(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with ASUS or Samsung. I just really like their products, and want to share them with you!)
A few months ago, I needed to buy a new laptop. After considering all of the options, I decided to get a new Windows 8 touchscreen laptop from one of my favorite manufacturers, ASUS. Here’s my review of the computer hardware and software:
ASUS VivoBook X202E Touchscreen Ultrabook
Screen size: 11.6-inch touchscreen
Storage: 500 GB HDD, 4 GB RAM
Weight: 2.86 pounds
– Touch interface for fast, simple tasks
– Traditional touchpad/keyboard for intensive tasks
– Fast, fresh new Windows 8 operating system
– Slight learning curve for Windows 8
– Bigger, less portable than a tablet
– Versatile, mobile device for performing light tasks, as well as for doing actual work.
Why not just get a tablet?
Don’t get me wrong: tablets are fantastic devices for playing games and watching videos, as well as for composing short emails/messages.
However, tablets are primarily used for consumption, not production. Consuming media is what tablets do best, and the ability to access pretty much any form of entertainment on the go is a powerful one indeed.
But sometimes, the need may arise to do some ACTUAL WORK. For intensive tasks involving spreadsheets, word processing, and research, tablets just don’t cut it. When I need to get things done, I use a desktop or laptop computer.
Windows 8: The OS of the Future
Much has been written about Microsoft’s ambitious new operating system, Windows 8. Some hate it, others have learned to love it. I personally knew very little about it until I started to use my new laptop.
Once I got the hang of using the new touchscreen gestures, and navigating between the Start screen and Desktop, I found Windows 8 to be quite fast, easy to use, and not so different from previous Windows iterations (except, of course, for the touch-optimized Start screen in place of the traditional Start button)
Microsoft Windows 8 is not without its faults, but in the age of touch-centric, cloud-based computing, it’s a fast operating system that works great on multiple devices, and appears well-suited for any task I could think of to throw at it.
Nerd Alert: SSD Upgrade Specs
Since I first blogged about solid state drives almost two years ago, the price of these insanely fast and reliable storage drives have come down by nearly 50%. They’re so affordable, in fact, that I bought one for my new ASUS laptop:
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC128B Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Storage: 128 GB
Interface: SATA3 (SATA 6Gbits/s)
Sequential Read Speed: 520 MB/s
Sequential Write Speed: 320 MB/s
– Speed: about 5x faster than hard disk drives
– Reliability: no moving parts, hard to break
– Power: quite operation, uses less energy
– Price: more expensive than hard disk drives
– Migration: requires tech knowledge to do the upgrade
Upgrading from HDD to SSD
Upgrading a laptop to use a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) isn’t difficult, and the speed/reliability gained are well worth the price.
I bought my Samsung SSD on Amazon for $110 (only $0.86/GB!), and used the included Samsung migration software to clone the laptop’s data onto the new SSD. Then I removed the old hard disk drive, popped in the SSD, and turned it on.
When I first powered on the upgraded laptop, I was amazed to see that it only took 6 seconds from “off” to Start screen. With the fast boot time also came noticeably faster performance in Windows (Windows 8 is designed to run VERY fast on solid state drives). With an SSD, my apps load almost instantly, multitasking is lag-free, operation is nearly silent, and the laptop uses less power.
Perhaps the best part of upgrading to an SSD is the increased reliability it affords. Anybody who’s lost data because of a crashed hard disk drive can appreciate the fact that the chances of an SSD randomly crashing are extremely slim: with no moving parts, there’s really nothing on an SSD that can actually break!
I’ve been using my SSD-enhanced Windows 8 touchscreen laptop for months now, and I love it. It’s fast, sleek, and intuitive to use (once you get the hang of Windows 8). For anyone looking for a versatile new mobile computer, I highly recommend a setup like this.
ASUS VivoBook Product Specs: http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/productID.257476600
Samsung SSD Product Specs: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0077CR60Q
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