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Showing 1-10 of 63 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 65 reviews
on April 29, 2012
As there are few reviews for this product I was a little wary, but I'm very satisfied with my first laptop. As a university student getting into upper division courses, the ability to take projects with me became a necessity, and since I recently built a powerful gaming computer, I needed something that I would *want* to travel with. After removing a bit of ASUS bloatware that comes with it, it runs pretty smooth. Some of the bloatware is actually nice like the power profiles switcher. All in all it runs faster than I expected with a low-power processor and 5400 rpm hard drive.

First week review:
Battery life is legitimately 7+ hours in battery save mode (which you can tweak).
24 hours in Sleep Mode only cost the battery ~7% charge, and Instant On works as advertised.
Computer is capable of light gaming in performance mode (it runs Dungeon Defenders on low settings).
Hard drive is divided into two even partitions, OS and Data.
Usable RAM is 3.6 GB as 400 MB seems to be dedicated to video memory, which is good.
8-cell Battery keeps laptop slightly lifted, which helps keep it cool, but adds a little size.
It is slim and light enough to compete with an ultrabook at half the price.
Hinge construction feels more solid than it looks. Overall the entire machine feels sturdy.
No optical drive. Helps keep it light and isn't an issue for tech-savvy users, but could be an issue for some.

Yes, there is some keyboard flex, but I have to pay attention to notice it. It would be nice if the keys were backlit, but since the screen gives off light, that isn't really important. The keyboard feels like the cheapest component, but there are zero problems actually using it.
Something to note is the USB ports are an extremely tight fit. It shaved some plastic off of my flash drive getting it into the ports the first couple of times. I've muscled in a couple other USB devices, but it doesn't seem to damage anything.
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on July 27, 2012
I've been waiting to replace my trusty eeepc 1005HA for a while now, and while looking for another ASUS netbook with a 12 inch screen, all of a sudden Amazon offers this a 13-inch model for very little more than I paid for the 10-inch netbook almost 4 years ago. To be honest, I was expecting to be disappointed because the 1005HA has been so dependable and functional. But the U32U-ES21 is such an enormous improvement that it is really in a class by itself. I am still getting used to it and especially to Windows 7, but here are my first impressions:

- the screen angle issue is real, and obvious when compared to the excellent (matte!) LCD screen in the eeepc, but not a huge problem. Maximum brightness is about the same. The view angle might have to do with the U32U screen being LED-backlit, which probably saves battery drain. The much higher resolution and of course the extra "real estate" more than makes up for this, and blacks are richer too.

- It's a joy to have the additional keyboard size and especially a more conventional layout of the right side keys. The keys are a bit on the stiff side but I am making far fewer typing mistakes. (The eeepc also had some repeated key problems that I am happy to find absent now). My eeepc had a black-on-white keyboard, which is easier to see in dim light than the new one, but that's only an issue for hunt-and-peck typists in darkened bedrooms, like me.

- Fan is much, much quieter and the unit runs cooler than the eeepc!

- Windows7 is a great advance over the familiar and reliable but now clunky XP. The 4GB standard RAM seems to handle it fine.

- I've had no wi-fi problems at all so far, although I get different strength indications with the 2 laptops side by side.

- I have not put them on scales yet, but it is about the same weight as the eeepc with an oversize battery.
- Video playback is perfect at full screen, but I have not tried and HD yet.
- The Caps Lock and Num Lock lights are very welcome features, avoiding errors and/or the need to install an on-screen program.

One star down from perfect because of the stiff keyboard and screen issues, and the truly TERRIBLE Asus website, but really quite an amazing value. Yes, I have to add that I have never even succeeded in registering my computer, getting access to their cloud storage, or even finding a list of models, on their website. I can only hope that I'll never need any type of real assistance. (Their webpage for driver downloads can't even recognize the model computer - I had to get drivers from other sites! Boooo ASUS)

Six weeks later: I'm noticing how flexy the keyboard is, but it doesn't matter to me. More worrying is that I had to reinstall the keypad driver a couple of times before I got the 2-finger scrolling feature to work right, and also the default settings have to be changed for it to work right. (Forget about the "Scrybe" junk). And if you switch between a mouse and the trackpad you will find a little program called Change Mouse Speed very useful.

To compensate for a slowish AMD CPU I installed another 4 Gb of RAM ($25), and disabled most of the Win7 screen animations. Now I am more than satisfied with the snappy performance, including HD videos (I'm not a gamer). I have rigged all my peripherals into a sort of quick docking station when I am not on the road - mouse, backlit keyboard, big monitor, backup HD. I have some issues with how Win7 handles its "Libraries", and can't for the life of me understand why ASUS makes the "OS" drive partition (C:) the default for data rather than the "Data" partition "D".

