Asus VivoBook S200E review

9 Nov 2012

A delectable 11.6in touchscreen Windows 8 laptop at an unbelievably low price

Price when reviewed 
450
Buy it now for 
4

Intel's Ultrabook concept has seen all manner of gorgeous, slim-and-light laptops make their way through the PC Pro office, but one thing they've never been is cheap. Now Asus is attempting to right that wrong with its VivoBook S200E, a compact little laptop which crams in a Core i3 processor alongside Windows 8 and an 11.6in touchscreen.

As the VivoBook S200E measures a relatively chunky 22mm thick, Asus isn't officially allowed to call it an Ultrabook. Regardless, we doubt anyone would describe this laptop as overweight. At 1.41kg, this 11.6in machine is a little heavier than most 13in Ultrabooks, though not by much, and thanks to the tiny, lightweight 148g wall wart power supply, you can pop both in a bag without too much shoulder strain.

Asus VivoBook S200 - front 3/4

While it lacks the razor-edge slenderness of pricier peers, this little laptop is still good-looking and solidly built. Sheets of alloy stretch across the lid and around the Scrabble-tile keyboard, making the S200E look like a chubby cousin to Asus's 11.6in Ultrabook, the Zenbook UX21. The metal and plastic construction feels bombproof, and the whole chassis is stiff and flex-free. It's outlandishly refined for a £450 laptop.

The modest hardware within does a good job of keeping Windows 8 feeling fluid and responsive, too. There are two VivoBook S200E models in the range, with the entry-level model featuring a basic Pentium CPU for £400, while the model we're reviewing here has a dual-core 1.8GHz Core i3. Whichever you choose, there's 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard disk. It isn't a lightning-quick combination by any means, but the result of 0.48 in our Real World Benchmarks compares very favourably to even full-sized budget laptops. The only annoyance is the quiet whir of the cooling fan, although this is audible only in quiet surroundings.

Asus VivoBook S200 - keyboard

In some ways, however, the VivoBook S200E is quite out of the ordinary. It does everything you'd expect of a standard laptop, but the 11.6in touchscreen and Windows 8 make a fine pairing. We quickly found ourselves instinctively flitting between tapping at the keyboard and touchpad to prodding the screen directly. Here, the extra weight in the VivoBook's base proves a real boon, preventing the laptop from tilting backwards too easily as you tap. It still doesn't take much force to set the Asus rocking back on its hinge, but as the touchscreen responds to even the lightest of touches, it's easy to adapt to it.

Details

Price ex VAT £375
Price inc VAT £450
Overall rating 4
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 6
Performance 3

Warranty

Warranty 2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 303 x 200 x 22mm (WDH)
Weight 1.410kg
Travelling weight 1.6kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i3-3217U
Motherboard chipset Intel HM76 Express
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 11.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 4000
Graphics card RAM N/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 466GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Hitachi HTS545050A7E380
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive none
Battery capacity 5,136mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 2
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Underside
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.0mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 5hr 27min
3D performance (crysis) low settings 20fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.48
Responsiveness score 0.57
Media score 0.53
Multitasking score 0.35

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
OS family Windows 8
Recovery method Recovery partition

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