Asus R1 Tablet PC with Vista User Review
The Asus R1 is the perfect computer for a student on their way to college. It is built very well, lightweight and easy to take notes on. Not only is it a great performer, it has a nice design too. This Tablet is perfect for non-students as well. It can be used in business settings, community settings or any setting you need a computer. The Asus R1 passes off as a great notebook, and then the center hinge allows it to convert into a Tablet. This gives the R1 more of a business feel and professional look compared to other notebooks.
The R1 swiveling into Tablet mode. (view large image)
Asus R1 Specs
|CPU||Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 (1.66GHz)|
|Chipset||Mobile Intel 945GM Express Chipset, Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection|
|OS||Microsoft Windows Vista business|
|RAM||DDR2 667MHz, 1024MB|
|Display||13.3" WXGA (1280x800) Color Shine LCD, Asus Splendid Video Intelligence Technology|
|Graphics||Integrated (Intel GMA 950)|
|Audio||Integrated Sound Card, built-in speaker and microphone|
|Hard Drive||80GB 5400RPM SATA+TPM|
|Optical Drive||8x DVD/RW Super Multi|
Reasons for Buying
I am heading off for college this fall and need a laptop. After using my friends Acer Travelmate Tablet, I fell in love with the idea of writing on the screen. This is when I started searching on TabletPCReview.com for Tablets and the Asus R1 proved to be noteworthy and perfect for myself.
This computer has an attractive design, which is not important to some users, but the specs and quality of this computer won me over. My other choice for a Tablet was the Fujitsu LifeBook T4215, but the Asus won me over with specs, looks and mainly the larger screen size.
Packing and Contents
Asus took time to pack the R1. It came in one box weighing about 15 pounds and inside were three smaller containers. One being the carrying bag, which is a nice bag and quite roomy. The bag has a business/professor look to it, not sure if I would call it vintage, but it is not like the normal bags used today. The bag gets the job done though and has many pockets. I can carry my cell phone, ac cords, Bluetooth mouse, all the paper manuals the computer came with and my Tablet. Even with all that there is still room for homework or important files.
The R1 unboxing was fun, check out the bag and portfolio case. (view large image)
The bag doesn't feel heavy to carry around even with all the accessories stored inside. The computer came with a lot of accessories, this being my first computer, I was very enthused with all the extras that were included (probably included in the cost as well). There was a Bluetooth wireless mouse, extra pen tips, AC adapter, Hot swappable ODD/ Super Multi Optical Drive, recovery disks, micro fiber cleaning cloth, Ethernet cords, owners manual and other software disks like Nero.
Design and Build
The R1 is strong and shows no flex or bend. The screen doesn’t wobble when you pick the computer up by the base. I don’t recommend picking this computer up by the screen though, obviously. The center swivel hinge supports the screen and allows for smooth turning, at the end of the 180 degree turn there is a reassuring click letting you know the screen is securely in place.
The R1's center hinge, which has a solid design. (view large image)
The gunmetal color gives the R1 a professional appeal. For some users it may be a little on the heavy side at 4.3lbs, but it does have an internal optical drive and a bigger screen compared to most other Tablets. Still the R1 is a great size for traveling and taking notes on.
The R1 in action. (view large image)
The screen is built with ASUS Splendid Video Intelligence Technology, which enhances the vividness. There is a screen protector on the screen already which gives the screen that grainy look, but it is not that distracting and after working with it for an hour you won’t even notice it anymore.
The R1 13.3" screen, great for movies, but a little grainy. (view large image)
The Asus R1 is the perfect size, not to small like Fujitsu's T4215. The screen is a widescreen, which makes the actual screen size comparable to a 15.4" (non-widescreen) screen. The screen doesn’t feel glassy so it’s comfortable to write on and rest your hand on. I do have one dead pixel, which can be annoying, but it does not bring down the value of the computer in my opinion.
Tablet PC Buttons
The R1 has quick launch buttons when in Tablet mode, these being Ctrl, Alt, Delete in one button, escape button and the rotate button. There are also hot keys when in notebook mode. Some of these being email, screen brightness, sound, sleep mode, battery mode and WiFi/Bluetooth on off button. Asus did a great job at placing these buttons and hot keys in places that don’t cloud the keyboard very much.
The sound is nothing to brag about, you can’t blast your music like you would with a boom box or a top of the line notebook. Of course that is not what this computer is for. The speakers are located right under the swivel screen on the base of the computer. When in Tablet mode it seems like the speakers are covered, but you can still hear music coming from them. It has decent sound for listening to some music, although not a lot of bass for the loud rock songs.
