ASUS Vivo Book F202 touchscreen notebook

The ASUS Vivo Book F202 brings the Windows 8 touch experience to the low-end of the PC market

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  • Buy Now 7
ASUS Vivo Book F202 touchscreen notebook
  • ASUS Vivo Book F202 touchscreen notebook
  • ASUS Vivo Book F202 touchscreen notebook
  • ASUS Vivo Book F202 touchscreen notebook
  • Expert Rating

    3.00 / 5
  • User Rating

    4.50 / 5 (of 4 Reviews)

Pros

  • Well built
  • Good touchscreen
  • Convenient size and overall package

Cons

  • Touchpad
  • Sluggish performance
  • Screen angles and reflections
  • No Bluetooth

Bottom Line

The ASUS Vivo Book F202 is a good entry point if you're after a cheap and well built Windows 8-based laptop with a touchscreen. Its performance is sluggish, but it's adequate for media consumption, Web browsing, and some document creation tasks. You can even play some games on it (ones downloaded from the Windows store).

Would you buy this?

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We're not going to dwell too much on the ASUS Vivo Book F202 laptop. It's a cheap 11.6in model that's aimed at students and anyone else who wants a small, touchscreen-enabled laptop for under $500. The design of the notebook is strong considering the price — in fact, it looks a little like a baby Zenbook — and it's a small and easily mobile device that you can chuck in a backpack. But there is no escaping the fact that it doesn't have a fast processor.

The Vivo Book F202 is based on an Intel Celeron CPU, which supplies performance that's about twice as fast as some of the last netbooks we reviewed almost two years ago (some of which were based on the AMD C-50 APU, for example). You won't want to use this laptop to perform media encoding tasks or anything else that will tax the CPU, and multitasking will have to be undertaken in moderation as well if you don't want to notice too much of a slowdown in performance.

Basically, the Vivo Book F202 is a good machine for browsing the Web, using social media, typing up documents, listening to music, viewing photos and watching videos. The screen has 10-input capacitive touch that you can use to move around the Windows 8 Start screen, but the hardware is a conventional clamshell — and at 1.4kg, it's a little bit on the heavy side for its 11.6in size, but it ships with a small and relatively light adapter, which offsets that somewhat.

You can't really use this model as a tablet — it's just a regulation laptop with a touchscreen. The most you can do is tap on the screen every now and then to select something, move the cursor or hit a Live Tile and, of course, play touch-based games. We've slowly gotten used to doing just that on these new touch-enabled laptops, to the point where we now use our fingers to place the cursor at a particular place within a document we're editing, in addition to using touch gestures for the Windows 8 Start screen and other features. The screen does rock back and forth when it's touched though, and coupled with reflections off the glossy finish, this can be very annoying. It works best when you hold the screen with one hand while using the other hand to perform the touch action.

Fruit Ninja works well with the touchscreen, but you have to find a comfortable way to hold or rest the notebook while playing it.
Fruit Ninja works well with the touchscreen, but you have to find a comfortable way to hold or rest the notebook while playing it.

You'll still want to use the keyboard and touchpad for the majority of your navigation, and the keyboard isn't too bad as far as cheap laptops are concerned. The keys feel solid to hit and they are responsive. Typing on the Vivo Book didn't feel like a chore, but we did have to get used to the relatively cramped nature of the keyboard on the 11.6in form factor. The touchpad is large (105x61mm) and it supports Windows 8 gestures for accessing Charms, flicking through apps and bringing up context menus. However, its software is very limited; you can't adjust aspects of the two-finger scrolling function, such as speed and coasting, and we couldn't get three-finger flicks to work at all.

The 11.6in screen has a native resolution of 1366x768, and it's a panel with narrow viewing angles, which is standard for this segment of the laptop market. You'll have to adjust the tilt regularly in order to fix brightness and contrast issues in photos, and even in Google search results as, in some cases, it can be hard to see the shaded background behind sponsored results verses organic results.

The Celeron CPU is an ultra-low voltage model that runs at 1.1GHz and has two cores. It's joined by 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM and a 320GB hard drive, and it performed sluggishly in our benchmarks — and also when trying to load new-style Windows 8 apps. We've not seen a laptop with a CPU that hasn't been an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 for a while, which makes us quite spoilt really. In the Blender 3D rendering test is took 2min 45sec to complete a two-thread render. The iTunes MP3 encoding time was 2min 33sec. These results are about twice as fast as a netbook based on the AMD C-50 APU, for example, such as the Toshiba NB550D, which debuted at a similar price point to this ASUS model back in early 2011. We ran our AutoGordianKnot DVD-to-Xvid conversion test on the ASUS as well, and it finished in a time of three hours. This makes it clear that the Vivo Book F202 shouldn't be considered if you want a laptop for converting or creating media files.

