on 5 December 2014
This review is bit a long one as I am trying to answer many worries, doubts and questions about ASUS X102B(A). I have tested two different machines and one of the notebooks is the one I am using since September 2013 and The second one I bought (second hand) for my parents and both machines have similar configuration.
More than a review I am adding some tips on installation, speeding the machine, upgrading the OS etc. Also questions about Microsoft Office 2013 license, performance comparison etc after the review of the machine, those who do not want to read all skip the section for the pros and cons. If you've any questions ask me in the comments section I am more than happy to answer.
Asus X102B or Asus X102BA?
What is the difference between Asus X102B and Asus X102BA? Nothing, both are the same, as I tried to find an answer on the Web and failed. According to Asus website only Asus X102BA exists, I think the extra "A" comes from the AMD "A" series processor. Basically both are the same, the notebook you are getting, though it says X102B the MCode (Machine Code) is X102BA-DF027H. The BIOS notes the platform as X102BA.
What's in the Box
* Asus X102B(A) notebook
* Battery (3 cell battery attached to the machine)
* AC Adapter/Power cord
* User Manual
* Microsoft Office 2013 and Windows 8 Touch Product licence card (Orange colour card - IMPORTANT)
* Warranty card
* User manual leaflet (full user manual is pinned to the the desktop as PDF file)
Microsoft Office 2013?
Will you get FULL version of the Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013? The answer is Yes! Yes! And Yes!
However in some cases it can be a no and it will be your fault (see the section in the review titled "To Get Microsoft Office Full Licence"...).
First of all what's included in the Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013
1. Office applications - Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013 and OneNote 2013.
2. 15 GB online storage with OneDrive and
3. Free Office online sync with OneDrive account
I was puzzled! If you're buying Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 directly from the Microsoft it will cost you £109.99! I didn't originally think they would include that expensive full version of Office in a £225 machine. Then when I got the machine I found that included in the paraphernalia there is an orange coloured card titled "Office" which says, let me quote - "Do Not Discard - Office Product Licence - The Manufacturer of your personal computer has licensed the Microsoft products listed in this document. This certificate of authenticity is your assurance that the following Microsoft products you have received are legally licensed to you from ASUS.
Included Microsoft Products:
Windows 8 Small Screen Touch with Office Home & Student 2013"
Followed by the product keys sticker and the warning - Please keep this Office Card carefully as it cannot be replaced in case of getting lost, broken or unrecognizable. ASUS reserves the right to request this Office Card before accepting repair or refund requests. NOT for individual resale. (I suggest you scan it or photograph it, then save it on your cloud or google drive or dropbox , just in case if it damaged, lost or gets unclear)
Then the activation instructions:
1. Locate the Office tile on the Start screen
2. One open, click the "Activate" button
3. Use the product key printed on the Certificate of Authenticity when prompted
4 Follow the prompts to complete the installation.
(Installation of full Office Home & Student 2013 is quite fast including the OneDrive setup, if you've a good Internet connection, mine completed within 22 minutes.)
To make sure you'll get the full licence of the Microsoft Office 2013 see the section - To Get Microsoft Full Licence - in the review.
Screen and Display
Usually when in low priced laptops and netbooks the display suffers, not on Asus X102B, this one has quite nice and brilliant display at 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. And the quality is fantastic. The screen is well lit (bright) and colourful (try Fresh Paint to see how beautiful it is).
Audio is average with the speakers, they are okay but even with the full volume it sounds pretty thin and average, however with the headphones it's different and sounds fantastic.so keep your booming headphones ready.
I was pleasantly surprised the touch screen worked very well; I have no complaints here, and very pleased with multi-gesture, swipes, finger slide, pinch zooming, various one-two-three finger smart gestures on the touch pad. I have observed some stuck-y or resistance - instances occasionally on the touchpad which was especially when your palm pressuring the notebook. When you use Fresh Paint it's amazingly touch sensitive and well responsive, you can paint like a real canvas or paper, simply perfect. (See also the section "Handwriting Recognition and Stylus (pen) Usage" listed below)
Video streaming is quite fast, it's all depends on your internet connection speed. The wireless adapter supports upto 300 Mbps transfer rate.
