ASUS

ASUS X550CA Review, Combination of Style and Economy

ASUS X550CA

Here we are again, going over another laptop of Asus. The combination of Decent specs and flawless design made Asus X550CA an ideal business-oriented Ultrabook. This 15.6-inch laptop has an immense range of advanced technologies and that made it capable of delivering well-balanced performance while holding an elegant and classic look. If you are looking for a laptop with excellent configuration and fashionable appearance, this is the right thing for you.

Practical and sensible users who are in need of a laptop for everyday entertainment and tasks, consider getting this beauty which is available on Amazon with base price as low as $450.

Pros

  • Good build quality: Lighter, thinner and stylish shape.
  • Cool and quiet: Has exclusive ‘ice cool’ technology of Asus, what made it perfect for using on lap even if it is a long time.
  • Cheap: People who are in need of a laptop with a bigger screen and fancy look but don’t want to spend a lot. This one can be a good choice for you.
  • Large Display: 15.6 inch screen made it suitable for watching movies and light graphics work.
  • Quality Speakers: The sound system is so good for watching movies or songs that you will barely feel the need for an external speaker.

Cons

  • Bad port placement: Not only the placement is bad, but there are only 2 USB ports so far.
  • No keyboard backlit: This is not usually a bad thing, but considering the current situation, the backlit is a necessity.
  • Reflective display: The reflection is annoying and it is often visible, especially when the environment is brighter than the screen.
  • No SSD: It’s a disappointment for someone who was expecting a better performance.
  • Poor webcam: The webcam is only 0.9 megapixels, which is almost obsolete nowadays.

Specification

  • Brand: Asus
  • Model: X550CA
  • Color: Glossy White
  • Processor: 3rd Gen Intel Core i3-3217U 1.8 GHz
  • Chipset: Intel HM76
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR3 1600 MHz SDRAM
  • Display: 15.6 inch TFT with LED Backlit
  • Resolution: 1366×768 Pixels
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel HD 4000
  • Storage: 500GB HDD 5400 RPM
  • Optical Drive: Super-Multi DVDRW
  • Card Reader: 3-in-one card reader (SD/ SDHC/ SDXC)
  • Pointing Device: Touchpad
  • Keyboard: Standard Keyboard with numeric keys
  • Camera: 0.9 MP HD Web Camera
  • Bluetooth: V4.0
  • Ethernet: 10/100/1000
  • Video Output: 1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor, 1 x HDMI
  • USB: 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x USB 2.0 port
  • Audio: Built-in Speakers and Microphone
  • Battery: 4Cells 2600 mAh 37 Whrs
  • Dimensions: 14.96 x 9.88 x 0.98 inch / 38.0 x 25.1 x 2.5 cm (WxDxH)
  • Weight: 2.3 kg / 5.1 pounds (with 4-cell battery)
  • Operating System: Windows 8
  • Warranty: 1 to 2 years (different by country)
  • Base Price: $449

ASUS X550CA Lid

Build & Design

Asus laptops are renowned and popular for their stylish and solid build quality and this X550CA is no exception. It is a lot more fashionable than your everyday average mid-end laptops. To be honest, if the weight wouldn’t pull it down; this one easily could be an Ultrabook.

Though most of the laptops nowadays promoting matte outlook, but unlike them The X550CA sport a spin-line finish, sturdy build and an attractive lid pattern. To elaborate the design, there is a series of concentric circles made of dots radiating out from the middle of lid where there is a logo of Asus.

ASUS X550CA Lid Design

Now if we open the lid, there is a big patterned palm rest along with a spaced keyboard deck and pleasant contrast. All status LEDs are located on the lower left corner of the palm-rest what made it easier and user-friendly to track components just by a single glance.

Display

The display has a 15.6 inch screen featuring traditional 1366×768 pixels resolution, which is common for low-end laptops. The color and brightness are acceptable, but the viewing angles are marginally limited and unpleasant; pictures start to fade out completely if the angle is greater than 60 degrees to either side. But there is “Splendid Technology” suite what allow you to adjust the display’s contrast, brightness and color easily without effort. The suite features three preset and custom options. They are Normal, yellow shaded Theater, Vivid with pumps up color and a Manual option which allows you to set the color temperature and tone from red to blue or anything in between.

