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Asus VivoBook X202E-DH31T Review
The Asus VivoBook X202E-DH31T budget ultraportable is an affordable alternative to touch ultrabooks, but takes some hits in performance and battery life.
- Slim and light with aluminum construction
- Windows 8 with touch screen
- Low price
- Mediocre performance
- Short battery life
The biggest trend in laptops right now is the move from traditional laptops to touch-centric tablets and convertible designs. For those who want to get the touch capability needed to make the most of Windows 8, but don’t want to leave behind the standard laptop design, there are touch-enabled laptops, like the Asus VivoBook X202E-DH31T. While there are plenty of new touch laptops on the market now, not all of them are affordable, but the X202E-DH31T’s price tag puts it in a reasonable price range. You may lose some of the performance and battery life offered by more expensive options, but the affordability makes up some of the difference.
The X202E-DH31T is a slim ultraportable, measuring 0.8 by 11.9 by 7.9 inches (HWD) and weighing a very portable 2.9 pounds, making it about the right thickness and weight for an ultrabook, though it’s missing the requisite solid-state drive or flash memory cache that’s one of the requisites of the ultrabook category. While it may not bear Intel’s ultrabook moniker, the X202E-DH31T is equipped with something equally compelling—a touch screen, complete with 10-finger tracking and touchable bezels to allow Windows 8 gestures such as swiping in from the sides of the screen.
Unlike convertible designs, such as the sliding Sony VAIO Duo 11 (D11213CX) or the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, the X202E-DH31T can’t change out of its clamshell form factor. One point of irritation, however, is the screen’s hinges, which wobble quite a bit when the screen is touched. On a device that features a touch screen, the hinges need to be sturdy enough to withstand all of the poking and prodding that comes with it.
The 11.6-inch display offers a resolution of 1,366-by-768, which—while not as exciting as the 1080p display of the Dell XPS 12—is par for the course in this price range. But while the resolution is on the acceptable side of the line dividing passable from the mediocre, the overall quality of the display is not. The viewing angles are lousy, the display is dim, even with the brightness turned up, and the display is prone to reflecting every glint and glare. It’s fine for browsing the Web or typing a document, but it’s still a letdown.
Slightly better are the Asus SonicMaster speakers tucked out of sight along the hinge. They offer decent sound at quiet volumes and while the sound gets tinny at high volume, it’s still pretty clear, with some buzzing treble, but moderately clear bass.
The chiclet-style keyboard is approximately full-size, but the keys themselves are a little small, making for a cramped typing experience. It’s not as bad as that of the Sony VAIO Duo 11, but the keys do have the same short (1.6mm) key travel. The laptop’s clickable touchpad combines the right and left buttons into the 4.1-by-2.4-inch surface of the touchpad for a larger area of touch tracking. It supports both standard gestures, like two=finger scrolling and pinch zoom, and Windows-8-specific gestures, such as swiping from the edges to activate Charms and cycle through apps.
The X202E-DH31T has a fairly standard selection of features, with two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port for connecting high-speed portable drives and high capacity flash drives; VGA and HDMI outputs for connecting to monitors, projectors, or HDTV; and a compact Ethernet port for those instances when the built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi won’t do the trick. A 2-in-1 card reader supports both SD cards and Sony’s Memory Stick formats, while a Kensington lock slot lets you physically secure the laptop while in a public place. In addition to a stereo minijack for headphones, the X202E-DH31T also has Bluetooth 4.0, and a 0.3MP webcam is available for Skyping and other video chat applications.
The X202E-DH31T is outfitted with a 500GB hard drive, which is a fairly decent amount of storage space (the VAIO Duo 11 only had a 128GB SSD), but it lacks the additional flash memory for faster wake times and performance, which will prevent it from having the same snappy responsiveness offered by similar looking ultrabooks.
The laptop features Windows 8 Home Premium (64-bit), with programs preinstalled on both the Start Screen and the traditional desktop, including a 60-day trial of McAfee Internet Security 2012, LoJack for Laptops, an upgradeable version of Microsoft Office 2010 Starter, and Adobe Reader. Asus also has some branded apps and programs, such as Asus WebStorage and Asus Game Park Console, which provide some free online storage and basic games, respectively. Asus also covers the X202E-DH31T with both a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor, additional accident protection (covering spills, power surges, and fire damage), and a 30-day “Zero Bright Dot” warranty on the display.
The X202E-DH31T is equipped with a 1.8GHz Intel Core i3-3217U low-voltage processor, the same CPU found in the budget Editors’ Choice Acer Aspire V5-571-6891. Compared to the Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors found in the Lenovo Yoga 13, the Sony Duo 11 and the Dell XPS 12, the VivoBook’s Core i3 is rather puny, and it’s slowed down further by the spinning hard drive—the competitors listed all rely on solid-state drives (SSDs) for faster performance.
As a result, the X202E-DH31T’s performance lagged considerably, crawling through tasks like our Photoshop test in 8 minutes 46 seconds. By comparison the Lenovo Yoga 13 (6:35) and Dell XPS 12 (6:31) both finished the same test more than two minutes faster. Handbrake scores were similarly lopsided, with the VivoBook (2 minutes 15 seconds) dragging behind the Lenovo Yoga 13 (1:34) and the Sony VAIO Duo 11 (1:25).
Additionally, while the X202E-DH31T also has Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 4000 processing, it couldn’t run our Aliens vs. Predator test, and only ran Heaven at 1366-by-768 resolution and medium detail for an unplayable 4 frames per second.
The real nail in the coffin, however, was battery life. Despite the sub-3-pound weight and ultra-low-voltage processor, the X202E-DH31T (and its 38Wh, 2-cell battery) only lasted 3 hours 50 minutes in our video rundown test. By comparison, the Lenovo Yoga 13 lasted five hours, while the Dell XPS 12 a little longer (5:09). The Sony Duo 11 lasted closer to that of the X202E-DH31T at 3:09.
The new range of hybrid tablets and touchable laptops on the market now may offer better performance and battery life, but the Asus VivoBook X202E-DH31T puts touch capability into an affordable price range, which may make it worthwhile despite the flaws. Compared to other 10- to 12-inch touch-capable Windows 8 laptops, it’s cheap and usable, if not as portable and powerful as leading systems, like the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13. But the price is hard to beat, especially when compared with the budget laptop Editors’ Choice Acer Aspire V5-571-6891, which is only $50 less, without touch.
Compare the Asus VivoBook X202E-DH31T with several other laptops side by side.
By Brian Westover, PCMag
- Type: Ultraportable, Value, Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage
- Processor Name: Intel Core i3-3217U
- Processor Speed: 1.8 GHz
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 Professional
- RAM: 4 GB
- Weight: 2.9 lb
- Screen Size: 11.6 inches
- Screen Type: Widescreen
- Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics 4000
- Storage Capacity (as Tested): 500 GB
- Networking Options: 802.11n
- Primary Optical Drive: External