Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Great Laptop - a few of my tweaks
on March 8, 2012
I use this laptop for web surfing, coding, gaming, and watching movies. Does it all. I would recommend this laptop for the performance, but the keyboard is lacking a nice touch for speedy typing. This major interface should be easy to do right but they missed the mark so -1 star.
My favorite things about this laptop:
- 1920x1080 resolution for side-by-side viewing of documents, webpages, code, etc
- The HD resolution also makes it simple when attaching an HDTV via HDMI: since both displays have the same resolution, it's easy to use clone mode. Also you can change the power settings so closing the laptop when it's plugged in will not shut it off or make it go to sleep, it just turns off the laptop LCD. Works well as an HTPC this way.
- Matte finish on the screen, not glossy as some other "Media" laptops can be
- Has several modes to conserve battery when you're not gaming or watching movies (see tweaks)
- Also to save battery, the dedicated GPU turns on selectively for certain high demand programs like games. There is a colored light indicating when it is in use - blue indicates onboard, white is dedicated GPU. The nVidia Control Panel lets you override the default setting for any particular program if you decide to.
- The touchpad supports multitouch so you can easily zoom as well as scroll in any direction using 2 finger gestures. There are other gestures supported but I use scroll the most.
- I use the lightweight, quick-loading ASUS ExpressGate OS if I need to quickly check e-mail, Facebook, Google Maps or the like. It's an alternative operating mode based on Linux that gives some basic netbook type functionality with a quick load time from being turned off. I found this mode accidentally when I pressed the upper left button to turn the laptop on instead of the upper right. This OS can be finicky with the WiFi Settings, see tweaks.
- Some people don't like it but I definitely appreciate the numpad
- The laptop never gets hot or loud. Under heavy gaming load, the side fan exhaust air will be warm but the laptop itself won't be burning anybody's lap.
- Blu-ray drive works just fine with bundled PowerDVD 10
- Somewhat heavy and large for a 15.6". But it has all the hardware you'd want so this might be expected.
- The keyboard is "slippery" for lack of a better word. The hard plastic and super flat keys with little in the way of touch landmarks make it easy to shift finger alignment and slows me down when typing. Takes some getting used to.
- There's some keyboard "flex" as others have noted that make the materials/assembly quality somewhat questionable
- The size and layout of other function keys like volume, mute, play/pause are hard to find by touch, and not as easily accessible as I'd like, positioned in the upper left part of the keyboard (see tweaks)
Tweaks I've found useful:
- When running Netflix movies I would often drop to about 1 fps especially with HD video/higher bitrates (use shift+alt+click to get some interesting menus for Silverlight). I struggled with this issue for a while: first I tried to get Silverlight to always use the dedicated GPU, but even with "Mozilla FireFox - Plugin Container" added to the list of always-GPU programs, I would sometimes get these halting framerates. Then realized I was just running in "Battery Saving" mode that throttled the CPU down. Either adjusting the CPU limit in the Power4Gear Hybrid settings or switching to "High Performance" mode solved this.
- I put a piece of clear tape across both the volume buttons so I can find them by touch (cludgey but works for me, esp watching a movie in the dark)
- In the ExpressGate OS, sometimes the WiFi profiles get messed up: I saw network SSIDs in the profiles list that were truncated so auto-connect would not work. To fix this I went into "Manage wireless networks" in Win7 and highlighted the problem SSID names as if I were to modify/rename them, but just pressed enter making no changes. This fixed the truncated names when I went back to ExpressGate mode and auto-connect works now.
I bought a wireless mouse (Logitech M305) and laptop backpack (Case Logic VNB-217) that I also really enjoy. The highly hyped speakers on this system are OK but not amazing. I haven't used the USB 3.0 or SD card reader but they are there so that's nice to have.
Thanks for reading!