ASUS X550CA Screen

Considering the low price, touchscreen was not in expectation, but it still is, unusual to have only Windows 8 and not touch input.

Audio

Just like any other Asus laptop, this one has a good sound system. The quality is enough rich and accurate that you won’t feel the need for external speakers. Featured with SonicMaster technology, this laptop has truly large speakers and space in the specially designed speaker chambers. In particular the quality of the bass is so much better than any other laptop in its class and price range.

There is software included to optimize and enhance the sound experience named Asus AudioWizard. It features five preset listening styles, including Music, Movies, Recording, Gaming and Speech.

Keyboard & Touchpad

The Asus X550CA comes with a full size chiclet keyboard and number pad which was only possible because of its large dimension. The keys are less bouncy and well spaced, but there is a noticeable amount of space in keyboard tray and between the keys. The keys are little extra more sensitive than usual, but there are a few chances you will make typing mistakes.

ASUS X550CA Keyboard

On the other hand, the touchpad is quite large and featured with smart gesture technology, which is essential for using windows 8 without touchscreen. To be exact, the size of the touchpad is 4.2 x 1.8 inch. And the accuracy and responsiveness of the pad are so good that you can easily perform all windows 8 gestures.

Webcam

There is a 0.9 megapixel camera and we already mentioned that it is obsolete. The image quality is off-color and noisy and it is hard to notice fine details like patterns, hair, and texts.

To get better video chatting experience, you will have to get an external web camera.

Ports

ASUS X550CA Port 1

Statistically it is the worst part of the laptop if not the webcam. There is a single USB 3.0, a single USB 2.0, one HDMI, one VGA and an Ethernet port. And the worst of it is that all of those mentioned ports are on the left side. While on the right side there is only a multi-DVD drive and card reader.

ASUS X550CA Port 2

Without a USB hub you will often face the problem when you have to use both USB and LAN cable at a same time. Our suggestion would be to get a USB hub so you can use this laptop without worrying about ports every minute.

Battery

The battery pack of the Asus X550CA is adapted with a four cell and 37Whr battery. It could be better, but since the 3rd generation processors have decent power consumption, it is not much of a problem. While testing with music, videos and internet browsing, we were able to run the laptop for 4 hours. This is not so good these days, but you can live with that.
ASUS X550CA Bottom

Heat

Despite that fact Asus only used ‘ice cool’ technology only on high-end laptops in the past, you will be happy knowing that this laptop has the technology. It mostly keeps the laptop cool and quiet even when you are using it for a very long time.

ASUS X550CA Temp

And beside that the ventilation system is also well planned. There is a vent system installed on the front-bottom side of the laptop what intake the air while the exhaust ventilation system is on the left side placed beside those connectivity ports. So the air will never blow towards you.

Performance

Although on these days, so many mid-end laptops have similar specs; this one somehow manages to outperform almost every one of them. It has impressive file transfer speed and utterly fast boot up time.
ASUS X550CA Processor

To elaborate, there is a 1.8GHz dual core Intel core i3-3217U processor, 4GB of ram and 500GB hard drive. To compare with current trend they are not quite powerful, but if you know how to treat them, they will get the job done.

As for graphics, there is integrated Intel HD 4000 chip, which is able to handle some older 3D games. But don’t get your hope up as you have to remember, this laptop is not really suited for gaming. If you are familiar with Intel HD Graphics 2500 or 3000, there is only few improvements was made in 4000.

ASUS X550CA Rating

Anyway, as we see all hardware components are overall balanced. So improving a single equipment to get a massive boost in overall performance is not possible in this case. But it has to be said that replacing the hard drive with a SSD and get some extra RAM never hurts.

Wrapping Up

After all, in everyday PC, what people really want is the versatility. And as a 15.6 laptop with decent configuration, Asus X550CA has just the right set of equipment to provide them that.

ASUS X550CA Side

However, there are few shortcomings you will have to compromise such as, poor display, not so extreme performance, moderate battery life and limited viewing angle. Chances are, you can get a laptop of the same value with better display or better performance or even thinner and lighter, but surely not everything in one. There is a saying that, “to gain something, sometimes you have to lose something”. So if you think about the value of it in proportion to its price, and want a stylish laptop with decent performance and good sound quality for everyday tasks, believe me or not but the Asus X550CA is worth the money you are spending. Grab one as soon as you can.

