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This is the newer updated version of the Asus X551MA-SX018H model, it features the same screen, keyboard and unit as the prior model, with the exception that the CPU is now a somewhat faster Intel Celeron N2815 1.86GHz (the older one had a 1.5GHz CPU) It's not a huge step up but the addition of bluetooth 4.0 might just appeal to some..

There is a significant difference in CPU performance from the Intel Core i3 3217U 1.8GHz and the Celeron N2815 1.86GHz. The i3 being over twice as fast as the Celeron. Bear that in mind depending on your needs and the price point.

The core specification is fairly straightforward with enough memory and hard drive space for most users and more than enough for day to day use

A quick fire list of pros and cons

Pros:
+ Great value one of the lowest prices on a laptop
+ 15.6" 1366x768 screen is quite good and contrasty easy to read and sharp (better than you expect for the price)
+ 4GB ram and 500GB hard drive is more than sufficient for most users needs even if you have quite a lot of media files around
+ One USB port is the faster USB 3.0
+ Built in SD Card Reader, as well as Wired Lan port and HDMI out
+ Webcam with Microphone built in (not the best webcam in low light but it's fine for this price with decent resolution)
+ Keyboard and touchpad are satisfactory, good response on the trackpad and the keys are of the enclosed type (harder for small children to rip them off!)
+ DVD/CD Burner 8x and 24x should satisfy any media playback/burning needs
+ Bluetooth 4.0 (the latest version)

Cons:
- Build is a bit cheap, clearly it has had some cost cutting in terms of quality of plastics (not unexpected) the low price does compensate for this though, it won't fall apart or anything like that, texturing looks ok, I've used worse.
- Could use a few more USB ports (only 2 but that might be enough)
- VGA port is mostly redundant these days (HDMI is used more often) Might be ok if you connect to a pc monitor
- Basic sound quality from the on-board speakers, ok for the intended market (use the headphones much better)
- No easy access to battery (it's inside the case)

Expect around 3.5 hours of battery life which is par for the course on budget laptops, you can extend things a bit by lowering the screen brightness (power management settings are easy to change for this)
Windows is updated to 8.1 which has a number of improvements including boot straight to the desktop (and at least a partial return of the start menu), I won't go in depth on this as it's down to taste. But it's a better experience than the 8.0 version.

Compared to the older version (Asus X551MA-SX018H) this is how the processors stack up performance wise

Celeron N2815 1.86GHz scored 1024 in passmark
Celeron N2815 1.5GHz scored 958 in passmark
Core i3 3217U 1.8GHz scored 2320 in passmark

The newer celeron has a slight improvement, but in day to day use you won't really notice any significant difference on the newer CPU which is a little faster (but not hugely so)

The i3 is quite a fast processor for a budget laptop (relative to the Celeron)

Passmark is a general CPU benchmark that tries to measure real world performance in a variety of tasks (3d/2d graphics, compression, encryption, text, memory and disk speed) it gives a "general" idea of the CPU and how it deals with tasks, higher scores = better performance
Compared to a desktop budget processor (Intel Celeron G1620 2.70GHz) this would score around 2600 in passmark. That means the i3 CPU is almost on a par with a budget desktop CPU, so if you need the extra processing power that's the one to go for.

Wifi locked on well with good coverage no concerns or issues to report

On-board graphics do take some memory (no matter 4GB is generous with plenty to spare) you can play some lighter less demanding games, or older titles, this isn't aimed at game players though. HD playback will work great with even HD videos playing smoothly with no judder or dropped frames (which is what matters most)

For the money, this has a number of advantages over slightly cheaper Chromebooks. Much larger capacity on the hard drive will suit people who have a good collection of media audio and video files; and you are not reliant on an internet connection for day to day tasks (Chromebooks are fine somewhat limited)

For the asking price the Asus is a bit of a bargain really, you get a straight forward, but quite decent laptop at a very good price. It will be just fine for most people's day to day use. Take care with the CPU choice the Celeron is quite good enough for normal use. If you are a more demanding user the i3 option is quite a lot faster and better suited for users doing some video or photo work or other more intensive tasks.

Recommended purchase for those looking to replace an older/broken laptop with a cost effective newer one. A solid buy
99 comments|196 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Asus laptop X551MA-SX030H

What’s in the box?
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The laptop and UK mains transformer and warrantee card.

Set up.
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This is typically driven by Windows 8. You have to set a few parameters like time, date, password if you want one etc. It’s pretty straight forward to get going. You are also asked if you want to connect to the net and it is handy to have your router key and password handy for this.

In use.
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The laptop comes with Windows 8 which I have always found a pain to use on a non-touch screen laptop. Microsoft allows you to do a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 which is far more laptop friendly so worth doing.
Update problems and how to over come them.
This is where problems start. The version of Windows 8 supplied on the laptop was many months out of date so there were over 100 Windows updates to install before the upgrade to 8.1 could be done. It took about two hours to download everything but several of the updates failed and the machine reverted back. This is very frustrating but typical of Microsoft updates, some have to be set up and running before other can be loaded correctly. However, the update process does not seem to know about this. In order to get the machine up to date a second run of Windows updates was needed and this went in fine but took over two hours. After this I could update to 8.1 and it took another hour to do this.
SO this is not really Asus’s fault but an inherent problem with Windows. However, it is worth persevering as Windows 8.1 is much better on this laptop.