There is a head phone jack output, which some users have had problems with due to static when the headphones are plugged in. Mine, gratefully does not have any static. The static as far as I know is not a make or break thing for buying this Tablet. If you are buying this computer in the store I would advise opening the box and listening for the static problem before buying the computer. (With store’s permission of course)
Processor and Performance
This computer runs multi-tasking operations like a breeze. Its Core Duo processor (1.66GHz T5500) has no trouble responding to your commands. It has never lagged for a second on me and I have gotten nothing but quick responses. I am very impressed by this computer’s performance. I do not play any games on this computer, nor will I, so I don’t have a say on that aspect. Below are two performance benchmarks:
Results of HDTune
Using "HDTune" we tested the R1's 80GB 5400RPM hard disk read and write access benchmarks.
(view large image)
In some cases HDTune has not been working with certain notebooks running Vista, but I had no problems with the R1.
Results of Super Pi
In the below results of Super Pi, where Pi is calculated to 2 million digits of accuracy, you can see that the R1 was about average, but that mostly has to do with the fact it is running Vista.
|Notebook||Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits|
|Asus R1 (with Vista - 1.66GHz Core Duo)||2m 3s|
|Toshiba R400 (1.2GHz ULV Core Duo)||2m 10s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo)||1m 24s|
|IBM ThinkPad X41t (1.5GHz LV Pentium M)||2m 2s|
|HP TC4400 Tablet PC (2.0GHz Core Duo)||1m 13s|
|Dell Latitude X1 (1.1 GHz ULV Pentium M)||2m 40s|
|Dell Latitude D420 (1.06GHz Core Solo ULV)||2m 11s|
|Toshiba Portege M400 (1.83GHz Core Duo )||1m 19s|
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard is well built and sturdy. There is no flex and once you get used to typing on the keyboard you will love it. The keys are stiffer to press down, but that is easy to get used to. The key board is water resistant so if you do spill water on the keyboard you “may” have a fighting chance of not frying the computer. I don’t recommend testing this out, I just took Asus’s word for it.
The shift and enter keys are shortened, and the backspace key is not in its normal position. This is the cause of a lot of typos, especially when you type as fast as I do. It’s annoying, but you get used to it. However, the best part of the computer is not the keyboard, but instead using the pen, which I will get into later.
The R1's keyboard has a solid design and minimal flex. (view large image)
The touchpad is a little different than most. I am comparing my experiences to using all of my friends’ computers. After using their touchpads, this one takes a bit of getting used to. It seems like it is placed in a bad spot. Whenever I am typing my left hand seems to be resting on the touchpad causing problems with clicking on different screens. The touch pad itself is very simple, not a lot of random nonsense scroll buttons. The touchpad looks a little cheap and when clicking it there are some loud sounds, but nothing abnormal.
The pen is simply awesome to use. If you want a notebook with something a little extra, I recommend getting a Tablet. The pen will win you over. Navigating through Vista was easier, and you feel more in control using the pen. You can even play games with the pen, solitaire is entertaining. I have not used the pen for games such as World of WarCraft, of course. Art programs are interesting, I have been using ArtRage2 and you can paint, draw, color, trace and use chalk, all with the pen on your computer. Everything is just more fun with the pen.
Also if you are teaching or helping your child with physics for example you can draw a Van-de-Graff generator and electrons. It makes teaching a breeze because it is easy to fix your mistakes and quickly draw something accurately. This also saves paper and helps keep your files organized because everything is in one place. The pen can scratch if you insert and outsert it in the silo, but the scratches wipe off with a micro-fiber cleaning cloth. The pen comes with extra tips in case they become dull over time, which is a nice bonus.
Heat and Noise
The computer itself should not get to hot under normal web surfing, listening to music or typing a word document. The only time I have ever had issues with the heat was when I was transferring all my music from CD’s to the computer. This took a lot of power and so the computer did get a little warm. Other than that it does not get hot, and is a quiet computer.
The fan sometimes kicks on in battery mode when there are multiple processes applications running, but it is so quiet you won’t be bothered by it. The power cord (ac adapter) did get really warm once for me, but that was because I was downloading OneNote, listening to music and surfing the web while the battery was charging. So that was explainable, but when the battery is charging with no other interferences the cord is really cool.
The fans are located on the bottom of the computer, instead of some Tablets like the Acer Travelmate (where the fan is on the left bottom half of the computer being blocked by your leg) the fan is located in the bottom middle of the computer where there is more breathable room for the laptop when on your lap. The other fan is on the left side and in normal conditions the fan blows out warm air, nothing major.
The sound is nothing to brag about, you can’t blast your music like you would with a boom box or a top of the line notebook. Of course, that is not what this computer is for. The speakers are located right under the swivel screen on the base of the computer, when in Tablet mode it seems like the speakers are covered, but you can still hear music coming from them. It has decent sound for listening to some music, although not a lot of bass for the loud rock songs.