ASUS VivoBook Q301LA Review, The Affordable TouchScreen Experience

ASUS Q301LA

We are using touchscreen technology everywhere. Windows 8 is not a new thing to us anymore. But what is new to us is, a touchscreen notebook with an inexpensive price tag where we can enjoy windows 8 and its true potential. With the new Asus VivoBook Q301LA, we are able to experience everything we were looking for without worrying about the price. If you want something stylish, something you can easily carry, something with decent specs, you must consider this new 13.3 inch touchscreen notebook. It not only has a good price and stylish design, but also has the latest Haswell technology of Intel with a 4th Generation Intel Core i5-4200U processor combined with Asus splendid technology which will ensure you powerful mobile computing experience. It also comes with Intel HD 4400 graphics (good for enjoying some low-end gaming), a commonly used 4GB DDR3 RAM and 500GB internal storage. This Asus Q301LA notebook is actually the same as the S301LA, with the Q model being sold only in some selected regions, where S model is widely available all over the world with a price tag of around $600.ASUS Q301LA Software

Now, the question may come to your mind if this notebook worth looking at and eventually buying? Well, we can assure you that, the answer to your question lies within the review.

Specification

  • Brand: Asus
  • Model: Q301LA / S301LA
  • Screen Size: 13.3″ 16:9 HD
  • Screen Resolution: 1366×768
  • Screen Type: Multi-touch supported touchscreen with a glossy coat
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4200U 4th Gen. Dual-Core 1.6-2.6GHz 3MB Cache
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4400 Integrated
  • RAM: 4GB DDR3L 1600 MHz SDRAM
  • Storage: 500GB HDD
  • Input: Keyboard without Numeric Pad, Multi-Touch Touchpad with Integrated Buttons
  • Speakers: SonicMaster Stereo Speakers
  • Cameras: 1.0MP HD Web Camera
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11N
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Ethernet LAN: Yes
  • USB: 2 x USB 2.0 + 1 x USB 3.0
  • Video Ports: 1 x HDMI
  • Media Card Reader: 2 -in-1 card reader (SD/ SDHC)
  • Battery: 2Cells 5186 mAh 38 Whrs
  • Weight: 3.9 pounds / 1.75 kg
  • Dimension: 330 x 233 x 21 mm (12.9″ x 9.1″ x 0.8″) (W x D x H)
  • Operating System: Windows 8
  • Warranty: 1 to 2 Years (*different by country)
  • Base Price: $600

Exterior and Design

The Asus Q301LA is a symbol of balanced style, simplicity and comfort. It has an aluminum textured metal surface that gives both high durability and elegant premium look. It has a weight of 3.9 pounds, which is not the lightest 13.3 inch notebook available, but still it gives considerable good mobility. Looking at the shape and size, this notebook has a thickness of 0.8” which is the average thickness of an Ultrabook and can slip easily into almost any backpack. The edges of this notebook are also rounded as it was inspired by book binding, made it comfortable to hold in hand with good grip and carry around.

ASUS Q301LA Lid

Though most of the exterior and interior parts are covered with aluminum, the underbelly part of the notebook remained made of plastic. Which can be opened without voiding warranty if you can take care of the 10 screws carefully whom hold it in place, and that will allow you to access the internals, in a situation where you need to upgrade.

Now if you open the lid and notice the interior, as mentioned earlier, it is also brushed with silver-colored metal which provides a good contrast over the black keyboard. The palm-rest is relaxing and comfortable since it has good space, especially for someone who plans to use the notebook hours in a row. The power button is placed on the top-left corner with Power, Caps and Wi-Fi LEDs, and rest status LEDs are to be found on the front edge towards the right.

ASUS Q301LA Thickness

Although we do not have a lot to complain about this notebook considering the looks, build quality, shape or weight. Definitely there are thinner, lighter and better looking notebooks available on the market. But considering what it has inside and the price, it has the best possible combination of power and beauty in this price range.

