Let me begin by stating that I bought my 14" S400CA specced with a Core i5 CPU, 6GB RAM, 500GB HDD and 24GB SSD cache in Canada around 6 months ago, and paid much less than the price above. This review will be based on the RRP of £499.99.
Pros: Conforms to Intel Ultrabook standard Lightweight and very portable 10 point multi touch display at a very reasonable price point Comfortable keyboard with no noticeable flex Good build quality with nice brushed finish Palm rest and keyboard remain cool during intensive use Excellent, crystal clear sound, even though it could use a bit more bass Capable of running resource intensive applications such as 3D modelling and simulation software with ease (Autodesk Inventor Professional 2014) Capable of running Linux OS
Cons: Battery life could be better The display is significantly heavier than the main body so the notebook often tips over if you use it on your lap, be careful! The display is like a mirror at low brightness Preloaded with bloatware from Asus No keyboard backlight Both the glossy display and brushed lid are fingerprint magnets Screen resolution is on the low side but acceptable Asus only allow access to unit to change HDD, so RAM upgrades could potentially void your warranty unless done by a verified Asus service centre/technician The HDD is partitioned into two drives, OS (C) and Data (D). This seems bit pointless to me, since windows saves all files to the C drive by default. Unless you manually save files to the D drive, it will not be used!
After Sale Support
This notebook gives excellent value for money and is (was?) one of the cheapest Windows 8 touch screen ultrabooks on the market. The notebook alone is worthy of 5 stars, however it is let down by poor support from Asus and their choice of UK service centre, Let Me Repair UK (LMR). If I knew of the incompetence and negligence of this company, I would have thought twice about buying an Asus laptop. It took them three attempts to replace the keyboard; on the first two occasions it was returned damaged, as well as unsuccessfully repaired. In the first few months of the owning the laptop, I was either without it or customising Windows, removing all the bloatware and reinstalling all my programs and apps, since the OS was reinstalled after every repair attempt (for reasons unknown to me). After my notebook was eventually repaired successfully, I inspected it thoroughly for damage inside and out, and found that both screws which secured the cooling fan were missing. I called LMR a couple of days later to ask if they could send out the screws, only for them to tell me that the issue should have been reported within 48hrs and that even if it was, they couldn't do anything claiming that users shouldn't open the unit as it would void the warranty, which is completely untrue.
Bottom line is, this is an excellent piece of kit as long as you do not have problems with it. If you are unlucky enough to encounter an issue, I recommend returning it to Amazon (or the retailer) for a refund or replacement. I chose not to as it would have involved incurring an £80 shipping charge to send it back to Canada. I for one will not purchase another Asus product because of the inadequate service offered by Let Me Repair UK, or buy another laptop overseas....
I had a problem with my keyboard not responding and was again sent to LMR for an RMA. It turns out that the keyboard cable had become disconnected from the motherboard, which was a quick and simple fix. My notebook was returned within 3 days, which I was quite happy about. However, I noticed almost immediately that there was damage to the Asus logo (nearly half of it was missing!). This resulted in another RMA and the replacement of the entire LCD back cover, since the logo is integrated into it. This repair took over a week, but this was mainly due to the Easter weekend bank holiday. At the end of the day, I was without my laptop for nearly 2 weeks, mostly due to negligence. As you would expect, I was not at all happy, and very frustrated as I use it every day!
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