a heavy web surfing maniac spending 2-3 hrs daily websurfing not just facebooking. But please dont go without using all 3 programs more than 5-8 Months in between scans.

________________________________________________________________________

Another way to avoid spreading your personal information out there into the wild unknowingly is to un-google yourself.

yes ladies and gents! google or yahoo especially yahoo LOL..... but google is key here.

Microsoft sells Primarily Software.
Apple sells Primarily Hardware
Google sells neither, that's why their products are so CHEAP, once they suckered in their backdoor ridden ecosystem, Google Inc. sells your information to advertisers, All their services is based on mining for your data, in essense their user's becomes the "product" being sold!
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Steps in upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1 (2-3hrs)

Key here is to ensure your windows 8 is fully updated before upgrading to win8.1

Therefore repeatedly "check of updates" on windows

How to upgrade to windows 8.1 for dummies.

Step 1: Go to Metro and not desktop

Step 2: Start typing : "Control Panel"

Step 3: Click "Windows Update" > "Check for Update"

Step 4: install updates

Step 5: restart computer

Step 6: Repeat step 1 -5 until result "no more updates"

Step 7: Run HP Update client, install all updates from HP to ensure all drivers and bugfixes are updated.( or whichever OEM you may have, lenovo,dell, sony etc.)

Step 8: Uninstall your Antivirus Software (important) then RESTART PC

Step 9: Go to Windows Store and upgrade to 8.1

Step 10: leave computer on for 2hrs as it upgrades.

Step 11: Repeat Steps 1 - 7

Step 12: if you're not a complete fool, 8.1 upgrade should be straight forward. \

After steps 1-8 ONLY THEN you should install WIndows 8.1 at the marketplace. Goodluck.

(note: steps above removes a lot of failures users experience after 8.1 update)
___________________________________________________________
Not many want to shell out their dollars on Office 360 if all they intend of using is standard word processors.
you can use a free web version of office called
Bing.com search: "MS Office Web Apps"
just sign in with the same MS Account user name used on your PC.
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on March 1, 2014
Great laptop came as pictured ! I can play many major games like minecraft, league of legends, rust, garrys mod and many more. Overall great price for this laptop!
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on February 26, 2014
ASUS has one of the best motherboards out there.
This computer has great ram and drive making it a real steal for the price.
The first thing it noticed when I opened it was that the screen is huge!!
The first thing I did was update everything, and install an antivirus, and this computer runs extremely quickly now.
A lot of people who have Windows 7 are skeptics about Windows 8 or 8.1.
However, the icons you usually see are just a default menu that has an icon which takes you to the window 7 desktop screen.
The look is too sexy.
I recommend it for anyone who is trying to buy an affordable laptop for school, recording, or anything really.
BUY THIS.
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on March 8, 2014
i love this laptop. very portable and easy to use. It's super super great. I have 2 of them and i use them a lot.
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on March 13, 2014
Stable, fast, light weight, large screen.
Cons:Touch-pad needs improvement and screen is a bit large.
Pros: Computer is very light weight.
Use: Good novice laptop.
Thank you.
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on April 26, 2014
I'm rating this computer five stars as it's a great computer for the price (i.e. the cheapest windows pc that you can find). I read through all of the reviews on this site, as well as others, and found that the reviews were pretty spot on. I definitely recommend checking out other reviews before buying to see if this is the right computer for you. My background: I'm actually a mac girl, but I needed a pc computer to run a particular type of software for grad school. I had the choice of sinking money into my '08 mac to fix a broken ram port, set up bootcamp, and buy windows for mac; OR just buying the cheapest windows pc I could find. I chose the latter as it was actually the cheaper (and faster) option and, so far, I'm happy with this computer's speed in running the software.

Small details of note:
*SUPER light plastic material - it's crazy how light this computer is.
*Track pad is much more responsive than my previous computer and it took me a little while to get used to it. I actually thought that it wasn't tracking as it should due to a malfunction, but then realized that I was being too heavy-handed.
*Windows 8 is pretty annoying on a computer that doesn't have a touchscreen, but you can customize it back to the regular desktop. To add to the track pad comment above, the track pad does allow you to expand/minimize with two fingers the way that you would on a touchscreen. Am currently undecided as to whether or not I find this feature useful.
*Shorter power cord than I was expecting (not a dealbreaker by any means, but slightly annoying)
*Purchased it for a total of $308 w/shipping and tax. I saw it for about $250 a few weeks previous, which I obviously would have preferred, but I'm still pretty happy with the price.
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on July 29, 2015
When I got it, it was in mint condition. And those people saying that it took a while to start up, are just impatient. If you get something brand new, of course it has to have time to download everything. It took less than five minutes.
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on June 14, 2014
I bought this laptop for my wife's aunt, a lady of 70 years. This small portable corresponded to their needs and the price was good for its use. The delivery was fast and it is happy with her new laptop. thank you
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on April 25, 2014
Great quality. My son received this as a gift, and promptly downloaded his music making software, video games etc. He said that the speed is amazing. There isn't any "glitching" when he plays games, and the picture quality is excellent. Very happy with the product.
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on April 27, 2014
The windows system and hardware seems to be working fine, so far,
The mouse pad is a little hard to select icons and menus,
The graphics are excellent and the system is fast enough for home users,
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