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Asus VivoBook S200E review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 9 Nov 2012

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £375 (£450 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £329
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

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User comments

Is the RAM upgradeable

Can the RAM be upgraded in this or is it soldered? It would be helpful if you could include this in reviews of laptops, as I'm sure there are plenty of us reading it who would be reluctant to buy anything that couldn't be upgraded.

By valeofyork on 9 Nov 2012

S400?

When does the S400 appear? (14" version.) I can't find it anywhere.

By Grunthos on 9 Nov 2012

And is the battery removable?

Since most slim laptops now don't have removable batteries, might it be worth adding this to the battery info in specifications, for future reviews?

By JimmyN on 9 Nov 2012

RAM, HDD and Battery

Hi all,

I've managed to pry the rear of the S200 off (with some less than gentle persuasion and the removal of 9 screws) and found the following:

1. The battery is user-replaceable. It's a 38Wh, 5136mAh Li-Poly battery, and the part code is C21-X202.

2. The HDD is a standard 2.5in model, and easy to swap for an SSD.

3. I can't see any RAM slots; it looks like the 4GB is embedded on the motherboard just beside the CPU.

And as for the S400, I'll give my Asus contact a shout and see what's going on.

Do shout if you have any further questions.

By SashaMuller on 9 Nov 2012

It was looking good...

until you got to the 100mbps network connector. We aren't in 2002 any longer! Hello, McFly?

I would have thought Gigabit was a given these days. :-S

By big_D on 9 Nov 2012

Streaming Performance?

Hi - just wondering how well this setup copes with streaming, i.e. Netflix and Lovefilm?

I could do with a robust, light-weight machine which can also double-up as a media streamer when tethered via HDMI and this looks like it might fit the bill!

By bioreit on 9 Nov 2012

@bioreit

A core i3 will stream all day in its sleep. No issue at all.

By rhythm on 9 Nov 2012

Streaming

As rhythm has already pointed out (thanks rhythm!) the Core i3's HD Graphics 4000 GPU is more than capable of playing HD content from any of those services.

It's a cracking little CPU.

By SashaMuller on 9 Nov 2012

Streaming Thanks

Thanks Sasha (and rhythm)!

I've had some issues with my core i3 (work) ultrabook streaming Netflix, but this defintely sounds like it'll do the job I need!

Now just need to wait for trusted vendors to have it for sale... :-)

By bioreit on 9 Nov 2012

Any way to disable Touchpad "features"?

I bought an S200E last week - great little machine, the touchscreen allowing me to start using Windows 8 in anger.

One irritation is the Touchpad though. I'm constantly changing font sizes, accidentally moving windows and wildly scrolling through web-pages thanks to my fat fingers.

I can't see a way to turn off the Touchpad extended features (such as tapping and two finger scrolling) and use it as a basic touchpad though. Any ideas?

By rtubb on 12 Nov 2012

@rtubb

Go to the desktop and you'll find an icon of a trackpad down by the clock - all the settings are in there

By NeilCFD on 13 Nov 2012

CS6

Hi will this laptop cope with Illustrator and Photoshop??

By corvina on 13 Nov 2012

@corvina

This laptop will handle pretty much any application, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop included, but it's not blazingly fast. The addition of an SSD might help matters, though, if speed is of the essence.

I'd say the larger issue in using those applications is the dim, low contrast screen. But as long as you don't rely on it to make critical judgments for contrast and colour balance, it'll work just fine.

By SashaMuller on 14 Nov 2012

Where can I buy one in the UK. Can't find one anywhere!

By sihaz2 on 14 Nov 2012

@SashaMuller & sihaz2

Thank you for your reply. that's great, I have just bought one instead of an iPad to show clients images. With the added bonus that I can do some simple work on it in CS6, if I am away from my Mac. You see there are some of us who appreciate both sides of the fence!! sihaz2 I bought mine today at Comet (with i3. girl said they actually got them, literally just hours before the fan got covered) for only £404 couldn't resist cheaper than iPad and does so much more. I really like apple stuff but!!???... well some times you just have to be logical.

By corvina on 14 Nov 2012

@bioreit&SashaMuller

Hi guys, I bought this little laptop in comet 2 weeks ago with the i3 and yes, it will handle most of the daily tasks just Fine..but when it comes of streaming the performance is poor...even watching a video from youtube using the browser in desktop mode you will notice several jumps and blurry image...this happens on desktop mode browsers...if you use instead a metro UI app for streaming, it does the job like a charm. I dont understand why this behaviour.

By ibaranenko on 17 Nov 2012

impressive price???

Well the version with i3 is now 599 pounds at 17 nov, I was wandering if it is now a sensible purchase.

By josito66 on 17 Nov 2012

Pricing and availability

@josito66

It looks like the initial stock of the S200 sold out very quickly indeed, and as a result some retailers have bumped up the price by a significant margin.

I'd hold fire until more stock arrives in the UK - at £600, the S200's dim screen and average battery life are too problematic to ignore.

The only places I've seen it for sale are PC World (who have bumped it to £600), HMV (out of stock, listed as S200E) and Expansys (who seem to be selling the European version, the X202, for £400).

We will be keeping a close eye on the pricing issue in the coming weeks. Ultimately, though, if retailers choose to add a premium to a very popular product, there's nothing that PC Pro nor Asus UK themselves can do. Should the S200 remain at the inflated price, however, we'll look into removing the Recommended award.

