Inexpensive; Light weight; Colorful, responsive touch screen; Excellent audio; Good low-light webcam
Short battery life; Cramped keyboard
The ASUS Q200 packs a touch screen and good sound into a sleek, 11-inch design for less than $500, but you'll sacrifice some battery life.
Even though the average notebook costs just over $500, you usually can't get a touch screen for that price. Enter the ASUS Q200, a Best Buy exclusive Windows 8 notebook that gives you a responsive touch screen, plenty of ports and superior audio in a lightweight package. But is this $499, 11.6-inch notebook the right choice for you?
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DesignAcer V5-171-6867 weighs the same 3 pounds, the $999 MacBook Air 11-inch weighs a bit less at 2.4 pounds.
Identical in look and feel to the ASUS VivoBook X202E, the Q200 has a dark brown, brushed-aluminum lid, MacBook-like silver aluminum deck and sides, and a pleasant, soft-touch black bottom. A chunky, glossy black bezel surrounds the 11.6-inch screen.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Windows 8 gestures, such as swiping in from the right to launch the charms bar or swiping in from the left to switch tasks, worked reliably, but trying to flip between images in Windows Photo viewer using two-finger swipe was an exercise in frustration.
However, the display isn't the brightest we've seen, measuring only 116 lux on our light meter. That's well below the 224 ultraportable notebook average, as well as the Acer Aspire V5-171-6867's mark of 223 and the Sony VAIO E Series 11's 165 lux.
The screen on the Q200 also supports 10-point touch. Whether we were drawing with 10 fingers at once in Windows Paint, flipping through tasks by swiping in from the left, launching the charms bar by swiping in from the right or zooming in and out on photos, the digitizer was always immediately responsive.
The hinge-mounted speakers and their SonicMaster Audio technology provide excellent music playback for a system this size. When we played both the bass-heavy "Forget Me Nots" and the guitar-laden "Sweet Child O' Mine" or "Kickstart My Heart," the audio was loud enough to fill a large living room and completely free from distortion or tinniness. The ASUS Audio Wizard software allowed us to switch among profiles for music, speech, gaming and movie playback. Sound became completely flat when we disabled Audio Wizard.
The ASUS Q200 stayed pleasantly cool throughout our testing. After streaming a video at full screen for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured a cool 79 degrees, the keyboard a reasonable 88 degrees and the underside a chilly 82 degrees Fahrenheit. We consider temperatures below 90 degrees extremely comfortable.
Ports and Webcam
The Q200's 720P webcam took bright images with accurate color, even in low light. Despite our dark livingroom, an image of our face showed our true skin tone and hair color. However, images were a bit noisy, even under direct, overhead light.
The ASUS Q200's 500GB, 5,400 rpm hard drive booted Windows 8 in a solid 23 seconds, much quicker than the 30-second category average and about on par with the 21 seconds needed by the Vivobook X202E. However, the drive took a sluggish 3 minutes and 58 seconds to complete the LAPTOP File Transfer test, which involves copying 4.97GB of mixed media files. At a rate of 21.4 MBps, the Q200 scores only a quarter of the 82.9 MBps category average, but way ahead of the Acer Aspire V5-171-6867's rate of 14.9 MBps and about on par with the VivoBook X202's rate of 25 MBps.
The notebook's relatively slow 1.4-Ghz Core i3-2567M CPU makes it a bit underpowered for heavy computational tasks. The Q200 took an unimpressive 11 minutes and 29 seconds to complete the Open Office Spreadsheet Macro test, which matches 20,000 names with their addresses. That's about 50 percent slower than the 7:08 ultraportable category average and almost double the time it took the Core i5-powered Acer Aspire V5-171-6867. The 1.8-GHz Core i3-powered ASUS VivoBook X202 took only 8 minutes and 21 seconds to complete this test.
The ASUS also scored mediocre time of 1 minute when transcoding a 5-minute HD video into iPod touch format using Cyberlink Media Espresso. The average ultraportable takes 41.1 seconds to complete the same test, while the Acer Aspire V5-171-6878 took just 18 seconds.
Though the ASUS Q200 is extremely light, its weak battery life limits its portability. The notebook lasted just 4 hours and 19 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi. That time is 1 hour and 43 minutes behind the ultraportable category average (6:02), but on a par with the Acer Aspire V5-171-6867 (4:05) and the ASUS VivoBook X202 (4:20).
The ASUS Q200 is a Best Buy exclusive and is sold in just one configuration, which includes the 1.4-GHz Core i3-2567M, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB 5,400 rpm hard drive. However, the notebook is also sold as the ASUS Vivobook X202 with a slightly-faster 1.8-GHz Core i3-3217U processor for the same $499.
Software and Warranty
|CPU||1.4-GHz Core i3-2365M|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|RAM Upgradable to||8GB|
|Hard Drive Size||500GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive|
|Optical Drive Speed|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 3000|
|Wi-Fi Model||Qualcomm Atheros AR9485|
|Touchpad Size||4.1 x 2.4 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|
|Warranty/Support||1 year limited|
|Size||11.9 x 7.9 x .9 inches|