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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Asus Compu X551MA 15.6” Laptop

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I bought this laptop in August 2014, after my 17” Toshiba ended up blacking out and never coming back on. Had I known it was going to surrender and die, I would’ve saved up more money. As a freelancer who essentially SPENDS my days on my computer, I should’ve had more money to splurge on something I desperately needed. But, as a mom- I had school clothes, backpacks, and supplies that had to come first.

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So I went to Best Buy and was looking at the highest quality computers for less. I had owned an Asus previously and although I wasn’t THRILLED, it did it’s job and was light on the pockets. It ended up tearing up after my son (who was 3 at the time) slammed the lid when I was taking my daughter to the bathroom. The hard drive ejected from the computer, but I ended up getting the ASUS X551MAC 15.6" Laptop anyway.

Tech Specs:  Intel Celeron - 4GB Memory - 500GB Hard Drive – Black.

I was excited to get home and get this bad boy running. After almost a week working straight from my smartphone, I was definitely ready to have a computer again. I wish I had saved up my money and gotten something else though. This has a very cheap look and feel to it. Feels almost like hardened plastic, which I’m sure couldn’t withstand an accidental drop.

If you are looking for something basic, it would be good. Like someone who only needs it to check email, write assignments, or play simple games. It would make a good first laptop for kids or teens who want it to learn as a cheap learning tool. This would also be a great choice for a student starting college, but not for me.

I use mine for working. So I am almost always downloading documents, PDFs, and pictures. I end up saving them to a Flash Drives, just because I am weary of computers. Like I said my last one blacked out WHILE I was working on a post. I had all my scheduled posts that I’d written, pictures, and My Microsoft Office. I lost it all.

I don’t like that in just a short amount of time it is already starting to hesitate when I download stuff, even though the main stuff ISN’T saved on the hard drive, just passing through. I even go through every other week and defragment and still it’s weird.

If you’re looking for a gaming computer, I wouldn’t get this one. It can’t handle games, especially role playing or simulation games. Online gaming is fine, I play games on Facebook while taking a breather from writing. They aren’t a type of game that needs to be downloaded or read from a CD though.

It’s games like Detective Case File & Family Feud. As well as task games like ‘My Cafe”, “Designer Diner” and stuff like that. The computer works fine graphically, that’s not the problem. It the speed that is an issue. When you work from home like I do or play role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons ( I don’t play, just using this as an example) speed DOES matters.

I don’t want to sit around waiting for long periods of time for something to download. Time is money for me, and I don’t like wasting it on something irrelevant. I’m just trying to get my work done with all pictures and videos responding quickly.

Features

Width
15 inches

Depth
9.9 inches

Weight
4.7 pounds

 

Screen Size (Measured Diagonally)
15.6"
Size of the screen, in inches, measured diagonally from corner to corner.

Processor Brand
Intel®

Processor
Intel® Celeron®
(Also known as the CPU). The part of the computer that interprets and executes instructions. Think of it as the brain of the computer.

Processor Speed
2.16GHz (with Intel® Burst up to 2.41GHz)
How fast a computer processor carries out instructions. In general, faster is better, but processor speeds across brands may not be equivalent (i.e., a 3.0GHz AMD processor may not be the same speed as a 3.0GHz Intel processor).

**My Thoughts:

I am disappointed because the processor seems to get slower with each passing day. I even make sure to transfer all my pictures and documents to a USB flash drive or an SD Card after I’m done with them. I wanted to save as much memory as I could but it’s laggy and crashes a lot.

Battery Life
Not available

Battery Type
3-cell Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) 2600 mAh

**My Thoughts:

The battery life of this isn’t too thrilling. Although I mostly work from home and have the charger right beside me, I wouldn’t really want to take this traveling. The battery-life is exceptionally bad. It only lasts about 2 hours before dying, which isn’t good if I had to go to an event and work straight from there.

Display Type
HD
Technology used to display text and images on the screen. Computer monitors, notebook computers, mobile DVD players and other devices typically use LCD (flat-panel liquid crystal displays) screens.

Cache Memory
1MB on die Level 2
A small segment of memory that stores frequently used information for fast access by the processor, improving response time.

System Memory (RAM)
4GB
The memory a computer uses to run its operating system, applications and active data files. Greater amounts of RAM improve speed and enable more applications to run at once.

System Memory (RAM) Expandable To
Nonexpandable
Maximum amount of memory a computer can support (as opposed to the amount that comes preinstalled).

