ASUS: Best and Worst Laptop Brands of 2014

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Earning the bronze medal for a second year in a row, ASUS impressed us with its innovative designs; this is a company willing to take risks. The brand also outperformed most of the competition in the tech support category. We saw mixed results in the keyboard and touchpad category, as well as in software, but overall ASUS is a brand you should consider when shopping for a new laptop or hybrid.

Reviews (14/20)

With three notebooks earning 4 stars and four notebooks receiving 3.5 stars, ASUS has released a good number of above-average systems over the past year. In fact, the company’s showing was good enough to elevate its score by 3 points from last year. We especially liked the Zenbook UX301‘s Gorilla Glass lid and UHD display. However, the short endurance of the U38N and its 2.5-star rating kept ASUS from performing better.

MORE: 5 Best ASUS Laptops

Tech Support (18/20)

From a usefully redesigned website to an increased social media presence, ASUS offered an excellent improvement over last year’s tech-support showing. The company stumbled on phone support, however. Representatives had difficulty with our questions, and our three test calls took a very long average of 27 minutes and 39 seconds.

MORE: ASUS: Tech Support Showdown Rating

Design (13/15)

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While some companies are happy resting on their design laurels, ASUS has flipped its lid — literally. The company transformed the lid of the Taichi 21 into a second touch screen, for an innovative, dual-screen hybrid design. The Zenbook UX301 ditched the classic agate aluminum chassis for a lovely and durable midnight blue Gorilla Glass lid. For the less adventurous, ASUS released a trio of handsome mainstream notebooks (N550jv, VivoBook S500CA and Q200). There’s also the budget X550CA, which emulates the stunning good looks of the original Zenbook, despite having an all-plastic chassis.

Keyboards & Touchpads (11/15) 

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With few exceptions, ASUS laptop keyboards offer strong tactile feedback, reasonable key layouts and plenty of travel. However, a couple of the laptops we tested exhibited noticeable flex, including two different versions of the ASUS X550CA-DB31. The company’s touchpads are usually accurate and smooth, but a couple of systems, such as the ASUS UX51Vz, had issues consistently recognizing gestures.

Display & Audio (7/10)

ASUS’s high-end models, such as the Taichi 21, Zenbook UX51Vz and Zenbook UX301, offer beautiful, high-res definition and sharp color, but others fall flat. For example, the XX50CA’s 1366 x 768-pixel display delivered passable, mildly grainy images. The Q200′s 1366 x 768, 11.6-inch display was also on the dim side. Still with an average light meter reading of 241 lux, ASUS’ panels overall were in line with the 242-lux laptop category average for display brightness.

The Taichi 21 and Q200 stood out from the rest of ASUS’ 2013 lineup in terms of audio quality. But sound came through tinny and low with other machines, such as the U38N and Transformer Book TX300, costing the brand one point in this category versus 2013. Still, on average, ASUS’s notebooks pumped out 86 decibels of sound, which is louder than your typical notebook (85 dB).

Innovation (10/10)

For the second consecutive year, ASUS earned top marks for taking risks on devices such as the dual-screen Taichi 21. The company pushed the bounds of pixel density with the ZenBook UX51Vz-XB31 and that machine’s Retina-like, 2880 x 1620-pixel resolution. We particularly liked the outside-the-box thinking in the Transformer Book TX300 detachable hybrid, which puts its Core i7 processor and 128GB SSD right behind its 13.3-inch, 1080p display. The Transformer Book Duet (arriving spring 2014), uniquely gives users access to Windows 8 and Android in one device.

MORE: Top 8 Windows 8.1 Tablet-Laptop Hybrids

Value & Selection (3/5)

Quality over quantity is the story for ASUS. The company may have pushed through fewer notebooks in the past 12 months than last year, but among its new products are quality options, such as the excellent $999 N550JV multimedia laptop or the premium $1,973 Zenbook UX301 Ultrabook. The company did unveil a G750 gaming notebook, but ASUS is missing a good business line. While you can get the brand’s notebooks at a variety of retailers, such as Walmart, Newegg, Amazon and Best Buy, the company doesn’t sell its laptops via its website, which means you won’t be able to configure them. Some Windows 7 options exist, but not a wide range.

