The revolution that ASUS made with netbook concept (EEE PC) launched this company among the top players when it comes to portable computers. Meantime, ASUS used its newfound popularity to bring a large number of very good portable PC’s on the market, and this time for testing we’ve received a model that falls in the category of ultra-portable laptops, paired with a touchscreen. Sounds good, right?
The chassis houses a 11.6” diagonal screen, but it appears that it could have had an even bigger screen, because there is space on both axis. F200 marking doesn’t say much, but we’ve found out that there will be an X200, which will be identical, except for the screen, which won’t be touchscreen. Light blue color of the screen can be very interesting to some users, and next to this one, which ASUS calls “Ocean blue”, this company offers aslo “Hot pink”, Elegant white and “Gentle black”. The screen has 1366x768 resolution and has black coating, so count on reflection if the light source is behind you. Viewing angles aren’t the best features of this model, but touchscreen is really good, so using the Windows 8 operating system is really simple, mainly because of its intended use for this type of PC’s. As an addition, there’s also a spacious touchpad, with which you can supplement gestures you’re performing on the screen, so the navigation is even easier. The accompanying buttons are integrated, so they require a bit of getting used to.
ASUS decided to use keyboard with somewhat smaller keys, but with bigger space in between them. Our personal impression is that this impacts productivity and it would have been better if buttons were bigger and space smaller. This way, the chance to accidentally press another button is significantly bigger, especially if you have a bit thicker fingers. Arrow keys are also disappointing. They are placed in a separate area, but are so small, that their use is questionable. The keyboard is enhanced with a large number of shortcuts, so you’ll easily get accustomed to using all of them. The only key outside of the keyboard is the power button, which is located in the upper right are, and we wouldn’t have minded if it had a LED light. Signal diodes are located in the lower right area and are visible when the screen is closed, thanks to another set of holes located on the lower side.
Left side has VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0 and power connector, all of that located next to the long grille of the cooling system. On the other side, there are two USB 2.0 slots, Kensington lock, LAN, audio connectors and SD/MMC card reader. When it comes to audio components, stereo speakers are located on the bottom side and have very narrow slits. They use ASUS SonicMaster Lite technology, so the sound is a lot better than what you’d expect from a laptop this small, and ASUS declared their loudness at a maximum of 79 db, which means you can watch movies and TV shows with other people also, provided you’re not too far from the laptop.
The chassis is thin, light (1.4 kg), made out of plastic, which is expected for this price range, similar as the hardware configuration. Heart of the system consists of ULV Pentium 2117 which has two physical and two logic cores and works at modest frequency of 1.8 GHz, which is extremely noticeable under the Windows 8 Pro’s load. We’re glad this is the case only with our test model, while on the market, the model will have Windows 8 64-bit, without the Pro suffix, which puts a lesser load on the system. For data storage, it has a 500 GB HDD of good performance which, paired with 4 GB of RAM, provides a relatively comfortable use. Don’t count on playing games, because the graphics inside the Pentium processor intended for providing quality image on the screen, not for gaming.
|CPU||Intel Pentium 2117U 1.8 GHz 2C/2T 17 W|
|Memory||4 GB DDR3 1333 MHz on board|
|HDD||500 GB 5400 rpm|
|Graphics||Intel GMA HD|
|Display||11.6'', touchscreen, 1366x768 pix, glare|
|Interfaces||VGA, HDMI, USB 3.0, LAN, 2x USB 2.0, audio in+out|
|Additional||SD/MMC card reader, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, HD camera|
|Dimension and weight||302 x 200 x 25.6 mm; 1.4 kg|
|OS||Windows 8 64-bit|
|Battery||3 cells; 34 Wh (3000 mAh)|
One thing we didn’t like too much was the heating, because it’s noticeable a lot under load, and it’s especially pronounced on the left side, where the temperatures reach up to 53 degrees of Celsius. We assume that the cause of this is the small chassis and somewhat weaker cooling profile that pays for silence with higher temperatures. We would have preferred it was vice – versa.
The battery has three cells and 34 Wh, or rather 3000 mAh, which means that autonomy will range from two hours under load to three and a half hours in power saving mode. This isn’t a very good result, considering this is a computer you should be carrying with you and its autonomy should be one of its main features. It seems that touch screen in combination with Windows 8 Pro operating system takes its toll.
Our experience in using it isn’t that good, primarily because of a bad operating system. There are so many problems, starting with updates and their installation that can take up to few hours (literally) and ending with the fact that Windows demands a restart after installing updates, regardless of what you are doing at the moment, without giving you an option of postponing it. This can be very frustrating in case you’re in middle of something with a deadline. Furthermore, slowness of the OS in some cases and lack of logic of some of its actions will turn you away from using this computer. On the other hand, from what we’ve heard of the ASUS office, F200 should come with Windows 8.1, so a lots of its flaws should be corrected.
|Fire Strike Score/Graphics/Physics||239 / 270 / 1589|
|Cloud Gate Score/Graphics/Physics||1821 / 2194 / 1142|
|Ice Storm Score/Graphics/Physics||19358 / 21997 / 13634|
|3DMark 11 Performance Score/Graphic/Physics/Combined||P367 / 316 / 1691|
|7-Zip 9.20 x64 compression/decompression [KB/s]||3610 / 41744|
|Cinebench R11.5 x64 OpenGL [fps]/CPU/CPU (Single Core) [pts]||9.1 / 1.43 / 0.74|
|HD Tune Pro 5.0 average read [MB/s]||89.1|
|Powermark Balanced / Productivity / Entertainment||3h 36' / 2h 33' / 1h 56'|
|1366x768 0xAA 0xAF|
|Hitman Absolution low [fps]||7.68|
|Just Cause 2 low [fps]||18.25|
|Tomb Raider low [fps]||14.7|
The selling points of this model are its dimensions, good hardware, touchscreen and very affordable price. The problems you might encounter are mainly due to OS, which just doesn’t allow this laptop to truly shine. The only thing remaining is to try out the model which will have a new OS and hope that Microsoft will finally make a step in the right direction, at least when it comes to some important things.
Considering that this device costs less than 400€, ASUS made a really good product, and if you need Windows 8 and touchscreen, F200 can be a very interesting buy.