Display Properties

Let’s give attention to the screen. At first glance, you will notice nothing special, but rather a common generic TFT display and no IPS support. If you care about viewing angles, non glare polished finish, and other premium features of the screen, this notebook surely won’t be the perfect choice for you. But for average regular users who are hoping for a decent screen without spending loads of money, this is a perfect choice.

ASUS Q301LA Screen 1

The Asus Q301LA notebook has a 13.3 inch 16:9 HD TN panel supported display with 1366 x 766 default resolution. The screen supports Asus exclusive splendid technology that allows you to tune the display properties as necessary to get the ideal color, contrast and brightness combination for movies, photos or other applications you are currently using. Basically splendid technology offers four modes to satisfy different viewing conditions, so depending on personal choice, situation and environment you can select the one you need with a single touch.

ASUS Q301LA Screen 2

You also shouldn’t forget that the screen has fully functional multi-touch support. With all-glass panels, this notebook has impressive, forthcoming and accurate touchscreen where you can swipe, scroll and perform other gestures quickly and quietly. The screen has faster response than other regular touch panels and when you use it, you surely will be able to feel the difference. Moreover, this touchscreen feature actuators which can detect the touch of as small as 6mm in size and ensure you a better touch experience, especially when you are drawing or handwriting as high sensitive actuators provide more accurate finger precision.

ASUS Q301LA Splendid

However, the display will not be a problem to you as long you are keeping it on a desk or staying inside. Otherwise, screen reflection is going to annoy you since it is too noticeable when you are using the notebook outdoor as there is a reflective glass panel covering the screen. Also, when you are lying on a bed or couch, it will be hard to adjust the vertical viewing angle as it is not possible to completely lean back the display.

Audio Properties

If anything made this notebook complete, it is the sound system. As an Ultrabook, Asus Q301LA has exceptionally good audio features. There is a pair of stereo speakers branded by Altec Lansing along with SonicMaster technology.

ASUS Q301LA Audio

To elaborate, it has bigger speakers than usual, which ensure enough space for resonance chambers and that provides surround sound, richer bass and powerful output over a wide range. It also comes with an Asus AudioWizard contains five modes you can choose, depending on your preferences and listening environment and it is so user-friendly and flexible that you can access to any desired content and customize the sound as you like quickly and easily in a second.

To be honest, there is nothing to complain about the audio of this notebook. It has the perfect hardware and software combination to ensure an ultimate audio experience.

Keyboard and Touchpad

When it comes to checking the keyboard out, as usual, this 13.3 incher comes with a chiclet keyboard that has no numeric pad on the right. The keys are larger than usual and have well space between them, so even if we press on the edge, they take the commands flawlessly. With the accurate layout and resistance to dust and debris, there are only few possible drawbacks this keyboard has and they are: no backlit system and no dedicated button for Home, End, Page Up and Page Down. And since you have to press tiny FN and the arrow keys for them, sometimes it will be very annoying.

ASUS Q301LA keyboard

On the other hand, with smart gesture technology the touchpad is reliable as a mouse and gives perfect response even when you touch slightly with your fingertip. It supports all possible gestures Windows 8 can offer. Though for someone, who is familiar with regular touchpad will find it over-sensitive, but it is not a problem since you can tweak them with certain software.

Connectivity

Considering the ports and connections, Asus Q301LA has everything you expect from a notebook of its kind. There are three USB ports, HDMI output, a card reader, an Ethernet connector, LAN port, Wireless and Bluetooth. So far you will only miss the VGA port which can be recovered with an adapter.

ASUS Q301LA Port 1ASUS Q301LA Port 2

Bluetooth works as expected and wireless works great at 10-15 feet away from the router, but the performance falls dramatically when the distance is more than 20 feet and obstacles are involved.

Battery

Looking at the specs, this part of the notebook may not look good since it has only 2 cell 38 Wh non removable battery. But you don’t have to worry too much about it, since this machine is running on the 4th Gen Hashwell processor and they are well-known for their power efficiency. At 50% sound volume and screen brightness with Wi-Fi on, we were able to run it roughly five hours while browsing, listening to music and watching HD videos.

