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 and compact Asus Keyboard .
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 and Compatible Parts . 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.
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 like the Samsung 300V Series 300V5A Keyboard . 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 1366768, 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.