Colorful and eye-catching chassis; Very inexpensive; Good mix of utilities and multimedia apps
Highly reflective display; Mushy keyboard
The ASUS K200MA is a very affordable touch-screen laptop that offers fairly good performance for everyday tasks in a stylish design.
Budget can be beautiful. Listed at $329, but available for as little as $299, the ASUS K200MA breaks the bargain notebook stereotype of questionable, chintzy clunkers with an eye-catching design and a bright, 11.6-inch display. Powered by Windows 8.1 and an Intel Baytrail processor, the K200MA delivers more than enough functionality and endurance for many casual users.
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The K200MA's bright red lid is a welcome dollop of color in a landscape filled with varying shades of black and gray. The metallic lid feels silky to the touch, but is a serious fingerprint magnet. The silver-chrome ASUS logo adds a nice bit of flourish to the overall presentation. The notebook is also available in blue, black or white for people who want a more low-key color scheme.
The interior of the K200MA is made of black plastic stamped with an intricate basket-weave pattern. A gray, metallic power button is situated in the top right corner above the Delete button, and a rather large touchpad rests below the keyboard, centered below the G and H keys.
Weighing 3.1 pounds, the 11.9 x 7.9 x 1.0~1.2-inch K200MA is somewhat bulky compared to the Toshiba Satellite NB15t (11.2 x 8.2 x 0.9 inches) and the Dell Chromebook 11 (11.6 x 7.9 x 0.9 inches), which both weigh a lighter 2.8 pounds.
The display delivered deep blacks, as evidenced by the jet-black feathers of a courting bird of paradise during the 1080p "Bears" trailer. However, the bird's turquoise chest plumage had a yellowish pall that took away from the overall splendor of the scene. We attempted to adjust the color temperature using ASUS' Splendid technology, but couldn't find a satisfying color palette among the Normal, Theater and Vivid settings.
The panel averaged 173 nits on our light meter. That's below both the 252-nit average and the Chromebook 11 (180 nits), but higher than the NB15t (152 nits).
We found the 10-point touch screen very responsive, as it allowed us to quickly launch, swipe between and pinch-zoom apps.
Elle Varner's raspy alto shined against the accompanying acoustic guitar on "So Fly." The chords were clear, as were the vocals, but the bass sounded a little submerged. We attempted to fix the problem with the company's AudioWizard control panel. In doing so, we achieved a modicum of success cycling through the six modes (Music, Movies, Recording, Gaming, Speech and Off), but discovered that adjusting one part of the track threw another out of whack.
On Laptop Mag's audio test, which involves playing a constant tone from 23 inches away, the K200MA hit 82 decibels. That's slightly below the Satellite NB15t84 and ultraportable average (both 84 dB). The Chromebook 11 hit an impressive 94 dB.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The K200MA's 4.1 x 3.4-inch touchpad is large, but in the confines of the small notebook, this looks massive. The touchpad delivered fast, fluid action when we navigated a document or performed multitouch gestures, such as switching between open apps.
Despite the red-hot color of the lid, the K200MA manages to run cool under pressure. After we streamed a full-screen Hulu video for 15 minutes, the touchpad and space between the G and H keys measured 83 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. The laptop's undercarriage registered 96 degrees, one degree above our 95-degree comfort threshold. However, we used the notebook in our lap comfortably for more than two hours.
Pictures taken under fluorescent lighting had a strong yellow tint that gave our blanket a blue-black hue rather than its normal bright blue. The ends of our locks looked more golden than their normal reddish-brown. We experienced more-accurate color results when we switched to natural lighting.
If you're looking to run complex algorithms or design your dream house in CAD, the ASUS K200MA and its 1.86-GHz Intel Baytrail-M N2815 processor with 4GB of RAM isn't for you. However, the laptop is more than capable of handling all your social networking, video streaming and light productivity needs.
Using its 500GB and 5,400-rpm hard drive, the K200MA started Windows 8.1 in 16 seconds. That's slower than the 11-second average, but faster than the NB15t, whose 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive loaded Windows 8 in 19 seconds. The Dell Chromebook's 16GB SSD booted Chrome OS in a swift seven seconds.
The K200MA's transfer rate of 27 MBps on the File Transfer Test (duplicating 4.97GB of mixed-media files) was enough to top the NB15t's 24 MBps. During the OpenOffice Test, the K200MA matched 20,000 names and addresses in 18 minutes and 41 seconds, a few seconds faster than the NB15t's time of 18:57.
Outfitted with an Intel HD Graphics card, the ASUS K200MA can ably run Web browser games, but anything more taxing will devolve into a stuttering mess. On the 3DMark IceStorm benchmark, the laptop scored 12,314, which is below the 27,575 ultraportable average. However, the system handily defeated the Toshiba Satellite NB15t (Intel HD Graphics), which scored 10,298.
During the "World of Warcraft" test, the K200MA achieved 17 fps on Autodetect at 1366 x 768. That's half of the 34 fps average, but it still managed to outpace the NB15t's score of 12 fps.
Set to 100 nits of brightness (56 percent), the ASUS K200MA lasted 5 hours and 23 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi). This runtime is decent for such a cheap machine, but it's well short of the 7:54 ultraportable average, as well as the Dell Chromebook 11, which lasted a whopping 14:37 with the brightness at 80 percent.
On our previous version of the test, when we set the brightness to 40 percent, the Toshiba Satellite NB15t lasted a much shorter 4:07.
Software and Warranty
ASUS has preloaded a modest suite of utilities and multimedia apps onto the
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Third-party apps include Fresh Paint, Music Maker Jam, Netflix, Zinio and Line, an app that lets you make free video and voice calls.
The ASUS K200MA comes with a one-year international warranty.
If you're in an always-connected environment and don't need to run Windows programs, the $299 Dell Chromebook 11 and its 14-hour endurance might be a better option. But for those who want to accomplish light tasks on the go, the ASUS K200MA is a good and cheap choice.
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|CPU||1.86-GHZ Intel Baytrail-M N2815|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||500GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type|
|Optical Drive Speed||n/a|
|Graphics Card||Intel UMA|
|Wi-Fi Model||Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 Wireless Network Adapter|
|Touchpad Size||4.1 x 2.4 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Kensington Lock|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone/Mic|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Gigabit Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 2.0|
|Card Slots||2-1 card reader|
|Warranty/Support||1-year International Warranty|
|Size||11.9 x 7.9 x 1 ~ 1.2 inches|