Posts Tagged ‘Asus UL30A A2’

Asus UL30A A2


EDIT: See below for my review, but the short story is that the trackpad is terrible. After talking with Asus tech support I decided I really didn’t want to go through the process of shipping it back, waiting for a new one, and hoping that the problem was not a design flaw. After reading a number of reviews from various sites confirming just how bad the trackpad is I decided I didn’t want to deal with it. I ended up getting a Sony Y series laptop, which have just come out and are on sale right now for less than this one! With my student discount the Sony Y cost only 665! Without the student discount it is 699, although I’ve heard that if you do the online chat you can convince them to give you a coupon on top of that. I just got it today and the build quality is WAY nicer. Don’t get me wrong, the Asus is good, but the Sony is great! If you can live with around 6.5 hours of battery vs 9.5 (as measured by […]) then I absolutely recommend the Sony Y series over the Asus UL30A series. The Sony has all the same specs, plus bluetooth and ExpressCard. I can’t stress enough how much nicer the Sony is. Take a look at some pictures to see what I’m talking about. Get it while it’s on sale!

ORIGINAL REVIEW:

I did a lot of research before I ended up buying this laptop. I needed something with great battery life and decent performance, and after using a netbook for the last year I needed something a little more powerful. I’ll list my impressions on the different aspects of the laptop:

Display – I read a lot of reviews complaining about the viewing angles of the display being very poor, but I think they are just fine. The glossy display is actually mush less of a nuisance than I thought it would be, and the colors are pretty good (although not terrific). All in all I’ve happy with the display, although because I had low expectations maybe I was easy to please here.

Keyboard – I really like the chicklet layout of the keyboard. The keyboard isn’t as nice as Sony or Apple chicklet style keyboards, but I still find typing to be very easy and pleasant. Also the keys don’t feel very firm and have a very short travel, especially when compared to my Dell D620 that I use for work. I haven’t noticed a problem with keyboard flex, although it does have a little. Overall I still feel this is a good keyboard.

Trackpad – The trackpad is terrible. Honestly the worst I’ve ever used. This was my biggest concern on this laptop because I don’t like trackpads that are flush with the laptop’s body. I prefer to have a more traditional trackpad that has its own distinct area. Physically I actually like the trackpad a lot more than I thought I would. I would still prefer a matte finish and some kind of separation from the rest of the body, but overall the trackpad has exceeded my expectations physically and the long, single button is about 100 times better than I imagined based on pictures and other reviews. The real problem is with the drivers (I assume, could be a hardware design defect but I doubt it). When you touch the pad with any kind of force it detects your single finger as TWO fingers and then the mouse stops moving. This causes some really jumpy mouse movement unless you touch the trackpad with VERY light pressure the whole time you use it. Also, when you try to do a tap-click it you have to tap REALLY lightly or it will detect your tap as a two-finger tap. I uninstalled the drivers that came with the laptop and installed the generic Synaptic drivers and that helped a little with the mouse jumpiness, but it didn’t help with the tap-clicking. I’m going to give Asus a call and keep searching forums for some kind of fix to this, but if I can’t get it resolved it makes an otherwise great laptop way too frustrating to use every day.

Battery Life – Amazing. That’s all I need to say.

Overall design – This thing is THIN. Really, I knew it was going to be thin, but when I got it and held it for the first time I was still thinking “Whoa, this is thin.” Otherwise the aluminum top feels really nice, but it’s a shame they didn’t use that same aluminum on the inside. Overall I’d say the design looks really nice but does feel a little cheap (especially the plastic they use on the bottom).

Performance – Coming from a netbook I am also easy to please here, but I find the performance to be very good. I haven’t noticed any slowdowns or hiccups even when running 10+ browser tabs and Microsoft Office and Eclipse (for programming). Perfect for my needs.

Other thoughts – This came with a LOT of bloatware and about a million different Asus utilities to do different things that I haven’t figured out yet. I have uninstalled a lot of stuff and will continue trying to figure out what else I can install. Also, the charging cable that comes with this is nice and long and includes cable ties so you can keep it wrapped up if you don’t need the distance.

All in all I feel like this is a really nice laptop that is perfect for me as a student, except for the trackpad. With a bad trackpad the laptop becomes too frustrating to use daily, and so I just can’t recommend it. I give it three stars for now. I’ll keep working on it and update my review if I can get the problem figured out.
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