Top critical review
42 people found this helpful
on March 21, 2013
(Updated 7/2013) So I've had this laptop about 4 months. My #1,2 and 3 criteria were weight and I LOVE LOVE LOVE how light this is. For the first time ever, I have a functional laptop I can carry around with me which I love. Did I mention how light it is? It starts up super-fast which makes it extremely usable. Did I mention the weight? That, I think, is the saving grace on this laptop. It is thin, small, and easy to pop in my bag and carry around. I hardly notice when I am carrying it which is a large change from my prior 3# computer. The screen is small, but for me, weight was the main need, so it is functional. If this were your main computer, I think you would want a 13" screen.
I actually like the touchscreen aspect, particularly the ability to increase font size. I think in a few years, this will be a nice feature. I saw a few years because it is too early in the technology now. The overall design of the Asus is lovely and it's a beautiful and well-designed interface.
BUT, and I'm afraid there are a lot of buts...
I researched laptops obsessively for a year and finally said: I need to get *something*. If you have another year to wait, I think I would recommend that before buying something new now. I should also say I am NOT a computer geek who knows a lot about computers. I am an average person, using average programs (word, excel, STATA, internet, email), and I can't always understand the complex and technical workarounds that might fix some of my challenging win 8 problems.
--It is true that the battery length is terrible (in my experience, about 3.5 hrs for routine internet surfing, email, Microsoft word, excel, etc. I haven't tried anything like watching videos or gaming. The extended battery is nice design-wise and adds a lot of battery time, but then takes away from the light weight, so it's a tradeoff. If you needed constant extended battery time AND very, very light-weight, this is not the computer for you. I don't use the battery for routine use so for me it's OK though sometimes during the day I have to limit my use so I don't run out of juice. I will need to take along the batter when I travel.
--Windows 8 is terrible. I think this is the source of most of my issues...some programs I use regularly aren't easily compatible and can take hours to figure out how to go thru unusual efforts to download, Internet Explorer and MS Word stall constantly and crash frequently. I've read all the tips on how to improve win 8, and I'm better than I was initially, but it just is a very amateur program with lots of on-going problems. I do think it was probably too early for release of this program. In a year, with revisions, it will probably work much better, and the learning curve is not as bad as people say. Win8 apps are not great--many of them lack the functionality of regular programs. For example, the app for internet explorer saves you time (easy to just touch the icon to start) but doesn't let you save favorites or have a toolbar, so it's not very practical. Many of the apps are like this--just easier to use less-convenient regular programs than half-functional apps. The apps on my iPhone are much better.
--Many of my programs (most of them, actually) stall frequently (blue circle rotates and you have to wait for 30-45 seconds). I'm guessing that's a Win 8 problem but I tried re-installing the OS and nothing changed. Remember, I'm not a computer geek; many of you are much smarter about this technology and might be able to fix these issues but I think I'm stuck with it.
--The touchpad on the Acer seems over-over-over sensitive. I'm constantly finding myself sending emails before they are done, inadvertantly increasing or decreasing my font size just because I have touched the touchpad in some unusual way. I still haven't quite figured out how this is working or how to fix it but it's just annoying. Not sure if that is a win8 or Acer problem. That said, I like the ability to easily magnify text just by touch because the 11" screen is small. Hopefully I'll figure this out eventually. For now, when I'm at home, I just use the mouse because it's much easier than the touchscreen.
--If you do buy an Acer, the first thing you need to do is write down your serial number (which is oddly not marked anywhere on the physical body of the computer--you have to do some special queries available on-line to figure out how to find it from the SSD). I tell you this because if you have a problem, you cannot ask a SINGLE question to Acer support without your serial number. If your machine won't boot correctly (as happened to me for several weeks and according to my on-line search has happened to many other Acer users), you can't do the usual query process to get your serial number so you are totally out of luck.
Do I regret my purchase? Well, no, because if weight is your top criteria and you need a full-fledged laptop, there just isn't much out there to beat this. Nothing better than a 2# laptop. The design is gorgeous, keyboard is nice (one key sticks), and overall I can deal or work around the flaws with my needs. But this wouldn't work for everyone. If I had been able to wait a year, I think that would have been ideal. Hopefully there will be upgrades to win 8 and things will be better. If not, I may be looking for another computer in a year or two.