Keyboard (UK) is another brilliant feature of Asus X102B the Chiclet- island style , seamless keyboard is not just ergonomic but a pleasure to type. While the traditional keyboard has thick plastic keys placed close to one another, the Chiclet or island-style keyboard uses thin clean-cut keys which are spaced or separated from one another thus creating a smooth and seamless surface. Chiclet keyboards are smooth, silent, adequately spaced, less chance for typing errors, and comfortable. Better most Chiclet keyboards are spill proof and dust proof, little chance of dust, crumbs or grains get stuck underneath and the Chiclet keyboard is easier to clean as well. As the description says it's silent and adequately spaced for comfortable and accurate typing. Usually 10.1" netbooks has keyboard is too small or crammed into the small space it's been given but of Asus X102B the Chiclet keyboard has all the features I have just described above . If you've very big fingers you might don't like the keyboard, but on a 10.1" machine they did the biggest they could. (See also the section "Handwriting Recognition and Stylus (pen) Usage" listed below)
The processor is AMD® Temash Dual core A4-1200 1.0 GHz Processor with AMD Radeon HD 8180 dedicated graphics card.The processing speed of 1 GHz which is 1000000000 Hz, and Windows 8 and 8.1 need a minimum One gigahertz (GHz) or faster with support for Physical Address Extension (PAE), NX processor bit (NX) and Streaming SIMD Extensions 2 (SSE2) (According to Microsoft PAE gives processors the ability to use more than 4 GB of physical memory on capable versions of Windows, and is a prerequisite for NX. NX helps your processor guard the PC from attacks by malicious software. SSE2 is a standard instruction set on processors that is increasingly used by third-party applications and drivers.) Temash APU - which unlike a regular processor, have a CPU and a GPU on the same chip, making it not only small in size but power efficient too. Low power consumption with just 4 W, it uses half the power many netbooks consumes, which is also good for the battery life.
As the Windows 8 or 8.1, the One GHz processor is the minimum and ASUS X102B uses that minimum One GHz processor I have assumed that it will affect the performance, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was not a problem at all when it comes to performance.
The ASUS X102B(A) notebook comes with an integrated 720p HD web-camera for great video chat, when I used Skype it was not only excellent but it enhanced the image, very useful in dimly lit rooms. Also, I used the webcam to take pictures for the Fresh Paint, and it worked perfectly, when you use the Fresh Paint just turn the laptop around and press the screen to take quality pictures which you can manipulate in Fresh Paint.
The charger is not heavy like the big adaptor type usual laptop chargers, but the one with ASUS X102B(A) is similar to the smartphone charger, travel friendly and small. When you take the notebook to the university in your hand you can put the charger in your trouser pocket...
Online Storage (two of them!)
You are getting two online storage with this notebook. ASUS cloud services offers storage, sharing, and syncing of your documents, presentations, phots and everything... Also, you will be getting OneDrive with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 with 15 GB storage space.
Initial Setup 32 minutes and 08 seconds
System Restart (from pressing restart including shut down) 1:22 (Windows 8)
Fresh paint 32 seconds (Windows 8)
Changing profiles (switch to another user) 22 seconds
Applications Loading time
Booting Speed 23.41 seconds average (Windows 8)
Booting Speed 20.55 seconds (Windows 8.1)
Browser Launch time on Windows 8
Chrome Browser (initial launch) 13 Seconds (later) 9 seconds on
Firefox Browser (initial launch) 15 Seconds (later) 11 seconds
Default Internet Explorer (Version 11.0.14) 9 Seconds
Speed of HDD
Write speed 82.77 MBps
Write 77.21 MBps
(After UPGRADED to ) Windows 8.1 Performance
Cold start 32 seconds first time (when you power on to windows screen without on screen password)
Cold start average time 14 seconds to Windows 8.1 screen
Chrome 7.26 seconds (around) average ( maximum 10.23 seconds)
Maxthon Browser 9 seconds average (10.02 seconds)
Internet Explorer (Version 11.0.14) 2.41 seconds!! (To my surprise the Internet Explorer is ultra-fast within three seconds the browser is already with the default msn page. I checked this many different times and the maximum it has gone to reach the msn page was four seconds)
Though I mainly use Chrome browser, the Internet Explorer launching time was brilliant and I guess the default browser with the machine wasn't loaded with extensions.
To open the default folder (icon on the desktop which shows the devices, This PC, and drives) - 3 seconds, other folders or drives - instant.
Fresh paint - 8.58 seconds
Maps -19 seconds
Windows Store - 9 seconds
Xbox Video - 6 seconds
Excel 2013 - 7 Seconds
Word 2013 - 2.9 seconds (Wow!)
Powerpoint 2013 - 4.9 seconds (first time) 2.55 seconds (average)
Onenote 2013 - initial setup and synchronization - 17 seconds (average is the incredible .04 seconds, that's not even a second!!)
Overall I am really impressed with the performance of ASUS X102B(A), if you disagree and claim this machine is slow - challenge me in the comments section, I will answer any of your queries. All the performance test was while the notebook was on DC plugged in, on the battery alone (without power plugged in) there is a few seconds delay (three to seven seconds) was observed.
Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 802.11 b Wireless Network Adaptor, which has the data transfer rate of 300 Mbps so don't worry about the wireless connection, it's a great wireless adaptor. (Encryption can be 128-bit WEP, 64-bit WEP, AES, PEAP, TLS, TTLS, WPA, WPA2). On speedtest my ISP speed detected was 62 Mbps download speed and 2.9 Mbps was the upload speed.
