Well the refund finally came through and I’m now in the market for a replacement laptop.  So why not buy another Asus NX-90?

To answer the question, I need to outline what is good and bad about the NX-90.  First, the good:

Fabulous screen.  The video quality of the NX-90 is really outstanding.  The video card that supports it does a superb job.

Wonderful sound.  As I have said before here, I have never, ever, heard a laptop with such sound quality.  Every sound that comes from its speakers sounds warm and resonant.

Superb performance.  I took the opportunity to run a number of applications and games on it, including: Office 2010 (64 bit edition) and Entropia Universe, which is very graphics intensive, and at no time did it skip a beat.  I set the game running at its highest graphics level.

Outstanding value for money.  £2400 buys you a hell of a lot of computing power in comparison to its competitors.  The i7 Intel processor goes like a rocket, 1.2Tb of disk space is very good value, even if it is split between 2 drives.  6Gb of main memory as standard.  When I compare this specification to the equivalent Alienware offering, you are saving over £700 on the Dell model and it is has nothing like the wow factor of the Asus.  When people see the Asus, their jaws drop in wonder, they really do.  It is beautiful.

The bad:

The sheer size.  The damn thing is just too big.  There is not a computer bag that will fit it.  It is ridiculous.  The problem is the location of the speakers either side of the screen.  Yes, I know why they did it – to give us the wonderful sound that I mention above, but that sound has a cost in terms of size.  It is a monster that is a true desktop replacement, not a portable.

The keyboard.  The person who decided that the keyboard design and layout of the NX-90 was fit for purpose should have their guide dog shot.  It really is that bad.  It’s impossible to use without losing what you have written on a regular basis.  For example, I am writing this post on an IBM Thinkpad and I have lost no text at all.  The Asus keyboard is so frustrating that I came close to throwing the bloody thing out of the window.  I nearly bought a keyboard to use with it, it was so bad.  Great to look at, awful to use.

At the end of the day, I am free to admit that the problem may be mine, perhaps others will find the limitations that I encountered a price worth paying, but I’m afraid these two negatives stop me from buying another NX-90.

I am now going to buy one of these: http://www.rockdirect.com/viewNotebook.php?pName=XTREME%20795

The good news about this computer is that it is made in the UK – hooray!!  Furthermore, it has a 7-day money back guarantee, so at least I get to try it and send it back if I can’t get on with it.  So watch out for my new blog I’ll be writing about my next purchase.

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Oh Dear…

Last weekend I’d been listening to the Asus through my home hi-fi system.  Whilst the sound from the NX-90 is very good, there is no way it can compete with the sound quality of my Teac mini hifi system with Tannoy speakers.

To connect to it, I used a flylead from the auxiliary of the system to the 3.5 inch jack on the side of the Asus.  When I arrived back at the hotel it became apparent that the sound wasn’t coming through the speakers.  Unfortunately, it had to be the hardware as even the “fanfare” that introduces the operating system was silent.  When I play music the indicators show that it is playing the sounds through the speakers, but all is silent.

When I attach my heaphones to the Asus the sound comes out of them without any problems, so it looks like the problem is in the sound port hardware.  Knowing something about this, I suspect the problem is that the switch built into the socket has failed in the open position – very sad.

So my new shiny Asus NX-90 is on its way back to eBuyer for a refund.  Looks like I will be purchasing a new and different laptop in the near future.  I’m contemplating a Rock laptop.  I will add a final reference showing what I decide on and I may possibly start a blog on that.  In the meantime if anyone has any history of Rock computers, good or bad, perhaps you’ll leave a comment.

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Dirt everywhere

The problem with having such a large screen and all the polished aluminium is that it is starting to look dirty.

I’ve wiped the aluminium with the cloth provided – I presume that’s what it’s for, but the screen is still getting dusty and slightly marked with removable marks.  I’ve been wondering about what to use to clean it.  I’ve been using the tubs of wipes for my previous  latops but this one specifically prohibits solvent-based substances.

I think part of the problem is that the screen is so clear that even the slightest blemish shows up very clearly.

Time for an investigation, I think.

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The lights, the lights.

Today, I used my NX-90 to write a review on the site I purchased it from, eBuyer.  If anyone is coming here from there, welcome.  The link is here http://www.ebuyer.com/product/237751 for when it gets published.

