Me and my boyfriend bought this laptop as our other one stopped working we looked around different shops that sell laptops but found that this was one of the better ones at a reasonable price. I can't remember mu h of what we had to do to set it up but I remember that the battery was easy to insert into the back and that it was really easy I remember having to set the time and date and what language you use. I also remember that it take a bit to boot up as it had to apply settings but there is a guide that comes with it which tells you how to set it up which is really useful and will help you if you have any difficulties.
This laptop has a 15.6 inch screen which was a bit smaller than our previous laptop I did find it quite small at first but I got used to it after about a week. It has a 500 GB hard drive which is really good as this means that it has a lot of memory which means you can store a lot of information on the laptop such as music, games, pictures etc. This is really good as I like to play the odd games which do take up a lot of room on laptops especially ones with expansion packs and it's good for university work. I also like to take lots of photos every time I go out whether it's a night out or just a trip out shopping away from home so I need a lot of space to store the photos this and it is really easy to connect your camera or mobile phone up to the laptop and you can have them both in at the same time as it has 4 USB ports which is ideal when you want to multi task.
It has 4gb RAM which again is also really good as the higher the RAM the quicker the laptop will perform, I have found that this laptop is quick when using applications and games I definitely prefer it to a laptop which only has 2/3 RAM as I can tell the difference between the performance.
The laptop has a few games on it which are just standard ones that you get on many laptops such as solitaire, minesweeper, FreeCell etc all which are good just to pass a bit of time. It is also easy to connect to the internet whether it is by cable or by wireless both work really well. I have also watched DVDs on here and I find that the picture quality is really good I also like the sound quality as I find it a bit louder than the previous laptop we had although odd times it can has a slight echo sound to it but I don't find that a problem as I have found sometimes the sound on mobile phones are like this.
One problem with this laptop is that it only has 3hours battery life so when I want to use wireless downstairs for a few hours as I do go on the laptop a lot I have to bring the electric cable down, it could be a problem for others if they want to go on long journeys but there again you can always plug it in like I do, one good thing though is you do get a warning 15minutes before it shuts down so it gives you an opportunity to save your work or plug it in I have to admit on lazier occasions I have let it shut down but it just resumes windows the next time you come to use the laptop which is another thing I like. I find that the laptop is fairly light I don't find it heavy at all which is good when you want to take it downstairs or when taking back to university.
Another thing about this laptop is that it stays 25% cooler than body temperature and I have noticed that it is cooler than the previous 3 laptops that I have used but I'm not so sure that it is 25% cooler as it does get fairly warm but I don't find it uncomfortable. Another thing I'm not as keen on is the keypad as it is touch screen its bumpy so sometimes I find it's a bit slow to scroll so I do prefer a smooth touch pad you just need to press a bit harder with this laptop.
The price of this laptop was around £329 on offer at Curry's it had about £120 discounted I thought this was a really good price for a laptop for how bit the hard drive and RAM it has as some are in excess of £500 this is not something I would have wanted to pay out as with being a student every penny is needed.
I would definitely give this laptop a 4 out of 5 as the only things letting it down is the keypad which could be easier to scroll on the pad, it claims it is 25% cooler than body temperature but I think it does get warmer than that and the slight echo when watching anything on the laptop.
You know you have people who like cats and people who prefer dogs? Well I believe you have people who prefer desktop PCs and people who prefer laptops! I have to admit I've always been a diehard desktop fan.
After more than a decade of using just desktops at home I was persuaded by my husband to go for a laptop, he's adamant that they look better and likes the fact that they take up less space. I wanted/needed something with lots of memory and a decent processor. As I work in an IT company my colleagues were very helpful in recommending various laptops and eventually I went for the Asus X5DIJ-SX247V, sounds complicated? Not really! It's just the "official" name of my recently acquired laptop/notebook.
I knew I needed something with over 320Gb of memory which seemed to be the standard for many of the laptops on the market. The Asus has 500Mb, which was good enough for me for starters. I have in excess of 30,000 digital photos taken over the years as well as many older photos which I've scanned in. I wanted to make sure I could back these up externally and have the more recent years' ones available to me at any time on my PC.