ASUS Q301LA Bottom

Performance

Considering all the tests, the performance of this notebook is somewhat similar to all other Ultrabooks powered by Hashwell processors.

ASUS Q301LA Processor

As being said, Asus Q301LA has the latest 4th generation Intel core i5 ULV (ultra low voltage) processor that clocked around at 1.6GHz optimized with Turbo 2.0 Boost technology, 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz Ram, 500GB hard drive and integrated Intel HD 4400 Graphics, which made it a potential powerhouse.

ASUS Q301LA Ram

It runs fairly and quite almost all the time, except for some time when you push it to the limit. It has a fan inside which spin at different RPM depends on what you are doing on the notebook and you can feel the difference. The only drawback of ventilation system is that it inhale air from the bottom and then blows toward the user from the grills below the screen.

ASUS Q301LA Vent

However, beside the 5400 RPM hard drives, another thing that bottlenecks overall performance is, the embedded graphics and that you can’t upgrade. Speaking of upgrades, all you can do is add more RAM and replace the hard drive with a SSD. Moreover, if you like small gaming on the notebook, there is a version of Asus S301 with dedicated AMD Radeon graphics while other specs are identical.

ASUS Q301LA Rating

Pros

  • Comfortable shape
  • Good looks
  • Good combination of hardware
  • Runs cool and quiet
  • Sound system
  • Big Keyboard
  • Smooth Touchpad

Cons

  • Small and non removable battery
  • Screen without IPS support
  • Low wireless range
  • No optical drive
  • Little heavy for Ultrabook

ASUS Q301LA Side

Conclusion

Reviewing all the aspects, the Asus Q301LA is one of the best 13.3 inch notebooks currently available, if not the best. Like some other premium Ultrabooks, it doesn’t have all those fancy features like backlit keyboard, SSD, IPS screen or not as light and thin as them. But if you want an elegant notebook with decent configuration and don’t want to waste loads of money on a fancy Ultrabook, The Asus VivoBook Q301LA is for sure the one you are looking for.

ASUS X200-MA Touch Screen Laptop $200 One Day Only (5/6) at Microsoft Store

Now this is a sweet deal, for one day only on 5/6/2014 the Microsoft Store will be offering a brand new ASUS X200-MA touchscreen laptop for only $200.  That’s $100 off the regular price and you get these specs:

  • Processor: Intel Celeron N 2815 2.13 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR3
  • Storage: 500 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
  • Screen: 11.6-Inch Screen, touchscreen
  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • Battery: 5-hour battery life
  • Weight: 3lbs
  • Web Camera
  • Ports:  SDHC card reader, Headphone/Mic combined port, 2 USB 2.0 Ports, a RJ-45 LAN port,  VGA port, an HDMI port, and a USB 3.0 port

image

This model retails regularly for $299.99 on Amazon.com so you’re saving 33% here with the $200 price tag.  Keep in mind this is a fully fledged laptop with full Windows 8.1 OS.  It also has all the ports you need and ample onboard storage, not like a Chromebook that might be similarly priced but have a limited OS and storage.  The deal starts at 12 a.m. PDT May 6th according to the Microsoft Blog, so get that buy button finger ready!

Link to Deal:  Asus X200-MA for $200 at Microsoft Store One Day Only

Asus Touchscreen 1080p Ultrabook $479 Refurbished

BuyDig.com has a nice deal on a refurbished Asus Q501LA via eBay.  The Asus Q501LA laptop for sale has a 1080p touchscreen display and 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor.  The full specs for this machine are below:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 4200U 2.6GHz
  • Memory: 6GB DDR3 Memory
  • Storage: 750GB Hard Drive
  • Display: 15.6″ 1920×1080 IPS LED Slim Touch Display w/ Webcam
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4400 Graphics
  • Ports: 2x USB 3.0
  • Wireless: WiFi + Bluetooth + WiDi
  • Battery Life Up to 4 1/2 hrs Battery
  • OS: Windows 8

image

Note that the weight at 5.1lbs isn’t exactly feather light, but for a 15.6” screen laptop it’s not bad, and it’s very thin at 0.9”.  Most people that purchase these Asus refurbished machines report they are in excellent condition.  If you’re nervous about the working order, you can purchase an extended 1-year warranty for around $30.  Stock is limited, so if you’re interested grab one while you can:

