6 Months Later. . . .
No one ever replied to this, but I actually did buy it. Well, really it was my girlfriend who bought it for herself, and I was acting as an advisor for her. She didn't buy it in August—I kept on researching things for another month.
So now I just wanted to add this update. The computer is a beauty, and we have no regrets at all. The exact model is one of many ASUS versions along the same idea, so it's not one that shows up all over the place. But with its (max) 2 GB of RAM, it scores 4.7 for Vista, and it must have the smoothest
feel of any computer I've touched.
I don't like Vista, but she does, so I maintain it on Vista for her.
The heart of this notebook is a 35 watt AMD Turion™ 64 x 2 TL-60
, a 2.0 GHz CPU with 2 L-2 caches of 512KB each (so L2 = 1024 total). I definitely like that TL-60. It is a quietly powerful, very nice CPU.
You can go up a little from there, now, to TL-66. But that CPU combined with the 160GB hard drive in this machine makes it a sexy little workhorse. It doesn't really look it. It looks pretty
—but it's fairly seriously a tough machine.
ASUS preloads a lot of things I'd take off if it were my own system; but, again, it ain't, so I don't. I think ASUS goes too far and considers the buyer as just a pawn who brings ASUS money. The disks that come with the system are totally dictatorial; it's hard to select for much between all-or-nothing OS reinstalls. On the other hand, by assuming their customers are stupid, ASUS does maintain the systems in the way that, er, ASUS deems best. Including all the bloatware.
That would be my only complaint. The computer itself is very nice. The extra RAM cost about $50 (if you avoid the big stores, which treat it on par with a kidney transplant). In classic ASUS fashion, this notebook came with a very nice carrying bag and a very nice full-sized mouse.
And, not to be too scornful of ASUS' controlling ways, I must say the camera on this computer, and the included ASUS software that runs it, is too seriously good to be deemed a frivolous toy. I paid no attention at all to this feature during purchase, but later I was very impressed.
Basically, we found ASUS to BE
impressive. As these months have passed, ASUS seems to have represented quality to us. Formerly I paid so little attention to ASUS that I really thought ASUS was ACER! It was only after my girlfriend's buying this notebook that I realized my own CD-RW is an ASUS (CRW 4224A). I bought it in June 2003, and it's worked perfectly for almost 5 years now, albeit now in company with a DVD-RW. So we've kind of decided we do like ASUS.
For the money—about CAD $1300-$1400, depending on taxes—this remains my top choice of notebooks to date. It feels like it's a more expensive machine. And its 15.4 wideangle
size is a nice compromise between its being portable and its being nice to use. Even so, its 6 or 7 pounds are heavy
pounds, so it isn't portable like a 12" or a teensy 7".
I'd recommend this model, or one of its close ASUS cousins, to professionals who want something a bit nicer than the run-of-the-mill notebook, and a bit more special. Definitely add the extra RAM right away. And I'd also recommend buying this computer through a small retailer that doesn't even mention "support plan options" to you. Someplace that builds computers itself and has a staff of 2.