It wasn’t very long ago when prices of touchscreen Windows 8 laptops soared beyond $1000. Thankfully, those days are behind us, and portable computers can easily be purchased – touchscreen and all – for under $500. That’s precisely the demographic in which the ASUS VivoBook X202E falls. When compared to a high-end laptop, its specifications might seem modest, but for laptop buyers just looking for a way to browse the web, watch videos, use basic apps, and not spend too much money, something in this budget is perfectly suitable. The question is, of course, how does the ASUS VivoBook X202E compare to others on the market, and is it the one which you should be spending your hard-earned money on? Well, you’re just going to have to keep reading to find out.
Best of all, we are giving away an ASUS VivoBook X202E to one lucky winner. Keep reading for your chance to take home this Windows 8 touchscreen laptop!
Introducing the ASUS VivoBook X202E Laptop
The ASUS VivoBook X202E (flows right off the tongue) is a small, 11-inch laptop equipped with Windows 8 and all the touchscreen interactions that Microsoft’s latest operating system is made to work with. It’s certainly a budget model, which puts it in an ideal price point for students getting ready to head back to school. Amazon has it listed for around $479.99, with a suggested list price of $569.99.
For students, owning a small, 11-inch screen can actually be useful because it is far more portable. However, the X202E does have some weight issues, which we will get to later. It also doesn’t take up much desk space, which is great for dorm life.
There are actually very few competitors that the ASUS VivoBook X202E has to deal with, just because getting a touchscreen device into the $500-$600 range is rare. The Lenovo IdeaPad S400 Touch could be considered a competitor, but it’s quite a bit larger with a 14-inch screen. It features a price tag around $500, so it’s comparable there. The same goes for the HP ENVY, which is also a 14-inch laptop. The specs are actually similar — both the HP and ASUS use Intel Core i3-3217U 1.8 GHz processors — which might make the 14-inch options a better choice, provided the 11-inch model doesn’t win out in too many other categories. You’ll just have to keep reading to find out.
The package is kind of drab, with a simple brown box that is rather small. Once opened, you will find the laptop, the charger, and the paperwork you’ll need to learn how to set everything up. It’s minimalist, but it gets the job done. Just don’t expect to be blown away when it arrives on your doorstep.
Let me just get this out of the way right from the start: the ASUS VivoBook X202E is a really nice-looking laptop from a pure aesthetic standpoint. It’s compact, the dark grey on the top and the lighter color on the bottom blend together smoothly to make a stylish little laptop, and it looks great all around. For more adventurous buyers, it also comes in pink and silver.
The surprising aspect of the design, and one that I am not overly thrilled with, is the weight. For a tiny laptop, it weighs just over 3 pounds and can be considered very heavy for its size. At 0.8-inches thick, it’s a little deep as well.
Once you open the lid, everything looks just as nice. The screen is vibrant, albeit small. The keyboard looks good, but a major drawback for me, someone who often does his writing at night, is the lack of a backlight on the keyboard. Of course, I am adept enough at typing so it’s not a big deal, but for others, like my father for example, who still has to hunt and peck at individual keys would have an issue using it in a room where lighting is poor.
Because the ASUS VivoBook X202E-DH31T is a budget laptop, its specifications are very modest. The first area where you will notice this fact is in the processor, which is a 1.8 GHz Intel Core i3-3217U. Many other Windows 8 devices pack in a Core i5 processor, but with that in mind, they also cost $799 or more. Will you notice the difference in processing power? Absolutely, but if you are just using it to browse the web or complete your assignments, it will not be a problem; as long as you don’t have to work with any processor-intensive programs.
In terms of memory, it comes with 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, which again, is not a lot, but it’s sufficient. It also comes with a 500 GB hard drive, which is pretty standard nowadays. Of course, it’s a typical 5400 RPM 2.5-inch hard drive, which slows things down a bit, especially for anyone used to an SSD.
The 11.6-inch LED touchscreen has a 1,366×768-pixel resolution and is powered by Intel GMA HD graphics, which on first glance might seem a little low for a modern laptop. However, the small screen actually makes everything look quite vibrant, although you will not be watching in 1080p videos or do much gaming with it.
Taken at face-value, the specs might seem a little low-end, but when you consider the price of the laptop, they are actually right where they should be. Nothing about them will blow you away, but again, it does the job very well for a budget model.
An HD web camera is also included for video-conferencing with friends over Skype and the like. The quality is surprisingly good, at least as far as web cams go. The built-in microphone was quite decent and was able to relay clear audio from three or four feet away from the laptop.
Connections and Ports
This little laptop has all the connections you could ever need, and then some. For video, it comes with HDMI and VGA, which is actually surprising, as you don’t see as many computers offering VGA anymore. This could be good or bad, depending on your needs, but it does make connecting to older monitors easier. It also includes a standard 3.5 mm audio jack for hooking up to external speakers.
