Asus’ VivoBook X202E notebook reviewed
Ultrabooks were meant to revitalize a PC notebook industry that had lost some of its swagger in the face of super slim systems like Apple’s MacBook Air. PC makers have been rolling out similarly svelte designs for a couple years now, and some of their offerings have been quite good. However, like the MacBook Air, this new breed of premium notebooks has also been rather expensive. Combine relatively high prices with the growing hype surrounding less expensive tablets, and you’ve got a recipe for slow sales.
Market research firm IHS initially expected 22 million ultrabooks to ship in 2012, but it cut that estimate by more than half in October and lowered its 2013 forecast by 25%. Mainstream consumers won’t be interested in ultrabooks until prices drop to around $600 700, IHS says. The thing is, there’s already an ultraportable notebook available in that price range. Although it may not meet Intel’s strict definition for what constitutes an ultrabook, this three pound, 11.6 incher still boasts a 17W Ivy Bridge CPU, brushed metal surfaces, USB 3.0 connectivity, and a Windows 8 friendly touchscreen. I’d like you to meet the Asus VivoBook X202E.
She’s a looker, isn’t she? At first glance, it’s hard to believe the X202E . The overall style definitely draws inspiration from Apple’s aesthetic, but I’m not going to complain about clean lines and textured metal surfaces becoming available on such an inexpensive system. Besides, Asus has put its own spin the whole brushed aluminum trend with a beautifully tinted top panel that defies the monochromatic tones of modern Macs.
The subdued shade of purplish gunmetal sets the X202E apart from the mountain of MacBook wannabes on the market, and it provides a touch of warmth to the otherwise cold metal exterior. This isn’t one of those all metal unibody Toms Shoes Outlet designs, though. The chassis’ metal pieces are complemented by plastic parts, including the entire bottom panel and the strip running across the front edge of the lid.
Asus has resisted the urge to polish those pieces to a fingerprint prone shine, allowing the X202E to maintain its classy looks even after a busy day in the real world mo Toms Shoes Outlet stly, anyway. Glossy screens are hard to avoid these days, and adding touch to the equation invites plenty of ugly streaks. Of course, you don’t have to use the X202E’s touchscreen. Like Window 8’s Modern UI Start screen, it’s there but can be easily ignored.
While the VivoBook’s body isn’t metal throughout, you wouldn’t know it by picking up the thing. One perceives only the slightest hint of flex when holding the notebook by the front corner of the palm rest. The brushed slab that comprises t Toms Shoes Outlet he palm rest and keyboard tray likely deserves a lot of credit for the structural rigidity. As an added bonus, the metal skin looks and feels a lot more expensive than you might expect from a system that costs 550 bucks.
Despite the fact that the VivoBook hasn’t dieted down to meet ultrabook standards, the chassis is only 0.85″ thick. There are certainly thinner designs out there, but in my experience, shaving a few millimeters off a notebook doesn’t y Toms Shoes Outlet ield practical benefits beyond the initial “hey, cool, it’s thinner” reaction.