The setup instructions for first use were pretty basic and for someone who's had 4 or 5 PCs over the years I felt the instructions were easy enough to follow. The battery was very easy to insert into its compartment. The power supply plugged into its socket with no problem, the machine powered up and within moments I was told the machine was preparing itself for first use. I was asked to confirm which language I wanted to use (this can only be chosen once, so do make sure you choose the relevant language for yourself). Then I was asked if I wanted USA or UK English, guess which one I went for? I was asked to confirm that I accepted the Windows License Agreement after which I was asked to confirm which wireless network was the relevant one and then enter the security key (which I had to hand). This process was all very straightforward to follow, the machine then rebooted itself and again gave the message that it was preparing for first time use, then arranging the desktop and then a few more minutes later it started configuring the system. So nice to be able to sit back and let it do all the hard work. I remember in days gone by when you got a new PC you had copious amounts of operating system and software disks to install. The Asus then prompted me to insert a blank DVD so it could back up the factory settings for me. At this stage the machine decided it wanted to turn itself off and came back with a message saying it had not been shut down properly. I allowed it to perform the checks that it was ok and several minutes later the same thing happened again. In the first half an hour, the machine shut itself down 4 times which was really frustrating as it's not what you expect from a brand new laptop!
Ok I'll stop there! I had a faulty laptop, which I returned to the vendor (Dixons Online) with a lot of hassle (which I need not go into). I decided that I wouldn't hold Asus permanently at fault for this one faulty laptop I'd received and ordered the same model from elsewhere (Amazon). The second laptop was much easier to set up. I made backup disks of the system (which incidentally took 4 blank DVD disks) although I understand many people don't bother doing this.
After the initial setting up the machine started installing updates (it said it had 30,000+ updates to install) and this took a good 3 hours which was a really long wait when one doesn't know how long it's likely to take.
POWERING UP AND DOWN
The Asus powers up fairly quickly; although during the first few days of use I noticed whenever I shut the machine down it went through a process of updating the system. It was a bit tedious and I was getting somewhat annoyed at having to wait to shut the lid of the laptop down until after the updates had been installed, sometimes having to wait 10 or more minutes. But this only seemed to happen for the first week or so. I didn't specifically change any settings for updates to take place whilst I had the machine in operation but it seems to be doing it that way now.
At the moment it takes less than a minute for the machine to power up or down which is pretty good for me having had my desktop for several years which seemed to take at least 5 minutes to power up and longer to power down!
One of the major selling points for me relating to this machine was that it has a generous 500Gb HDD - absolutely loads of space for my multimedia needs. Also it has 4Gb RAM with 800MHz speed which basically means it has a good amount of random access memory available. The processor is Core Duo 2.2 GHz which I understand is fairly decent for a laptop. The screen is 15.6" and widescreen and I've experienced no problems to date with it although being a laptop, it's obviously much more mobile compared to my desktop so I have been known to sit in bed with the laptop and find I need to adjust the screen often for the best view.
It has a built in wireless LAN aerial and stereo speakers which are sufficient for my needs - I'm not a gamer and don't often listen to music or have the need for much sound when using a PC. I sometimes watch stuff on youtube or iplayer and have found the sound quality to be of a good enough standard for my needs and the volume can get high enough for my personal needs. I've also watched DVDs on the machine and found the picture quality to be a good standard - but then again I'm quite easy to please in this area as I'm not convinced there's much difference between regular screen output and HD and Blue Ray, etc. I can't back up this statement much because honestly, I've never seen anything in Blue Ray yet but haven't noticed any difference in our HD channels compared to the non HD ones on our main TV. I would mention here though that if you try to view the screen from any other angle than straight on, you don't get a clear picture - something which I never had the same issue
There's an SD card reader at the front of the machine which is perfect for my needs - I have no need for other types of card readers as I have a USB card reader which I can easily plug into one of the 2 available USB ports on either side of the machine (4 in total) should I need to use any other type of card (which I generally don't to be honest).
The battery life is only 3 hours on this laptop which could be a real downside for many people especially if you are using your laptop for long journeys. A warning comes up when you're down to about 15 minutes of battery life to plug in the mains charger. If you ignore the warning you will get one popping one every few minutes so you have the chance to save your work before it shuts down on you, although I've not let it get to the stage when it completely shuts down on me due to lack of battery power.
At 2.6kg the Asus is about the average weight for a standard laptop. It doesn't seem any heavier or lighter than laptops I've used over the years (e.g. when borrowing one from work).
One thing I would point out is that this Asus model is sometimes referred to as a notebook - but to my mind a notebook is a laptop that doesn't have a DVD drive - which in fact the Asus does have and the screen size for a notebook is generally smaller (around 12-14"). I'm hard pushed to find what about this particular Asus model might put it into the "notebook" category as it has other features which a typical notebook wouldn't have.
There's a VGA output so you can plug in an external monitor and even an Ethernet port if you need to use a wired connection for the internet. I've watched DVDs on the Asus with no issue without the need to plug in an external monitor, although if you're a hardened gamer I imagine you might want the ability to use a large external monitor.
