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Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Windows 8 compatibility, 1 Jan. 2013
This review is from: ASUS X53Z 15.6-inch Laptop (Brown) (AMD A63420M 1.5GHz, 6GB RAM, 500GB HDD, DVDSM DL, LAN, WLAN, Webcam, Integrated Graphics, Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit) (Personal Computers)
I am pleased with this notebook but as a major influence on my buying decision in August was the declared upgrade capability the following may be relevent if anyone else is considering a purchase.
Asus have apparently discontinued this X53Z notebook. This may explain why the notebook doesn't appear in their Windows 8 compatibility list at [...], although other X53 models are listed. As of 01.01.2013 there doesn't seem to be much information on the Internet from people who have tried upgrading this model, so the tempting cheap Windows 8 upgrade offer (with accompanying free Windows Media Center upgrade availability) may have to be taken with a degree of caution. I definitely recommend anyone attempting the upgrade to read the ASUS website first as it details what ASUS notebook software and drivers should be uninstalled (due to incompatibility) prior to any notebook upgrade attempt. Unless someone with direct experience can suggest better I would advise avoiding a direct download install over the top of Windows 8 on the X53Z - better to use the option to save the upgrade download to DVD so you can proceed at leisure once your notebook has been properly prepared. I would strongly advise creating a System Repair Disk under Windows 7, and also a set of image DVDs of your current Windows 7 installation - just so you can step back in case the upgrade is not acceptable. Also note that the F9 ASUS Windows 7 system recovery feature the does not work after a Windows 8 upgrade. Quote: Due to Windows 8 limitation, F9 function key no longer functions. If you would to use the built-in recovery partition to restore to Windows 7, please download and run ASUS recovery utility. It will initiate the Windows 7 recovery process. [...]

Follow-up 02Jan2013:
The notebook passes the Microsoft Windows 8 upgrade compatibility test but when I queried ASUS support about the non-appearance of this model on their compatibility list I received this reply:

Thank you for contacting the Asus Technical Support Team.

Your notebook isn't upgradable because of software and hardware issue's.
If you do upgrade your notebook to Windows 8 you will have software issue's because there are no drivers.
Upgrading the hardware would not work because of the problem with compatibility with your notebook.
Your notebook is tested with specific hardware and not with other hardware not including the RAM because that is upgradable.
The problem is more the mainboard and the CPU that isn't strong enough to run it smoothly.

Using other drivers form notebook that's not the same model is not recommended.
It's not the same as your notebook.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~end quote ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Very disappointing, especially as Windows 8 is supposed to be able to run on any platforms that support Windows 7!
Good luck.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Jan 2013, 14:49:00 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Jan 2013, 14:51:26 GMT
I've had my X53Z since August 2012 and performed an over the air upgrade to Windows 8 soon after release date. Although it took three or four hours, it upgraded without fault and the new OS runs without any problems. Initially it looks much different with the Metro interface however most users, including myself, switch to and will use Desktop mode much of the time. As for uninstalling drivers, the W8 upgrade process automatically tells you which ones to remove and if they did any at all, they haven't affected the usability of the laptop. The machine hasn't crashed once in over four months of everyday usage... quite unlike old versions of Windows (though to be fair, W7 never crashed either).

To be honest, I'm not quite sure of the purpose of your review as you're not actually reviewing the machine at all. Have you even upgraded your laptop or are you just trying to find information before taking the risk? Because if not and you're saying Windows 8 won't work on the X53Z, then you're completely wrong as I can assure you and everyone else who may be influenced by your comments that it runs totally error free.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2013, 02:44:33 GMT
Joe Public says:
Hello Robert,
To clarify: Asus technical support specifically informed me prior to my purchase of the Microsoft Windows 8 Pro upgrade that this notebook won't support Windows 8, and they won't be supplying any driver support for it. Their website has no Asus Windows 8 driver support for this notebook. In their email they claim to have tested the notebook with Windows 8 and found it wanting. On the other hand the notebook does pass the Microsoft Windows 8 compatability test. ** So who do you trust? ** If I was a potential purchaser I would want to know if there was any doubt that the notebook could be upgraded. Like you I bit the bullet and went ahead with the upgrade to Windows 8 Pro. It was trouble free (n.b. I installed Windows 8 into the cleaned "Data" partition to get a dual boot facility from the DVD install image I made on downloading the upgrade rather than directly installing over the top of Windows 7 Home Premium, so if I had problems I could simply step back.
It is useful to know from you for everyone else that a direct over the top installation over Windows 7 works too).
The only problem I have had with installing additional drivers for additional non-Asus devices which only have Windows 7 drivers is that to avoid installation failure I have had to unpack the driver downloads in Windows 7 mode (not the XP mode the troubleshooter suggests) and then install the unpacked drivers into Windows 8.
I have worked in PC Support for many years and have had input into many purchase decisions. I do think it is relevant to any purchase decision to know whether the manufacturer has enough confidence in their product to commit to providing future support for it. I am glad that so far (early days) I have managed to upgrade sucessfully to Windows 8 but how long it will be before that lack of manufacturer support in supplying driver upgrades as Windows 8 and hardware/software requirements evolve comes back to bite me I do not know. I do know that if I were contemplating buying this notebook now in the light of ASUS decision on future support then I would not purchase it - either for personal or corporate use. I would also think twice about buying any ASUS product, whatever the individual merits orperformance of the device, given the slack and poor technical support. Lastly, I confirm that I did a pretty intensive web search to try to find out if other users had managed to upgrade this particular model (X53Z) to Windows 8 Pro before I decided to have a go despite the lack of technical support from ASUS - I found very little indeed; in fact the most common article was from a user trying to get a refund on the upgrade from Microsoft because "the X53Z was not compatible with Windows 8". The reason I took the trouble to write the review was that I considered poor technical support a useful and valid influence that other people might consider before spending their cash. Indeed ASUS do support Windows 8 on many similar specification notebooks in their range which potential purchasers could consider instead. As far as the X53Z performance under Windows 7 Home Premium goes, I have been generally pleased with operation and performance and regard it as good value for money when running that OS but compared to the current market it is an average spec. For the information of others here have been variations of the X53Z with improving hard disk and RAM sizes during its lifetime. Max RAM is 8GB, so if you buy a 6GB model you will need to replace a 2GB with a 4GB, or buy two paired 4GB to get the maximum. Again this may influence a purchasing decision wrt value for money, as would the cost of replacing the hard disk with an SSD). Robert, I hope your experience with Windows 8 Pro continues to be good. Did you get the free product key for Media Center from Microsoft too? I had no problems installing that but have not yet thoroughly tested sound drivers and performance under Windows 8.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jan 2013, 08:35:12 GMT
Hi OC,

