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Pros: The Core i5 CPU is one of biggest draws of this machine no doubt, and it delivers. So far I've test driven Office, the Adobe suite, and encoded a couple test videos using WLMM, and everything seems very snappy and responsive.
6GB of dual-channel RAM with decent latency (9-9-9-24) means you wont have to worry about running multiple applications, there's enough breathing room there for just about anything. As far as the display, the resolution leaves something to be desired, but I knew what I was getting. Viewing angles are quite forgiving compared with the last three budget laptops I've used.
Noise is not much of an issue either, the system cooling fan runs with a low hum that is noticeable but not overpowering or annoying.
Don't expect this to play the latest 3D intensive games on maximum settings using the Intel 4000 graphics. However basic games and 3D games that are not so demanding perform surprisingly well. On many budget laptops the CPU can be a big bottleneck for games - not a problem here.
A pair of USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, HDMI, and VGA/LAN don't limit your peripheral options. Transfer speeds on the USB 3.0 port are definitely a noticeable jump from the 2.0 ports, providing you are connecting a USB 3.0-capable device.
The dedicated numpad is a great feature for a laptop in the 1" size. If you're accustomed to a full-sized keyboard you may feel a bit cramped until you get used to the key sizes (the numpad keys are slightly narrower than the rest, but not overly so).
Cons: First and foremost, the keyboard Acer... the keyboard. If I have one gripe with this machine right now, this is it. If you press a key along the edge or on the corner, while the tactile feedback may tell you the keystroke was good, sometimes the letters or numbers just don't show up. As you can imagine, this can also translate into gaming as well. You must press the keys squarely and purposefully for them to register. It may not sound like a big deal, but it is an annoyance to be sure. This keyboard may just take a little getting used to, but so far I'm not all that impressed.
USB ports are very close together. If you are connecting multiple USB devices, they may not all fit depending on how slim/fat their connectors are.
LAN/VGA are combined into a single port, with an included adapter into which you can connect an ethernet cable or VGA cable - while this may sound clever and "nifty" you need to carry this adapter with you at all times if you spontaneously need to connect either. In my opinion, this was a poor design decision on Acer's part.
The microphone/speaker 3.5mm port. If you have a headset that uses separate speaker/mic plugs, or if you use a standalone mic along with a set of dedicated speakers - won't work. It is a combined audio jack which takes a single plug. The product details seem to indicate that they are separate, but that is not the case.
Speakers are nothing to write home about, but I never expected much based off the specs and price point. With many laptops the speakers are nestled somewhere next to the keyboard, however with this machine the speakers are on the bottom of the chassis. Sound quality and volume are good, but if you rest the laptop on a bed or carpet, sound could get a bit muffled.
This is not necessarily a con, however the touchpad on this machine is in the Mac style, meaning the left- and right-click buttons are integrated into the touchpad surface, not separate buttons beneath the touchpad. Depending on your previous devices, this may be perfectly fine or require a small amount of acclimation. Personally I don't mind it so far.
Other Thoughts: All things considered, a very nice machine for the sale price. Solid processing power, enough RAM for all your programs to get along, decent graphics power, all in a fairly lightweight and attractive looking package. The keyboard and other cons I mentioned warrant bring it down to a 4/5 for me.
In the search for a good budget laptop, no machine will ever be perfect, but this one is definitely worth it if the shortcoming aren't a major part of the decision process.
Pros: - Screen clarity is great.
- Wireless N
- Integrated webcam with decent quality and microphone.
- Dedicated numpad on keyboard.
- Graphics are powerful enough for basic gaming.
- Fast boot time (about 45 sec).
- Laptop stays very cool to the touch even after hours of use.
Cons: - Mouse buttons below touchpad are fairly noisy when pressed on the outside edge (loud CLICK sound).
- A fair amount of first- and third-party bloatware, but it's fairly simple to remove. Some useful apps I left alone.
- No included operating system or restore disc, you have to burn your own backup, however there is an ASUS prompt that pops up to help you do this.
- Sometimes DVD drive tray is slow to open (3-5 sec) when the eject button is pressed.
- Right shift key is not full length, so I find myself hitting the up arrow instead occasionally. For word processing this can be an annoyance until you get used to that difference.
- Speakers are fairly weak, but they were never advertised as anything special, so I expected that.
- Power outlet is positioned a bit awkwardly (the middle of the left side, instead of at a corner which is where they normally are). The power plug (which feels a bit flimsy by the way) can easily be rotated so that it doesn't interfere with any ports, thoug
Other Thoughts: Overall, for the price this is a good machine. I feel that ASUS could have done some things better, but that would likely require them to price it higher which would defeat the whole purpose of a budget laptop. The hardware is good, CPU is a champ, RAM is plentiful for most users, the webcam is not the best but certainly better than none at all, sound is decent, and the overall feel is solid (except for the power plug connection which needs to be pampered).
Would I buy this laptop again if I needed another? Yes.
-Great OC potential
-Great price point
-FAST SHIPPING! (Thanks Newegg)
-Stays below 40C under load at 3.4GHz with a standard copper AMD HSF, even with Cool and Quiet disabled
Cons: The included HSF is barely adequate for this powerhouse, nothing but a cheap flimsy hunk of aluminum with no pipes. The manufacturer heatsink from my old Athlon 6000+ has a copper base and piping so I decided to use that instead, and tossed the included one in the trash.
My overall experience from the shipping to the performance of this CPU makes it hard to knock an egg for the heatsink, but seriously AMD, what is the problem? A high-end quad core CPU should have a better HSF solution than the cheap garbage that is included. I would be much more satisfied if this item were 15-20 bucks more and actually came with a worthy HSF. As for the CPU itself... nothing bad to be said about it.
Other Thoughts: Overall, a wonderful processor. I upgraded from a 4-year-old Athlon X2 6000+ (windsor) to this bad boy, and I can easily notice the difference in power. I was considering an Intel-based system, but the prices are just a bit too high for my liking. Aside from the trashy included heatsink, this CPU is a winner. Video encoding is many times faster than my previous system, and gaming got kicked up a notch as well. Just make sure you order an aftermarket HSF solution if you plan on running this thing significantly OCed.READ FULL REVIEW