I was in love. With my laptop. My Asus Zenbook was the most beautiful laptop I’d ever had. I’d had the earlier model for a few years and tragically had it stolen in 2014. Then I replaced it with the newer model, the Asus Zenbook UX303L (Hey Asus, if you’re reading this – suberb branding with the name Zenbook, but maybe try harder on the model name next time). It wasn’t long before I had fallen in love all over again with my new Asus Zenbook, upgraded and updated. But again, it wasn’t meant to last…
Asus Zenbook – The Glory Days
I was always getting compliments on my Asus Zenbook. People loved it, and I loved it too. It was fast, sleek, portable, and gorgeous. The i7 processor and 8GB of RAM took on Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, Chrome (usually with 10+ tabs open), Excel, and OneNote all running simultaneously – no problem. It was cool and quiet. Zen, if you will.
My laptop and I had traveled to India together, and London, DC, Philly, Boston, and finally, California. Even in Hawaii I was toting my Asus Zenbook between volcano hikes and reef dives. I didn’t travel anywhere without it. I used it everywhere from my couch at home to my Fort Kochi guesthouse in India to my seat in coach at 30,000 feet.
When I dug out the vacuum and unscrewed the bottom cover to give my Zenbook a good clean, I was surprised to find not a single dog hair or bit of foreign matter had found its way inside.
The 256 GB solid state drive let me save large files in a breeze. But more importantly, it gave me peace of mind that my documents were safe – not likely to be erased or corrupted from a run-in with a pock-marked road or an overly-zealous TSA agent. I wouldn’t have even considered a laptop for travel unless it had a solid state drive.
But my love affair with my Asus Zenbook was about to take a dark turn.
The Beginning of the End
One day I noticed that the lid on my Zenbook was a little askew, and didn’t line up with the body when it was closed.
I did some research and hoped that it was just a loose hinge. I looked up a fix on YouTube, and opened up my laptop for some surgical repair. It seemed like a simple fix – just tighten the screw on the hinge and it would be good as new.
But when I opened it up, the screws on the hinge were fine. I looked further and found that there was a plastic piece inside the hinge connecting the body to the display that had snapped. This was after just 14 months of use, 2 months out of warranty.
Why would Asus make that piece plastic? Plastic breaks with repeated wear. Like the kind of repeated wear you expect with an ultra-portable laptop. The worst part – the plastic piece was fused to the display, so to fix it would mean ordering an entirely new display and hinge. Naturally, I decided to live with it and hope it didn’t get worse.
But of course, it got worse.
Asus Zenbook – You’re Too Young to Die
The broken plastic piece prevented the left side of the hinge from following the movement of the display, while the other side of the hinge would open normally. Every time I closed the laptop, the left side of the hinge would remain partially open unless I manually pushed it back into place. The torsion from opening and closing the hinge with one side moving and the other stationary exacerbated the problem. Soon, I could see a gaping hole into the hinge every time I opened my Zenbook.
Other components in the hinge started to break and every time I opened the lid I would hear a loud “POP”. Eventually the left side of the screen was completely detached.
That was when I knew I had better back up my shit and research my options.
Option 1: Asus Customer Support.
I was out of the 1 year warranty period (by a mere 3 months, at this point). No help from Asus. They said I could send it in for repairs at an estimated $690 not to mention the cost to ship it to their repair center. A repair time of 8-10 business days plus shipping time would mean that I would be without a laptop for a minimum of 3 weeks. I’d get it back right around the time my PhD thesis was due. Wonderful.
Option 2: Tech Help Desk at Work
The University of Minnesota has a help desk in their tech store that will do out-of-warranty repairs for PCs and Macs. I brought in my sad, pre-maturely aging beauty, but was sent packing in less than a minute. One look at the hinge and a glance at my touchscreen display and they said it was out of their hands – that I was better off going through Asus. Ha.
Option 3: Computer Repair Shop
Determined to save my baby, I tried one last place that some work friends recommended. They’d had laptops and phones repaired at a shop for a fair price and quick turn-around time so I was optimistic. But alas, my PC got its final diagnosis. I needed an entire new display (because remember, it is fused to that plastic piece) but none of their suppliers had the parts. Again, I was sent packing.
So there I was, with a powerful, gorgeous, top-of-the-line Asus Zenbook that I paid $1,300 for, brought down by a broken little piece of plastic.
Asus, you beautiful piece of shit.
Do you have an Asus Zenbook? Has yours held up?
The links in this post are here so you can see the laptop and its specs, but in case it wasn’t clear already, I AM NOT RECOMMENDING YOU BUY IT! DON’T BUY THIS LAPTOP. I KNOW IT’S BEAUTIFUL BUT IT WILL BETRAY YOU!
Oh but if you do buy something else after clicking through the link, I’ll get a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thanks for helping fund my replacement. 😉