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Asus UX31 Ultrabook

Discussion in 'Asus' started by pear-i, May 31, 2011.

  1. elgordo

    elgordo Notebook Consultant

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    So what's the overall consensus on:

    * Keyboard usability
    * Wifi reliability

    Any major flaws here? I keep finding myself coming back to this ultrabook.
     
  2. DerekH

    DerekH Newbie

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    I wouldn't want to type on the keyboard all day, but it's almost full size so it's a heck of a lot better than a netbook. I consider the zen as more of an ultra-portable than a workstation, but then I'm generally not happy with laptop keyboards in general. I only wish the arrow keys were bigger, otherwise the layout is great. With the 2-finger scrolling, you don't really need a page up & down. The large elantech trackpad is awesome.

    Wifi works fine in my home, but I haven't ventured out. As you probably know, it's limited to 2.4 GHz and no smart connect.

    Some info on the wireless:
    AnandTech - ASUS Zenbook (UX21) Review
     
  3. steelkerr

    steelkerr Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hey everyone, new member here.

    I had bought the UX31E-DH72 ecstatic about a macbook air-like windows-based laptop! I have followed this forum since the day I purchased it while I awaited the month long wait for Asus to ship it to the store, then from the store to my house. When the day came that it arrived and opened the box, I thought I couldn't be happier. This thing is sexy! Well, I checked everything that I have been hearing have been wrong with other's UX31E, and everything checked out.
    Then... out came the WiFi issue. Connectivity would randomly drop completely and then kick back on. Then it started to not even turn the adapter on whenever the computer was turned back on from a full bootup including everything else already mentioned.
    Well, I decided to matters into my own hand and try to resolve the problems myself with all the possible solutions I could think of and that I have been hearing of on this forum. Nothing worked, so I did some delving and here are some results I have to share:
    Wireless Adapter
    While everyone is correct that the wireless adapter is an Atheros, it's incorrect that we use just use an Atheros AR9485. The card is actually an Atheros AR9004WB-1NG, combining the wireless AR9485 and bluetooth AR3012 chips onto one. The card is supposedly a PCIe Half-Mini Card.
    Finding this information out, I tried updating any possible drivers, etc. with no luck to positive results. I then e-mailed Asus Tech support via Asus Member website on 11/28/2011.
    ...9 days later I FINALLY received an e-mail back. Mind you, in my e-mail I included very specific procedures I used letting them know so we can skip the run-around easy "well did you do this..." stuff (including updating all drivers, firmware, BIOS, etc.). Here's what "Lily Yang" told me:

    "Dear valued customer,

    Thank you for contacting ASUS Customer Service.

    Please download and update BIOS for a try. Please make sure of the power supply during the process, and you cann't revert back to older version of BIOS, thank you for understanding!
    Here is the lastest BIOS version.
    BIOS 209

    Please refer to the attachment about how to update BIOS and BIOS 209.

    Then load BIOS default as follows for a try. Please turn on the laptop. Press F2 as soon as you see ASUS logo to enter BIOS. Then press F9 to load BIOS default. Then save and exit and then reboot the laptop.
    The BIOS flash procedure is now complete.

    If still, please contact your dealer or the local service center for help. Our engineers will help you have a detail check for your laptop and then fix the problem. Here's the contact information.
    +1-888-678-3688 (24 hours)
    ASUSTeK Computer Inc. -Support- Service Center

    If you have another problem, please get contact with us ASAP.

    Best Regards,
    Lily
    ASUS Customer Service"

    In that e-mail, "Lily Yang" including attatchments to the BIOS to download with instructions on how to do it. Now, there are a couple of obvious problems here with this...
    1. I had to wait 9 days for a response. Not the biggest problem.
    2. I had clearly stated in my e-mail that I had updated *EVERYTHING*. This is pretty big irk. It's one thing to wait 9 days for a response, but to wait 9 days and get a half-a$$ed response to something I clearly stated I already did (so, obviously, my e-mail was not read thoroughly as it should have been).
    3. Had I not done my research and been a common person that's not technically savvy, I would have taken her response as "Oh hey! That's what I need, thanks Lily!" and continued to attempt to download that BIOS. Hello bricked, brand new, $1400 laptop. :eek:
     
  4. M3Rocket

    M3Rocket Notebook Enthusiast

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    Actually, if they included bios version 209, that's something completely NEW. The newest BIOS version on their web site is 207. If they included 209, that could explain the delay!
     
  5. 9000blackbird

    9000blackbird Newbie

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    @steelkerr

    thats why I said, we have to set ASUS a sign. that is not a good service, they will react maybe not now but for sure when they miss clients like us.
     