There is an option called Bluetooth settings, and a suggestion to install Microsoft Bluetooth software for Windows 8. Though I haven't tried to set up, may be after you download the Bluetooth software from the Microsoft it might work, I couldn't find any integrated Bluetooth in the device manager, I am sure after downloading the Bluetooth software you can use a portable Bluetooth device (I will update the review after I try that). The manual says you can use Bluetooth by launching the charms bar then click on the settings-->Change PC Settings-->Devices--->Add a Device (However the machine didn't pick up my Bluetooth signals so I am downloading the Bluetooth drivers suggested - will update the review with the results. If any of you have a different experience or suggestions/corrections please let me know in the comments section.)
When I was using streaming video and MS Word, I have got 3.48 hours of battery, with MS Office applications alone I guess, it would give closer to five hours that ASUS is claiming or at least four and half hours. However, let's safely assume it would give an average four hours of battery time. Even though it's a 3 cell battery, because of the Temash APU's Low power consumption (just 4 W) you can have 4.5 hours or more battery with office applications alone.
No Integrated Optical Media
This machine has no DVD or Bluray Drives, it's more alike a netbook than a laptop, compact, lightweight and very portable. However you can connect an external DVD drive with no problems. I tested my old HP external USB DVD Drive DVDRW DVD-ROM A2U56AA#ABB and tested the old Constantine (2005) DVD and it worked fine. Constantine rocked!
To Get Microsoft Office Full Licence
Now those who have failed to get Microsoft Office.... (I have to explain it lengthily so please bear with me). At the Amazon page it says that the netbook Includes Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013, in fact the description clearly says "The X102B provides Free Office 2013 Home and Student version with full functions of Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013 and OneNote 2013. Create, work, plan and share more easily at home and at school." So you are entitled to get the full version of Microsoft Office, ASUS Office card also agrees with that. However, it all depends on the seller. For example, if you're getting this notebook from Argos, their catalogue description initially said it Includes Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 trial version though recently (on the website) they removed the "trial" notification suggesting full licence, yet they should have included the orange licence card. In some cases, I heard people are getting a starter pack. When you try some applications you think you've owned for example Access or PowerPoint, Microsoft will ask you for an upgrade which will cost you as you need to purchase that application (unless you are satisfied with MS Word only and you've got that as a full version then I would consider you lucky) however I suggest take the machine back and demand the full license card included with the machine.
For this reason, for those who are buying ASUS X102 B(A) online, especially a second hand one, please ask the seller specifically if they are included FULL VERSION of Microsoft Office 2013 and make sure you will get the Orange Office (licence) card not only for the office installation but for in case you need repair - refund issues . This is very important point to note, when you buy this machine from independent sellers in Amazon or when you get a used machine chances are higher that there won't be a Microsoft Office installed or the seller failed to include license information... When it is a used notebook and was licence code was on a separate card, previous owners may use it for their own use. So always ask the seller before buying it, especially if you're eager to get a full version of Microsoft Office.
Let me repeat that again (and again), ask the seller the Office full license before buying this machine. Forget the advertisement or specifications or other people vouching that they got the full version, ask the seller to make sure if you are keen on Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 full version. Ask and only then it shall be given... The Asus X102B(A) box have Windows 8.1 Small Screen Touch with Office Home and Student 2013 The FULL Office Product License Key is included. This Code to activate Office is a genuine Microsoft Certificate of Authenticity (COA) is on a card in the box -- look for it as soon as you open the box is my advice. It says that "This certificate of authenticity is your assurance that the following Microsoft Products you have received are licensed to you from ASUS. If you can't find the Orange Licence card you know what to do...demand it or say you are returning it if there is no full licence.
System and OS update ( to Windows 8.1)
If the system OS is still Windows 8 and saying no updates, click on check updates then update to install updates. Before upgrading to the Windows 8.1 you have to install all the updates, even if you go into the Windows store and try to update to Windows 8.1 you'll get the message that you have to install all the updates. If your computer hasn't installed any updates at all then it would take some time. I had 118 updates to download which took more than three hours.
Hard disk speed and the internet connection speed may be the decisive factors in updating Windows but rather than the machine I think it's the Microsoft's problem with the updates, many people on different system have lot of complaints including the slower updates. Since the Asus X102BA have 5600 rpm hard disk not SSA, it might take the sweet time.
REMEMBER Before you start updating, go to C:\Windows\SoftwareDistibutions\Downloads delete everything in the download folder, restart and start update. You will see the message with the green bar moving, downloading xxx updates (the annoying "0kb total, 0 % completed") this message stays for a long time, you might think it is not downloading anything, however if you go to the C:\Windows\SoftwareDistibutions\Downloads folder you can see the updates are downloading. Chances are it will stuck when it reaches 99 %, usually after an hour and half, leave it at that...then click on the power option to restart; this time you will have the option "Update and Restart" click on that and wait for another long and painstaking installation of all the updates. It took me more than three hours to finish the installation of all the updates (it took two restarts as well). After everything complete install the optional updates.
