As a follow up to my earlier post. Received UL30-X5 two days ago. WiFi seems fine. Strong signal in all areas of 2 story brick home and sees neighbors on 4 sides. At the worst position inside my house it drops one bar. It seems to have better strngth than a new HP MIni 311 in the same locations. Hope this helps everyone's decision.
I tracked this forum for many days prior to purchasing my unit. I was concerned about wireless signal strength--as many have mentioned, a crucial quality for a laptop as light and mobile as this one--and found this to be the only potential weakness for my criteria. Nonetheless, I was reassured by ASUS' posting and, to my great delight, have found no wireless problems with the unit that I received. Been very pleased with the laptop design and build quality so far--as they say, Christmas came early this year.
I received my UL30A-X5 from Amazon on December 11th, 2009. It has the Atheros card in it. In the succeeding week I have used it at home, on commuter rail, and on a Boston-New York bus that provides free wi-fi. It was pretty much unusuable on the bus, though people sitting next to me with MacBooks and iPods/iPhones were having no trouble with the signal. For me the signal strength was indicated as "weak" and my connection kept getting dropped. Then I'd have to reconnect to the router, and re-accept the router's usage policy, etc., etc. Same story on the commuter rail, although I can get five whole minutes of connectivity at a time. At home it functions satisfactorily, but it still shows the router strength as "poor" when sitting right next to my other laptop that shows the signal strength as "good" or "excellent." I've applied all the patches from the Asus site, and now I'm debating whether to try for a fix from Asus or just return to or even exchange with Amazon. It's particularly frustrating because it seems that *some* units are OK, and in other respects the laptop delivers as promised.
An update to my previous post: I called Asus tech support about the poor wifi problem with UL30a-X5 on Dec 13 - the tech that answered claimed they never heard of the problem. I pointed her to this message board with with the comment by ASUS and which point she said she would elevate my issue and someone would get back to me. Today is Dec 20 and no response yet from ASUS (hey ASUS - fix your customer service). I called Amazon on Dec 13th right after getting off the phone from Asus - Amazon immediately said they would send a replacement unit. The replacement was shipped Dec 14 and I received on Dec 15th (Amazon - fantastic customer service). I tried the wireless a few days later on the new unit - Same Problem with poor wifi reception. So I am now 2 for 2 with lousy wifi reception. Other than the wifi problem, the laptop is pretty good - but wifi that drops out makes it mostly useless. Just for comparison - at the same location in my house where the ASUS drops out, I tested other devices with with the same router, etc: iphone 3G wifi works fine, Wii wifi works fine, xbox360 wifi works fine, 6 year old compaq laptop works fine, 4 year old dell laptop works fine (dell gets ~5-7 Mb/s thruput on internet speed test at the same location that ASUS drops out), etc, ASUS wifi Does Not Work at this same location. Both Asus laptops I received from amazon have the atheros wifi card - saw a post somewhere else that some laptops may have intel card that is better. Hope this post helps others in their decision and convinces ASUS to fix the Problem and fix their customer service. To ASUS - people buy your laptops to use them, not spend hours debugging wireless problems!!
I have the other one ... the UL30A-a2, but thought I'd comment because there are similar issues for both models using the same wireless cards. My wireless reception has been terrible. Sitting 30 feet from the router at work and I get one bar and dropped signal. At home, the signal is low sitting next to a hp laptop with signal rated excellent. I've partly noticed that signal strength is directional: if I face one direction at my desk at home the signal is twenty percent lower than if I turn and sit facing another direction. Somewhere I read that only one antenna was attached to the Atheros card, and maybe this explains the peculiar directionality I've observed in signal strength. I'm returning mine on Monday. Asus's claim that this has only impacted a handful of units is hard to swallow when so many people have commented on it here and in other forums. Really disappointed, but I just can't use a notebook when the wireless is sketch ... defeats the purpose.
