ASUS: Best and Worst Laptop Brands
From the long-lasting ZenBook ultraportables to high-powered gaming rigs, Asus offers a large lineup of impressive laptops at competitive prices. The company is always among the first to embrace new technologies like Nvidia G-Sync or Core M while maintaining strong build quality and attractive designs. Asus also shows that low prices don't have to mean poor quality, offering a sub-$400 Windows laptop with 1080p and a sub-$100 system with over 12 hours of endurance.
Among PC brands, only Dell had a higher brand rating, beating Asus by just a single point as the Taiwanese company advanced from seventh in 2015 to third place this year. The company's main weaknesses are its poor Web and social media support, and a warranty that forces some, but not all, consumers to pay for return shipping on defective products.
Whether the laptop costs $2,499 (G751JY) or $349 (Transformer Book Flip TP200SA), Asus does not skimp on the premium materials. Even when they are made of plastic — as in the case of the EeeBook X205TA — Asus notebooks look like premium devices.
Never one to be overly flashy, the company consistently delivers clean lines with gently rounded edges, even for hybrid devices like the Transformer Book T300 Chi and the Flip TP300. We continue to admire the concentric-circle design featured on many of its laptops, including the X555LA. The company imbued the G752 gaming notebook with grace and sophistication, swapping out the tired black-and-red color scheme from prior models for a gorgeous silver and peach.
Only Apple and MSI had higher average-review scores than Asus. The Taiwanese company demonstrated a high level of quality and consistency that saw 7 out of the 11 Asus systems we tested earning a 4-star rating. Asus was also the only laptop maker that had 10 or more systems reviewed, without receiving a negative rating (2.5 or lower) on any of them. We especially like the ZenBook line, as both the UX305 and UX501 earned Editors' Choice awards for their lightweight designs, colorful displays and great value.
Tech Support (16/20)
If you prefer to get your tech support the old-fashioned way — over the phone — you may find Asus' approach to customer service acceptable. If you search Asus' support website instead, you'll likely come away without a solution, as its search engine failed to direct us to the proper solutions. While Asus provides adequate help on Twitter, the company's Facebook page forced us to sift through a list (where North America was listed 27th) to reach its customer-support reps on that social network.
MORE: Asus Tech Support Rating
Asus is the only company that offers accidental damage protection as part of its standard one-year warranty, but this protection only comes with high-end systems such as those in the ROG (Republic of Gamers) laptop line. Asus will also pay for return shipping on its more expensive products, but if you need to send in a cheaper notebook, you'll have to pay those costs out of pocket. Unfortunately, unlike most other vendors, Asus says that upgrading your RAM or storage drive voids your warranty.
Many of Asus’ laptops ship with more than their fair share of bloatware, including Line, Netflix, Candy Crush Saga, Flipboard and TripAdvisor. Some also come with 500GB of Asus WebStorage.
If you’re looking for the best of Asus’ own software, you’ll have to turn to its Republic of Gamers line. The gaming suite includes the ROG Gaming Center for a high-level view of your specs, MacroKey to assign shortcuts, GameFirst III to configure upload and download speeds and XSplit Gamecaster to record gameplay and broadcast on Twitch or YouTube.
Even when it's not developing unique features on its own, Asus is incorporating new technologies into its laptops faster than others. In 2015, the company was among the first to put Nvidia's G-Sync anti-tearing technology onto a gaming notebook, launching it on the G751J. We were also impressed with the ZenBook UX305, which was one of the only clamshell notebooks to utilize Intel's low-power Core M processor and actually deliver good battery life. In 2016, the company has given us a lot to look forward to, including the XG Station, a new graphics amp that lets you use your laptop with a desktop graphics card.
Value and Selection (14/15)
Asus offers a truly impressive range of products, from Windows machines that cost less than $200, like the EeeBook X205TA, to impressive gaming rigs like the G751JY for $2,500. Chromebooks, productivity machines and gaming rigs are all available, with plenty of different options, and the prices are generally quite fair for the components you get. However, unlike Dell, Lenovo and HP, Asus doesn't allow you to configure its laptops to order.
MORE: Best Asus Laptops
Asus also has some of the best values in the industry, offering a laptop with 1080p for just $370 in the Asus F555LA, and a superthin system with a 3200 x 1800 display and an SSD for just $699 in the Asus UX305CA. The only segment Asus doesn't really cover is business notebooks.
How Asus Can Improve
The company really needs to take a long, hard look at its Web support resources and make them easier to find, while providing better help on social media. Though Asus is great at adopting new technologies, to get to the next level, it needs to offer more truly unique ideas.