This week I bought an inexpensive Asus X551MAV from Amazon. The price was $249.00 and the company I work for sent me an Amazon $150.00 gift card. So total cost to me was only $99.00. I then bought a Samsung EVO 840 120Gb SSD drive. The first thing I did when the laptop arrived was setup the installed Windows 8.1. Then I promptly removed the 500Gb 5400 rpm hard disk and replaced it with the 120Gb SSD drive. Then inserted a USB stick with Ubuntu 14.04 and installed that on the new SSD. 30 Minutes or so later it was all functional and running Ubuntu.
Everything seems to work as it should. Including the FN keys. Max temp spec for this laptop is about 150c (Celsius). It idles around 49c and max seen so far while compiling was around 53c. SO the cooling fans appear to be working fine also.
I'm very pleased with this little 15.6" el-cheapo laptop running Linux. Apps I've installed so far are Netbeans 8+ and SecureCRT 7.3+ as well as Chrome. These are really all I need installed in any device to work professionally. And this is all more than enough for what I do on these side projects.
Wifi works out of the box, Android Tethering works as tested with my Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2. So mobile internet access is also functional.
The laptop only sports a dual core Celeron 2Ghz and 4Gb of Ram. But again this is really all that I need (after 20yrs+) I've learned what works and doesn't for the things I do.
So the SSD performance is the KEY to making this laptop feel just like a higher end box. Linux loads up from shutdown in about 15 seconds with the Graphical interface.
I was planning to use the Galaxy Note 2 (7" tablet) to access and run my new "Driveby" app however a 15.6" display is certainly much nicer! For $174.00 start to finish this seems like a really cool way to go that is also very inexpensive!
I'd do it again, and that says a LOT I think.