The ASUS VivoBook S200E ‘Netbook’ – Nearly an Ultrabook but Definitely the Cheapest Win 8 Touch Laptop


More and more touchscreen laptops are hitting the South African market and they’re coming in at both ends of the spectrum. The Acer Aspire V5 Touch is a good example of an Ultrabook-alternative with Touchscreen. The ASUS VivoBook series is another.

Meet the Asus Vivobook S200E that we’ll be reviewing and that is available from WebAntics Online for R4,923.57 incl VAT including delivery to all main centres. Even without touchscreen that would not be a lot. It doesn’t look like a cheap laptop however, with not a lot of plastic (only the bottom cover) and a stylish brushed aluminium finish similar to the (much more expensive) Zenbook series. The net result is that the entire notebook is remarkably rigid and resilient. The build quality is very high: the transition between the different sections is without flaws, the corners are nicely rounded, and the gaps are even and unobtrusive. It is Asus’ best-selling laptop and currently one of the better selling ones at Amazon.com and it is easy to see why

Asus VivoBook S200E Review

The concept seems simple: use a touchscreen and combine it with Windows 8 so the VivoBook can be used like a tablet, while preserving the advantages of a full-fledged notebook. Dell follows a similar strategy with their XPS 12 though it is clearly in a different league as far as the price point is concerned (over R18,500.00 incl vat)

There is a downside to these new products, and that’s how much they cost. But it’s that way with any new product cycle, and it’s no different with Windows 8 products. The OS has now been out for a number of months, and we are finally starting to see manufacturers bringing more affordable products to market. 

At 1.3KG with an 11.6” High Definition 1336×768 touchscreen, Windows 8 and an Ultrabook-like design, you’d be forgiven for thinking the ASUS S200E is an Ultrabook. With full-size VGA, 2 -in-1 card reader, HDMI and 3 USB ports (1xUSB3.0 and 2xUSB2.0) you might even think it has some advantages over Ultrabooks. There are a few downsides though that don’t put it into the ultrabook grade. The processor is an Intel® ULV Celeron® 847 1.1GHz Dual Core Processor and it takes a maximum of 2GB DDR3 memory . There’s no SSD cache, no Ultrabook security features and it only has a 2Cell 5136 mAh 38 Whrs Polymer Battery, giving a maximum possible run time of around 5 hours and 17 minutes.

But isn’t that all you’d expect at this price. Think of this as 70% netbook, 30% touchscreen plaything. Nothing flips out or turns into a stand, but within that standard notebook form you’ll find a fine keyboard/trackpad combo plus all you’ll need for serious work. There’s also sufficient grunt to handle Photoshop, various music apps and the odd bit of light video editing too but don’t plan on running any demanding (3D) applications

S200E_3In use the Asus has the feel of a premium device, despite an underlying lack of user-friendliness from the Windows 8 desktop (but blame Microsoft for that). The trackpad is a tad unresponsive and there’s a bit of fan noise (more or less inaudible in most environments), but otherwise it all looks and feels like money well spent – which indeed it is. For casual movie viewing the Asus is more than capable enough for an 11-incher. Playback is smooth, but keep in mind that 1080p vids are scaled down to its lower-res HD 1366×768 screen. As for sound, colour us impressed! The VivoBook has the ASUS exclusive SonicMaster technology with Waves MaxxAudio 3 for a more powerful sound and richer bass through the speakers. It most certainly provides the best audio experience in its class, far outshining the competition…and I wouldn’t have expected anything less from ASUS.

Another feature we just couldn’t stop playing with was the Exclusive ASUS Super Hybrid Engine II technology that offers smartphone-like 2-second instant on from sleep or hibernate modes, so you can resume without delay. Open files and tasks are kept safe in memory, plus should the battery drop below 5% charge while you’re away, data gets automatically backed up. Your valuable content is always secure and within reach. Definitely something you”ll find hard to live without once you’ve had it.

The black chiclet-style keyboard is seamlessly integrated into the aluminum chassis, which in turn adds to the impression of high quality. The aluminum keyboard area is also responsible for exceptionally high rigidity – even when firm pressure is applied. With the exception of the arrow keys, which are a bit undersized, the layout is pretty standard and doesn’t take a long time to get used to.

Although the click point could be slightly better defined and the key travel longer, we were happy with the very good feedback and the typing experience overall. The VivoBook does not suffer from the usual issues that plague low-priced notebooks.

The ASUS S200E is by far the cheapest touchscreen Windows 8 laptop on the market in South Africa right now. If you’re looking for a ‘new-age’ netbook alternative or an entry level portable, ultrabook-alternative, you’ll certainly be very happy with this as your purchase

The ASUS S200E is now in our databaseSee all the VivoBook Windows 8 Touchscreen devices here.

 

4 comments

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  1. Paul 25 April, 2013 at 13:05

    I was looking for an Ultrabook so I had something fast and lightweight. However, my budget meant I had to aim for slightly cheaper – so I found this. After some deliberating, I took the plunge and bought it, having had a good look in-store. I am a tech novice so cannot go into very much spec critique, but these are the reasons I bought it and why I still love it after 2 weeks.
    – The touch screen element was not something I was initially looking for but it works brilliantly and now I would not be without it. Windows 8 was designed for the touchscreen and it is so easy to get to grips with once you learn the tricks. I can alternate between touchscreen use for games and internet and then normal mouse for Office applications. It is a small screen, so if you have clumsy fingers like me it is great to have the choice. I don’t think there is anything much else on the market for this price but this does not detract from the brilliance of this VivoBook.
    – I got the S300CA model and the processor is i3 and I wanted at least this for my budget. So far, so good. I’m no big gamer so it suits my internet browsing and Office needs.
    – I am not going to review Windows 8 – but I love that all of my favourite things are together on one home screen. I can switch easily between this and a more traditional desktop. Takes some getting used to but the touchscreen really does help as it and Windows 8 love each other!
    – The screen size seems teeny to me as I’m used to a larger laptop but I’m quickly getting used to it and it is funky, light and quick to put to sleep/wake up.
    – I do a lot of word processing so a good-sized keypad was needed. This is fantastic on this notebook. Loads of space for the keys and mouse pad.

    I love this so much!

  2. Christine 11 May, 2014 at 16:37

    Does this notebook come with a sim slot? I want a laptop of this size that can replace my tablet as I need to do a lot of typing (a mini laptop really is my best option), but I also want to put in my sim and upload data and drag a 3G dongle with me as it’s inconvenient sticking out the side of a laptop. Any advice? (Also, my budget is max R6000)

  3. Webmaster 13 May, 2014 at 12:12

    Hi Christine. There isn’t a notebook of that size that would come with 3G connectivity for a simcard in that range and doubtful any other model will have it either as the options are so limited unless you want to look at the very high end models. Have you thought about getting a good quality Bluetooth keyboard for your tablet? Otherwise the Asus VivoBook F200MA-CT168H is the new 11.6″ model now available (the S200 has been replaced since this article). Visit http://www.webantics.co.za/viewItem.aspx?idProduct=19942 for more information.

  4. Christine 13 May, 2014 at 13:52

    Hi the Dell Inspiron 11z has a sim slot 🙂 but this is an older one…not sure if they make them anymore. I loved working on it! that’s actually what I’m looking for

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