on January 9, 2010
Surprisingly, this thing actually lives up to ASUS's claimed 8 second boot time. The web cam based log in feature is fairly reliable and also records images of anyone who has a failed log in attempt. It needs decent lighting to get the image right and I don't know if it can handle things like glasses or hats, but you can always log in manually. Unlike many other out of the box computers, this one has relatively little junk software pre-installed. And most of the pre-installed software is something useful, like Trend Antivirus software, Adobe's .pdf reader, and the video based log in software.
The wifi card seems to work fine and is holding a good connection to an access point that was very flaky on my old laptop. I had to download about 600mb worth of updates for Windows, but all of the ASUS software and drivers were up to date.
In terms of performance, this unit is a great value for the money. Programs load off the drive quickly and World of Warcraft runs at ~80 frames per second with most video options maxed out. My unit shipped with the ATI 4670 chip instead of the advertised 4665, which was an unexpected slight upgrade.
The system is very quite at the default settings and battery life is in the 2.5-3 hour range when wifi is active. The hard drive is also very quite and were it not for the light, I'd have no idea it was active.
ASUS's included 1 year drop/spill/accident coverage and 2 years parts and labor warranty also make this system a cut above the rest. Be sure you register with ASUS to be covered under the accidental damage coverage, though.
The top row of buttons for functions like disabling the wifi, changing power modes, etc have labels that are virtually impossible to see. They're somehow etched or embedded into a chrome strip above the function keys, but there is next to no contrast between the the label and the chrome bar. The laptop's slick finish also makes it an absolute finger print magnet. But, in my opinion, neither of these two issues were worth deducting a star from the rating.
Over all, this is a great laptop if you want something fast and well rounded and ASUS's included 1 year accident and 2 years standard warranty are icing on the cake.
on January 18, 2010
I've been play with this laptop for few days now, and here are some things that I would like to share with all future buyers.
This laptop serves it's purpose ok - playing latest games, I have been playing DAO with very high setting and it plays smoothly, NWN2 also works great with very high settings.
But, there is no Bluetooth in this Laptop, period. Although seller indicates "with Bluetooth", that is not correct.
ASUS will charge you $9.00 to process your rebate, therefore, rebate is actually $91, not $100 and I doubt if I will actually receive $91 rebate, there might be some hidden fees they don't want you to know in advance.
The LCD is not so brilliant, it's not a LED backlight LCD, it's just a normal Active TFT LCD, although the brightness is good, but the view angle is not very wide.
on January 19, 2010
I bought this laptop about 2 months ago and i love it, it has a great design with a robust case, generally speaking great laptop.
Pros: Its the perfect combination between a portable laptop and a gaming laptop, it a 14.1" but still has a great processor and a great video card so you can run games in it or use it to work on. It runs very cool, hardly makes any noise, you can run games without any problems in it. Mouse, keyboard and screen have great response.
Cons: The mouse buttons are a bit stiff but i guess that way they will last a bit longer, the Fn(function) key is where the control key and no bluetooth but that's not a big deal for me.
Overall great laptop specially for gamers on the move, will definitely recommend this laptop to anyone.
on March 12, 2010
First off, let me say this clearly: This is a solid machine. It has good hardware, is nicely portable, easy on the eyes, has a decent battery life, and so far rock-solid performance. It does not, however, offer a great deal of frills nor is it without a couple minor annoyances.
Since getting the machine it's been with been with me across the city and across the country without being a burden. It's not exactly slim, but it's hardly bulky. I've run a variety of programs on it from photoshop and Gimp to Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect on high settings. In fact I've run those with other programs running in the background and have suffered from neither slowdown nor problematic system temperatures. I should note at this point that it actually comes with an ATI HD4670 and not a 4650, which is a slight upgrade It's wireless N card has made online gaming (Guild Wars) while running a downloads in the background do-able. It has five(!) USB ports. I've used its integrated webcam and mic for video calls over VOIP and received no complaints from other parties. In one case, I actually received a compliment. Express Gate has yet to take a full eight seconds to boot up and has proven rather useful. The speakers sound fairly crisp, with the mids and highs being rather good for a laptop. They don't have a great deal of bass, but then there is no sub-woofer. The LCD is nice and crisp, but not phenomenal. Also, as it's an Asus, it comes with a great warranty. (1 year accidental 2 year manufacturing) In all, it's performed nicely with few complaints; though, now I move on to the complaints.
While it's touchpad is nicely responsive, the scroll bars on it are not, especially the horizontal one. They take quite a bit of getting used to, and even now don't always perform quite as well as I would like. The mouse keys are rather stiff and rather loud. There are a series of buttons with dedicated functions near the top of the keyboard. Unfortunately, they blend in very nicely with their surrounding area and their labels are very difficult to see. I have had to Sharpie in the button functions in the silver trim beneath them. Further, these buttons are not programmable. This means the bluetooth button will always be useless, as this model does not come with bluetooth. While the keyboard is comfortable enough, it occasionally feels like I have the control key pressed down sufficiently when I, in fact, do not. Further, the bottom left side of the keyboard in addition to being a touch noisier gives a bit and feels a touch fragile; though, other than the control button (which is not actually the leftmost but the next to leftmost key on the bottom) it's given me no problems. The screen only supports up to 1280x800 resolution, which is a bit disappointing, but at 14.1 inches not terribly so. Also, it is fingerprint magnet. I initially thought this wouldn't bother me much, but I find myself wiping the mouse keys and palm rests down fairly regularly because they get annoyingly smudgy otherwise.
These are minor gripes, though. They're nothing that has significantly affected the system's performance or made me regret my purchase. At the end of the day, as I've said, this has proven to be a portable, reliable workhorse with a nice bit of gaming muscle. At the price I purchased it ([...]) it was a great deal. While I've yet to see it for the same price, I have seen it at prices not too distant from it and would recommend it unhesitatingly at a price point of $850 or lower. At higher prices, however, I would make sure to consider all available options, keeping in mind that for around $1,000 you can get a system with an i7/i5 processor, bluetooth, and DDR3. Personally, I had no need for a system with that kind of power, and have been happy with how this one has fit my needs at a solid price.
on March 15, 2010
Pros: Great bargain in general, Lots of ports (5 USBs, eSata, HDMI, ...), Slick design, Above-average speaker power (and the sound quality is acceptable), Light and portable considering the fact that it's a gaming laptop (gaming laptops are usually 15" and above), Roomy 500GB hard disk, Runs cool AND quiet even under full CPU/GPU load, 2 years of warranty
Cons: AWFUL keyboard (Generally uncomfortable and there's a disturbing clicking noise when I use upper left part of the keyboard, it's almost like it hasn't been installed correctly), Fn and Ctrl keys are not where they should be, Fingerprint magnet, Lots of bloatware on the pre-installed Windows, Stiff touchpad keys