Graphics are integrated in the CPU and they recorded 1177 in 3DMark06. It's a slow result, but the Vivo Book F202 can be used to run games obtained through the Windows store. Titles such as Fruit Ninja will run with little fuss. The hard drive is a Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 model with a 5400rpm spin speed. Its result of 19.08 megabytes per second (MBps) in our file duplication test is also something we have not seen since the netbook era and the slow performance was also highlighted in CrystalDiskMark, where a read rate of 68MBps was achieved, along with a write rate of 64MBps.

Boot up time was 37 seconds, which is the time it took to cold boot to the Windows Start screen and allow us to click on the Live Tile for the Desktop. A top-flight Windows 8 laptop such as the Acer Aspire S7 took just eight seconds in the same scenario. System resume time was about two seconds from the time the lid was lifted until the lock screen was shown.

As for battery life, you can get a little over five hours when you use a balanced power profile and medium screen brightness while performing tasks such as browsing the Web, typing up documents and looking at photos. The battery is sealed in the chassis, which is 22mm thick when you take the rubber feet into consideration as well (it's 20mm without them). It contains USB ports on both sides of the chassis (one USB 3.0 on the left side along with a USB 2.0 port, and a USB 2.0 port on the right side), as well as VGA, a combination headphone/microphone port, an SD card slot, a full-sized HDMI port, and a 100Mbps Ethernet port. You also get a webcam and 802.11n Wi-Fi (single-band using an Atheros AR9485 adapter).

The ports on the left.
The ports on the left.
The ports on the right.
The ports on the right.

While the unit ran well enough in order to be useful for everyday tasks, we did experience one large annoyance related to Windows updates. The machine crashed upon trying to install updates and it went into repair mode on its own after stalling during these updates. This whole process took a very long time and we're hoping it's just a teething problem with the new operating system and the way it handles updates.

Overall though, the best part about this laptop is its build quality, and that includes the responsive touchscreen. It feels very well made and also looks great in comparison to past laptops in this price point. If you can get over the fact that its speed is not up to the standard of an Intel Core i-series processor and that you can't do much more than Web browsing, office document creation, social media and media consumption on it, then go for it.

If you want to learn a bit about Windows 8 before purchasing a Windows 8 laptop such as this one, check out our beginner's guide to Windows 8, which shows you how to get around the Start screen and much more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Read more on these topics: notebooks, Windows 8, asus, laptops

Bobthefrog

1

You can get a core i3 version too...

zilchspam

2

I bought one from JB HiFi ($383 after price matched Dick Smith's special offer) and don't find the screen to rock back & forth, the laptop appears to be well made & solid. I have read a few reviews that say the screen is loose or wobbles but I haven't experienced it. I immediately flicked the included Anti Virus and have killed any apps I can plus added a tiny (so it doesn't stick out) USB drive for ReadyBoost to try & help with the included (soldered on) 2gb RAM (pretty poor really). I am a little annoyed about no Bluetooth as some specs say it has it & some don't - definitely not working if it has it.

Nabanget T. Uki

3

I find really amusing that most reviewers, errr posters, are Americans and at the same time alcking that sense of being objective. Almost all are overly biased and subjective to the point of practically downgrading every product that is not American branded. These people should, by now learn, to accept that they belong to the marginalized type. Their Apple brand is absolutely old tech and crappy and yet they always post that it has this and that. Ha ha ha. Since when that American designed thing aren't crap and more crap. Come on, accept the fact that 80 percent of Americans, all blacks and whites, are simply idiots. The remaining percentage comprising of immigrant asians and latinos are the only intelligent people in America.

Ukin Inayu Amin

4

Agree with nabanget. And you should also include in the list of idiots Europeans and Australian whites he he he.

Grant

5

I replaced the drive in the machine with a $98 Samsung Series 840 120GB drive and it transformed this machine. With the standard HDD, if you did much at all the drive would go up to 100% on task manager and stay there. This behavior is no doubt memory related too as it probably disk swaps a bit with 2G. Overall though the build quality is great, the touch screen if you want to use touch is beyond reproach for responsiveness.

It also has great sound and an excellent keyboard. I have Office 365 on it and was using it to do my newsletter and saving it to skydrive for editing on my desktop. Excellent.

The touch pad is evidently one of the better ones on the market but still doesn't come close in usability with the ones on the Macs. I've used the Apple track pads and Magic Mouse and the quality of even reasonable touch pads like this doesn't even come close to the Mac. Still not terrible but it has a long way to go.