Maybe that is why the Mac Airbook is so popular - it's not a do-it-yourself project like ASUS always seems to be.

Now if Amazon would only quit changing the price every week it will be a great little laptop for about $400.
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on July 13, 2012
The Asus Ultra Portable is a steal of a deal. This little perfomer blows my mind. Now granted I don't do any gaming, but for internet surfing, emails, spread sheets and all the other stuff I typically do this is just a terrific bargain. I love how quickly it boots up! The screen is bright crisp and flawless. I love that it's NOT loaded up with starter software that harrasses you to death to buy the real thing (like Dell's and HP's are, that starter software is such a tease and virtually no help). The Asus is configured exceptionally well, plenty of USB access points, WiFi is great, card readers built in and the battery life is very good with an easy 6 hours! This is just a terrific bargain (I paid approx. $445 May 2012)!!! I shopped Best Buy, Fryes and Office Depot, Amazon had the best deal and fast delivery, no sales tax. LOVE this ASUS U32U-ES21 and can't imagine that there is anything else out there that comes close for the price I paid!
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on July 22, 2015
ASUS' U32U-ES21 isn't going to be your go-to gaming workhorse, nor is it your ideal machine for color-sensitive graphics work, but for most users, it's a pretty good fit.

I bought this machine in 2012 for school. At the time, I wanted a small, light notebook that would run basic office apps, a few light web development tools, Chrome, Photoshop, and Sims 2 (which I still play -- I like its building tools best of the Sims franchise): the U32U-ES21 managed that while requiring an up-front investment of <$500 USD, and as of this review it's still going strong.

The battery life, as advertised, is stellar. I don't know that the claimed 10 hours is accurate, but in Battery-Saver mode, I've eked out full days at school with no difficulty. Between that, its slim profile and relatively light weight, and its lack of blingy bleeding-edge stealability, theU32U-ES21 is a
frugal traveler's best friend -- assuming, of course, that the traveler in question is a young or young-at-heart backpacker who can't quite get by with a tablet (I also own a Samsung Galaxy Note tablet, and it's not quite a notebook-replacement).

The U32U-ES21 also runs cool and quiet: I am forever being startled by how hot and noisy other notebooks can be. Curiously, however, for all that this machine appears to have been nearly purpose-built for writing in bed without disturbing one's spouse, the mouse buttons are really ridiculously loud. There's nothing like a nice, crisp, "CLONK!" in the midst of a steady stream of quiet typing to settle the nerves, am I right? Fortunately, keycommands abound, and Tap-to-Click (with a decent "palm sensor" function) can be turned on as needed.

The mouse buttons in question also have pretty high action, which I find annoying, though others may not.

The minimal degree of keyboard flex, meanwhile, has never been a problem for me (and the keyboard and everything under it have handily survived a couple of campus coffee-shop incidents). The keyboard layout is quite comfortable for users with smaller hands; I can't speak to its suitability for those with larger hands.

Onboard graphics are just fine for Sims 2 (though, of course, it takes about a thousand years to launch, and once you're in you'll find yourself waiting for options to load in Build and Buy mode) and, surprisingly enough, Sims 3.

More action-oriented games, however, can suffer. Goat Simulator on Origin with two remote gamepads and dual monitors (so we could play on a projector screen) proved a bit much; since Goat Sim is *supposed* to be ridiculous, it was still enjoyable, but I don't think I'd want to play any serious actioner on this thing (fortunately, ballet soaks up too much of my time to leave room for serious action-oriented games).

Viewing angles, as others have noted, are a bit on the narrow side (though not ridiculously so). I'm a tad paranoid about privacy, so I don't actually mind that at all, though it did result in my notebook being demoted from its position as Official Megabus Movie Box when I travel to Chicago with my husband. Flexible display pivots allow sufficient fore-aft adjustment to make the machine usable in bed (where great novels are written and beleaguered undergrads bang out last-minute revisions).

Display color is, as often noted, less than true. It's perfectly acceptable for watching movies and playing games, as far as I'm concerned, but even light graphic-design work should be color-checked on more reliable monitors (unless you're going for a greyscale monochrome theme, I guess).

The screen itself is not blazingly bright. My eyes are pretty photosensitive, so this is great for me -- with f.lux running and system brightness cranked down, I can comfortably use this machine in a dark room. For the same reason, I'm glad that the keyboard isn't backlit; my touch-typing skills are excellent, though, so you hunt-and-peck types might consider that a drawback.