One of the features of this machine is that it's supposed to stay 25% cooler than body temperature (according to the sticky label next to the "mouse"), I've found when I've actually had the laptop on my lap that it gets overly warm, sometimes quite uncomfortably hot, so that would have to be a negative point for me personally and I'm fairly sure it's way hotter than my body temperature! Some might enjoy their lap being warmed by a laptop but personally I really don't! This being my first laptop, I can't tell whether their claim of staying 25% cooler is a legitimate claim. I do find this happens when the laptop is plugged in and charging. When running just on battery power it does tend to stay fairly cool. BUT with the battery only giving 3 hours life at the very most, it is often necessary to keep it plugged in rather than regularly receive a message to say the battery's about to run out.
To date I've not had to call on the manufacturer (Asus) for any support as I've had no problems in that area. I understand that the machine has a 12 month warranty and if it develops problems I would need to contact the vendor, which in this case was Amazon.
I would also mention that there's a built in webcam which I have disabled the use of from the Control Panel as it would randomly turn itself on when opening applications such as Skype. I'm really not keen on having people see me working at my laptop in the privacy of my own home, but would add that the few times I have used the webcam it seems as fit for purpose as any others I've used at work for conference calls.
THE EXCITING (OR MAYBE NOT REALLY THAT EXCITING) TECHNICAL SPECS
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium - the 64-bit Edition
Dimensions (WxDxH): 37 cm x 25.6 cm x 3.6 cm
Weight: 2.6 kg
System Type: Notebook (so they say; I'm convinced it's a Laptop!)
Built-in Devices: Stereo speakers, wireless LAN aerial
Processor: Intel Pentium T4400 (Dual-Core)
RAM: 4 GB DDR2 SDRAM-800 MHz
Battery life: 3 hours
Battery type: lithium ion
Card Reader: Yes
Hard Drive: 500 GB - Serial ATA-150 - 5400 rpm
Optical Storage: DVD RW (R DL)/DVD-RAM
Monitor: 15.6" TFT 1366 x 768 (WXGA)
Graphics Controller: Intel GMA 4500M Dynamic Video Memory Technology 5.0
Notebook Camera: Integrated - 1.3 Megapixel
Input Device: Keyboard, touchpad
Audio Output: Sound card
Networking: Network adapter - Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Networking: Integrated Wireless LAN and Integrated 10/100/1000 Network Card
Wireless Network Interface Card: AzureWave AW-NE785
All in all, I wouldn't say I was over the moon about my purchase of this machine. Out of 5 stars I'm happy to give it about 3 or 3.5 at a push. I'm not convinced I'll ever be satisfied with just having a laptop over a desktop, considering the amount of time I spend on it, I've ended up purchasing a wireless keyboard and mouse to use with this as I'm not keen on the small keyboards available on laptops (although not especially an issue with this model - I feel the same about all laptop keyboards) and the touch sensitive mouse (in this case called a touchpad). I guess it's not Asus' fault I'm such a diehard fan of desktops!
If you're interested to know how much I paid for this laptop; it was just under £400 (on both occasions - from Dixons Online and from Amazon) although at the time of publishing this review (January 2011) Amazon does not seem to be stocking this item although I've seen it listed on other sites for around £440.
As an aside, I find it truly amazing how cheap laptops are these days compared to my training days in the 90s when each laptop cost around £4000, I used to feel quite worried carting around 5 or 6 such expensive laptops in my company car and staying in hotels overnight! At least we're not paying such ridiculous prices for the average laptop these days!
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2012
I've had my Asus for over 2 years now and have to say I'm finding that it still boots up very quickly and runs faster than my brand new desktop at work (which is quite amusing). I generally use it whilst plugged in charging and note that the battery life is about 2 hours or less on the rare ocassion that I use it without the charger.
UPDATE FEB 2013
My Asus is still running fine with no issues at all. I don't envisage needing to upgrade in the next year or so at the very earliest. I have tried to find a current price but I suspect like most laptops these days it's been superceded by a newew model. I'm still finding the battery lasts no longer than 2-3 hours, considerably less if I'm watching iPlayer or YouTube, etc. I tend to have the laptop on a computer table pretty much plugged into the power supply most of the time so the 3 hour battery life is not really a worry. I've looked into the cost of a replacement battery which is available for just under £50 but with only a 1 year warranty. Considering I've had this going on 3 years now with no issues, I doubt I'll need a replacement battery anytime soon.
Due to the durability of the laptop I'm increasing my rating from 3 stars to 4 stars out of 5!