Link to Deal:  Asus Touchscreen 1080p Laptop for $479

ASUS X102BA-BH41T Touchscreen Laptop (Pink) for $199

If you need a Valentine’s gift and that special loved one of yours likes tech, then the Pink Asus X102BA touchscreen netbook laptop is on sale for a mere $199 at the Microsoft Store right now.  That’s $50 cheaper than it’s ever been before.  Now, we’ll grant you there’s nothing special about the specs of this machine outside of the touchscreen feature:

image

  • Model:  ASUS X102BA-BH41T Touchscreen Laptop (Pink)
  • Screen: 10.1 in HD LED (1366 x 768) with 10-finger multi-touch support
  • Processor: AMD A4-1200
  • Memory: 2GB DDR3L 1066 MHz
  • Storage: 320GB 5400 RPM HDD
  • OS: Windows 8
  • Graphics: AMD HD 8180 Graphics with shared graphics memory
  • Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Headphone output/Microphone input combo,  RJ-45 (10/100)
  • Battery: 3-cell lithium-ion (up to 5 hours)
  • Dimensions :10.50 x 7.30 x 1.10 in (266.70 x 185.42 x 27.94 mm)
  • Weight: 2.40 lbs (1.08 kg)

But even though those specs won’t amaze, for $199 it’s what you’d expect.  Even with that lowly AMD A4 processor that’s on board you’ll still be able to do web surfing and all your typical basic computing tasks.  Just check out this YouTube review to see that:

Asus X102BA Review

Yes, it’s slow, but it’ll get you where you want to go (eventually).  And did I mention this is only $199 and it’s pink and Valentine’s Day is in two weeks?

Link to Deal: Asus X102BA for $199 at the Microsoft Store

ASUS X202E 11.6" Touchscreen Laptop $299 at eBay

The price for touchscreen Windows 8 laptops doesn’t get much better than this – eBay Daily Deals is offering a refurbished Asus X202E VivoBook 11.6″ touchscreen laptop for $299 in limited quantities.  The X202E on sale comes from eBay seller Geekdeal, they have a 99%+ positive feedback rating and the refurbished X202E is Asus authorized and as such there is a 90-day manufacturer warranty offered.  This same system retails for $497.90 new on Amazon.com, so you’re saving a couple of hundred bucks here.  Let’s take a look at the specs for this Asus X202E model on sale:

  • Screen: 11.6″ 16:9 HD (1366×768) LED Backlight
  • Processor:  Intel Core i3 3217U 1.8GHz Processor
  • Memory: 4GB RAM
  • Storage: 2.5″ SATA 500GB 5400RPM
  • Ports: 1 x combo audio/microphone jack, VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin for external monitor, USB 3.0 port, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert, 1 x HDMI
  • Dimensions: 12 x 7.8 x 0.85 inch (WxDxH)
  • Color: Silver
  • Wireless: Integrated 802.11 b/g/n, Built-in Bluetooth V4.0, 10/100 Base T

image

Those specs aren’t too shabby for $299, the fact it’s refurbished means there may be a few cosmetic blemishes (think a small scratch or knick here and there), or it could be a model that was ordered and unboxed but never really used.  Either way, it will be certified that all internals are in perfect working condition and the OS will have been restored to its original factory settings so it’s in original operating order.   The Asus X202E weighs in at a mere 2.9lbs and is 0.85-inches thin so this could be an ideal option for those that want a small on the go laptop to throw in the old backpack.

Link to Deal: Asus X202E VivoBook for $299

Asus Zenbook UX31A Ultrabook with Intel Core i5 for $570

The Asus Zenbook UX31A Ultrabook is on sale at BuyDig.com via their eBay store for an excellent $570.  The Zenbook on sale has impressive specs for the price.  The Zenbook UX31A has a 13.3” screen with 1600 x 900 resolution screen, Intel Core i5-3317U processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, backlit keyboard and incredibly light weight of 2.90 pounds and 0.70-inch thickness.   We should note that this model on sale comes with the Windows 7 OS, but for many that will actually be a good thing as this is not a touchscreen device and therefore Windows 8 would yield little benefit.  The sale price of $570 for the Asus UX31A lasts two more days, or while supplies last.  Compare that price to the typical $900 price on Amazon.com and you can see there are some definite costs savings here.  We should note this UX31A on sale does not have the Full HD screen many other models have, it’s simply HD+ (1600 x 900), but for most that will be more than sufficient on a 13.3” screen.