There are four optional updates, which are:
1. Asus Wireless Radio Control (33 kb)
2. Qualcomm Atheros Communication WLAN (916 kb)
3. Realtek - LAN - Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller (380 kb)
4 Updates for Windows 8 x64 based systems (16 Mb)
Even though these are optional, I suggest you install all these updates before proceeding to upgrading to Windows 8.1 as it updates the drivers.
Now you can see the tile "Update to Windows 8.1 for Free" in the main screen, (if not go to the Windows store) click on it and follow the instructions. Windows 8.1 will start downloading the updates (17 updates when I upgraded). It took almost 42 minute. I think that's the average time it takes to upgrade to Windows 8.1, and it's worth it. Windows 8.1 is much more stable and faster than Windows 8.
Handwriting Recognition and Stylus (pen) Usage
Handwriting keyboard in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 is brilliant with this machine. In Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 it is like a drawing board which can be activated anytime with the keyboard icon from the desktop. It also included autocorrect and multiple correct option (for example if you write laptop it will give up the result as "laptop" with multiple choices for correction, just in case you meant catsup :) Now matter how badly you've written the handwriting feature will intelligently decipher what you've written and convert it to text which you can insert your writings in any app.
How to activate Handwriting Keyboard
You can see the keyboard icon on the bottom-right corner of the desktop, With the keyboard open, tap on the keyboard icon button in the bottom-right corner of the keyboard. From the pop up menu tap on the icon that looks like a Pen and stylus. It's the third button from the left in the pop-up menu.
You don't get a stylus with this notebook, but you can buy a stylus very cheap, and it's great with Fresh Paint and OneNote.
The next-generation Microsoft digital pen, or "ePen," includes not just touch sensors but also a gyroscope, compass, accelerometers, and other sensors and it'll be fantastic on this machine. You really don't have to get a multi-touch stylus as many of the features can be used with any stylus, and you can buy a multi-function stylus as low as £3.99.
OneNote is an excellent application when it comes to handwriting. With the ASUS X102B(A) you can use the OneNote with it's brilliant handwriting features, it's a perfect note taking app when it comes to handwriting. I had to add some OneNote features which might be useful for you as you are getting OneNote 2013 with the Office 2013.
With the stylus writing is as simple and may be better than using a pen on paper. When you search OneNote there will be two applications appear (a) OneNote 2013 and (b) OneNote. Select OneNote, and when you press the stylus on the screen and hold for a second a small round icon will appear which is called a Radial Menu. When you tap on the icon or Radial Menu, more of options will appear, allowing you to customize different pens and switch quickly between them. You can use many other options on the Radial Menus shifting between options, colours, brushes, different templates etc. Search OneNote Radial Menu on the google to know more about this wonderful option in the OneNote.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Reading text from images, this is a feature with Onenote, thought I should mention it here, as it might save some money if you're considering to buy an expensive OCR software. OneNote 2013 supports Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a tool that lets you copy text from a picture or file printout and paste it in any text or paste it somewhere else in OneNote or in another program, like Outlook, Word, or notepad. The good news is that with OneNote you don't have to buy an expensive OCR software
To extract text from a single picture you've added into OneNote:
Right-click the picture, and click Copy Text from Picture. (If this option is not active Right-click the image and choose 'Make Text In Image Searchable', then select the language the text is in from the list.)
Click where you'd like to paste the copied text, and then press Ctrl+V.
Click where you'd like to paste the copied text, and then press Ctrl+V. While in Notepad it will only be text in other programmes like OneNote or Word you've more options (1) Keep Source Formatting (which preserves the look of the original text.) (2) Merge Formatting (which changes the formatting so that it matches the text that surrounds it), (3) Keep Text Only (only the text will be copied) and in the "paste" you'll also may see (4) Picture (only the picture will be copied) The OCR in OneNote is pretty accurate, though it depend on the quality of the image you're trying the OneNote to read.
Snipper Tool for Screen Clipping
You can use Screen Clipping tool (shortcut is already open in Send to Note screen) for selecting part of the image, with Screen Clipping the pointer in any direction to create a rectangular selection over the screen area that you want to capture. You can save the screen capture directly or insert to OneNote and use the "Copy Text from Picture". The only limitation of the Screen Clipping is that you can only use it rectangularly - you might want more than a rectangular selection. In that case use Snipping tool, search "snipping tool" and open it, click on the new dropdown menu and select "Free-form Snip," now you can use the cursor to select anyway you wanted it, once the desired area is selected it will show the screen which you can save as an image file, which can be opened in OneNote and click "Copy Text from Picture" to read the image.