On the data side of things, the VivoBook X202E has two USB 2.0 ports, and for next generation devices, one USB 3.0 port. An SD card slot is also included for copying those photos from a digital camera.
If you happen to be in a place where a wired connection is available, which might be the case for some students in dorm rooms, an ethernet port is installed on the device. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are present as well.
My only complaint about the connections is how tight the USB ports feel. While they do a great job making sure you don’t accidentally disconnect anything, I actually found it shockingly difficult to hook things up to it.
The touchscreen takes a little bit of getting used to. This is not a flaw of this particular model, as its screen actually performs just fine in terms of accuracy. The problem stems from the way these laptops are built — it’s not a convertible, so in order to reach the screen, you’d have to extend your arm past the keyboard and touchpad. That can get rather tiresome pretty quickly.
Basically, what it comes down to, at least for me, is that touchscreen ends up being more of a novelty than a key part of the laptop’s functionality. On convertible models where you can flip the keyboard behind or remove it entirely, the touchscreen is useful, but in the case of the ASUS VivoBook X202E, I found that in almost every single situation, I preferred to just use the keyboard and touchpad to do what I needed to do.
Touchpad and Keyboard
Speaking of the touchpad, even though I generally found it to be more useful than the screen, it’s actually not great. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve used a MacBook for too long (no, I am not an Apple fanboy, I own more PCs than Macs), but I just found its level of responsiveness to be disappointing.
ASUS includes a number of gestures, most of which should feel comfortable, but they just don’t work as well as advertised. The worst offender was using two fingers to scroll through anything. More often than not, I found myself fighting with it to get it to do what I wanted. Gestures are meant to make getting work done easier, and in the case of this particular laptop, they just don’t.
Negatives aside, just using the touchpad to move the cursor works well enough. Seeing as laptops have come with this as a standard feature, it’s pretty difficult to screw it up, so it’s not overly impressive, but at least it works.
The keyboard is actually pretty solid. We are talking about a small device here, so the buttons are a little condensed. However, after a brief adjustment from the MacBook and my desktop’s full-sized keyboard, I had no problem typing entire articles accurately and with no more errors than I would make on any other keyboard. As mentioned before, the keyboard isn’t backlit, which is less than ideal but it’s a small complaint. Nine times out of ten, you will be typing in a lit room anyway.
The stereo speakers get the job done, but that’s about all you can really say about them. Will you want to listen to high-fidelity tracks on them? No. But for watching videos on YouTube, playing some basic games, and streaming music from the web, they are definitely loud and powerful enough to handle the task. Of course, the aforementioned audio port means you can hook up a pair of premium earphones or speakers to get the extra sound quality you desire.
Speed and Performance
Knowing full well that this laptop is not made for gaming in any way — what with it having only onboard Intel GMA HD graphics — the first thing I did was install Steam, and launch Dota 2. Now, this is not an overly difficult game to run, but it’s still modern. Shockingly, it actually ran the game just fine with the graphical settings set to Low. To be honest, I did not expect it to work at all, so I was impressed.
When I really pushed the laptop its limits by running multiple applications simulatneously while watching a video on Twitch.tv in HD, performance was affected. Between the i3 processor, only 4 GB of RAM, and the 5400 RPM hard drive, things were bound to slow down, and they most certainly did. Will the average user ever push this laptop as hard as I did? Probably not, but if you do plan to use this as your daily computer, you could see some issues.
A two-cell, 5136 mAh battery is included. This is actually fairly small, and it reflects in the battery life of the laptop. When continuously playing a video, you can expect to get somewhere between 3 and 4 hours, which is not enough to cover an average flight. For students, this means it might be difficult for the ASUS VivoBook X202E to make it through an entire day of classes if a charger is not readily available.
Realistically, you probably won’t be playing videos the entire time you use the laptop, so instead, you should expect battery life to be somewhere in the four to five hour range. This is not terrible, but it still falls short compared to other options. That is part of the trade-off, as you are getting a moderately powerful laptop at a budget price point.
Should you buy the ASUS VivoBook X202E?
All in all, the ASUS Vivobook X202E is a pretty solid little laptop, but it’s not without its fair share of flaws. The battery life is lackluster, the touchpad is weak, the touchscreen, while cool, is not really all that useful. Then there is the simple fact that Windows 8 is not exactly a beloved operating system, but that’s a whole other issue. Still, for students or anyone else looking for a modern laptop around $500, it’s a pretty good option. However, if you decide to forego touchscreen capabilities altogether, you will be able to get a larger, more powerful device for around the same price.
How do I win the ASUS VivoBook X202E?
You may enter by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.
After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning! You will receive 5 additional entries into the giveaway for every successful referral via your shared links.
This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, September 6. The winner will be selected at random and informed via email.
Congratulations, Kayla Reno! You would have received an email from firstname.lastname@example.org. Please respond before September 12 to claim your prize. Enquires beyond this date will not be entertained.