Inside The JCSE
Upon opening the JCSE's lid, its shiny red speaker grilles would probably grab your eyeballs before anything else. Speaking of which, we were very much impressed by the speakers' spatial quality and clarity, as tuned by ASUS and B&O. Just below the grilles are two power buttons situated on the left and right extremes. The left one fires up the Linux-based Express Gate platform, which enables you to surf the web promptly instead of waiting for the primary OS (Windows Home 7 Premium in this case) to boot up. Other Jay Chou elements include a specialized "J" on the keyboard and his signature etched on the wrist-rest. The keys offer a soft tactile travel. However, their close alignment between keys could make it hard for the touch typist.
The 14-inch screen sports a 16:9 widescreen aspect with a native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. It's not quite Full-HD, but its perfect for 720p clips. It was wonderfully bright, but like most notebooks' LCD panels, the JCSE is yet another victim of tight vertical viewing angles. Chou's contribution isn't limited to the notebook's hardware. We also discovered three wallpapers, four albums, a screensaver, as well as a start-up tune composed by the Taiwanese artist. The JCSE isn't free of bloatware, unfortunately, and it is evident once you browse through the ASUS Utilities folder. Some are useful, however, such as the Power4Gear Hybrid application which enables you to throttle the CPU and power settings for those who are less savvy.