ASUS: Best and Worst Laptop Brands 2013

ASUS jumped from fifth last year to third place, thanks to its stellar Ultrabooks and improvements in its keyboards and touchpads. ASUS also deserves credit for being one of the first brands for offering a touch Windows 8 notebook for less than $500, providing an excellent mix of value-priced and premium We expect big things from this company in the coming year. 

Reviews (11/20)

Slightly above-average performance landed ASUS in the middle of the pack for this category. Among the 11 notebooks we tested from ASUS, some, such as the Editors’ Choice award-winning Zenbook UX51Vz — which had a 1080p screen, discrete graphics and a sleek design — were real hits. However, there were a few disappointments, such as the 2.5-star VivoBook X202E, a $549 12-inch touch-screen notebook that lasted a little longer than 4 hours on a charge.

[More: See most recent ASUS laptop reviews.]

Design (12/15)

ASUS’ Zenbook line of Ultrabooks is still very attractive, combining brushed metal with sleek lines. In fact, this design is starting to pervade many of the company’s notebooks, including the budget-friendly VivoBook X202E. However, there’s a risk of this aesthetic growing a bit tired. There’s nothing sleepy about the Taichi 21, though, which is the first laptop to have a screen on the lid.

MORE: 5 Best ASUS Laptops

Keyboard and Touchpad (11/15)

Over the course of the last year, many ASUS laptops featured springy keys with solid feedback and lack of flex, including the improved Zenbook line. However, we did take issue with the lack of backlighting on certain units. While some ASUS touchpads elicited groans due to erratic behavior, most issues were easily rectified with a simple driver update. In fact, ASUS’ touchpads improved enough in the last year to give the brand a three-point boost in this category.

Tech Support (9/15)

The new Customer Loyalty Group and BrandAnswers program combined with additional support staff helped ASUS notch an above-average tech support score. The company’s tech support site is clean and easy to use, but it took an hour for us to get a Web chat engineer on the line. Facebook gave us a helpful reply within 30 minutes, but Twitter was a dead end. Although phone reps didn’t keep us waiting, one was unable to give us battery life tips.

MORE: ASUS’ Tech Support Showdown

Display and Audio (8/10)

Most of the displays found on ASUS laptops this year were fantastic, such as the Zenbook UX51Vz. It offers a bright and vivid 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel screen with generous viewing angles. But not all of the brand’s machines were up to par, as was evident on the VivoBook X202E-DH31T’s dim panel. Thanks to Bang and Olufsen speakers on some models blasting high-quality sound even at maximum volume, ASUS’ score went up a point from last year.

Value and Selection (8/10)

ASUS has its hands in every category, from the very cheap $299 X501 notebook with a Pentium CPU to the luxurious Zenbook Ultrabook line to the G series for gamers and multimedia mavens. The $549 VivoBook X series is among the cheapest Windows 8 touch-screen laptops to land in our lab. We wish offered the ability to custom-order laptops, especially given the number of SKUs within each line, but we couldn’t find a big-box or online retailer without an ASUS notebook stocked.

Innovation (10/10)

Dell, HP and Toshiba should take note: ASUS continues to eat your innovation lunch. Take the Zenbook Prime UX32VD, which was the first Ultrabook to offer discrete graphics muscle in a very thin-and-light, 13-inch package. Sometimes innovation just means improving faster than the competition, which ASUS did with the UX31A’s revamped keyboard and 1080p IPS screen. We also give ASUS kudos for pushing touch-screen Windows 8 laptops into sub-$600 territory with the VivoBook X202E, though the battery life was anemic. Other standouts include the wild Taichi, which has a screen on the back of the lid, the Transformer Book (“the world’s first convertible Ultrabook”) and the Atom-powered VivoTab Smart with Tran-Sleeve Keyboard.

Software (3/5)

Security software preloaded on ASUS laptops this year most often came in the form of a trial for Trend Micro or McAfee, the latter of which bombards you with pop-ups until you activate it. We did appreciate the preloaded WebStorage app, which offers 2GB of free cloud space, but most helpful was ASUS Tutor, which gives users a walk-through on how to use Windows 8. We weren’t particularly impressed with the ASUS Vibe Fun Center portal to games, music and books. Impressively, the Taichi came with a dedicated Facebook app as well as Instant Connect, which makes it easy to tether ASUS and Samsung handsets.

Best and Worst Notebook Brands 2013

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  1. eugene watson Says:

    asus model x-401A – very poor keypad- best buy salesperson sold me two notebooks instead of two computers. my fault. won’t buy asus again or shop at best buy either.