There is a head phone jack output, which some users have had problems with due to static when he headphones are plugged in. Mine, gratefully does not have any static. The static as far as I know is not a make or break thing for buying this Tablet. If you are buying this computer in the store I would advise opening the box and listening for the static problem before buying the computer. (With store’s permission of course)
The R1 comes with the standard ports you would expect on a laptop. The USB ports are in the back of the computer, which I found weird and annoying until I realized the placement was due to the Tablet feature. Most of the important and frequently used ports are in the back of the computer in normal notebook mode. Below are pictures of all the input/output ports including an Express Card slot, one VGA port, one headphone-out jack, one microphone-in jack, one RJ11 Modem jack for phone line, one RJ45 LAN Jack, three USB 2.0 ports and one TV-Out. The TV-Out is neat because this allows for the R1 to connect to a TV. It also has an 8x DVD/RW Super Multi optical drive, which is swappable.
Left side view of the R1, which has the Express Card and power button. (view large image)
Right side of the R1, which has the optical drive and SD slot. (view large image)
Back view of the R1 ports. (view large image)
Underneath view of the R1. (view large image)
The R1 has built in wireless and Bluetooth. (V.92 MDC Fax/Modem and built in 802.11 a/b/g) The wireless has worked nicely where I have been with wireless Internet and the Bluetooth comes in handy for the wireless Bluetooth mouse included with the accessories.
This is a list of some of the software the R1 comes with and what it is used for:
If you like art there is a free program I downloaded that was really fun to mess around with called ArtRage2. This does not come included on the R1, but it is a great way to test out ways to be creative with the pen.
The Asus R1 comes with a fingerprint reader installed that acts as a password when logging on to BIOS and some other password applications. The fingerprint reader also acts as a scroll bar for reading documents in Tablet mode. This fingerprint reader takes a while to get used to; it took about 15 minutes to finally get it to accept my fingerprint.
You can use all ten fingers and you have a password in case the fingerprint decides it doesn’t want to work. There is another application called TPM, which stands for Trusted Platform Module, this is a security device that holds computer generated keys for encryption. Basically it makes it harder for hackers to get your passwords and encryption keys to your private data.
There has been a lot of debate on the Asus battery problem; it is safe to say that Asus is working on the problem if there is one. Check this thread: http://www.notebookreview.com
My battery gets about three hours and only takes about an hour and a half to charge all the way. This is on normal settings. Vista has a power4gear program that lets you set the different settings in quiet office mode, high performance mode, game and battery mode. Basically power4gear gives you many options to help you save battery and use your computers power efficiently.
Three hours is not bad if you ask me, if you are worried about battery life the function and hot keys allow you to turn off wireless, Bluetooth, and turn the brightness down to save battery life. The battery life can be changed by how bright your screen is and what you are using it for. I have my screen brightness set at 85 percent and I usually listen to music with Windows Media Player, talk via MSN messenger and do a little web browsing, which gives me close to 2.5 hours.
My Asus R1 runs Microsoft Windows Vista Business, which is very exciting because I get to learn the newest operating system. This was preinstalled when I bought the computer, not the upgrade. I honestly have to say I don’t see much of a difference between Vista and XP. Vista asks for permission for almost everything like going into disk management, it will ask Cancel or Allow. After awhile you get used to it. Vista does have the added security, also added features using 3D windows using Windows Vista Aero. Aero also makes the applications transparent so you can see what is behind each application.
The R1 with Vista screenshot. (view large image)
Vista uses the computer space more wisely and it has been great for Tablet PCs; the handwriting recognition is close to perfect. I love the windows search it is so much easier to find things quickly with out going through every file and folder.
The start menu has a new look that it is more compact and does not expand to take up the entire screen. The folders are no longer named my music, my pictures; they are simply music, pictures and documents. Vista has a new look and basically has proven to be a mature version of XP. I recommend that if you don’t buy a Vista installed Tablet that you upgrade.
The R1's Vista menu. (view large image)
When buying the Asus R1 a two year warranty is included in the price, which is a great deal. Right now I have no experience dealing with Asus’s customer support because nothing has gone wrong with my computer, hopefully nothing will. But since we do not live in a perfect world we do have customer support. Asus has their own tech support, forums and inquiries on their website. The customer support I have gotten from the reseller Milestonepc has been great, I strongly recommend them.
The Asus R1 is my first laptop, plus it is a Tablet PC, which in my opinion makes it worth the money. I am completely happy with my purchase and would never pick another computer. If this computer was stolen or destroyed I would not hesitate to get another R1. There are very few cons to this computer. The pros are overwhelming, I mean this computer is fast and efficient. Not only that, but it has an attractive design and the Tablet factor is astonishing. I recommend this computer to everyone. It took me a while to think of cons for this computer, as you can see below they are super minor. Great computer!!!
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