Tasks.
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I was not expecting this low power machine to run Windows 8.1 very well but I was quite surprised when I found that it does a decent job. It’s no speed freak but for web browsing, emails and office work it is fine. If you want to play games or do photo editing I would get something a bit more powerful but for general computing this is fine.

Quality.
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This machine is obviously built to a low price but don’t forget it is not much more than the average tablet but allows you to do much more for the money. The back is a one piece affair with not hatches to access the drive or memory, to do this you have to take the while underside off. This is cost cutting but unless you plan to upgrade this machine it is not a problem.
The screen quality is fine and the colures about right. The keyboard is not very tactile but fine for what I am going to use it for.
It has a built in DVD rewriter, one USB 2.0 legacy socket and one USB 3.0 socket. This is fine as I will only ever use the USB 3 socket for backups so don’t need more. The mouse pad is a but hit and miss but works when you get used to it.

Overall.
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A clear budget offering from Asus but it does surprisingly well out of the box. The update process is a pain but this is more down to Microsoft than Asus. I bought this on one of Amazon’s daily offers for under £200 delivered so it is quite a bargain if you want to do office work only. This is what I wanted it for and it works well and is much more useful and flexible than a similarly priced tablet. Recommended with a few reservations.
0Comment|12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 February 2015
Bought this for my wife as a surprise gift to replace an old but solid Dell. One of main features is it's light weight design,some 40% lighter than many others,due I suppose to it's not being metal case. However, despite some reviews complaining about "plastic" build, we find this excellent.It feels robust and pleasant to touch She does not like touch screens so no need for one. The pad is good and responsive with easy to understand and carry out features.Pleased to see it came with a 2.16 GHz process instead of the 1.86 listed as a bonus. Screen display is very good, power cable light and good length, and battery life enough for many hours normal usage. Got rid of many installed apps (again shows in many reviews) as not needed for her use.Probably not a high speed games machine (some reviews), but again not needed for us. If you want a great value flexible light machine for everyday usage, browsing, email, photos, music and home business use then this meets the needs.
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on 27 July 2014
Neat, light, easily legible, clean and sharp in detail very pleased for what I require it for which is mainly just for personal use. A little disappointed that it is difficult to see at a glance if the Capitals lock is on and have to remember to check first so as before a light on the button would have been better. However, overall a good choice and would recommend
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on 9 July 2014
Very fast ,only problem is the operating system Windows 8.
I have downloaded Windows 8.1 which is much better but the laptop is very good & I'm on my
desktop in less than a minute.
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on 12 December 2014
I bought this laptop for my wife.

First impressions: keyboard feels really cheap. The laptop has no upgrade ports whatsoever, you need to disassemble it completely to be able to access the hard drive. I have yet to find the ram slots.

One of the screws was damaged upon arrival. I don't think I will be able to convince they guys in the service that I did not touch it. Plus I broke two plastic clams while opening the shell (shell clicks in and then is screwed).

Also, be careful which screw you extract from where. They are not the same. They have various lengths and diameters.

After about 4 months of use the hard drive gave up. It makes a clicking noise for 10 minutes before starting. I already ordered a SSD. The existing hard drive is a no-name made in china. I understand cutting costs for low budget laptops, but this is already extreme. It is almost a single use product.

By the way, write down your windows key after you extract it with a special software directly from windows, because there is no label with the licence, if you format you will not have an installation key any more.

All in all, even tough I paid 199 GBP, I feel like the laptop is way overpriced for the quality and performance it offers.
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on 10 June 2014
A really good laptop for its money. Don't expect a world beating game-playing machine but a great machine for those day to day tasks and it is not bad for the candy crush, farm heroes game players. The only niggle for me is the keyboard, not quite as positive as I like.
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on 14 October 2014
so far so good .i am a new computer user at the age of 55 But so far i am finding this computer very easy to use , hopefully it will continue very pleased
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on 30 September 2014
Purchased 2 months ago. Nice laptop. No probs. Slight negative is that the black finish on the lid shows up finger-marks but that's no big deal. I did feel this laptop is slightly slower than our previous laptop but nothing major. Would recommend and would buy again.
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on 20 June 2014
Having read other reviews both here and on other internet sites, I wasn't expecting too much from this. In fact it turned out to be great. Took a while to install all the updates and configure Windows 8.1 (it came with W8) but it runs smoothly and much quicker than I expected - even with multiple tasks running. My opinion is that its great value for the money. These days when setting up a budget laptop I replace W8 with W7 just to get the most out of it but this one works really well as it is. A real surprise was the full (ie not trial or 360 version) version of MS office which was pre-installed. I wasn't expecting this and don't know how they can do it for the price
0Comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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