on April 14, 2013
April 2014: Graphics update. The new updated Intel Graphics driver does NOT allow for customizing brightness, contrast and gamma. Many X202e users including myself have found that setting the brightness to -20, contrast to 51 and gamma to 0.9, makes for richer colours. The default settings look a bit washed out as compared to these custom settings. If you cannot make these changes, it's because you have the newer Intel Graphics driver. Thankfully, you can uninstall it and go download the original driver from the Asus website. This is the version to download, VGA_Intel_Win8_64_Z917102843.
This review is to dispel any incorrect info in the "User Reviews".
I'll quickly explain that I am a technician and have been modifying all the non touch Win 8 machines, to look and run like 7. It's a 2 minute job that requires a small program like Classic Shell or iobit's Start 8.
As I give tech advice on some forums, I felt the need to get some experience on Win 8's touch interface, Otherwise, how could I help others, if I've never even used it.
So let's get down to business and set the record straight of what it is, and what it isn't.
Those folks who have wifi connectivity problems, have a defect. If they reinstall the OS from the partition that is provided for that purpose, and then it still has wifi problems, then it's time to return the machine or get it fixed, or even get another wifi card. Anyone who thinks that it's inherent to this machine and has decided to put up with it, is mistaken and being inconvenienced unnecessarily.
Those who find that the touchpad is wonky, are either palming it while typing, or have a defect. The same applies as above. Try installing the OS again and if it is still acting up and you're 100% sure that you're not palming the touchpad, then it is defective and needs to be returned or repaired. This is NOT a normal condition.
BUILD & SCREEN
This laptop is well built with premium quality materials. Anyone who feels their screen is weak, should return it. It is NOT a normal condition for this machine, and for those who complained about the bezel being too wide, it is built that way to be structurally strong enough. A touchscreen receives light impact from being touched, thus it needs to be built a bit more solidly than a normal screen.
Complaints about the screen being shiny are valid in a sense. It is truly shiny, but it's a necessary evil. Matte surfaces get dirty faster and are harder to clean.
The keyboard is neither exceptionally good or bad. Everyone has a different concept of what a keyboard should be, so there's no right or wrong. It's just an individual's preference. If the keyboard doesn't work perfectly, the machine should be returned or repaired.
We've heard a wide range of claims, from 2 to 7 hours. Obviously, someone is wrong. Most of the User Reviews, have it straight, when they claim approx. 4 hours. Even if you dimmed the screen and avoided multitasking, you'd still be hard pressed to get 5 hours out of it, and it's unrealistic to expect that, as the screen would be hard to see, at that low brightness. Those who have claimed 3 hours or less, may be running power consuming programs, like watching video/movies at full brightness, in which case, it is 100% true that it will only get 3 hours or less, under those conditions.(See Suggestions below for some revised info)
Yes, it is true, that it's horrible. If you are not in a brightly lit area, the image will be grainy. It is certainly way below the quality of the average laptop webcam.(see SUGGESTIONS below for a revised evaluation)
POWER & SPEED
Those who find that this notebook is slow, or it hesitates/stutters or freezes up, have a defect. Redo the system as mentioned above and if it persists, it is a defective machine. Even with all the bloatware running, this Vivobook has ample power, to handle all the normal use, without ever hesitating or freezing up.(See SUGGESTIONS below for additional info on power plans for better performance)
Yes it is true that it will be substantially faster and more responsive, if you swap out the hard drive for an SSD. Any and all laptops will benefit, but it is not necessary to swap the hard drive out, as it performs just fine as it is. It's a luxury to go with an SSD. I have swapped the HD out for an SSD in this machine, because I wanted to know how much of a difference it would make, and not because it ran poorly with the included 500 gig hard drive.
While on this subject, those who feel that it is difficult to remove the backplate to access the hard drive, are mistaken. Yes, it is firmly in place and it requires the right tool to pry it apart, but that is entirely normal for almost all laptops. Swapping out the hard drive on this unit, is a breeze.
I got lucky and received the Silver model (looks like champagne to me) as the silver lid does not show fingerprints as much as the black version. Again, this is normal. Black brushed aluminum laptops, are fingerprint magnets and they need to be cleaned everyday.
The sum total of this Vivobook's exceptional build with premium materials, slim and light, great performance, decent battery life, all the necessary ports, good wifi reception and a very decent touchscreen, make it a real bargain at $500 or less.
COMMENTS, CONS & COMPLAINTS
The webcam is very poor.
It would be wonderful to have a backlit keyboard, even though it would shorten the laptop's battery life.
This unit is slow to charge. From bone empty, it may take as long as 4 hours to get to 100%. This may inconvenience some folks (not me), but on the positive side, the internal battery may last several more years than if it were fast charged.
A few users have suggested changing graphics setting to -20 brightness, 51 contrast and 0.9 gamma, and I agree that it looks better that way.
I ran a timer since turning the laptop on at 100% charged and it is now up to 2 hours and 7 minutes, having used 44% of its battery life, so that would come out to a potential 4 hours and 48 minutes, however the machine will shut down before reaching 0%, and it should be noted that I was only running this webpage and the timer, nothing else, so it would be unrealistic to expect that much battery life under normal circumstances.
The Win 8 touch interface is vastly superior to iOS (iPad), Android, webOS or any after market ones. It is true that the store does not have very many apps, but that will come with time. You'd be hard pressed to find any high quality free games, so don't get your hopes up, YET!
1) Download an app called "Show Me", which will give you detailed visual explanations of everything you can do in Win 8's touch interface. Even if you think you know it all, I bet you'll learn a few new things.
2) Clean the screen around the webcam area and you may discover (as I just did) that the camera is a lot better than it was, presumably a bit dirty from top of the screen swipes.
3) If your machine hesitates, stutters or freezes while on battery but performs well when plugged in, you may have to change your power plan to "High Performance". The Power4Gear system, halves the CPU, ram graphics and Wifi power. If you do go to High Performance while on battery, you may want to turn down the brightness a bit, so as to improve battery life.
4) If you use the Powe4Gear power plan while on battery, it is possible to reach 5 hours of usage, provided you are not running many processes in the background, and are not playing games or viewing video.
5) After updating your Vivobook with Asus' Live update program, uninstall it, to stop it running in the background (it can't be stopped otherwise). If you need it again in the future, you can download the installer from the Asus website.
6) If you run Windows Defender, there is no need for any additional Anti Virus programs, as Defender in Win 8, is a full Anti Virus program that is reputed to do as good a job as any other free AV program. If you are running another AV program, either uninstall it and use Defender, or keep it and turn Defender off in "Services". Running both at the same time will seriously slow down your computer.