The screen is also glossy. That is a drawback, but a minor one -- a ding, rather than a true dent, in the U32U-ES21's halo. I expected to find it much more annoying than it turned out to be.

Not to say that there aren't any dents: in fact, there's at least one big one. Boot time can be maddeningly long (note to users: eliminate as much of the ASUS bloatware as you can, then turn off the "launch on boot" feature on anything you install or run, especially Chrome), as can the time it takes for this machine to launch more demanding applications (Launching Photoshop? Why don't you go grab a coffee, or maybe go for a jog?) and even some less-demanding ones (Just launching Word or Scrivener? You still have enough time to go grab an iced tea from the fridge...).

Likewise, things can get pretty bogged down when you've got a bunch of concurrent sessions of Chrome going, especially when one of them is remoting into your school's app cloud to run SPSS -- and I say this as someone who is a cheapskate about hardware and used to limiting how many tabs, windows, and applications he runs concurrently.

Dropping a second 4GB RAM chip in could bump performance up enough to offset some of the frustration without costing an arm and a leg or requiring a degree in Electrical Engineering; in fact, I plan to do exactly that (though, sadly, I still haven't gotten around to it: maybe tomorrow! They sell those right here on Amazon!).

Hard disk speed, however, would remain a challenge for this machine. Storage and retrieval can be sluggish. That, too, can potentially be resolved by dropping in a new HDD, though that could be a more expensive proposition (as it might also entail software purchases).

Speaking of dropping, my particular U32U-ES21 has survived about three or four not-insignificant falls: I don't always drop my laptop, but when I do, it's usually off my bed, which is about four feet off a hardwood floor. The aluminum screen cover has gained a couple of war-wounds -- a little dent and a scuff -- but the screen it protects remains functional and intact. One fall (out of a backpack's laptop compartment onto solid concrete) broke a retention clip on the battery; I ordered an even-longer-life replacement through Prime and was soon back in action.

Obviously, as I write this review in 2015, there are newer, shinier, and possibly cheaper notebooks on the market, all of which can do some of what the ASUS U32U-ES21 does better than it does -- but even with those, there tend to be significant trade-offs in terms of price, size, or included features.

The balance between affordable price point, light weight, and comfortably acceptable performance is still the place where the U32U-ES21 really shines.

In short, ASUS' U32U-ES21 may not be a hoss, but it's a solid, dependable little pack-mule that will get you where you need to go -- and if you're looking and find one used at a good price, I would definitely recommend snapping it up.
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on June 1, 2012
I found the U32U while looking for the UL30A, an older Asus "ultra-portable" that we've had excellent luck with. The U32U is an improvement on an already excellent product. Nice packaging, great design, 8 - 10 hour battery life, and thin profile make this an excellent choice for web browsing and general computing on the go. I'll be installing Photoshop and Premier Elements and expect to have them function well with the light duty photo and video editing tasks I do.

Very easy to setup, though I did remove some of the installed ASUS apps like their media manager and sound enhancer. I've got no problem with the stock speakers and the screen has better viewing angles than I had expected. The fan blows slightly in high performance mode, and the bottom does get warm, but this is no noisy lap-burner. The always on USB port for charging is a nice upscale addition, as is the included bluetooth and multi-touch trackpad gestures.

All is all this is a great deal on an almost-ultrabook sized lower powered laptop.
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VINE VOICEon April 18, 2012
It's not easy to find a computer this slim and light without buying an ultrabook. This is half the price of even a low end ultrabook, so of course there are some compromises. It's not quite as sleek, the processor isn't that powerful, though it's good enough for most HD video and light gaming. The keyboard has a little flex to it as well. It's biggest flaw is the screen, which isn't that vivid and has poor viewing angles. That's to be expected at this price though. The battery life is very good, about 5-6 hours even with the brightness on high and the wireless on. I didn't want to spend ultrabook money on a laptop, so I was glad to find this.
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on October 14, 2012
I did a lot of research before buying this laptop. I almost bought a more expensive ASUS, but I'm really glad that I went for the cheaper version. This ASUS laptop readily meets my needs!

++ Impressive, sturdy, compact ASUS packaging. Very, very prompt arrival thanks to the Discover Card 2-Day shipping Amazon is offering right now. Awesome!
++ Very sleek and slim. This laptop is slick.
++ The PRICE! Man, the price! As other reviews have called it, this laptop is the "poor-man's ultrabook."
++ The battery life is awesome. I've only actually run out of battery once, and that was when I was watching a hi-res movie. For just internet surfing, the laptop lasts 7-8 hours. For watching movies, it would probably last half that time. I have my screen brightness at the lowest setting.
+ Quiet and cool, even while watching movies.
+ Fast enough for a student. I have no problem picking up wireless networks.
++ Lightweight.
+ The keyboard flex isn't very noticeable.

