My 6 year old Asus Z53J laptop gave up last week, you can still use it but the screen has failed and bleeds light in the lower quarter. I needed a replacement so after reading many reviews I settled for the ASUS K55A, I can't stand the look of Win 8, I can make it work like Win 7 but it looks far too flat and retro, more like Win98. I did have a 120Gb Vertex 4 SSD in my other laptop so the first thing I did before even switching it on was to replace the HDD with the 120Gb SSD and install Win 7. The Laptop is fast, it can shut down completely and reboot back to the desk top in 21 seconds, I could probably shave a few seconds off that if I disabled the boot logo. The fastest my old one would do is 26 seconds. I am using 1Gb of the RAM as a RAMDisk (virtual disk)for temp files but I've ordered a couple of 4gb Corsair Vengeance Performance 4GB 1600MHz CL DDR3
just to boost it up to the full 8gb.
I have quite a high spec desktop that I use for graphic intensive games and storage, I use the laptop more like a portable media machine so I really have no use for the 1tb hard drive, 120Gb is plenty enough for me on this machine.
The touch pad is rather bigger than I'm used to so I sometimes accidentally touch it while typing, this can throw the cursor off somewhat, I've always found it difficult to use a pad anyway, I use a wireless mouse and if I use the supplied touch pad software, it disables the pad while a mouse is connected. I found the graphics driver from the ASUS website (V188.8.131.5253) worked better than the newer drivers from Intel, there was quite a difference in windows experience, the drivers from Intel gave me a score of 5.5 (Win 7 version)but the one from ASUS gave me 6.5, quite a marked difference I'm very impressed with this machine, I didn't think you could get much faster than my old one, but you can.