Pros ridiculous battery life, great display, lightweight, 500GB hard drive, 4 GB RAM, great keyboard, runs cool,fast, all around slick.
Cons Front edge of keyboard feels slightly flimsy, but really isn't. Probably wouldn't want to drop it, though.
Summary I use my laptop all the time for work and play out of the office. Since I travel quite a bit, battery life is a great plus. This laptop has simply ridiculous battery life, all day for me! I am mostly a word processor and internet guy, so its not a heavy demand on a processor. This laptop is fast, and the display is great to watch movies.It barely gets warm to the touch, it runs so cool all day. I love the fact that there is no optical drive ... Never used my Vaio one, good riddance. USB Drive is all you need and you can map your desktop drive over the network if you really have to.Update: I have now being using this laptop (with windows 7) for 3 months. It is the best laptop I have ever owned. The weirdest thing to get used to is the fact that I no longer grab my power cord if I am going away for the day. I have yet to drain the battery in less than 9 hours. That alone makes this a killer deal. Add all of the other benefits and you have a total winner . . .
For me, because I do a lot of writing, the keyboard is very important. This is fabulous. The keys are large enough so there is no mistyping, and the keys have a good responsive feel. Plus, there is a large hard drive, although it comes partitioned into 200/300 GB drives. I also like to watch movies on a plane, and the display is really nice and bright. And there is an HDMI jack so it is a snap to hook up to a monitor at a hotel, for example.
This laptop also comes with a built in webcam and mic, which work very well on Skype, although its low light performance is weak and you need to be in a well lit area. It also comes with "smart logon" facial recognition software, which will unlock your computer by scanning your face with the webcam. If you are in a well-lit area, it actually is pretty cool. If you are in a darkened room like a bedroom, it is completely worthless.
The laptop definitely does not feel like the most rugged laptop I have ever had, and I would be afraid to drop it, but I got it for $775 with Windows 7 installed, and that was less than half the cost of my VAIO when it came out, so . ..
Finally, unlike many manufacturers such as, for example, Sony or HP, the ASUS does not come preloaded with crapware. It has only what you need, and a trial of TrendMicro Internet Security. You can load up or not load up your own crapware.
Bottomline, as a heavy road warrior, this laptop is fantastic. I love it so much that I got one for my wife as well. For me, it is the perfect combination of size, weight, speed, function and battery life. I really couldn't ask for better.
Updated on Jan 10, 2010
Pros Great Battery life
multi-touch track pad
very little heat
Cons no optical drive
low wattage power adapter
no internal bluetooth
Summary For under $800 you get a think and light notebook with a full sized keyboard and dual core power that will last you all day on one charge.
Pros My unit worked fine for the first 1 1/2 years and I was generally pleased with performance, battery life, etc.
Cons Started having video problems with screen lock-up after 1 1/2 years. The online technical advice from ASUS was slow and not helpful. Returned it to ASUS for repair estimate-told me the video chip on motherboard had failed and cost would be $500.
Summary After the fiasco of the lousy online technical service from ASUS, a fatal failure of the laptop, and exorbitant repair estimates, I bought a replacement system from HP through Costco for $350 with a better warranty and better performance. No ASUS ever again for me (other than using the salvaged hard drive as a $700 back-up for my new laptop).
Pros - Light
Cons - Nothing worth writing
Summary I bought this notebook back in Dec'09 for my one year long backpacking trip around asia. I needed something light that would let me edit my pictures (raw) in photoshop easily and store them. For the price I paid, I made a great choice. The computer handle well PhotoshopCS4 editing RAW file (from my Canon 7D; 18megapixel files). The screen size and weight are great for a travelling laptop. The 500GB hard drive ended up being a bit small for one year of raw files though...
The ONLY PROBLEM i got is after 3 months on the road, the computer began to reboot as soon as i was typing something. I had the international "full cover" warranty so I went to the service center in Hanoi Vietnam (crazy ride to get there btw) and they found that the hard drive connexion was loose a little bit causing various reboot due to "vibrations" while typing, not a big deal.
The problem came back 2 more times through the year, but I was traveling intensively carrying the laptop everywhere in sometimes rough situations, so I dont blame the ASUS for my "hardcore" use.
Overall, this is a great notebook.
Pros It is less than 1" thick, is light, has a fast dual core processor, 4GB of DDR3 RAM,a "green" backlit LED panel with 16:9 ratio, a graphics accelerator ,and runs up to 12 hours per charge.
It uses a dimpled tap logic keypad . The webcam is sharp.
Cons Although the speakers have nice volume and clarity, they are above average. You will need an extra $50 to buy an optical writer.
This laptop is not made for gaming, but it can run some low resolution games such as "Fear".
Summary The main reasons that I purchased this laptop was to carry a light machine with a fast processor, a bright screen and extra long battery usage. This laptop more than satisfies all of these criteria. It also includes Windows 7 Home Premium and Kindle!
It only weighs 3-3/4 lbs. It has a 1.3 GHz Intel S7300 Core Duo dual core processor with 4 gigs of RAM, and it's DDR3 (really fast). It has a "green" backlit LED panel with 16:9 ratio (great for videos) with an Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics accelerator . And, get this, it runs up to 12 hours without a recharge. I have yet to run out of power at any time for days on end in the field.
It's less than an inch high. I take it around in a Case Logic QNS-113 13.3-Inch EVA Molded Netbook Sleeve (Black), and it still is less than two inches thick.
It uses a tap logic keypad, so you don't need to use the slower click buttons (which are still there if you like them). I really like this textured (dimpled) keypad. The webcam is sharp.
The negatives? Although the speakers have nice volume and clarity, they are above average, but nothing to write home about. Not having an optical drive really reduces the weight, and I hardly ever use it anyway, but you will need an extra $50 to buy one and it's not handy to carry around with you. Fingerprints do appear minimally on the case, as others have noted, but it is not anything significant and means nothing to me.
This laptop is not made for gaming, because it shares up to 384mb of the main memory to operate. Please do not buy this laptop if that is your main interest. However, it will run as fast as an entry level discrete graphics card and can run some low resolution games such as "Fear" with slightly less detail. Normal video is excellent as it is DirectX 10 capable. It uses the GS45 chipset, and being clocked at 533MHz off the 1066MHz processor means that it will be able to play Blu-Rays. For this price point, you can't beat it.