Asus: 2017 Brand Report Card
The second-place brand, Asus, offers the best combination of value and performance of any laptop brand. After all, what other company makes a sub-$400 laptop with a solid-state drive and a 1080p screen, or a sub-$700 system that has a 256GB SSD and weighs just 2.7 pounds? On the high end, few laptop-makers can compete with Asus’ blazing-fast gaming notebooks or its innovative Ultrabooks. The company’s only major shortcoming is its weak tech support.
Asus' Key Strengths
- Bang for the buck: No other brand consistently gives you as many premium features at such affordable prices.
- Gorgeous designs: From sub-$200 Chromebooks to pricey gaming rigs such as the Asus ROG G701VI, Asus combines premium materials and attractive colors.
- Oodles of innovation: A 2-pound laptop with tiny fans and a water-cooled gaming rig are just two examples.
Asus' Main Weaknesses
- Poor support: Confusing web resources and semi-helpful support staff
- None of your business: Asus has started dipping its toe into the commercial laptop space, but the company can't yet compete with the likes of Lenovo, Dell and HP.
Top-Rated Asus Laptops:
- ROG G752VS OC Edition Review: Overclocked gaming power
- ZenBook UX330UA: 2.7 pounds, 10+ hours battery life
- Chromebook Flip C302CA: Great for running Android apps
Asus jumped up one rank this year in reviews, from third to second. Of the 24 Asus laptops we tested, nine received an Editors’ Choice award. Twelve laptops earned a score of 4, while two got 4.5 stars. There were only two we didn’t recommend at all, at 2.5 stars. Some of our favorites included budget offerings, like the budget VivoBook E403SA, the powerful ZenBook Pro UX501VW and the ROG G701VI gaming machine.
With its sleek lines and eye-popping royal-blue aluminum, the ZenBook 3 is a great example of how Asus continues to bring the sexy. The company also continues to make beautiful gaming notebooks like the ROG G752 OC Edition, which eschew the typical red and black in favor of a counterintuitive gray and orange.
Perhaps Asus took things a bit too far with the blinding neon orange and black on the ROG Strix GL753, but it gets credit for pushing the color envelope. It even took a walk on the outlandish side with the GX800 and its detachable water-cooling dock.
But Asus deserves kudos for its lower-tier products like the F555LA or the Chromebook Flip, which look almost as premium as their more expensive counterparts. The company even found a way to add some durability with the Chromebook C202, which can survive falls from 3.9 feet and has a delicious white-and-blue aesthetic.
With a confusingly organized site, phone agents who take a long time to solve problems and inaccurate live chat, Asus' tech support offerings leave much to be desired. Still, we commend the company's staff on their unfailingly positive mood.
Asus continues to innovate with the best of them. Just look at the ZenBook 3, which is thinner than the 12-inch MacBook yet manages to cram in a full-power Core processor. That’s because Asus also manages to squeeze in a set of superthin heat pipes and a fan with blades that are just 0.3 millimeters thin. Asus also deserves credit for making its Chromebook C202 not only durable but easy to repair. When you add Asus’ water-cooled gaming beast, the GX800, to the lineup, you have a brand that continues to be on the bleeding edge.
Value and Selection (15/15)
Asus not only excels at making nearly every kind of laptop, but also consistently provides the best affordable laptops on the market. While most manufacturers make you pay over $600 for such premium features as a 1080p screen, an SSD and an aluminum chassis, Asus offers laptops like the VivoBook E403SA, which has all three for under $400. There are few ultraportable values like the ZenBook UX330UA, which packs a Core i5 CPU, 256GB SSD and 1080p screen into a 2.6-pound package.
The Taiwanese PC giant is a leader in mobile gaming, thanks to its powerful and innovative line of ROG (Republic of Gamers) laptops. It's also got the luxury Ultrabook market covered, with systems like the ZenBook 3, which weighs just 2 pounds and looks gorgeous in Royal Blue. Asus' extensive Chromebook line includes the C202, which can survive a 4-foot drop, and the affordable Chromebook Flip C202. The company even has a budding line of business laptops in its AsusPro line.
Asus provides a one-year limited warranty on all of its laptops, but depending on the system you get and the retailer you purchase it from, you may also get accidental-damage protection. The company gets a lot of credit for offering this protection for free, but unfortunately, it doesn't provide an easy way to figure out what models have the feature and at what stores you can find them. You'll have to check each individual retailer's product descriptions to find out.
Asus loses some points for failing to sell extended warranties in the U.S., though you can always buy a retailer's plan. It also gets a demerit for voiding your warranty if you upgrade your RAM or storage.
On the plus side, Asus pays for shipping if you have to send your laptop in for service. Just keep in mind that if you're using the accidental damage protection, you have to pay your own freight to send the machine in.