Yes, I downloaded Media Centre direct from Microsoft. Audio was already weak pre-W8 on this machine and W8 makes no difference: you still need external speakers to listen to music, watch movies etc.

While being admittedly nowhere near as techie as yourself, I am aware that the X53 series is simply a flavour of this brand of laptop as there are also other 53 variants e.g. K53, G53. I guess the only differences are hardware, namely whether they're Intel or AMD. My laptop 'only' has 4gb of RAM but it runs fine: any extra memory is just luxury and probably not really needed since this isn't a gaming laptop anyway.

I've had absolutely no problems since my upgrade and can't understand the public hate towards the OS. In fact, the only thing I noticed was that iTunes no longer worked... though this was due to Apple disrespecting Windows users by not releasing a software update: after all, W8 had been in open development for months beforehand. This has now been fixed and iTunes works again but no cookies to Apple for dragging their heels.

Regards,

Robert

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jan 2013, 15:09:13 GMT
Joe Public says:
Hi Robert,
Tiny speakers don't do it for me either. I disable the annoying desktop sounds anyway and I tend to use headphones for music and media unless I am at home. I bought this model rather than a bluetooth equipped version for the USB 3.0 port as it opens up use of a lot of fast peripherals such as various forms of external storage. I then bought a Trust bluetooth 4.0 usb 2.0 adapter for less than £15 Trust 18187 Bluetooth 4.0 USB Adapter(which has Windows 8 drivers) and a bluetooth/usb vibration speaker (£15-£60, plenty of choice on Amazon). This is compact, goes in the Argos notebook case and turns most surfaces into a pretty good speaker. Mine was about £30 from a Maplin sale offer. For casual home use I have a Sony bluetooth RPX200iP speaker (£100 end-of-line at Currys/PC World, just dropped out at Amazon), which sounds great for it's size and has been on special offer recently. I won't mention HiFi or cinema surround because that can run expensive, but if you don't mind headphones Turtle beach do some good moderately priced usb "surround" headphones aimed at gamers that are fine for audio. I wouldn't be too distracted by hype over laptop sound such as Dr Beats as it runs expensive, and as far as I can see is mostly equalisation and marketing. I would have liked a digital audio output on the Asus notebook but for the price it was a feature I decided I could do without because of the large number of fairly cheap USB driven audio peripherals. Have a look at the Asus Xonaru3 Mobile USB Soundcard (£31) Asus Xonaru3 Mobile USB Soundcardfor example Amazon reviews suggest it is just the job to substitute for weak on-board sound. I appreciate extra spending could have gone toward a higher spec notebook but at least once you have purchased the notebook you can save up and spread the extra spends over time. Please don't think I am being boastful or condescending about kit I have, but you sound so disappointed by the notebook sound I wanted to give you some ideas.

Regards,
OC

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2013, 13:30:38 GMT
Hi OC,

I very rarely use my laptop for watching or listening to media and tend to watch Divx movies more on my tablet than on my laptop. Since getting a tablet early 2012, pretty much all I use a laptop now is for extended browsing sessions and downloading stuff. I very occasionally watch DVD's in the bath (!) with the laptop sat on a small table with my Gear 4 iPod dock plugged into the back.

Don't be bashful about your sound set up either. I have my TV permanently plugged into my 22 year old £1,500 beast Kenwood system with 120w (that's true wattage not the Toys R Us kind!) speakers and a 70w amp. Agree with you on the Beats brand. I have it built into my HTC One X+ phone and really all it does is make the music louder - effectively it's just a branded LOUDNESS (kids today probably won't know what that is) - and I'd have to say that my music sounded much better on my recently retired Nokia N8.
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