A lightweight touchscreen laptop at a ridiculously low price
The Asus Vivobook S200 might be a budget Windows 8 laptop costing just £500, but it certainly doesn't feel like it. Flipping open the handsome black brushed metal lid reveals a silver brushed metal wrist rest. The rest of the laptop is made from plastic instead of metal, but it still feels incredibly robust and rigid, yet stylish too. Impressively, Asus has also squeezed in an 11.6in touchscreen.
We remain unconvinced with touchscreens on traditional laptops – using an upright touchscreen for any substantial length of time quickly becomes tiresome and achy, but it's fine for occasional use such as quickly tapping a button or zooming in and out of an image. The touchscreen here feels responsive and smooth while the display sits flush with the bezel so there aren't any edges to catch your finger. The 1,366x768 pixel screen itself is reasonably bright and good quality, but some other laptop displays are far brighter.
Although we wish the keys on the keyboard felt a little less stiff and had a bit more travel when pressed, they are still large and responsive enough to type on quickly and comfortably. Unsurprisingly, given the low price, the keyboard doesn't light up in dim lighting conditions, but this is an understandable omission.
The touchpad is impressively large, but there was often a brief but annoying lag between moving a finger across the pad and the cursor obeying our movements on screen. It's otherwise accurate and the buttons built into the pad feel surprisingly responsive and firm.
Although the Vivobook isn't thin enough to qualify for Intel's ‘Ultrabook' marketing brand, it's still a lightweight laptop at just 1.4kg. It's easy to carry around all day, so it's a shame battery life isn't better. In light usage it lasted just under five hours which is good for a budget laptop, but other, admittedly more expensive lightweight laptops can last even longer.
The lack of a power-sipping solid state drive (SSD) is no doubt partially responsible for the so-so battery life. In its place though is a large 500GB hard disk which should be large enough for storing all but the biggest music, photo and video libraries.
Unsurprisingly, the Intel integrated graphics chip isn't fast enough for playing the latest 3D games. However, it was unexpectedly slow in other tasks too. It was surprisingly sluggish in our DVD video-resizing test, no doubt due to the 1.5GHz Intel Pentium 987 processor which doesn't have the performance-enhancing tricks found in the more expensive Intel Core processors. It's still more than fast enough for web browsing, office work and editing photos though. There's 4GB of memory built-in, but more can't be added in future – an annoyance that's increasingly common in new laptops.
The Asus Vivobook S200 isn't without its flaws, but we can overlook them at such a low price and with such good quality construction.
Read more reviews
Although it's not perfect, this lightweight Windows 8 laptop is an absolute bargain – lightweight, comfortable to use, classy and sturdy
Inexpensive; lightweight yet sturdy; attractive; comfortable keyboard
Imperfect touchpad; relatively short battery life
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