I’m still getting to grips with the keyboard, and its flat configuration, as a result it’s currently taking me longer to write this piece than it normally would.  I’m not convinced by the design of it.  When you catch the edge of a normal keyboard, you slip into the middle of it because it’s bevelled, you just don’t get that with the Asus.  But it sure does look fancy.

Whilst I’m on the subject of dislikes, I sure do miss the light that my old Asus laptop had, which was at the side of the webcam and was dual purpose, acting as illumination onto the keyboard and a light for the webcam.  The other problem is that it is not hotel room friendly.  I leave my NX-90 up and running overnight, as I use Calibre to download my reading matter and email it to my Kindle ready for me to read over breakfast.  Also, if I shut down the machine, when I boot back up in the morning and try to connect to the Hotel’s wireless broadband I cannot always get an IP address, therefore I leave it up and running to keep me connected.  Not the NX-90’s fault, I must stress, but a deficiency in the hotel’s systems, but hey, it’s free!  The problem is that the NX-90 has 5 LED’s, of which two, the hard disk and the wireless connection lights are very bright indeed.  Add into that the power LED, the battery charge LED and the power LED.  Yes, you’re right, I’ve mentioned the power LED twice – that’s because there are two power LED’s.  I don’t know why there are a two power LED’s, ok?  There just are.  As a result, my room is lit up like Christmas Eve at the Trafford Centre, or at least that’s what it seems like.  As a result, I now wear a sleep mask.  The good news is that I no longer need to turn on a light at night to visit the bathroom.

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Travelling with my shiny alloy friend

After buying the Antler luggage from Argos and using some sponge I found around the house, it was off on my travels.  With some design tips from my wife, I was able to pack the PC into the case with enough protection to satisfy me.  The idea of scratching the beautiful polished aluminium case made me extra cautious in my packing.

Once I got to the hotel I carefully unpacked “Ares” as he’s become known.  Ares after the Greek god of war, due to his size and power.  I packed the laptop into the body of the case and the accessories and other items I packed into the roof of the case behind the cover provided.

Once set up I decided to try one of my favourite tunes on the speakers.  I selected Alice Cooper’s Halo of Flies, from their 1971 album Killer.  I have to confess to being very impressed indeed.  I have never, ever heard sound quality like this from a laptop.  It is amazing.  The Bang & Olufsen sound system lives up to its name.  The amount of surround sound effect was startling.  The sound deep and resonant.  No match for my Teak mini system of course, that graces my desk at home, but very acceptable and not at all ‘tinny’.

So far the NX-90 has been very impressive, however I have one gripe.  Every time I hit the edge of the right hand shift key, I catch the up arrow, which if I’m not paying close attention, highlights and deletes blocks of text.  Very annoying as there is no tactile indication of the centre of the keys as they are flat topped.  The look of the keyboard is very funky, but this has been at the sacrifice of usability in my opinion.  Time will tell if I can adapt to this or whether I have to employ an external keyboard.

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The problem of size

According to the manual, it recommends buying a bag for the computer.  Unfortunately, Asus don’t supply a bag big enough for this laptop.  My previous Asus laptop (FS3A) was sold with a bag, but they didn’t mention it in the sales information, so I purchased one in anticipation – result: two bags.  Make your mind up Asus!!  I have done extensive searches on the Internet and cannot find a bag big enough to fit.  The largest I’ve seen is 20 inches, so too small.  If anyone can find a 21 inch bag in the UK please let me know.

To solve the problem I’ve had to purchase a piece of luggage from Argos as nothing else is big enough.  Whilst not ideal, it offers some modicum of protection until a more suitable one becomes available.  I’ve got two pieces of sponge which will act as a buffer for the NX90, but the accessories etc will have to stay in the top if the lid section.  the down side of that is that they will rattle around a lot as the bag itself is ABS.

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Well, it’s started

I arrived home today to find my new Asus NX-90Jq has arrived. Thanks to my wife’s help, I’ve got it all charged up and ready to go.

My first impression is how beautiful it is. The polished aluminium is truly beautiful to behold. When you lift the lid the idea that the screen and speakers are larger than the base is quite hard to get your head around.

The one thing that immediately strikes you is how big this machine is. It measures nearly 21 inches across due to the speakers on either side of the screen. Even without them, it’s still a big machine.

The keyboard is very flat, which is somewhat disconcerting. The twin mouse pads are very innovative, one on either side of the keyboard instead of the usual single pad in the centre of the laptop base. Ideal for a left-hander like me.

I’m hoping to keep commenting on this blog as I get to know the trials and tribulations of coming to terms with a new laptop.

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