With a price tag that’s well under most touchscreen computers out there, you’d expect the Asus F202E to not be as good as the competition, and though it manages to surprise, it’s not without its flaws.
Leading them is, unsurprisingly, the performance of the system, and with an Intel Celeron under the hood, this is most certainly not a high speed box. While the touchscreen does an admirable job of picking up on multiple fingers and gestures, it can take half a second or so for the system to catch up with whatever you’re doing.
We saw this performance issue a few times with both the modern LiveTile interface in Windows and desktop mode, as well as various apps we installed, as the computer paused between gestures and bringing up dialog boxes. Applications would sometimes stop working too, or would be delayed by ten or fifteen seconds.
You won’t get an instant on effect, either. With the conventional hard drive in use here alongside the processor, we found the standby-to-on time of 5 seconds greeted us, and an off-to-on time of a little over a minute.
We get it, the Intel Celeron isn’t a great processor, but it delivers enough performance for surfing the web, really casual gaming, and the regular range of office activities. It sure isn’t a speed demon, though we suspect a lack of memory isn’t helping things here.
The screen isn’t top notch either, something you’ll notice the moment you have to look at it. We’re not at all bothered by the 11.6 inch size, but rather the display type, which has poor vertical angles and forces you to struggle to find the right – and comfortable – angle to read the screen.
Images and on-screen text can lack clarity too, and you’ll quickly realise that this isn’t a high grade display, not like that of the Acer Aspire S7 or even Apple’s iPad.
Still, there are decent touch capabilities there, so it’s not all bad.
Asus has learned a few things about the battery charger, and that’s good news, ditching the overly bulky laptop brick that most notebooks will come with.
What it hasn’t managed here is a power brick that charges its machine quickly. Whether you need just a touch of juice or the whole nine yards, there’s a high chance you’ll be waiting a few hours for the machine to build that strength back up.
Battery life isn’t terrible, mind you, and we managed an easy four to five hours from the VivoBook, but getting the life back up to the one hundred percent mark can take a few hours, so just be aware of that when you’re doing something like flying.
It’s not the best Windows 8 machine you’re ever going to lay eyes on, but sitting pretty at just under $500, it’s insanely hard to argue with.
The keyboard is surprisingly good, providing even better travel than we had on the last – and first – Windows 8 machine we reviewed, and we’d be pretty hard pressed to find another manufacturer touting a touchscreen laptop for this price tag.
The Asus VivoBook F202E certainly isn’t for everyone, and with a Celeron inside, you certainly won’t want to use this for gaming, photo editing, or video work.
Still, if your life is more about web surfing, writing documents, playing the odd casual game, and you’re keen on the new touch interface of Windows 8, but don’t want to fork out over a grand, it’s hard to go past this machine.
While netbooks are a dead market, Asus has done a great job with the VivoBook F202E, reviving an area for customers who demand value more than anything else, which is exactly what this computer brings.
Value for money
Reader Rating1 Vote
The least expensive Windows 8 touchscreen laptop we've seen; Reasonably thin and light; Charge pack is small and not bulky at all;
Battery takes hours to charge; Low-end screen with poor viewing angles and diminished clarity; Very low spec processor makes the system slower to respond;