I received this laptop for Christmas. My partner did the research on it; whilst looking for a laptop that cost under £400, he noticed this one appeared in several 'best value' lists. He gave two main reasons for choosing this one over others; it had a fast processor and seemed sturdy. I don't need anything with a long list of specifications as I mainly use it for research, writing, and visiting a few favoured websites. I'm not sure exactly what price was paid, although I believe it was around the £300 mark in an online sale direct from Asus.
It looks smart and simple; matt black textured casing with the ASUS logo in silver on the top. With it in the box were the power pack and cables and a couple of bits of paper. The instruction manual is installed on the hard drive and is a general Asus laptop manual covering several models, it's not particularly detailed and could do with being more specific.
Getting started was easy. To set it up, the battery pack slides into the back. The power socket is to the left of the machine in the centre, and the connecting cord is right angled, so the cable can be awkwardly situated depending on where you place the machine in relation to the wall socket. I linked it to my router easily enough and installed the one year security package that came as part of the deal.
*Screen - I have no complaints about the screen, it has adjustable brightness, a high definition LED backlit panel and the image quality is excellent. The desktop came without tons of useless clutter and trials, which was welcome. Original desktop icons include: 'Asus Vibe Fun Centre' which gives access to all sorts of media - music, video, audio books - some of it free; Windows Media Centre; 'Browser Choice'; Asus web storage - this includes a sync folder that you can add your favourite apps to and access files from anywhere; an Asus organiser; the e-manual and a couple of others. Microsoft Office is pre-installed.
*Keyboard - It's quiet compared to the clattery old one I was using previously with my pc, yet not as sensitive. I do find that I make more frequent typing errors, oftenmissingoutleteranspacesbetweenwords. I thought this would change as I got used to it, but I still seem to make more errors than on my old keyboard. It would seem that the keys need to be definitely pressed, rather than lightly flown over. The keys are quite large. There are various special functions and 'hot keys', which I tend to ignore, the keyboard is extended and the right hand number pad can also be used for multimedia functions such as play/pause/forward etc.
There is a touchpad or 'Elan pointing device' placed slightly left of centre below the keyboard. This does all you could expect of it, but I much prefer to use a mouse. When I first plugged the mouse in I found myself making all sorts of infuriating mistakes, because I hadn't realised I needed to disable the touchpad. Once I found the box to tick that automatically disables the touchpad when the mouse is plugged in, then the problems stopped.
*Ports - There are two USB ports; one USB 2 and one USB 3, I tend to use one for a mouse and the other for a cruzer switch. Other ports include a HDMI, VGA and RJ45, I don't care about admitting that I don't really know why or what for. There's a headphone and mic sockets at the front under the keyboard alongside a flash memory slot for SD card or MS cards. The speakers are Altec Lansing and the sound quality is pretty good. On the right hand side to the back is the DVD multi recorder, the slight issue with it being placed here is that when you lift the laptop up there's a natural tendency to hold it from under the disc tray which could possibly lead to damage.
*Battery life - The icons tells me that a fully charged battery gives around 4 hours on a balanced power plan - different power plans are available and include battery saving, high performance and balanced. I've had little cause to use it unplugged so the battery life hasn't been tested much. I recall one occasion where the battery only lasted around 2 hours, not sure what power plan I was on.
*Speed - This is fine, very good. There has been the occasional screen freeze, but usually everything runs quickly and smoothly. At a rough guess I'd say booting up and shutting down take around ten seconds each.
There are all sorts of features that I haven't used, there's just more to it than I actually want or need. I haven't explored it as much as a lot of people probably would, I just do what do and leave it at that. It's been fairly intuitive and I haven't felt the need to refer to the e-manual much at all. There is a camera above the screen, but nothing in the instruction manual on how to use it, other than to point out that there is a built-in camera, microphone and indicator light above the top of the screen that can be used for video conferencing etc. I searched online to find out how to access it; various people recommended downloading software from Asus which I didn't want to do, then someone mentioned it is called 'Lifeframe', so I searched 'my computer', found it and added it to the desktop in case I want to use it. At first glance the images seem very pixelated and a little slow or 'laggy', not great quality. I'm sure it would be fine for Skype, but perhaps not for making videos, but as I say I haven't actually used it for anything yet.
*Issues - few worth mentioning. I was having a problem with reading certain internet files; I would get a query about allowing something from 'Zeon Corporation' and despite giving the okay to go ahead, the page wouldn't load. This happened a few times with different pages. A little research led to me to discover that this was because a Nuance pdf reader was installed. Once I disabled it and installed adobe reader instead the problem was solved.
When I first got my Asus X54C I preferred to use the family pc and keep the Asus as a back-up for when I couldn't get on the pc, or for using in another room, or away from home. Over the last three months however, I've got used to a few nice little features here and there, enjoyed the lack of glitches and the processing speed, hence the pc has been overthrown in my affections and the Asus is now my machine of choice.
*Technical Details (copied from Amazon):
Item Weight 2.6 Kg
Product Dimensions 43.4 x 39.6 x 9.8 cm
Item model number X54C-SX282V
Screen Size 15.6 inches
Processor Brand Intel
Processor Type Intel Core i3
Processor Speed 2.3 GHz
Processor Count 2
RAM Size 6 GB
Computer Memory Type DDR3 SDRAM
Hard Drive Size 750 GB
Graphics Card Description Integrated
Graphics RAM Type DDR3 SDRAM
Wireless Type 802.11n
Operating System Windows 7 Edition Home Premium
Lithium Battery Energy Content 2600 milliamp_hours
Lithium Battery Weight 1.4 kilograms