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Having had this laptop for approximately two years now there are a number of things that I can say about it.
I bought this laptop for use at university and it is almost perfect for this. It is reliable and has never totally broken down on me (yet!) and this is under heavy use with my degree. A particular high point I would pick out is the keyboard and all the keyboard shortcuts. The functions available using the function button make using a laptop keyboard, not always the easiest thing, fairly straightforward. Another high point is the volume of the speakers they are nice and loud, perfect for watching films.
I would identify two major low points of the laptop but these are not particularly serious. The first is that weight, it is quite a weighty computer and makes carrying it around all day fairly tiresome after a while. The only other issue is occasionally the fans struggle to keep the processor cool, but this is a problem many laptops have.
But overall I would say it has a sleek design, a good quality webcam and microphone for using skype and and overall good functionality - overall great value for money.
There are 4 USB ports and of course you can get a USB hub to extend this number. I think I paid about £450 for my laptop when I bough it a couple of years ago. With regard to software there is the usual windows softare including Media centre and movie maker and also I got Nero disc burner and some Asus software with it that they call 'Utilities.' It is things such as an Asus sidebar on your desktop and the webcam software etc.
Hope this is helpful.