The other negative is just the screen in bright light, again if you compare it to a MacBook or no doubt any Windows machine with an expensive IPS screen then sure it will come up lacking.

Overall, I think that this is a great machine for the price, almost a steal in fact. If I bought again, I wouldn't bother with touch. The only time I use touch is when I'm lying in bed or on the sofa and then the touch is very useful. I would rather use my iPad though as the profile is more suitable for that purpose.

I still don't know where Microsoft are going with Windows 8. I personally don't like touch except on tablets where you have no choice anyway. Touch is useful on this if you use modern apps as these are specifically designed to be used with touch and if you don't you end up using a variety of touch pad gestures and key strokes to navigate which I don't like. Again I see no point in modern apps on a desktop machine. This machine though has a small enough screen and you're close enough to it to use touch if you wish. Touch on this machine does work well especially with an SSD installed as there are pretty well no delays.

I'm surprised that such a good machine, HDD excepted, can be sold at this price point with a touch screen. For my intended use it is ideal although touch and modern is to me a gimmick as I spend most of my time after the initial learning curve and experimentation on the desktop.

abcd

6

Nabanget T. Uki and Ukin Inayu Amin - have to be made up names

Frank

7

readyboost ? - if it has an SD card reader - in my ASUS 1000H netbook I just keep an SD card in it dedicated to ReadyBoost - mine is 4GB (max. it tells me will be used by Win7) and Class 6 (min. it tells me is needed by ReadyBoost - Windows will tell you if the card is too slow) - doesn't set my hair on fire, but I feel it gives a slight but pleasant improvement in performance.

objective

8

Racist comments in this thread just foster more racist comments and hatred. Simple fact is that Mother Nature produces idiots in all colours, as proved by nabanget and ukin's comments.

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SUGARZP

5.0

1

Pros
LIGHT WEIGHT, PORTABLE, METAL FINISH
Cons
RAM CAN NOT UPGRADABLE,
• • •

THIN, STYLISH, CHEAP

Grant Watt

4.0

2

Pros
Build, looks, touch screen responsiveness, keyboard, Fast with SSD I installed
Cons
HDD is slow, touchpad is typical laptop although better than most
• • •

I saw this Asus F202E at Harvey Norman. I decided a 1.1GHz Dual Core Celeron with 2G RAM was probably just enough to do what I wanted it to do as a basic Word/Outlook and show customers Windows 8 as well as downloading drivers and testing internet connections.
First of all this is an impressively good quality unit to look at and picking it up and having a play with the keyboard confirms this.
I replaced the drive in the machine with a $98 Samsung Series 840 120GB drive and it transformed this machine. With the standard HDD, if you did much at all the drive would go up to 100% on task manager and stay there so some windows could easily take 15 seconds to load when busy. This behaviour is no doubt memory related too as it probably disk swaps a bit with 2G. Overall though the build quality is great, the touch screen if you want to use touch, is beyond reproach for responsiveness.
It also has great sound and an excellent keyboard, both much better than I thought for a touch screen laptop at this price. I have Office 365 on it and was using it to do my newsletter and saving it to SkyDrive for editing on my desktop. Excellent. It has enough power to make standard word, outlook and web surfing quick and painless.
Overall for general purpose use. I really can’t fault this unit, at pretty well any price with the SSD installed. It is also a perfect size for mobility and small enough that sitting it on your chest while using it as a tablet using touch is an option.
The other negative is just the screen in bright light, again if you compare it to a MacBook or no doubt any Windows machine with an expensive IPS screen then sure it will come up lacking. It is however the same sort of quality as any reasonable laptop in the price range up to $1000.
Battery life is pretty average and somewhat less than I thought but still very useful. If you are doing average stuff while connected wirelessly like web surfing email etc., three hours is a safe bet for battery life.
It works fine on outputting to a 22 inch desktop 1920 x 1080 via VGA cable. It did use a bit of extra memory but basically worked just fine.
Overall, I think that this is a great machine for the price, almost a steal in fact. And touch does work very well if you care to use it on this machine. The touch use suffers no delays that you can sometimes get using the touchpad either since touchpad gestures are executed using Asus Smart Gesture which is loaded as a background process

SANDIP

4.5

3

Pros
BEST LOOK , ASUS AS BRAND SERVICE IS BEST
Cons
NEED DVD RW
• • •

BEST LAPTOP, WITH TOUCH, SPEED, NICE LOOK,
I PREFER THIS AS MY PERSONAL DAIRY,,,,,

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