Kind regards,

By SashaMuller on 19 Nov 2012

Pixmania - S200E Pentium version

Just noticed that Pixmania are carrying the Pentium version for £400 inc delivery. Link here:

http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/12911421/art/asus/
s200e-c157h-11-6-touchscr.html

By SashaMuller on 19 Nov 2012

@Sasha

Dear Sasha, thanks for your help. I have just checked the pixmania link and it has gone up to £492. Also I should mention that I do not consider the anything less that i3 3xxx processors in any laptop. This situation reminds me of that one related to the lovely HP HDX series some years ago, it had wonderful reviews and HP increased the price from 900 to 1200 pounds the 16.4'' version. I really do not need the Asus computer, I am researching one for my sister. I am very happy with my Vaio F11 (2010) laptop with display HD premium screen and W7 that it is difficult to beat unless you go to the apple tree. I do not why Sony is not offering this quality anymore, unless you buy the 13.3'' Z series. This is not a way to compete against Apple.

By josito66 on 20 Nov 2012

@josito66

Hi again,

Tesco have come to the rescue. Core i3 version for £459 (£462 inc delivery):

http://www.tesco.com/direct/asus-vivobook-s200e-11
6-inch-intel-core-i3-4gb-ram-500gb-windows-8-touch
-grey-laptop/765-9083.prd?pageLevel=&skuId=765-908
3&sc_cmp=pcp_GSF_Computing_765-9083

By SashaMuller on 20 Nov 2012

@ibaranenko

This might not be the processor.

I also get jumpy video behaviour (especially in Firefox) on my Core i7 desktop.

I know ATI have some graphics issues in Win8 (Adobe Photoshop CS6 goes bonkers) so there maybe a more widespread Win8 graphics performance issue.

@Sasha

Tesco link already gone! :O

Any news on the S400?

By Grunthos on 20 Nov 2012

Closed lid and ventilation

Could someone share laptops manual? I am wondering whether it is properly ventilated when lid is closed as air flows into the scrren so it has not much space when it is closed...

By Kodak on 22 Nov 2012

Ok - I saw it - there should be no problem with it as air flows to the back when lid is closed

By Kodak on 23 Nov 2012

Now available...

On Amazon with i3 at RRP

By adamgashead on 3 Dec 2012

very good value @449

Playing around with one for a week now. It's good value for money. The screen doesn't seem dim to me (only when it literally dims in power saving mode). The processor is generally good. The only thing that holds the machine back is the mechanical hard drive.

By popeye91 on 4 Dec 2012

For anyone

still having trouble finding one, Ebuyer now have 'em in at £449.99 inc VAT, stock shown as 50 in.

By nichomach0 on 6 Dec 2012

still cant find an S400

any news on when a person can get their hands on an S400? thanks

By niamh07 on 18 Dec 2012

S200 and S400

I've been looking at the S200 and S400. I've found the S200 at PC World for £499 - http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/asus-vivobook-s400e-
ca038h-14-touchscreen-laptop-dark-grey-18893014-pd
t.html?srcid=37&cmpid=comp~Shoppingcom~Laptops+%26
+Netbooks~18893014 and the S200 for £449 at http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/ASUS-Vivobook-S200E-
C158H-116-Touchscreen-Laptop-Dark-Grey-18893085-pd
t.html?srcid=11026

By DavidOverton on 28 Dec 2012

Pricing at PC World

The bump up to £600 at PC World was clearly a tactic - one of their usuals. It came back down to £450 in the "sale", so is now on sale at full RRP, but with a "£150 off" sticker on it. It was at the higher price for almost exactly a month - just long enough, presumably, to allow them to trumpet it as a reduction in the "sale".

If Sasha felt like tackling PC World over this it would be an ideal example of the abuse of the "sale" system - it cannot be right that they can have these "reduced" and "sale" stickers on something they're selling at manufacturers' RRP. Scandalous tactics from a company I thought had tried to improve its image (its customer service has improved marginally over the past 3 years, hasn't it?)

By JimmyN on 11 Jan 2013

Windows 8 version

I assume this comes with the standard Windows 8? Is it possible to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro?
Thanks

By gerooki on 15 Jan 2013

Windows 8 version

I assume this comes with the standard Windows 8? Is it possible to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro?
Thanks

By gerooki on 15 Jan 2013

@gerooki

The VivoBook S200E does indeed come with standard Windows 8.

The Windows 8 Pro upgrade is £25 from the Microsoft Store, link here:

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msuk/en_GB/pdp
/productID.257641900

By SashaMuller on 15 Jan 2013

ASUS Computer

Save yourself a lot of aggravation... DON'T BUY AN ASUS Computer!! They have bugsin their keyboards and the keys constantly malfunction along withthe space bar...which you can tell by this message. Their customer support is pathetic at best. I wishver did I ne..see what Imean...Don't go there you will regret it

By Chicago on 28 Mar 2013

Anyone know why there appears to not be an option to boot from a usb on this model? If there is one, where is it?!

By CHRISFINCHAM on 6 May 2013

is it ok if i use it while it is plugged in and the battery is 100% full will it not affect the battery? or is there a plugged in mode so that i can save my battery?

By stefano on 26 Aug 2013

is it ok if i use it while it is plugged in and the battery is 100% full will it not affect the battery? or is there a plugged in mode so that i can save my battery?

By stefano on 26 Aug 2013

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