  6. M3Rocket

    M3Rocket Notebook Enthusiast

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    I don't think there is such a thing as a "consensus." I can say that I have zero issues with the one I bought--I didn't experience any of the issues that others have with theirs.

    With regards to the keyboard--many complain about it. Is it the best ever chicklet keyboard? No. Is is usable? Absolutely. Depending on your typing habits, you may or may not miss keystrokes. Why is it not backlit? I may be wrong, but the keys feel like some sort of metal or aluminium to me. And if it is metal, that would explain the lack of backlighting. There are small pinhole LEDs on the caps lock, F2/wi-fi FN key, and the power key. And besides, when you're working in the dark, the screen should light up the keyboard enough in almost all circumstances.
     
  7. steelkerr

    steelkerr Notebook Enthusiast

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    I just can't trust it being there is no BIOS 208 and usually they would do updates in numerical sequential order without skipping. I don't see why they would have a new BIOS update that they are able to provide me, but not put onto their website or the asus downloader as being available. I'm still too skeptical to download it, even though the file is labeled as "UX31EAS.BIOS209.zip". For all I know though, it's the wrong BIOS that's needed, and then my laptop will be bricked.

    I agree that Asus needs to provide some sort of feedback on this problem that a lot (maybe not majority, but a lot) of people are having, at least to acknowledge that there is a problem and whether or not they are working on a solution, etc. Does anyone else know about BIOS 209 for UX31? If so, what does it fix/update?

    I think it's interesting though that our WLAN adapter is an Atheros AR9004WB-1NG.

    *EDIT*
    It appears as though BIOS update is available for Germany, although I have not found any concrete results indicating how stable 209 is or what BIOS 209 does yet. I will keep searching and looking for answers.
     
  8. Bradbury

    Bradbury Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've been wondering about this myself. Check out the support page for the UX31E on asus.com. Notice on the second screenshot, there is possible to do 1-finger tapping, 2-finger tapping and most importantly, 3-finger tapping. It's the latter I would like to use for "Middle Button". As you've seen, this option doesn't exist in the settings. I've tried the older driver, but it wasn't there either.

    So.. I sent an e-mail to ASUS asking why the support page shows 3-finger tapping when this isn't an option. The reply I received was to reset my computer to factory settings. Really? How intelligent! Where do they find these hopeless employees?! I imagine the support guys are given a small booklet that describes how to solve the basic tasks that nobody with an IQ above 50 would ever ask about, and if somebody asks about anything else, just RESET TO FACTORY SETTINGS!

    Anyways, I sent an email to Elantech urging them to
    1) Add 3-finger tapping
    2) Make the actions for various gestures configurable.

    I told them to look at Microsoft and Logitech as they usually let you configure the buttons to do just about anything. A keypress-combination like Ctrl+W would be nice. Or maybe write or record a macro to run when you perform a gesture. Another option would be to run an application of your choice. I would love to swipe three fingers to open the calculator.

    My email was forwarded and replied to within a few hours. There was mainly one interesting part of the reply.
    As I read this, ASUS told Elantech to remove 3-finger tapping from the driver. Why?? I really hope this feature was somewhat bugged, and that's why it was removed. I can't see any other reason for why they would remove this feature. It's like giving birth to a healthy baby and then ask the doctor if he can chop off the baby's left arm. Why would anyone want to gimp their child? Why would ASUS want to gimp their laptop?

    I have 3-finger tapping on my ASUS Eee-something from 2008 with a touchpad from Elan. This feature is by no means perfect as it sometimes yields a 2-finger tap, but it's so much better than not having the option at all.
     
  9. smckenna

    smckenna Notebook Evangelist

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    Why don't you just park the zip file on a server, and post a link to it here on this forum. Surely there will be at least 2 or 3 brave souls that are willing to give it a try, particularly if it fixes the WiFi instability issues.
     
  10. Srdja

    Srdja Notebook Enthusiast

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    I got the i7 256GB Sandisk SSD version about 2 weeks ago in Europe and I have no problems with it at all.

    About the SSD, yes it is slower than the Adata drive, but it is not actually SLOW. I did some real world tests and it is just as fast, if not a bit faster than my Intel X25-M G2 120GB when reading data, which has 4 times higher Crystal Disk Mark 4k QD32 score.

    About the middle click, it is really stupid that they removed that feature, but I managed to get it back. You need to modify some stuff in the registry so be careful if you try this ;)

    Start regedit and navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Elantech\Smartpad" Once there, you need to set Tap_Three_Finger_ShowItem to 1 and Tap_Three_Finger to 2. Restart your laptop and three finger middle click should work now. Also, the three finger tap option should appear in the configuration utility.

    The three finger touch works perfectly so I have no idea why they did this.
     

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