If you don't have a stylus, you'll still get a Radial Menu, but the icon will be a piece of paper rather than a pen, and Even if you don't have a stylus you'll still get Radial Menu with touch, with options including pictures, camera, tables, colours etc. You can also draw with your fingers.
Charms bar is a toolbar that consists of several tools that allow your to share applications and provide quick access for customizing the settings of the notebook. It can be triggered on the right side of the screen. Swipe from the right edge of the screen to launch the charms bar, when called out charms bar initially appears as a s set of white icons which you can customize. You can launch charms bar with the touch screen, touch pad, keyboard. Use Windows key + C to launch charms bar to launch it with keyboard.
Keybord Special Characters
There are special characters in the keyboard and when I tried ctril+alt+a it turned to " á " as it shown in the key, but other symbols on the keys are not working for example "é" there must be some key combinations if anyone has any suggestions please post it in the comments section.
The Graphics Card
This machine is not intended as a gaming machine, though it has a dedicated graphics card AMD Radeon HD 8180 it does not have its own memory instead it accesses the main memory of the system up to single-channel DDR3L-1066, though many consider it as a low level graphics card, don't underestimate it, it can have a shared memory of 1024 MB with Shader 5.0! Which enables it to run many 3D games on low to medium settings.
This graphics card is an integrated DirectX 11.1 graphics card with the AMD Temash APUs the current A4-1200. It offers 128 shader cores based on the GCN architecture (two Compute Units) and clocks at 225 MHz - no turbo.
This graphics card also integrates an UVD 4.2 video decoder as well as a VCE 2.0 video encoder. It supports up to two external monitors via VGA, DVI, HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.2. While it was a big win as the card is DirectX 11.1 compatible with Shader 5.0 the 1.0 Ghz processor lets many good 3D games down.
The Games it can play
Bioshock Infinite Minimum settings (low 11 fps)
Tomb Rider in Minimum Settings with (low 13.1 fps)
Minecraft in Minimum Settings
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm (low 22 fps and medium 11 fps)
Diablo III minimum low settings 16 fps
Trackmania Nations forever (high 12 fps 1024x768 low 42 fps 640x480)
Risen - (medium 6 fps1024x768 low13 fps 800x600)
GTA 3 Vice City - Medium settings
GTA 3 San Andreas - Medium to high settings
Tron 2.0 - High settings
Need for Speed Underground - Medium to high settings
Icewind Dale II - Medium settings
Halflife 2 - Medium settings
Max Payne - High settings
Max Payne 2 - Medium to high settings
Medal of Honor Pacific Assault - High Settings
The Games it CANNOT play
Far Cry 3 and 4 (processor is the only problem however, read my reviews why it shouldn't play on lower end systems (http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R10NSF47E8BLNO/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm)
Dragon Age Inquisition (the only problems are CPU speed (needed minimum 2.0 GHz have 1.0 GHz) and Memory need minimum 4 GB have only 3.5 usable memory)
Total War - Attila
If you have any specific game playability question in mind ask me; and I will answer it in the comments.
Photoshop CC 2014 recommended system requirement is 8 GB RAM and Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon 64 processor (2 GHz or faster) so that's out of question, you can try some older versions of Photoshop however my suggestion is that as it's a resource heavy application the performance can be really slow. I recommend you to try it on a laptop or PC with a minimum 2 GHz processor.
Is the Asus X102B notebook Slow?
Many reviews says this system is slow, absolutely not and I firmly stand with my reviews and tests, as I tested two notebooks in many ways expecting to find it slow. This is why I have included a performance section.
Now, if a system is slow there could be many reasons from the USER SIDE not from the ASUS X102B(A).
1. Using resource hungry applications
2. Higher multi-tasking
4. Slow internet connection
5. Heavy graphics applications
6. Unnecessary extra features
7. Improper usage
Avoid resource hungry applications like E-commerce applications, CAD/CAM, Photoshop, simulation programmes, torrent clients, sometimes Real Player, and some chat apps etc. can be resource hungry when they work in the background and sometimes in the habit of constant restarts.
Don't use many applications at once, I used three or four applications at once, (Youtube, MS Word, Maps, Fresh Paint but never had any problems) but it's not recommended if you have a slow issue. This notebook is intended for the light use though it's quite powerful in a good way.
Bloatware is a slang for unnecessary software that is pre-installed or software heavy with features, often unnecessary, that are costing hard disk space, RAM resources and processing power. If you don't want to use an application uninstall it.
Heavy Graphics Application
Many 3D games can be run in this notebook (see Games section in the review) however, most of them just passed the minimum requirements so if you try to run it in medium or high settings it will make the notebook really slow. Later versions of Photoshop, video editing software also included in the heavy graphics applications.
Unnecessary Extra Features
Similar to bloatware don't add extra features or plugins to your browser. Try to make the settings of the browsers simple. Adding grammar plugins to Word, dictionary, downloader plugins etc. to your browser can make those applications really slow. It's not the problem of the notebook but you are forcing it to eat all that "junk food" to make the notebook slow and obese!