Three weeks with the UL30A-X5, and the wireless is rock solid. But on a related note: I noticed that the connection speed (not throughput) to my wireless-N router is 150Mbps, not 300Mbps. I have several other devices in the house connecting at 300, so I know it's not a router issue. Honestly, it doesn't matter because throughput is around 3-5Mbps for me (which also works fine for streaming HD video). But I wonder if my machine is not configured correctly (I've already explored the advanced options for the Atheros adapter, but no luck), or if in fact the 150Mbps is correct.
almost 3 weeks with this laptop, no problems with wifi, I can connect at home, work and public places. I just want to add that it picks signals from far away that I've never seen on the same place with my previous HP laptop or my co-workers laptops. turns out it picks up a wifi almost half block away and it doesn't drop the signal
Twenty is my magic number! :) Seriously...I have 22 tabs open at the moment, and I get pretty much an instantaneous switch as I go from tab to tab. I also notice that if I track CPU use in task manager (while the machine is idle), I average 3%-5%. Keep in mind that I use Adblock, so no extraneous flash ads running somewhere. I also run TabMixPlus, which occasionally auto-reloads a tab or two.
Another note: two-finger scrolling in Firefox is very smooth--but you have to make sure your fingers are separated enough, or it will only register as one touch. I was worried as my Asus 1000HA netbook couldn't handle either many tabs, or scrolling. Both work fine on the UL30A-X5.
My wife has ASUS Eee 1000HE and even though I upgraded the RAM to 2GB, it still kinda struggles with multiple tabs and say Word open at the same time.....so in my effors to replace my 5 year old DELL 15" Inspiron that feels like it weighs 10 pounds...I need something light and with enough processing power to handle alot of open tabs in Firefox, Notepad open, and HD video playback.....all at the same time...
Sounds like we have similar situations. I've been extremely happy with the UL30A...just took it on a 1-week road trip, and that is where 4 pounds and 8-10 hours of battery life really shine. The 1000HA is sitting on a shelf, and will go for sale in a few weeks. It was great for a year, but the smaller screen and slower processor proved to be too light for my multitasking habits. The UL30A has fit my needs perfectly...I strongly recommend it. For comparison purposes, check out:
Ah, now you're out of my league. No experience yet with SSD's. :) I assume you mean 2.5" SATA, or are you thinking PCI-E (not sure the Asus has a slot for that)? If you try it, make sure to report back!
Just got the laptop today and the wireless reception is incredibly poor. It drops when I move more than 10 feet away from the wireless router. I have been trying to call tech support all day but have not been able to get anyone on the phone. After more than a half hour of being on hold, my call was disconnected.
Tim, besides the Asus I also have a new HP, which drops its connection a lot. I've been running diagnostics, but another thing I tried was to open the door on the bottom, and check that both antenna are connected to the Wifi card. Sometimes they are not snapped on well, and come loose during shipping. Can you check yours? The poor reception sounds like either an antenna or card problem.
Thanks for the suggestion Matt. Unfortunately the access panels on the bottom of the laptop do not provide access to the wireless card. After finally getting in touch with Asus, I tried several things they suggested, including re-installing Windows 7 from the hard drive (twice), to no avail. Amazon is now sending me a replacement, which was incredibly easy to request. Hopefully this one will work.
Sorry Tim! My old Asus 1000HA has one door, and all is exposed. I know the Seashell is a tough chassis to get into, but I never guessed that our UL30A would be difficult. Glad to hear a replacement is coming. While my hard drive is kind of generating some odd S.M.A.R.T data, the wireless is one thing that is rock-solid. I'm sure you're next will be perfect.
I purchased my UL30a -x5 about 3 weeks ago, and had horrible wifi. I upgraded the drivers and boosted my wireless signal via control panel like most people recommended. I ended up buying another mini pci wifi antenna(because the atheros card in the laptop only has ONE!?!) and my signal is crazy strong. I havent had a dropped signal in my apartment complex since i did the less than 5 minute install! Thanks Danstah from Notebook review forums!! you rule!! The antenna was 4 bucks on Ebay... and it seriously solves everything. GRANTED Asus SHOULD have fixed this on their own... I didnt want to wait for a fix so I did it myself.