by Rob Williams on May 2, 2007 in Systems
When we took the VX1 for a test drive in November, we were impressed. ASUS has returned though with an update, appropriately called the VX2. It includes revamped styling, a much more appropriate video card, a fingerprint reader and high-end webcam. If you’ve been holding out for a revision, you will be glad you did.
The VX2 quickly became one of the most enjoyable notebooks I’ve used. I found it comfortable to use, especially while typing thanks to the soft leather, opposed to the usual rough plastic. I didn’t feel the same way about the touchpad, however. This didn’t come as a surprise, since I’ve disliked virtually every one I’ve touched even since I bought a Dell Inspiron 5150 a few years ago. The problem is not the touchpad itself, but rather the left and right buttons. I just cannot seem to use them comfortably. I found the touchpad on the A8Js more comfortable to use overall.
It all depends on how you use a touchpad. I like to rest my entire hand on it and push the buttons with my thumb. If you push the buttons with a finger other than your thumb, you will not likely find it uncomfortable. On my Dell, the buttons are rather large, and I can use the touchpad no problem without even having to lift my hand. I cannot use it as such with the VX2s touchpad. The touchpad works and works well, I simply could not find a comfort zone, so I stuck to the mouse. But, that is another story. Bluetooth is a wonderful technology, but I run into a good share of problems with it as well.
The first issue I had was setting up the mouse initially. I had to run the Bluetooth detection setup five times before it detected my mouse. The second issue is not really an issue, but the fact that the mouse goes to sleep rather fast. If you set the mouse down and go to type anything, you’ll need to move the mouse and wait a second before it kicks back in.
Those two gripes aside, the notebook was an joy to use.
Ridding the Beast
Since the VX2 is focused on performance, it’s kind of ironic I wanted to first replace Vista with XP Professional. This proved a straight-forward process as any other. Boot up with WinXP disc, format and install. ASUS must have anticipated folks like me, so they are kind enough to offer every single driver on their website for XP. Essentially, once done installing everything off their site, you will have a fresh ASUS VX2 laptop, minus Vista. Even the thumbprint reader functions the same in XP as it does in Vista, which was nice to see.
I did run into a few problems though, but they are easily taken care of once you know what to do. First was the fact that I could not get the Bluetooth mouse detected, even though the drivers were installed as well as the mouse turned on. I un-installed/re-installed for close to 45 minutes and got absolutely nowhere. Fed up, I pushed the Bluetooth enable button on the laptop, which triggered a new hardware detected instance. It proceeded to install the correct driver through Windows update. Once that was completed, the mouse was detected no problem.
The sound also gave me a few problems, which I still haven’t figured out entirely. You need to first install the UAA drivers before installing the Realtek drivers. Your sound will be functioning after installing both, but the problem is that when I muted the volume, it wasn’t actually muted. Shutting down Windows would still play the chime and Windows would ding whenever I did something to prompt it. In order to have no volume at all, I had to slide the volume bar all the way to the bottom. I am unsure why this was, but other than that the sound worked great.
The last issue I had was trying to get the WiFi to function. Again, this process took me well over an hour and became frustrating quite quickly. I re-installed the drivers off the ASUS support site numerous times, following the directions to a T, with absolutely no luck. It turns out all that I needed to do was search for the official drivers from Intel, which was for the 4965AGN wireless device. Technically, I am unsure how these specific drivers differ from the ones off the ASUS site, but the fact is, these ones worked. Once installed, WiFi was no problem.
I understand that most people will not be downgrading to Windows XP when they already have Windows Vista Ultimate installed, but these experiences are for those who do plan to. Although I ran into a fair amount of problems, they were all rather simple to fix. The only problem that remains is the fact that the volume does not actually mute, despite the icon reflecting just that.