Type of Memory (RAM)
DDR3

Computer Hard Drive Size
500GB
Capacity for storing programs, photos, video, music and other electronic information. Hard drive capacities range from a few gigabytes to several hundred.

Optical Drive
DVD±RW/CD-RW

Optical Drive Speeds
Drive speeds not specified
Fastest speeds at which the drive can write, rewrite and read data.

Direct-Disc Labeling
No

Digital Media Reader or Slots
Yes, digital media card reader

Graphics
Intel® HD
Type of graphics (video) adapter (usually built into the motherboard), identified by manufacturer and model.

DVD Drive/Video

If you are new to Windows 8.1, I would steer VERY clear from it. You can’t use the Disc insert to watch DVDs at all. The Media player has no playback which causes it to NOT play videos, which bites the big one. I tried to find one in the Windows store, but still had absolutely no luck at all. All they did was open the DVD to show me the chapters within it, the DVD still wouldn’t play video.

Even if the DVDs would play, I probably wouldn’t be able to hear the movie. The fan is crazy loud when reading. Even when I insert CD’s for software it sounds like a jet might be landing somewhere near. Pretty crazy if you ask me.

It has an even bigger problem than that. You can’t watch Netflix videos by plugging the computer up to your TV via an HDMI cable. An error message pops up saying there is a problem with the resolution.

You can however watch shows on the computer without a problem. I watch Youtube videos, Hulu, and Netflix on the laptop without a problem. I just don’t like that I can’t hook it up via HDMI to my TV and share Netflix or Hulu with my family. I usually bring my laptop to the doctor office so my kids can watch cartoons (via DVD) while we wait. Now we can’t. :(

TV Tuner
No
Enables reception of TV programs.

MPEG
Yes
A group of digital video formats created by the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG) to compress high-quality video into file sizes small enough to be transmitted over the Internet.

Built-in Webcam
Yes

Modem
None
Device that allows a computer to send and receive information over telephone or cable lines.

Networking
Built-in 10/100 Mbps Fast Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 connector)
Ability to connect to other devices on a network using Ethernet, Wi-Fi (wireless; 802.11), Bluetooth, etc.

Wireless Networking
Wireless-N

My thoughts: Wifi & Networking

I was impressed with how easily this connected to my home wifi, but it didn’t last long. I don’t know why but even now it will randomly kick me off my wireless internet. I spend hours and hours searching on my Samsung Galaxy S4 trying to figure out why it my wi-fi kept saying “limited connection.”

I would be working on something and then suddenly the yellow triangle would appear above my wi-fi button in the bottom corner of my screen. I tried to trouble shoot it and it kept saying “problems with wireless adapter”. I re-hauled the entire computer at least 4 times thinking it might’ve been a software I’d downloaded counter-reacting to the firewall of the internet.

Nope. it isn’t. It’s the dang Windows 8.1. Although I think the interfacing looks cool- it has made me so mad at times that if it were a person I’d probably smack it in the head. It has frustrated me more times than I care to admit. It’s actually doing it right now. I can’t connect to the internet. So it’s another long night of working from my phone and writing what I need in Word until the internet magically comes back on.

Bluetooth-Enabled
No

S-Video Outputs
None
Connections that deliver separate color and black-and-white video signals through a single cable. S-video connections provide better picture quality than RF and composite video connections but not as good as component video, DVI and HDMI connections.

Audio
SonicMaster technology; AudioWizard

Speakers
Internal

PCMCIA Slots
None
Slots in notebook computers that accept credit-card-size upgrade cards. Type I is used mostly for memory, Type II for modem, fax and network cards, and Type III for hard drives.

HDMI Output
Yes

USB 2.0 Ports
1 USB 3.0; 1 USB 2.0
Ports that allow high-speed (up to 480 Mbps) data transfer between compatible devices.

My thoughts: USB ports/HDMI

This really surprised me because it only has 2 USB ports. Most computers have at least 3, so this is limited in what you can hook up to it. It isn’t a problem for most, because you can buy hub inserts, but the quality of the ports is what gets me. I’m not even sure they were added correctly because half the time when I connect my Samsung Galaxy S4, it shows it as a CD. I have to keep inserting it until it shows up as the Galaxy.

Even then the connection to the port is iffy. It took me a long while just to download my pictures to the computer because the connection kept going in and out for no reason. I tried to connect my Nokia Lumia Icon and it doesn’t even show that it’s connected. All it does is charge it, so there’s no way for me to get those pictures off except maybe email them to myself or bluetooth them to my Galaxy. Problematic is what it is.

