In this post we’re taking a detailed look at the Asus VivoBook X202E as it is known in the US, or the Vivobook S200 / S200E as it’s called over here in Europe.
This is Asus’s new 11.6 inch affordable mini laptop running Windows 8. Its sells for around $550, and for that kind of money, you do get plenty: a solid and good looking metallic body, snappy hardware, a nice touchscreen and fair battery life for an 11 incher. And these are just some of the reasons why this one could be your next ultraportable.
Anyway, read the review below for more details about the Asus Vivobook X202E and find out if this little one is worth your money or not. And if you have any questions about it, just post them at the end of the review.
Asus Vivobook X202E / S200 video review
The Specs sheet for the Asus Vivobook X202E
||Asus Vivobook S400CA-DH31T
||11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 px resolution, LED, touchscreen
||Intel Ivy Bridge Core i3-3217UM CPU, 1.8 GHz
||integrated Intel 4000 HD
||4 GB DDR3
||500 GB HDD
||Wireless N, Fast Lan, Bluetooth 4.0
||1x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 2.0, VGA, HDMI, LAN, SD card-reader, webcam
||2 Cell 38Wh
||Windows 8 Home Premium
||303 x 200 x 22 mm (11.9 x 7.9 x 0.95 inches)
||1.4 kg (2.9 pounds)
Design and exterior
You should know that the VivoBook S200 is not really an ultrabook, but comes extremely close to one, that’s because its nearly 22 mm thick case is a tiny bit outside Intel’s requirements for an ultrabook (should have been only 21 mm thick for that). Still, this is a compact and good looking portable laptop, that only weighs about 1.4 kilos.
It also feels sturdy and properly built for life on the road. The aluminum dressed lid cover is quite stiff and does not bend easily, while the bottom is covered in this soft plastic that provides proper grip when grabbing the laptop. Down here, there’s only a cooling grill in the middle of the underbelly and the speakers on the sides, as the battery and internals are encased and not very easy to access or remove.
While not as thin as the 11.6 inch Asus Zenbook UX21A, the VivoBook S200 offers enough space on the sides for a complete set of ports, while the Zenbook did not. On the left it packs the PSU, an Ethernet port, a Full-size HDMI and two USB ports, plus a Kensington lock. On the right you’ll find the VGA vide output, another USB, the headphone/microphone jack and a card-reader, that still can’t take an entire card, but don’t forget this is an 11.6 inch laptop.
Lifting the lid cover, you’ll notice a silver aluminum covered interior and a glossy bezel around the display. The screen and the black bezel around it are covered in hardened glass, and if you’re wondering what’s the point of these rather large edges, well, it’s simple, Windows 8 needs them in order to perform most of its bundled gestures.
The display itself is just average, as the S200 packs an LED backlit TN panel, with 1366 x 768 px resolution. But on an 11.6 inch screen, the images and even the texts are fairly sharp. Yes, the viewing angles aren’t impressive and yes, the glossy coating is going to be a pain when using the laptop outside, but as long as you’ll keep the S200 mostly indoors, you’ll be fine with its screen.
Oh, and did I mention this is a touchscreen? Well, it is, as most Windows 8 laptops are going to pack one, but it’s not convertible or swivable like on ultrabooks hybrids. No, the S200 is just a regular laptop, but with a touchscreen that you can use with your fingers or a capacitive stylus.
A fairly good touchscreen
Keyboard and trackpad
The black chiclet keyboard and the wide trackpad are actually quite good. The keyboard is not backlit, but the keys are firm and offer a proper feedback, thus typing on the S200 is an overall pleasant experience.
The trackpad is accurate and responsive most of the time,plus it works fine with the gestures added by Windows 8. However, it tends to miss fast and gentle taps more often than you’d like, which can get a bit annoying.
All in all, the Asus VivoBook S200 offers the looks and the overall quality you’d expect from ultrabooks, but for almost half the cost, that’s why I’m pretty sure many of you will love it. But let’s dig a little deeper before drawing conclusions.
