I picked up a UX32VD Asus on Newegg about 2 days after Christmas for a pretty good deal. Since everyone in the reviews said you had to get an SSD drive, I swapped that out. I also upped the memory because 4GB isn’t enough for me. I’m using this laptop for programming and web work mostly, I don’t watch movies on it or anything graphic intensive. I may install Windows on the 24g internal SSD and play Battlefield but that’s about as graphic intensive as it gets for me. Also I have Fedora 20 installed on the main drive.
So I started out with the stock UX32VD and now I have a Samsung 500GB SSD and Crucial 8GB Memory to bring the memory to 10GB (Laptop has built in 2gb.) I should mention that this thing is amazing to upgrade. Most machines this small and thin would normally be a pain to work on. This was easy besides having to remove the battery to get the drive out but that was only a cable and 8 or so screws to be removed.
Let me say this laptop is amazing performance wise. Boot up in less then 3 seconds from the grub boot menu. Close the lid, straight into suspend mode, Open it up, instantly on. Battery life is getting better. Initially after install it wasn’t great maybe 3 hours if I pushed it. But now I get an easy 4.5 hours if not 5 hours. That’s with the backlit keyboard off, and the second to last setting on the screen brightness. I don’t think I could get 6 hours like some say. Maybe if I shut WIFI off but what is the point of a computer without internet? At least to me that matters. But 4.5 hours actually doing work and surfing the web, is really good. Some vendors say their laptop gets 7 hours but its with everything off and very light use. I’m using the laptop to the average level, not pushing the graphics or cpu but opening and closing programs, etc and getting work done. 4-5 of work time without a charge isn’t really that bad. Keep in mind I have made mods to the system to increase battery performance. One of those modes includes using bumblebee. I did use the nvidia drivers and not the open source ones.
Biggest draw back that so many buyers reviewed as a positive is the screen. Now it s beautiful, it looks great. The issue is the the resolution. 1920×1080 on a 13″ screen means really tiny text. And I love small text and high resolution but 1920×1080 on this screen makes me squint a bit. And I have great eye sight. I would lower the resolution but the options don’t offer anything that fits the screen. I thought about manually adding some other resolutions to see if I could try something smaller but I have yet to try that. For now I have increased the default font size slightly, increased wine fonts, increased cinnamon fonts, and increased chrome (default browser) to zoom to 125%. That seems to make it work for me.
The charger is pretty nice. I do wish the ac/dc adapter block wasn’t so big, maybe in a different shape or something. Minor issue though. Really more of a preference.
Fedora 20 installed without issue! I’m running the latest everything and it works without issue. Some other owners of this laptop have mentioned issues with the touch pad not being responsive and other issues. I didn’t find that issue with this laptop when I installed Fedora. I did bump up the settings to be ultra sensitive but that’s because I like a mouse that is ultra sensitive.
One of the things I added that is a must have in my book is a startup script to adjust power preferences and a few other things. I added one line to my script that turns the backlite off on boot, which I really like. If I want backlite ill turn it on, I don’t want it to be on every single time I reboot, or boot the machine.
Overall I will be replacing my main machine with this laptop and honestly its perfect. Their are minor issues to be resolved to get it perfect but it’s a great machine. I can plug it in to two displays if I want. Its light and easy to take on the go. Fits me and my lifestyle very nicely. I can’t say if Windows 8 on it is good or no because I only booted it up once to see the performance at first. Took it apart and installed Fedora. And then the fan began! If you thinking of getting one I highly recommend it!
Here are some links to sites I got some help while making changes.
***Update: I will note that after having it for awhile it runs beautifully. It seems to be getting a better battery life, slightly. Some what expected. It’s running the latest updates from Fedora and haven’t hit a snag yet. Never had an issue with the touchpad like others have mentioned. I didn’t mention in the original post about the vga adapter or the USB to Ethernet adapter functionality. I ran into a situation where were I had to test out both. And to my surprise, they both worked. With no changes needed. This laptop has probably been the most painless Linux setup and install I have ever dealt with in my life. ASUS did an amazing job designing this laptop. The Fedora team did an amazing job on 20! All in all, I can’t complain.