- Quite a bit of bloatware I had to remove. You can find some pretty good lists of the ASUS bloatware online.
- Low audio. Apparently it's easy to fix, but I haven't found a real cure for it. I just use VLC player instead of Gomplayer now.
-- Somewhat fragile! It's obvious that this laptop was made with cheaper materials. This is definitely my biggest concern with the product. It's really difficult to attach the battery completely. Even after a couple of tries, the second lock doesn't work and the battery is loose. This doesn't interfere with its functionality, but it's still annoying. Also, the two parts of the screen come apart. I can press them back together with a snap, but still...
- The mousepad buttons make really loud clicks, so get a wireless mouse.
- For a couple of days, the laptop missed my space keystrokes, so that was pretty annoying. If you type a lot, consider getting a different computer. I think I've adjusted to the slightly greater force it takes to make the space bar work, so now it's fine. ;)

Other notes:
~ Honestly, the screen doesn't bother me at all. Yeah, it's a bit reflective, but I can see just fine with it. Sometimes I do have to angle the screen forward, but that's to be expected. If you want a laptop that can accommodate more than one person (multiple people viewing at multiple angles), then get a more expensive computer. This is the ideal balance of affordability, functionality, and beauty.
~ If you need a CD drive, then just buy the external one.
~~ I take this laptop to school and just shove it around in my backpack. It can take a beating thanks to the wonderful neoprene sleeve I bought for it, Caselogic PAS-213 13-Inch Macbook Neoprene Sleeve (Black). The laptop fits in there quite snugly, although lately the zipper has been fighting me.

Great, fairly reliable computer. Of course, it has its faults, but no laptop is perfect! It really depends on what you'll be using it for. For light activities like internet surfing, video streaming, and doing homework, this lappy is great. HOWEVER, if you're a heavy gamer, this computer isn't going to work for you.

UPDATE 2/20/13 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I've had this laptop for approximately 5 months and I am very disappointed with how it has held up. In the first few months of use, the battery latches snapped completely and I had to tape the battery back in place. And just today, a corner of the laptop snapped off. I sat there, dumbfounded, staring at that piece of rubbish plastic-- I couldn't believe it! Now a little piece of wiring is visible. It still works fine, but I'm going to try and invoke my warranty now, as this is too much. I wanted to like this laptop, I really did, but I can't tolerate this laptop's cheap construction anymore.
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on May 8, 2012
Bought this computer for my daughter to take to college, so I wasn't looking for anything that could run high end video games, but rather something with decent processing power that was small, lightweight, had solid battery life, and was affordable. This computer easily met all those requirements.

The machine is basically an Ultrabook at half price. For $450 from Amazon, you simply can't beat this price for what you get.

Pros: Excellent Price, Awesome Battery Life (am getting 7+ hrs easy), ASUS brand quality, very lightweight and perfect size for school, runs/surfs web relatively fast once you lose the bloatware, picture/sound quality more than adequate for day to day use

Cons: Keyboard does have a little flex to it; USB ports are very stiff for putting things into/out of

Overall: Good machine for the money.
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on June 14, 2012
The battery life is about 6 hours for me on high performance, max brightness, wifi.. (everything that can drain the battery essentially..) mode. which is remarkable. There is no optical drive but that isnt much of an issue since i almost never do use CD's and a usb optical is not hard to find. The touchpad click buttons are rather noisy, and if you really look for it there is minimal keyboard flex, but for the price little things like that are expected.

However - Do Not Buy! The CPU is the slowest one in the history of man kind. It could not handle browsing the web and playing music at the same time. I ended up getting rid of it to replace it with a real laptop.
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on April 30, 2012
Quite impressed with this machine.

Asus was kind enough to supply a (1) 4 gig memory chip that made it outstanding for an extra 4 gig of RAM upgrade. Hats off to Asus for the open slot.

My battery meter at full charge indicates 8hr-4min of battery use. Screen brightness is at about 50% but very viewable.

Early reports indicated poor screen angles. Although not fantastic, its a lot better than expected, totally acceptable. Also, it was reported keyboard flex at top may not suit you. Keyboard is fine and not as reported.

Can't believe how thin the screen is. Beautiful display.

I really like the Computer and Asus has done a top notch job on the design.
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