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Link to Deal: Asus Zenbook UX31A Ultrabook for $570

Asus ViVoBook S500 Touch Screen Windows 8 Laptop now Available

Asus launched a couple of new notebook additions to its VivoBook lineup this week in the form of the S500 and S550 15-inchers.  The VivoBook S500 comes with a set Intel Core i5 1.7GHz configuration while the S550 comes with a selection of Core i3, i5 or i7 processors depending on the model number.  Right now the VivoBook S500CA is available via Amazon.com for $699 that comes with an Intel Core i5 1.7GHz, 6GB RAM, 500GB HD + 24GB SSD, a disappointing 1366 x 768 resolution display that’s slightly offset by the positive news that it is touch screen capable to make the Windows 8 experience more enjoyable.  The VivoBook 500 weighs in at 4.6lbs, which is very light for a 15-inch notebook, which is the point of the series as it’s supposed to be “ultrabook like”.  The form factor is very slim at only 0.80 inches, but of course you sacrifice having an optical drive given the thinness.

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There aren’t too many budget oriented 15” sub $700 notebooks out there on the market right now so the Asus VivoBook S500 does sit in somewhat of a niche at the moment.  Hopefully that changes as more manufacturers include a touch screen across their lineups instead of just the over $1,000 Ultrabook variety.

Link to ASUS ViVoBook S550: Asus ViVoBook S500 at Amazon for $699

Asus Transformer Book 13-inch Tablet Convertible Arrives in Japan

The Asus Transformer Book is going to be the latest entry into the blossoming Windows 8 laptop to tablet convertible category.  Though it was announced last summer, the Asus “TransBook” (as they’re now calling it) has suffered from a much delayed release and just this week will go on sale in Japan, followed in the weeks thereafter in the U.S.  The model available in Japan has a Full HD (1920 x 1080) 13.3” display and comes equipped with an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB HD + 128GB SSD and Intel HD 4000 graphics.   There will also be other sizes including an 11.6” and 14” equipped with up to an Intel Core i7 processor.

asus-transbook

The keyboard portion of the Asus Transformer Book acts as a dock, housed inside the keyboard is the HD portion of storage while the 128GB SSD is inside the tablet/display portion.   The tablet portion weighs 2lbs (950 grams in metric measurements to be exact) and the dock is about the same, meaning the total weight is about 4lbs.  The TransBook is much like the HP ENVY x2 convertible in terms of form factor, however it has the advantage of having a fully fledged Core i5/i7 processor compared to the weak Intel Atom on the ENVY x2 but the disadvantage of being 1lb heavier.  The upcoming Lenovo ThinkPad Helix might also prove stiff competition given it will have a Full HD screen and similar capabilities as you see here with the TransBook.   It’s nice to see the competition heating up in this premium notebook to tablet convertible space, now let’s hope the competition also drives prices down from the $1,200 ask a lot of manufacturers are putting on these fully spec’d convertibles.

Asus Zenbook UX31A Full HD Ultrabook $560

Zenbook-_UX31A_016If you don’t mind refurbished as a route for saving a bunch of money, then the Asus Zenbook UX31A Ultrabook with Full HD 1920 x 1080 13.3” screen for $560 is a heck of a deal.  This deal comes via Groupon which has limited quantities of this machine available.  The specs on the UX31A up for grabs include Intel Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz processor, 4GB memory, 128GB SSD and the Windows 7 OS.  Graphics are supplied by Intel’s HD 4000 integrated card.  As far as dimensions and weight on this Ultrabook, it comes in a light 2.86lbs and is 0.78” thin.  The one rather big downside is that you only get a 90-day manufacturer warranty due to the fact it is a refurb and being sold at a rock bottom price compared to the original price tag of $999 new. 

Link to Deal:  ASUS Zenbook UX31A Ultrabook for $560

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