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Excellent entry-level laptop / See October 2015 update bottom of review...didn't age well
on August 6, 2014
This is an excellent entry-level laptop with decent performance, a nice bright screen, and a light footprint at about 5 pounds. It also has a smaller a/c adapter sort of like an iPad instead of the older style "bricks" which is nice - I'm surprised it's taking manufacturers so long to copy Apple's lead in the small a/c adapter area. The keyboard does feel exceedingly cheap (much cheaper than my $299 HP Chromebook) and the entire keyboard vibrates as you are typing. If you push down on the "G" key with normal force, you will see that entire part of the keyboard (T,F,H,V,B) sink in which is a little disconcerting. The keyboard is definitely the weak link in this system. ALSO, it pays you to shop around.... there is a major price war going on and I was able to buy this at a local office supply chain which matched the price at the big box electronics store down the street....both of which were significantly less than the current price here on Amazon. ONE MORE TIP: There are two models of this computer that are identical EXCEPT one has a DVD player and one does not. As of this writing the one without has been hovering around $200 and the one with the DVD player is around $220. It is very easy to get them confused as they have the same box and almost the same model number, so be sure to look for the full model number when you are searching: X551MAV-RCLN06. Both boxes will say "X551" in big letters but you have to read the small print next to the serial number to make sure you are getting the correct one. I ordered this one and was shipped the non-DVD drive unit by an Amazon seller and had to return it.
Wow, this keyboard is really cheap.. I'm typing this review on it and it keeps dropping letters as I type. I will update this review as I'm concerned if it's this bad in week one it will not last.
Pro's and Con's...
- Basic black, not stylish but doesn't scream "cheap"... just looks like a basic laptop
- Great screen - bright, good resolution
- Fast enough for word processing and internet surfing. This is obviously not a gaming computer.
- Small profile a/c adapter brick, one piece
- NO bloatware preinstalled.... no "Click on this for Ebay" links or trial versions of bad virus software
- Really fast boot... 2-4 seconds
- Windows 8 not so bad once you install free utility called "Classic Shell" which makes start button etc work like Windows 7
- Major price war going on with this computer, so you will get a good deal
- USB ports, one of which is 3.0, also HDMI out and ethernet connections. Everything you could need.
- DVD player / writer, works well... still need one of these.
- Touchpad sensitivity.... way too sensitive and I've searched all the ASUS gesture configurations and there seems to be NO adjustment for sensitivity. Google ASUS touchpad sensitivity and there are major threads on this so clearly a significant issue that ASUS is not effectively addressing.
- Keyboard. Exceedingly cheap. OMG. As I type this it sounds like a rock rolling around on a dashboard of a car as you drive it. The whole thing shakes and shimmies. I think I can live with this but will update this review if I can't. Try it out at local store first if you can.
For me, the pro's outweigh the con's, with a lingering concern about the keyboard. If there is interest, I will update this review as I use this system more, but overall I think it's a good one and I will end up keeping it.
Hope this helps!
UPDATE ONE YEAR LATER:
This laptop has not been a great purchase for us. It appears it has been replaced with a newer model so perhaps that one is better, but the touchpad has been terrible on this one -- very unreliable even with driver updates etc.... and even though I've kept it virus-free, the computer has slowed down considerably with a frequent "spinning blue circle" as the computer struggles to process the most basic of tasks. So this goes into the "regretted purchase" category for me -- I won't purchase another ASUS after this experience. Meanwhile my 2 year old Chromebook is still going strong and I love it.... (using it right now to write this review!)