Not much to complain about the keyboard, but the trackpad can get annoying
Hardware and performances
Asus plans to offer the X202E in a bunch of hardware configurations. Our tested unit comes with an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i3-3217U processor, integrated Intel HD graphics, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB Hard-drive and Windows 8, which is going to be top configuration.
Overall, the laptop felt snappy while performing daily tasks, either in Metro or in Dekstop mode. In fact, with Windows 8 and the touchscreen, you’re going to spend a lot of time actually scrolling between Metro Apps and swiping and touching things around.
I’m not going to tell you that many things about Windows 8 here in this particular clip, but I will tell you that the basic functions and gestures implemented by the new Microsoft OS are quite cool. Yes, you’ll need some time to get used to these gestures, but in the end I believe you’ll like them. On , and if you fear you’ll have smudges and fingerprints all over your screen, well yes, there’s no way past those, but you can always use the laptop without actually touching the display.
With Windows 8, you get two sets of apps: the regular ones you’re already used from your old Windows computers, that you install and use in desktop modes, but also touch-friendly Metro apps, available from the Windows Store. Right now there aren’t many, but the guys at Microsoft are working on improving their ecosystem.
In the end, the Asus VivoBook X202E we tested here can deal just fine with your daily activities, like browsing, editing documents and presentations, watching movies, listening to music and so on. It can even handle some light games and even more demanding pieces of software, like video or photo editors. However, don’t forget that it’s not really meant for that, so don’t expect too much out of it.
If you’re interested in some benchmarks, check the details and the pictures below:
- PCMark 07:2051 pts;
- Cinebench 11.5: OpenGL: 7.84 fps, CPU:1 .79 pts;
- 3DMark 11: P306, E593.
Noise, heat, speakers and other details
While most 11.6 inch laptops tend to get either hot or noisy when pushed, the S200 does not. Yes, you’ll hear the fans spinning and the hard-drive cranking, but that’s normal and the laptop does get warm on its underbelly, but it never gets uncomfortable to hold in your lap.
The speakers are for sure loud, while the sound quality isn’t that shabby either. Still, don’t expect anything spectacular, these are after all just some tiny laptop speakers.
The webcam on top does a decent job as well, but unless there’s sufficient lightning, the images will end up quite grainy.
And as a final detail, the Asus S200 packs a decent Broadcom wireless module, that also adds Bluetooth, so connectivity wise, the VivoBook is alright, although there’s no WiDi like on many of the more expensive ultrabooks out there.
There’s a rather small 2 Cell 38 Wh battery inside the Asus VivoBook S200 and that’s going to be enough for about 3 to 4 hours of everyday use, based on your activities, which isn’t exactly stellar, but it’s not that bad either.
I did like the compact Power-brick though, with a long cable, suitable for a laptop designed for life on the road.
The X202 can go for 3-4 hours on a charge, which is not impressive
Prices and availability
The exact Asus VivoBook we tested here is called the Asus Vivobook X202E-DH31T and starts right now at around $550 in the US and about 500 euros in Europe, but I expect the prices to drop a bit in the next weeks. In fact, these shops tend to have it discounted.
A slightly cheaper version will also be available, packing an Intel Celeron B930 processor, for about 50 to 100 dollars less, but I wouldn’t go for it unless I’m looking for a really tight budget laptop, though, as it’s going to be quite slow.
All in all, the Asus VivoBook S200E, or the VivoBook X202E as you might know it in your country, is definitely a laptop you should consider. It packs the looks and the build quality of an ultrabook, alongside a touchscreen, plus offers decent performances and alright battery life. All for around 500 dollars.
And yeah, you can get other good laptops for the same kind of money, but if you want something light and highly portable, that can still deal fine with your everyday requirements, you’re not going to find many other laptops that can stand next to this Asus.
And this pretty much sums up our review for the Asus VivoBook X202E. Thanks for sticking by and if you have any questions about this unit, post them in the comments below and I’ll be there to reply.
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