Attractive design; Responsive touch-screen display; Includes 32GB of free cloud storage
Short battery life; Poor graphics performance
The ASUS VivoBook X202E-DH31T is pretty cheap for a touch-screen Windows 8 machine, but this ultraportable lacks staying power.
With the VivoBook X202E-DH31T, ASUS strives to bring the full Windows 8 touch experience to a travel-sized, entry-level notebook. The 11-inch, 3-pound X202E costs just $549, a great price for a touch-screen ultraportable, but you also have to be willing to accept a Core i3 processor and a 2-cell battery. Does the X202E deliver a rich enough Windows 8 experience, or will its trade-offs force you to look elsewhere?
DesignASUS VivoBook S400CA-UH51, the top of the X202E is made of a dark black brushed aluminum with the ASUS logo in the center. Opening the notebook reveals a silver aluminum deck with black keys and a black plastic frame around the 11.6-inch display. The power button is above and to the right of the keyboard; a series of lights on the bottom right lip display information such as battery strength, caps lock and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Measuring 11.9 x 7.9 x 0.9 inches, the X202E is wider but shorter and slimmer than the Acer Aspire V5-171-6867 (11.2 x 8 x 1.1 inches). Both systems weigh an even 3 pounds. While more premium ultraportable notebooks, such as the Acer Aspire S7-191, are thinner and lighter (0.5 inches thin and 2.2 pounds), the X202E won't add much bulk to a bag.
MORE: 5 Best ASUS Laptops
DisplayAcer Aspire V5-571P-6499 (139 lux).
Viewing angles were equally weak, with colors inverting at a mere 45-degree angle. The glossy screen didn't help, as we found ourselves during darker scenes looking at just our reflection or at lights behind us.
The touch screen extends to the bezel, which allows swipes to begin off the display, rather than etfrom just inside the display edge. This creates a better Windows 8 touch experience, as we rarely had navigation gestures confused for taps or drags.
The ASUS VivoBook X202E's built-in speakers are located along the hinge at the base of the notebook and include SonicMaster Audio technology for enhanced quality. Music easily filled our testing room at max volume but had a distinct metallic sound. When we played Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now," the piano and cymbals were round and full but the vocals had a machine-like quality. Next, we played Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild" and had the same experience with high notes. The lower notes and bass, however, sounded better.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The large 4.1 x 2.4-inch touchpad has a small gray line in the middle bottom to separate right from left clicks. Two-finger scrolling, pinch-to-zoom and two-finger rotating were fast and accurate, and the touchpad surface had just enough friction. Windows 8 gestures, such as swiping in from the sides, were equally accurate. The two integrated mouse buttons proved easy to press.
The X202E remained nice and cool during our testing. After watching Hulu on full screen for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The gap between the G and H keys was 89 degrees and the underside was 84 degrees. This is well below the 95-degree threshold of what we consider to be uncomfortable.
The VivoBook X202E has a 0.9-megapixel webcam that captures 720p pictures and video. We weren't impressed with the quality, however, as images were slightly grainy with a yellow tint. Even in natural lighting, we noticed visual noise.
The notebook clocked only 2,040 on the PCMark 7 benchmark, well below the ultraportable average of 3,208. This score was also bested by the 2,427 score of the $548 Acer Aspire V5-171-6867, which has a 1.7-GHz Core i5-3317U processor and 6GB of RAM.
The X202E performed better on the file transfer test, where we duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files. The 5400-rpm 500GB SATA hard drive completed the task in 3 minutes and 24 seconds, for a transfer rate of 25 MBps. The Acer Aspire V5-171-6867 managed only 14.9 MBps. Both were well under the category average transfer rate of 58 MBps, although that average includes notebooks with speedy SSDs. The X202E took 21 seconds to load Windows 8, fairly brisk compared with the 34-second category average.
Performance was subpar on the OpenOffice spreadsheet test, which matches 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses. The X202E completed the task in 8 minutes and 21 seconds, more than a minute slower than the 7:12 average. The Acer Aspire V5-171-6867 completed this task in just 5:48.
This VivoBook performed decently while transcoding video. It took only 30 seconds to convert a 5-minute 1080p video to an iPhone-friendly format using Cyberlink MediaEspresso. While this isn't as quick as the blazing-fast 18 seconds of the Acer Aspire V5-171-6867, it's better than the 1:58-second ultraportable average.
The 3DMark 11 graphics benchmark test showed similar results, with the X202E notching a measly 350, while the category average is 746. The Acer Aspire V5-171-6867 scored a higher but also below-average 576.
Windows 8 and Apps
A desktop interface, which looks similar to Windows 7 but lacks a Start button, lets you run legacy apps.
ASUS bundled some additional apps with the X202E, including Adobe Reader X, a trial of Microsoft Office 2010, a Trend Micro A/V trial, FreshPaint, ASUS Converter and Power4Gear Hybrid. This notebook also includes 32GB of cloud-based WebStorage for three years.
MORE: Top 25 Windows 8 Apps
The ASUS VivoBook X202E-DH31T comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty, along with 24/7 tech support and one year of accidental-damage protection. There's also a 30-day Zero Bright Dot Panel warranty.
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|CPU||1.8-GHz Intel Core i3-3217UM Dual Core mobile|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||500GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive|
|Optical Drive Speed|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD4000|
|Touchpad Size||4.1 x 2.4 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB|
|Ports (excluding USB)||RJ-45|
|Ports (excluding USB)||mini-VGA|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Microphone|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Card Slots||3-1 card reader|
|Warranty/Support||1-year Parts and Labor, 24/7 Tech Support, 1-year Accidental Damage Warranty, 30-day Zero Bright Dot Panel Warranty|
|Size||11.9 x 7.8 x 0.85 inches|