  2. eugene watson Says:

    it figures. i haven’t been able to contact asus about anything

  3. stu randall Says:

    worst company to do anything with sent new defective laptop back to be fixed at my expense $33 and they sent back in worst shape than it was.They then had some jerk give us the wrong addess after recontact. and then they would not agree to pay costs to send back again finally agreed to pay shipping. expect now to have another bad repair. asus is not a good name at least for us. Hope some one in the company reads this and at least calls back and knows something. I hope we get more then a few hours out of their laptop if they can fix it. when new we had problems from the start.I(f I receive yhe same result I will see who I can complain to in the public sector. This computer only worked a total of a few hours for us when new. I will detail the life of it and get it to their president or someone that cares about customers if there is anyone in asus that does.

  4. aj Says:

    I got new asus laptop it had few issues right now in the process to send the computer for repair. will not recommend to buy this brand

  5. Aly Says:

    You have to keep in mind that it’s mostly disgruntled customers that leave reviews. I am currently using an Asus notebook that I received Christmas 2011. It is the best laptop I’ve ever owned. It far surpasses my experience with HP, Dell and Gateway. I’ve never had any issues with it whatsoever. In fact, the screen had gotten completely smashed last year and Asus fixed it with no hassle. They paid for shipping both ways. Asus is the only brand, to my knowledge, that offers 1 year Accidental Damage Protection for free.

    Customer service for any company, in my experience, has never been perfect. Sometimes it took a while to get a hold of a representative and sometimes I got different answers from different people. Asus’ service isn’t perfect. However, they took my laptop in to be fixed right away and I got it back in perfect condition which is really all that matters to me. I would recommend this brand.

  6. Ken Says:

    Your Tech Support rating is ridiculous. You need call ASUS about hardware issues. Not just how to’s. There hardware support is horrible.

  7. John Says:

    I’m in the middle of second hardware repair on a 4 month old notebook with ASUS. On the first repair the notebook was returned with part of the original problem not fixed and physical damage as well. I know I am about to get a hard time about them covering the physical damage but I am also sure they do not have the original shipping package for UPS to inspect so it is doubtful I will get UPS insurance back for the damage either. Yes, it is disgruntled users who leave reviews. My U47VC is great, when it works, but ASUS hardware support is horrible.

  8. aakash Says:

    its a nyc exp.wid asus appy,,,,,,,,,,,,sch a grt lappy in INDIA ,,,,,,,,,,,,,wonderful,,,,,,,his sound,,,his background,,,,,evrythng,,,,is fabulous,,,,,,,,,,,well done asus

  9. Pete Says:

    You let the G75 line off! No way MacBook Pro gets #1 If ASUS ROG is included in this review.

  10. arrdubyazee Says:

    I notice that the photo of the keyboard/touchpad is conveniently cut off above the “mouse keys”. It is the integrated mousekeys and scroll area that causes the problem. That is, the cursor is “live” over the whole surface of the touchpad (including the “mouse key” areas). Instead of just swishing and swooping little boxes around on the screen (which makes for cute commercials, but little else), try typing a document or creating a spreadsheet or doing a bit of photo editing. My X75A has the worst keyboard/touchpad combination I have ever encountered.

    Oh, yeah. I notice a big fat ASUS ad next to your review. I wonder–does that have any bearing on how much you love ASUS?

  11. Ray Says:

    I have choosen asus x550cc model laptop i get much more than what i paid
    it is great with looks and finishing
    config is awesome it have good things as follow
    core i3 3rd generation
    500 gb hdd
    4gb ddr3 ram
    2gb nvidia 740 graphics card

    the bad thing about laptop is
    the clock speed is 1.80 ghz
    battery 4 cell which get 2 hours backup
    and the last is heat is much more becoz of graphics card but cooling system is great
    overall i said go grab it

  12. kathleen bell Says:

    what is the best asus laptop in the $350.00 range

  13. Alain Says:

    Man, the very first day I bought Asus notebook G750J it gave me video problems. I don’t recommend this brand. Now am stuck with a sucky notebook worth 1,200 usd. Am a student that hardly gets his money working, wants to become a professional and just encounters this unprofessional cumputer. What a shame Asus!

  14. Random Guy Says:

    This computer… Is horrible, and here’s why:

    1) Games are VERY laggy
    2) Uh the battery life is 1 hour
    3) Wtf I purchased 2 chargers and it broke them both (I know its the charger because the second one had worked fine… until now)
    4) Some settings of the computer are automatically changed. For instance, The screen gets very dim, and I have to restart my computer because it annoys me so much.

    So all of these reasons and problems + all of the problems to come, I am trying to inform you…


  15. Daniel Says:

    Worst computer company ever as my neighbours laptop was going slow and today it burnt out so I am never buying from this company

  16. henry chow Says:

    New 1000 dollar pc that breaks down 5 months later. How this company got rated 3rd is beyond rational thought. Also appears that I’m not the only one with the problem.

  17. ERS Says:

    I bought an ASUS UX31A and the (n) on the keyboard stopped functioning at 16 months. Asus says “too bad” warranty is over. I say a $1,300+ computer should last more than 16 months. The key can’t be replaced, the entire keyboard needs replacement. Keyboard and installation equal $$$$. Goodbye Asus….

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