Chassis: I don’t have any creaks or squeaks after squeezing and pushing on the notebook. My indicator lights area doesn’t squeak or have any openings like some of the other reviews I’ve read. I did notice some mild keyboard flex at the upper middle portion of the keyboard and the bezel around the keys have some moderate give. I never really cared about chassis flex much before, since my old dell 6000 has help up quite well to my abuse after 6 years. Some more design issues for the people who want to know. The battery is a bit loose, but it’s locked in with the dual switches. I definitely love the aluminum lid, and understand the shift from plastics on higher end notebooks. The black bezel is a smudge magnet, but what bothers me more is that when the notebook is closed, a part of the black bezel is still exposed above the battery and keyboard. This black shiny plastic is more prone to scratches, which has happened to me with no drops or accidents. The screen also distorts near the webcam area and bottom of the screen when pressure is applied in the vicinity of those areas..more so in the middle.
Heat: The notebook runs relatively cool when not pushed under quiet office mode. The areas around the keyboard feel cool and underneath the notebook is comfortable on your lap. If one decides to leave it on high performance mode, then the notebook is definitely running much warmer. You can feel the heat on the palm rest, especially on the right side and heat is blowing heavily out of the side vent. But even on quiet office mode, a good amount of heat is blowing out of the left side vent. I do notice the heat a bit on my left leg because of this side vent though. The side vent is angled down and out, which I think kind of directs the heat on my left leg during on the lap use. I think it would be less bothersome if they directed the heat straight outward, instead of being angled downward.
Keyboard and Touchpad: I like the keyboard layout and feel. The keys are quiet to me and have good travel. I like the Power4Gear button on the top left and the Fn number keypad. On my old notebook, I had to hold down Fn, while on the Asus…you can press Fn and number lock to just more easily type numbers for data input. Moving the cursor around with the touchpad is fairly smooth and responsive. I enjoy using the multi gestures, especially the two finger touch. Great to open up new tabs in firefox. Also I’m starting to use the two finger tap for auto scrolling, which is smoother then two finger vertical scrolling. I still use the two finger vertical scroll, but sometimes it can be a bit finicky and jumpy. The 3 finger tap doesn’t always register and noticed that if I spread my ring finger out more, it will register. The touchpad isn’t massive like the macbook, so I find using the 3 finger tap is going to have a learning curve to properly leave the fingers spread apart and within the touchpad area. I don’t use the rocker button much, but it really isn’t that bad. It’s soft in the middle and edges of the designated left and right buttons. It it stiff in the very middle of the whole rocker button, but I never clicked there in the first place. When i tested the button on the U43jc at best buy…I definitely thought it was too stiff. These buttons have a nice quiet tactile click with little resistance and travel. I honestly like the the buttons (button?, hehe) of this touchpad more so than my old Dell which had loud clicky buttons that had alot of travel. I also don’t highlight text using the buttons. I use the double tap lock feature to highlight text. I was use to this feature on my old Dell.
LED screen: Beautiful colors and display to me, but the viewing angles are very narrow. I have my screen almost always tilted back to its maximum because I noticed that the colors don’t wash out when viewing below the perpendicular plane of the screen. View angles from above really do stink though. The horizontal angles are good in that they don’t affect the colors and image displayed, but the Glare in certain environments make it difficult to view. Trying to share the display with friends for photos and videos is not easily done with this screen. I see the screen is more for private/business use and it’s fine for me. I rarely share whats on my screen to others, so I’ll enjoy the beautiful image to myself.
CPU Whine: I agree with many other reviews from other sites that it does become less prominent the more you use it. It still comes in once in awhile, but I really don’t hear it most of the time I use it at all. Even when I do notice it, as soon as I start typing and browsing the web with my clicks, I can’t hear it anymore. I was first using only internet explorer because of what people said about the cpu whine arising with firefox, but I’m now happily using Firefox again with no complaints of the sound. I’m running it right now and hear no whine with 12 tabs open. I honestly hear the fan, but no high pitch whine, which would be more annoying.
Speakers: Sound is good for a notebook and loud, while on a table. These are crotch speakers and get muffled out on soft surfaces and if you’re using the notebook on your lap. Carry around those nice headphones if you got some and are into audio quality.
Webcam: Convenient to have but low quality. Make sure you update the webcam driver from asus, because after I did my clean install, windows 7 installed a more recent driver that caused my webcam to record images upside down. The webcam doesn’t handle low light conditions well and is not as clear or lag free as my logitech notebook pro cam. It’s still a great convenient cam to have on the go though.
Some random head scratchers: On HDMI output to a 1080p tv, the out is actually larger than 1080p, so it causes every edge of the image to be cut off. Does that happen to anyone else? Even my desktop is cut, like the windows taskbar is only showing 1/4 of it. Sometimes my desktop widgets appear on top of my windows and I lose functionality of my power 4 gear button on the top left after waking my computer from sleep/hibernate. Love the button though, since it makes it really easy to switch quickly between different profiles to save battery or for brighter screens for videos.
Conclusion: I still love the notebook and would buy it again. It fits my needs perfectly of moderate gaming, thin, light, great battery life, and I hope reliability. The two year warranty with accidental is great. Plus with my credit card adding 1 more year of warranty, I’m set for 3 years. Also the price of this laptop can’t really be beat in its class.