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Pros: Laptop is powerful and inexpensive for what you get. The Core i7 is a fast and excellent processor. The 16 GB of ram is fantastic. The dedicated graphics care performs well, and it's nice having full 1080p graphics on the display. And I love having a backlit keyboard - I will never purchase a laptop without it again.
Cons: Starting from the least annoying to the most annoying...
The display definitely has a weird viewing angle to it. I feel like the best angle is about 110 degrees, which seems unusual, and literally built to use on a lap rather than sitting on a desk or table.
It's loaded with bloatware that you simply are never going to use. That coupled with the pre-installed McAffee seems to really slow down the system. It feels slower than a system I built 2 years ago and put Windows 8.1 on. I expected an 8 GB SSD to make this faster, but it simply drags on boot-up. I haven't tried gutting all the bloatware to see if it improves performance or not. Simply put, you're probably better off wiping the drive and installing a fresh copy of Windows 8.1.
The battery on this laptop is simply not good. It's far too underpowered for the system, as I only seem to get about 2 hours of battery life if I'm lucky. And, lets face it, if I bought a powerful laptop just to run it in power save mode, I might as well have bought a cheaper laptop, so that's not a solution.
But the worst part of the system is that my laptop will NOT power on unless I plug the system in. I may have a defective system that's not able to detect the battery status, but when the system isn't plugged into the power outlet I cannot power on the machine even with full battery charge. When I plug it in, it powers on just fine and I can unplug it then. Really odd behavior.
Other Thoughts: I would probably rate it a 3.5 maybe even 4 stars is the power-on bug didn't exist, but it's ridiculous that I can't power the machine on without plugging it in. That bug alone is giving me buyer's remorse.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Performs well, plays all modern games and produces a quality picture on my 50" 1080P TV screen.
Cons: There's an issue with this card performing a 'handshake' with HDMI devices. When I connect the card to my TV or an HDMI monitor (or DVI-D on the card to an HDMI monitor/TV) in Win7, I often hear the chime to tell me it's connected but will get no picture. I have to physically unplug the monitor from the card then plug it back in, sometimes several times, before I actually get a picture. Every time I change the "Input Selection" to a different AV source on my TV, then switch back to the PC source again I have to do this all over again - disconnect it, reconnect it, rinse, repeat. Same thing happens with my TV as with an HDMI monitor I have, and when connected via the HDMI port or the DVI-D port. It's a handshake issue, as the VGA port (which does no digital handshake) has no problems like this. However, it's not my PC as my onboard HDMI/DVI video NEVER exhibited this issue for the past 2 years, I just get it with this newly installed card.
Other Thoughts: If it weren't for the handshake issue above, I would have rated this thing 4 or maybe even 5 eggs. I just don't get how the onboard nForce video always performed this handshake just fine, but a new graphics card just can't make it work. Failure on Gigabyte and/or NVIDIA's part here.
FWIW, my motherboard: ASUS P5N7A-VM LGA 775 NVIDIA GeForce 9300/nForce 730i HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard, with an Intel Core2 Duo E7500 Wolfdale.
Pros: I bought this for a new HTPC build. Looks good in the front of my case, reads the cards that will fit into it well...
Cons: None of my SD cards will fit in the SD slot - the slot is too small. I'm not sure how such a glaring quality control failure could happen, but it did. I simply can't use this to read my SD cards.
Other Thoughts: There's a stead blue light that is -always- on with this reader. If you're the type that doesn't like lights on the front of your case, you'll need electrical tape to cover it up.READ FULL REVIEW