Use the machine properly, don't misuse it. Sometimes when you lean the palm on the left or right side of the computer (the space below the keyboard left or right side of the touchpad) it can have a stopping or pausing effect on the machine. Take care of your computer (see the tips on the Net) and it will be fine, use an occasional cache cleaning (you can use an application like Ccleaner)
ASUS X102B(A) Specifications
Processor : AMD® Temash Dual core A4-1200 1.0 GHz Processor
Operating System: Windows 8 and DOS (free update for Windows 8.1)
Memory: DDR3L 1066 MHz SDRAM,
OnBoard : 4 GB (that's the maximum)
Display: 10.1" 16:9 HD (1366x768) LED Backlight Glare panel
Graphic Card: AMD Radeon® HD 8180G
Storage: 500GB 5400 RPM
Card Reader: 2 -in-1 card reader ( SD/ SDHC)
Camera: HD Web Camera
Networking: Integrated 802.11 b/g/n or 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (Optional)
10/100 Base T
1 x combo audio jack for headphone-microphone
2 x USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x LAN port
1 x Kensington Security slot
1 x VGA port/Mini D-sub 15-pin
1 x HDMI port
1 x Power (DC) input port
1 x USB 3.0 port
* Air vents
1 Memory Card- SD/SDHC card - reader
Audio: Built-in Speakers And Microphone
Battery: 3Cells 3000 mAh 33 Whrs
Output :19 V DC, 1.75 A, 33 W
Input : 100 -240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal
266 x 185.1 x 23.3 ~29 cm (WxDxH) (with 3cell battery)
Weight: 1.1 kg (with 3 cell battery)
Security: Kensington security slot
UL, MIC, CE Marking Compliance, FCC Compliance, CCC, Energy star
2-year limited International hardware warranty. *differedt by country
1-year battery pack warranty
On-line problem resolution through web interface (BIOS, Driver update)
OS (Windows® 8 ) install/uninstall consultation
Bundled software install/uninstall consultation
ASUS software supporting
This is a good basic laptop/netbook. It's not intended for multitasking and heavier applications like Adobe Photoshop which might slows the machine. I have to say it's a decent notebook, energy efficient, good battery life, brilliant performance, compact, and good for office applications with a nice touch (pun intended) . Don't expect or compare it with a quad core i7 processor powered laptop or desktop and you'll be fine.
Sensitive touch screen
Brilliant Handwriting Recognition
Full Licenced MS Office 2013 Home and Student edition worth £109.99
Bundled Software included Fresh Paint
Free OCR with OneNote
Great headphone audio
Good video streaming
ASUS Online Storage
OneDrive Online Storage
Great Wi-fi adapter
Graphics card with shader 5.0
Low price - budget wise
Cons or limitations
1.0 Ghz processor
No optical drive
Average speaker audio
No integrated Bluetooth found
5600 rpm Hard Disk Drive (HDD) not Solid State Drive (SSD)
(I have reached the review space allowed so if you've any questions, worries, suggestions or challenges :) feel free to raise them in the comment section, thanks)
on 2 February 2014
I purchased this laptop one week ago and I was immediately worried by the slow operating system.
It turned out that windows 8 simply needed to be updated to 8.1 which was a lengthy process, but well worth the wait. This laptop is amazing value and packed with features.
Ok, so what are you getting for your money?
1. An AMD A series dual core 1ghz processor. This is mid-table in terms of performance so don't think you're getting a super-computer for less than £300. But together with 4GB of RAM you have enough power under the hood to surf the net, watch HD movies, watch super hd Netflix, sky go, bt sports hd, listen to music, use apps, download and access emails.
2. ASUS sonicmaster Audio. Pro grade sound, hook it up to speakers and enjoy deep bass and clear audio.
3. Touch screen and keyboard access to windows 8.1
4. Free Microsoft home and student. Full access to word, excel, PowerPoint and One note.
5. An HDMI port to allow you to connect to an HD TV for stunning visuals.
6. USB 3.0
7. Wireless and Ethernet connections
9. Weighs 1.1kg
10. ASUS and sky drive cloud access for saving data
10. 720p HD webcam
11. Radeon 8180 HD Graphics - again this is mid table performance so you won't be able to play extremely powerful games without some chop.
Clearly for the price you are getting far more than you would expect. Best of both worlds with a responsive touch-screen, like a tablet and a smart gesture touchpad and keyboard access, like a laptop. Microsoft office, hd video playback, a stack of connectivity and tv accessibility options, super hd playback of Netflix, a dual processor which can handle multiple tasks and excellent sound quality.
