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Old December 17, 2010, 12:05 AM
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Default Can't decide between Asus U35JC and Acer AS3820TG-7360

Hello, all! I've lurked here on and off but have decided to register and post in search of some wisdom.

TL;DR: Which of the two laptops would you pick?

I'm in the hunt for a laptop. Its main use is for portable web development. I do most of my work at home, but would like a small, efficient laptop to take on the road with me. The two main things I am looking for are speed and battery life. I plan on swapping out the original HDD with a SSD (already have it priced out, will list below) to achieve the speed and to help the battery life. My budget is ~$1,000 (including SSD).

Canada Computers has the Asus U35JC on sale until the 23rd for $839.99 (Link), and has the Acer AS3820TG-7360 listed for $749.99 (Link). The specs between the two are nearly identical. They have the same CPU, RAM, resolution, wifi and LAN. Their differences lie obviously in the motherboard but also the GPU configuration. The GPU is of little interest to me; I don't plan on even using the dedicated video (but I like that it's there just in case). The Asus does have one major advantage in that it has a 2-year warranty (and a 1-year for accidental damage) whereas the Acer only has a 1-year warranty.

Online, I have found many positive reviews for the U35JC, but can't find many reviews for the AS3820TG, especially the specific model I am looking at. What I have read, though, has been positive. Too be honest I am leaning towards the Asus even though it is $90 more expensive mainly for the additional warranty and for the more plentiful reviews. I currently own an Acer laptop bought in August 2007 and it's going strong (only hardware failure was caused by me ), so I have nothing against their laptops, but in this instance I'm favouring Asus.

Also, the SSD that I will be putting into it is the Kingston SDDNow V100 64GB (Link). I know there are some slightly better SSDs for about $30-$40 more from NCIX, but I'm not really concerned with the write speed. I'm only installing a handful of applications and that's it. The few dozen more MB/s read speed doesn't seem worth it to me, and I never seem to have luck with mail-in rebates. I also would like to avoid waiting on shipping.

The handful of applications installed would be:

Windows 7 Enterprise x64
Microsoft Security Essentials
Dreamweaver CS4
Visual Studio 2010
Chrome
Firefox (maybe)
Office 2010 (doubtful - I don't have many .docx files coming my way and Wordpad can open them anyway)
Other miscellaneous software when necessary (7zip, Adobe Reader, etc.)

Also, with Boxing Day coming up, would it wise to wait to purchase it then? I don't want to miss out on the $50 discount on the Asus, but at the same time $50 won't kill me (I also have to fight off anxiety and excitement from owning a new toy ).

Any advice or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long post, but thought I'd explain all my intentions right out of the gate. Thanks in advance!
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Old December 17, 2010, 01:06 AM
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Get the Asus, you won't be disappointed. I have the U30JC and the 35 is almost the same thing just a little new and nicer in my mind. I really can't think of anything nice to say about Acer. I know it is just my opinion, but they are never worth it. Go for the Asus and you will be happy.

One comment about the SSD, are you sure you are going to have enough room with just the 64? I have a 128GB in mine and I found that I hit and passed the 60GB mark quickly. I didn't need much after that (without games) but since it is a notebook it is not like you can stick another drive in there for storage. But if you are sure that it will be enough then go and get the drive and the Asus, don't even give the Acer a second thought.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old December 17, 2010, 12:47 PM
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Thank you for the reply!

Yeah, I'm definitely leaning towards the Asus, and I have heard people complain about Acer in the past. My personal experience with them has been good, though. Either way, I'm most likely going to buy the Asus laptop.

As for the SSD, I think I'll be okay. I was actually aiming for a 40GB drive, specifically the Intel X25-V 40GB, but then I saw the Kingston drive for only $10 more, and figured the additional $10 is certainly worth it for a 50% capacity increase as well as increased performance.

On my desktop system Windows 7 takes up about 18GB, Dreamweaver is only 300MB, Office 2010 ~450MB, etc. I haven't installed Visual Studio 2010 yet, but 2008 only uses 1.6GB, so even if 2010 was triple that, I'd still have more than enough. All the miscellaneous applications (MSE, Chrome, etc.) are negligible in terms of the space they require. This laptop is strictly for web development and I won't be doing anything else with it. Certainly no gaming (maybe some web browser games like Helicopter Game ). Additionally, I already have a 2.5" hard drive enclosure with an 80GB drive in it that I can swap out with the hard drive that ships with the laptop for a 500GB external that's easy enough to carry around with the laptop if space becomes an issue.
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Old December 17, 2010, 05:42 PM
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Ah, well in that case you will be good to go. I'm sure you will not be disappointed with the Asus.
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Old December 27, 2010, 12:26 PM
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I have a different opinion to iPaine on the subject matter, since I have compared the two extensively.

In short, it would be a mistake to take the 3820tg or the entirety of the TimelineX line as a typical Acer.

3820TG in terms of powersaving switching is more manual than the Asus, which I think is better off. Optimus doesn't allow me that level of ease in pressing a toggle button and turn up the discrete on a whim, while the 3820tg does. Of course, this is highly subjective.
In terms of the cooling, 3820tg is amongst the best of its class by having rid of the DVD drive and allow for a dedicated ventilation fan for the GPU unit. This really didn't feel to me like an Acer, which is weird to say...
When it comes to build quality, the TimelineX has finally become a major contender to the realm of the high-end units. Asus is neck to neck against it. One needs to go to the realm of Apple MBA/MBP and Sony Vaio Z to outclass the form factor details decisively.
Screen wise, it is a pity that none of these would use the inplane switching LCDs. This is a shame but I've never seen IPS screen on notebook below $1000 category.

Ultimately, I've opted the 3820tg since it was $700 with 8GB of ram for me price wise. These two are all very impressive unit mobility wise and power wise, but what won me over would be that 3820tg packs more graphics power while being less automatic in graphics switching than Optimus. You can't really go wrong with either imo though.
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Old December 28, 2010, 01:41 AM
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Like the others have said, get the ASUS. You really really won't be disappointed. I have the UL30VT which looks just like yours, but isn't even as good. So if mine is super great... yours will be... jesus, get off this forum and get it now!
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