Plus the fact that they are already going out. It’s like the USB port plugs inside the computer are loosening up or something. Nothing will connect right. I try to insert something and I basically have to hold it in and now that doesn’t even seem to be working.

Even if they weren’t going out, the USB ports are too close together. There is no way that I can run two cords or two ANYTHING side by side. They interact with each other. I had a KINIVO Dual Band Wireless N USB Adapter hooked up, yet couldn’t get my very small flash drive inside the second port. So really you only have one, and even that one doesn’t connect right most of the time.

IEEE 1394 FireWire Ports
None
(Also known as FireWire, Apple Computer's trademarked name for IEEE 1394.) High-speed connection that supports data transfer rates of up to 400 Mbps or 800 Mbps (depending on port version).

Parallel Ports
None
Older and relatively slower interface most commonly used to connect a PC to a printer.

Game Ports
None
Jacks for connecting video game controllers.

Buttons-

**My Thoughts

The buttons are kind of clickity clackity. When the house is silent and I stay up late to work, I am super scared I’m going to wake everybody up. The buttons sound hollow and create a loud ruckus. It seriously sounds like a woodpecker pecking wood very loudly from outside the window.

I don’t like that there are no lights on the buttons. My Toshiba had lights on the CAPS lock, num lock, and power buttons- but this one doesn’t. The only way to tell if the CAPS lock is on is to type and see what characters pop up. It can make it extremely frustrating when entering passwords, because I don’t know until I’ve entered that it was on when it shouldn’t have been.

The number of times I’ve entered the wrong password in the last few months is absolutely ridiculous. I just ended up adding a Google Chrome extension that automatically saves my passwords, so I’m not wasting my time and patience.

I do like that it comes with the side (numbered) keys. It makes it so much easier when I am trying to add up my finances and budget within excel. It does have a glitch here too and I still haven’t been able to figure it out. With my Toshiba I could go back and “insert” letters and number if I was typing too fast and got carried away.

This Asus insert somehow comes on and off by itself? I don’t know how and I can’t even figure out how to turn it back on. It is SUCH a hassle when I’m in the middle of writing something. I look and see something messed up, I go back to fix it, and instead of inserting the characters it just types over the words I’ve already written (deleting them completely).

Pointing Device
Touchpad

**My Thoughts: Touchpad

I don’t like this touchpad at all. Sure, it gets the job done (most of the time). The only thing I hate is that I have a horrible time trying to copy and paste stuff, which I have to do quite frequently. The touchpad seems to just lose it’s mind. I try to copy some random reference from the internet into Word and it jumbles it all up.

I can tell that this isn’t going to be one of those that have a long life span. I haven’t had it very long and I already wish it came with at least a USB mouse.

Blu-ray Player
No

Operating System Platform
Windows

Operating System
Windows 8.1
The master software that controls hardware functions and provides a platform on top of which any software applications will run. Commonly used systems include Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and Chrome OS for computers; Android, Apple iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone for cell phones; and Android, Apple iOS and Windows for tablets.

Operating System Bit Version
64-bit
The terms "32-bit" and "64-bit" refer to the way a computer's processor (CPU) handles information. A 64-bit operating system handles large amounts of system memory (RAM) more effectively than a 32-bit system.
Most software programs designed for a 32-bit operating system will work on the 64-bit version, with the exception of many antivirus programs. However, if a program is designed for a 64-bit operating system, it is not backwards-compatible with a 32-bit version.
Device drivers designed for a 32-bit system will not work on computers running a 64-bit operating system. Similarly, drivers designed for a 64-bit system will not work with a 32-bit version.

Included Software
Kindle and more

This does NOT come with even a trial version of Microsoft Office which other laptops usually do. It does come with a Webroot Security CD, but that’s it.

ENERGY STAR Certified
No
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Best Buy PC App
No

Graphics Chip
Intel

Drive Capacity
500GB

Graphics Card
Intel® HD

EPEAT Qualified
No
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is the definitive global registry for greener electronics. It's an easy-to-use resource for purchasers, manufacturers, resellers and others wanting to find and promote environmentally preferable products.

UPC
886227738793

Warranty Terms - Parts
1 year

Warranty Terms - Labor
1 year limited

If you are looking for a beginner computer for someone who doesn’t need to do very much on their computer than this is for you. You can get it here

 

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author

This post was written by:

Jessica is the writer behind Sweet Southern Mama. She is the mother of 2 adorable kids- Aidan, 7 and Adisyn, 5. She lives in Kentucky with her fiance and kids. She loves designing blogs, reading, writing, crafting, all things electronic, photography, and spending time with her family.

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