My personal experience, out of the box, was frustrating initially because I had to update to windows 8.1 - which I did not know so I was obviously concerned that windows 8 looked terrible and the laptop was slow. But, as soon as the updates had finished downloading and installing everything was fast and smooth. One thing I did notice after the windows 8.1 update was that I had to reinstall the AMD ASUS centre on the machine, but that was as simple as clicking the app and reinstalling.
I also noticed some slight chopping in hd playback via HDMI and I had to tinker with the settings to get it right. This could be frustating for people.
If you buy this I would recommend you read the instructions which are included and this will help you get the best out of the touchscreen technology (opening and closing apps, pinching, zooming, accessing all open apps etc) because it's not the same as iPad or touchscreen phones. You need to use some specific gestures such as a three finger swipe from the bottom to the top to access all apps on the device and you also need to get to grips with using a touchscreen and keyboard together.
Before I purchased this, I had an acer aspire laptop that cost more than £200 more but was running windows 7 with no Microsoft office, no hdmi and a broken Ethernet port. For less than £300 I have Ethernet for speed of connection, HDMI playback to my tv (and access to an app that lets me play Mkv video, mp4, Xvid, avi etc with no need to convert) windows 8.1 and Microsoft office.
The machine is stylish and portable. It's very light.
If you have a budget and you don't want to play super hd games AND you can be patient and wait for the updates to work, you're getting an all in one mini entertainment centre and pc for less than £300. That is excellent value.
on 15 May 2014
First off, if you are looking for a desktop/laptop replacement then this is not the product for you, however if you are looking for a small compact desktop/laptop companion then read on :
The ASUS X102 is a netbook, it's not pretending to be anything else with a 10.1 inch touchscreen.
Screen : 10.1 inch LED touchscreen with a native res of 1366 x 768, the display is very evenly lit and bright the image is pin sharp and text is very crisp and easy to read. The touch sensor is responsive and accurate.
Web Cam & Mic : I was very surprised by the web cam even in low light it produces a very clean and colour balanced image and is more than adequate for Skype etc, the mic on the other has a bit of echo on it but is still good enough for Skype.
Keyboard : Well laid out with all keys being full size and easy to type with, the keys have good travel and response.
TrackPad : Is a single surface with the two clicks right at the bottom of the pad and lots of multi gestures, it's about the right size for the netbook – however I can not get on very well with it as it seems to loose track a lot of the time, I feel that changing the sensitivity would help but cannot find how.
Graphics : The AMD 8180 is no power house and can not play games, nothing above basic flash games anyway, but is does have the power to play HD 720 youtube videos without any problems and can easily play DVD if you attach a USB DVD drive.
CPU : The AMD A4-1200 is a duel core 1 Ghz cpu and is well suited to this platform and is very energy efficient with the battery lasting easily 4 hrs plus, the cpu does get a bit bogged down when doing a lot of windows updates but is fine running Windows 8/8.1. I have not come across a problem as of yet.
Fan : Is very quiet and I have only heard it once during a long windows update, a nice touch is that on battery the fan can be safely turn off and CPU passively cooled ! Very useful.
WiFi : Is very good given that it only has one aerial, the signal is strong and reliable.
Speakers : There are two front facing speakers on the bottom of the Netbook and they are very loud, but really only useful for speech and Skype as there is zero bass and they sound very tinny.
Ports : 2 x USB2, 1 x USB3, Headphone socket, Ethernet socket, VGA, HDMI, power socket and an SD card reader.
My one and only real disappointment with the X102 is that there is no real upgradable options, so no ram increase as the onboard ram is soldered, you can change the HDD but you void any G/tee as you need to break the seal on the bottom case. All in all I think ASUS have done a great job with the X102 and I would easily recommend it.
on 4 January 2014
This little Asus fitted my requirements perfectly and I am happy with it. Laptops of this size are quite rare now to buy and I wanted something to use while relaxing in the armchair or in the bedroom. I needed a keyboard, Window os (didn't mind either 7 or 8) as the only use is writing emails, small bit of web browsing and lots of remote work (VNC) - i.e. viewing other servers and workstations on different networks.
It comes with MS Office, the Product Key is on a card within the packaging. If you don't wish to use Office on the Asus you can go to Microsoft website and use the Key to download Office on a different PC if you wish.
I removed the HDD and put in place a 128Gb Kingston SSD just to give the laptop a bit more speed when loading. The supplied HDD, if I recall, was an Hitachi 500Gb model which the stock price is only about £5 cheaper than the Kingston SSD I installed. I hope that SSD's will become the norm soon when buying laptops. For general day to day usage I have found best performance if you roll back the IDE ATA/ATAPI driver to Microsoft's standard SATA AHCI Controller as AMD have had problems in the past.
As for windows 8 it is very good if you take the time setting it up. I use Classic Shell to remove the Metro UI from the start and to boot straight to the Desktop. Metro is still there and it's easy to switch between Apps and desktop programs. I did download the 8.1 update and that gives you the ability to share or extend your screen to your tv via WiFi direct. Doubt I'll use that function often, but it's handy should you use your PC for presentations.
