Date Joined: 06/26/06
Pros: It seems to be sturdy and well built. I really like the palm rest - it's hard plastic (so it won't get sticky over time) but is still comfortable; it has a subtle texture that adds some grip.
It's a full keyboard, and all of the keys are in the right place. While keyboard shopping, I was unpleasantly surprised by how many full desktop keyboards around this price level have the \ | key to the left of enter, and a weird narrow/tall enter. Razer apparently is wise enough to understand "if it ain't broke don't fix it".
Cons: I was looking for a keyboard with as little key travel / key press force as a typical laptop keyboard, and found this recommended somewhere. It's ok, but it's not quite there. It's about the same travel as the Logitech illuminated keyboard (which is also not-quite-laptop), but the keypresses take a bit more force.
The labels on the keys are all 90-degree angles / pixelated. @ and & wouldn't be recognizable without context, and the whole look is kind of ugly.
Pros: Totally silent in normal operation. Under load, with the CPU moderately overclocked, it audibly sped up, but only because I was specifically listening for it.
Cons: Really hard to install. It didn't help that my case is big but not mammoth (one of the CoolerMaster HAF ones), but it still would have been hard even with a bigger case. I think this is true of any of these monster heat sinks, though - when helping a friend (with a much larger case and a different brand HSF) build his computer, it was almost as bad.
Overall Review: This was my first experience with something beyond stock cooling, and I was impressed; I wasn't expecting it to be *this* quiet. Unless you're on a tight budget, I think one of these is worth it even if you aren't overclocking.
Pros: Absolutely beautiful, incredibly thin. Excellent battery life, which is especially useful in support of the quick wake-up from sleep (ready by the time you've finished opening it up; like half a second).
It's also completely silent. I'm not even sure whether it has a fan; that's not listed on the details page.
Cons: I bought this computer for my mom, who is not a fast typist, and she mentioned that the keys occasionally don't register keystrokes. I had also noticed this while I was initially setting it up, although I had read about it in some other reviews on here, so I was unsure whether I was just seeing what I expected.
She did say it seems like it happens when you hit them off-center, so maybe it just takes getting used to. Who knows, it might even improve your typing form! Also, perhaps this is just an issue for anyone trying to use these "chiclet" keyboards for the first time... that's just speculation, though.
The keyboard has pgup and pgdown stuck on the arrow keys as Fn things. This is absolutely ridiculous; they're among the most important keys, both for scrolling and tab navigation. I suspect I might be able to get used to holding down fn to use them, but considering how much I use them (I have everything in KDE that shows tabs configured to respond to ctrl+pageup/pagedown, and use them quite a bit), I think I might not be willing to take the risk, if I were considering buying one for myself.
Overall Review: There's a utility for getting an image of and/or deleting the recovery partition. I went to do both, since freeing up a couple of gigabytes on the SSD is worth it. There was a "write iso" button, and a "delete partition" checkbox. I figured checking the box would make it delete the partition after I had had it make the iso. When I checked the box, it gave me a "deleting the partition will make it unavailable" dialogue; I clicked ok, figuring it was just a warning for when things started actually happening.
"Congrats on deleting the recovery partition!"
I have never before seen a checkbox used to make something actually happen (let alone something consequential and irreversible), rather than set an option. This is BY FAR the worst interface design I have ever seen. The fact that it's so entertainingly bad actually sort of compensates for the fact that they tricked me into deleting the recovery partition.
I'm not listing this as a con because my mom is very good about not screwing up computers / getting them infected, and so I'm not expecting to ever need it. Still, this does not reflect well on ASUS.
Overall: if you can get this refurbished at the price I got, and you're not too attached to the pgup/pgdown keys, this laptop is an insanely good deal.
Pros: Setup was all very smooth; quite easy to get everything running...
Cons: ... except for the graphics card. Although the card's fan spun at a normal speed while connected, monitors wouldn't get a signal, and it wasn't listed under Windows' display adapters section (the board's onboard video works fine). The card is a Sapphire Radeon HD 6870, and it was tested successfully in another computer.
I'm surprised there weren't any reviews about this on here - once you have this problem and start Googling, you find that many others have had it, too. I believe I also saw a few having the same problem with other models, like the Extreme4. I would definitely recommend staying away from ASRock motherboards if you plan to use a graphics card.
Also, as other reviews have mentioned, it doesn't quite line up with the ATX mountings, and so one side is rather unsupported.
Overall Review: I wasn't totally disgusted by ASRock's customer service, which I had been prepared to be by reading about people getting no response for 2+ weeks. I got a response from the form on their website in 5 days, and although it wasn't very substantial and didn't help me, at least it was something.
Also, to be fair to ASRock, because of Newegg's RMA policy I never got a chance to find out whether this was just a bad board, or if the whole model is incompatible. I didn't want to try an exchange, because if the replacement didn't work, I might have ended up outside the 30 day refund window and unable to switch to another brand (from what I understood when I asked Newegg). To be safe, I just skipped directly to buying a Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3.
Pros: Cheap, working fine.