Software (3/5)

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In terms of software, ASUS’ recent notebooks run the gamut from completely clean (Zenbook UX301) to brimming with unnecessary extras (N550JV). You’ll find about 20 proprietary apps on the latter laptop, including Splendid Technology for display adjustment. ASUS WebStorage helpfully provides 5.5GB of free storage (up from last year’s 2GB), and ASUS Instant Connect can tether between Android phones and ASUS laptops.

Best and Worst Laptop Brands 2014

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  1. rasool Says:

    lap top

  2. Dr Mansoor Says:

    By performance ASUS is Good.
    Durability very poor.
    I had changed the key pad 4 times in two years of ASUS net book.
    My ASUS VIVO Book S550Cs mother board broken down immediatly after 1 year warranty…now companhy wants 34,000 Rs to replace the same.
    So if you want a durable laptop/net book better not to opt ASUS

  3. Peter Says:

    I am looking for a large screen laptop with a keyboard that feels like a desk top keyboard. My son has and recommends an Asus 750. I don’t play games on my computer so I don’t know if it is worth the money.

  4. Sean Kirby Says:

    ASUS customer service is awful !! I have never had such a bad experience….even the majority of the posts on their official web site are negative. It is sad my net book is indestructible….My VIVO laptop has been exceptionally unreliable and has been back to service 3 times. the keyboard was showing wear after 6 months. The commonly used keys were lower than the others. Quality has really gone down hill.

  5. Greg Thompson Says:

    I bought an ASUS Q550L laptop and straight out of the box, the touch pad was very erratic. The machine didn’t have any calibration and the quick start recommended calling support before returning the laptop to the store.

    I called and explained the problem, they connected remotely and searched the machine settings and services. They I had 480 issues that they would be glad to fix but I didn’t purchase their software protection and the fix would be $109.99 for 7 days of service, or I could buy a year of support for $199.00.

    For a problem with a new machine? Support is their term for additional sales and income.

  6. Chad Says:

    Asus Transformer – The unit has had to be returned 2X due to inability to recharge under the warrantee period. This time I was informed they replaced the motherboard without making any contact with me. Thus, the computer is void of all content. The direct me to the instruction for backing up the unit….I directed them to the fact that the unit was dead, as discussed in length and could not be backed up. I went up the Asus corp ladder, and there is nothing they are willing to do other than apologize. Bad costumer service for a bad product.

  7. Goldman Says:

    LET ALL BE WARNED!!!!!
    l had submitted my laptop for repairs 11th Sept One month had passed, all calls the service center went unanwsered . Not ONCE is my calls being answered. I’m getting anxious now because the same is happening to my emails to them; NONE of my emails to them got any respond. lt’s as if the service center does not exist.!!!
    Am I suppose to wait quietly at home for your non existing call or reply to come? Such service is unacceptable especially when all my college going kids and myself had been firm supporters of Asus laptops for many years .
    A check in the internet review tons and tons of complaints heaped on Asus after sales services. I now have no choice but to post here as that all can know . Emptor Caveat.
    Please reply dont turn your loyal customers into haters..

  8. Banz Says:

    I bought an ASUS G74Sx 2 years ago. It was one of their top tier laptops at the time. After 2 years of usage my computer is almost dead, it lags all the time, I get 1/2sec freezes avery 5sec (litterally).
    I’m not buying anything else from ASUS before a while, it is NOT worth the money.

  9. Alan Says:

    Similar experience to Chad. Bought a new unit in July for $499. 2 months later the unit is not charging, they want $400 to replace the motherboard on the Laptop as they say the repair is not covered under the warranty.
    What a SCAM.
    Is this company based in Nigeria?

  10. chuck Says:

    i got asus x552e about 1 week ago
    and if it performs like it has so far,
    its great, and fast, i could almost like windows 8 using this laptop

  11. Amanda Martin Says:

    I have the netbook and it has to be the worst thing that I have ever bought. It does not hold it’s charge, does not enable some common programmes to work and the screen resolution is terrible. It is difficult to negotiate the windows software, not an Asus issue directly, but this all adds to it being poor. I am going out tomorrow to buy a new machine, 4 months after buying this one. Not good.

  12. Mr, Lawrence Lorriman Says:

    I have the Asus X551M Notebook and it is running windows 8. What a load of rubbish this is and I cannot really understand why windows/microsoft have created this STUPID idea.

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