ASUS really stepped up its game and introduced the new netbook, the ASUS VivoBook E200HA-US01-GD. For such a cheap device, the E200HA stands out as being well built, robust and elegantly functional.
Here we have a laptop where the price tag ($199 MSRP at the moment) suggests a more modest, even underwhelming experience will be had when using it. Compromises all around and technical mishaps abound in the world of extremely affordable notebooks.
However, the ASUS VivoBook E200HA is not like the others, at least not when talking about design, finish and overall user experience. I must say I’m pleasantly surprised by what ASUS has managed to come up with.
The chassis is all plastic which doesn’t feel cheap at all to the touch. The build quality is also pretty good: it feels robust, as if it could sustain a drop without much consequences.
Design-wise, I think the E200HA series features one of the best looking chassis in this market segment. The rounded edges work in tune with the coherent color choices to give it a more premium feel. Available colors include black, white, rose gold and a silver-ish blue, all toned down, unlike other models which scream at us with bright, tiring color choices.
I especially enjoyed the placement of the interface ports, the big, harmonious trackpad in the center of the palm rest area. Everything seems to be made with a blend of symmetry and intentional – almost necessary – unbalance in mind. This blend makes the ASUS much more interesting and thought out; it does stand out rather nicely.
The ASUS VivoBook E200HA-US01-GD is built for ease of use and convenience. It’s very light, weighing only 2.2 pounds and very thin, just 0.7 inches across. These numbers will allow you to carry the device literally everywhere you go. Being a 11.6-inch laptop, it will fit in just about any bag without weighing you down. At least not considerably.
Another useful feature is the ASUS Splendid Technology it comes with. This enables the user to select which preset he or she wants when using the device to better optimize for either color, or brightness, or less eye strain.
Input methods are also a pleasure to work with. This model has a full-size chiclet keyboard which emulates the feel of more robust keyboards without wasting much space. Key travel distance is 1.6 milimeters and float is significantly reduced, thus increasing feedback and feel.
The trackpad is gesture friendly using the ASUS Smart Gesture technology, which is basically multi-touch tech. You can scroll, zoom in and out, swipe and tap with up to 3 fingers. It’s also larger than your average trackpad, occupying the space right up to the E200HA’s bezel and can detect whether you rest your palm on it or not.
When discussing performance, it’s important to keep in mind that the ASUS VivoBook E200HA-US01-GD is first and foremost a device designed primarily for portability and ease of use. Performance comes second, but it shouldn’t hinder anyone’s work if used within its limitations.
The processor is a new generation Quad-Core Intel Atom Z8300 (Cherry Trail architecture). The CPU’s four cores do a better job than previous models at handling multitasking, but still fall short when pushed to the limits. The key specs are nothing short of impressive: a scenario design power of just 2 Watts, 2 megabytes of cache and a clock speed between 1.44 and 1.84 GHz. Being so small and energy efficient also allows for a fanless design, since the thermal output is so, so low.
System memory is rated at 2 gigabytes of on-board DDR3 SDRAM, enough for most everyday tasks, such as editing documents, browsing the web, watching videos, writing emails and so on. This review has been written from a very similar device with 2 gigs of RAM and I can’t complain.
Storage capacity is limited at 32 gigabytes, but you get a zippy SSD instead. The laptop feels blazing fast when booting up, and everything from navigating the drive to opening web pages will feel like smooth sailing. Furthermore, to help with the lack of space, ASUS is offering 500 gigabytes of free storage on the cloud via their own service called ASUS Webstorage.
Screen and display
The screen, as mentioned earlier is an 11.6-inch LED-backlit LCD panel which features a rather standard HD (1366 x 768 pixels) display. I found that the color reproduction is more accurate than other similar devices, such as the Lenovo 100s-11, but still has that uncanny lack of color depth we see in affordable laptops. Viewing angles are average, since this is not an IPS panel.
The ASUS VivoBook E200HA-US01-GD has:
- 1 x USB 3.0 port
- 1 x USB 2.0 port
- 1 x micro HDMI port
- 1 x audio combo jack
- 1 x micro SD card slot
The interface options we see are adequate for such a device. It’s refreshing to see a USB 3.0 port at this low price bracket.
Contrary to what I assumed, the ASUS has a 802.11ac MIMO wireless card with integrated Bluetooth 4.1. This means you’ll be able to get the best speeds out of every wireless network and benefit from the MIMO technology, which enables many more simultaneous connections between a router and nearby devices.
Battery life and portability
Long lasting and reliable, the 2-cell 38 Whr polymer battery pack can hold a charge for up to 12 to 14 hours of moderate use. That’s more than enough for one or even two days of work. You won’t need to carry the charger everywhere and make your bag unnecessarily heavy.
As I mentioned earlier, the E200HA-US01-GD weighs only 2.2 pounds and measures just 0.7 inches in width. The ASUS will fit in almost any bag.
The ASUS E200HA-US01-GD is a great affordable laptop which comes with entry level performance stats, but with premium-like portability features. It’s light, the battery lasts longer than you need on a daily basis and it’s well built.
Its relative robustness and fair price make it for a great starter laptop for young students or as an affordable travel device, whether you go to India or your downtown coffee shop.
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