The only cons I would say is that the plastic case does feel a bit cheap. Also, the letters on the keyboard are printed in the centre on the keys, so I can't really add Russian keyboard stickers without overlapping the Latin alphabet keys, although I know this isn't much of a problem for most users.
I bought mine back in October from Argos for £299 with a £10 voucher cash back, it was in stock and could buy it that day. At that time Amazon was out of stock.
Overall I rate this little Asus highly if it fits your needs. 4* due to the plastic case, keys, and no SSD option.
**** Edit, Feb 2014 ****
Amazon had the price down to £252, if you can get it at this price it's a 5* buy.
Also I recently swapped out the Altheros wifi card to add Bluetooth. I went with an Intel 6235 which needs two antennas, inside is only one antenna, and the Asus needed major surgery stripping out everything to add a second behind the touch screen. Result is I now have working Bluetooth 4.0 and 300Mbps 2.4/5Ghz wifi.
on 21 June 2014
After deliberating (don't we all!) and having visited Currys, I decided upon this machine as a replacement for our older laptop which was showing signs of cantankerousness!
With it qualifying for Amazon £25 off, plus having Student/Home office built in (usually circa £90) I got this for £224. Unbelievable for a laptop cum tablet with its lovely capacitive touch screen.
Overall not a super fast jobbie, but it picks up wifi instantly, is a more than capable for a browser, email, office, basic games.
So a 5 star it is.
As a reviewer has already indicated, do NOT confuse the machine with the truly horrendous Windows 8 it is shipped with. Most new machines have Windows latest and fewer are shipped with 7 unless older stock.
What you will find, as I did frustratingly, is there will be a shed load of updates which if you try and force Windows to download will cause errors and hissy fits galore.
My advice is set to automatic updates and give it a few days to sort itself out. Once no more updates are available, you can then upgrade through the Windows store to 8.1
It is well worth it because one of the things it does do is switch the view from tiles like a tablet (8 default) to classic view. For my wife, using this to access her web based database for work, is much better.
Another reviewer mentioned lack of documentation. I agree, but there is a built in Asus tutorial, and, I'm afraid, you will need to use the browser to ask questions as I did, to get hints and tips. You will find no matter what the issue, someone out there is experiencing it! Feel free to ask me anything, I know how frustrating it can get.
So. The unit is excellent, but it will challenge you with the software. Read what you can. Don't blame the machine.
You will find sometimes, and this is no joke, some updates can take hours, half a day or so. This is NOT the machine but Microsoft. Many forums talk of this and people's machines looking like they 'hang'. Don't give up, just leave it and walk away.
Without wishing this review to be a Microsoft 'pop' also bear in mind that you HAVE to sign up to Microsoft Live. I did not like this, but if you don't you won't be able to get into your unit! Tip...set it up before, an id and password.
Hope this rambling helps. Bear in mind the Asus is brilliant for the money, the Windows issue you will get no matter what you buy, so you may as well get a great little unit that will reward your patience in the long run.
on 13 February 2014
I use my ASUS laptop everyday constantly for about 8-10hrs. I don't consider it slow at all, I haven't updated to Windows 8.1 yet and still am able to browse the web, stream movies, Skype and process documents with no problems. Windows 8 took a little while to get used to, but now I find it very user friendly and prefer it over the old operating systems. I can get more or less about 6hrs of battery usage with a few power saving changes. Touch screen is very responsive, much better than any other touchscreen item I've ever had and the keyboard is also very comfortable compared to any other laptop I've had before. The only thing that actually bothered me is the touchpad which with a simple touch can switch screens to other apps running, but I prefer using an optical mouse anyway, so this isn't much an issue. Very light weight and easy to take around, MS Office is also a plus and very useful. For 340 euros, I really enjoy my laptop and consider it a great buy. For the user who rated a one star for being 10.1" screen, why would you buy a laptop with a small screen if that doesn't fufill your needs, screen size is clearly mentioned in the item description and you only buy if you want something in this size range, I don't know what they were expecting... UPDATE* After upgrading to Windows 8.1 the touchpad issue got corrected no more app screens shooting all over the place!
on 4 January 2014
When I wrote this there were only two reviews, one 5* and one 1* (would have been -5* if it was permitted!). The negative report was really a rant about Windows 8 which is not a comment about the computer, rather it's operating system. I have a Dell Inspiron as my main computer and have been using Windows 8 for several months now. Its not an intuitive system and you have to get to know it but this is a review of the computer not the operating system.
I am finding the computer very satisfactory. Not the fastest but what can you expect with a 1 gHz processor, the 4 GB RAM is enough to match the processor and there is ample storage. It is small and portable which is what I want from a second computer that comes on holiday with me. The touch screen gets the best out of Windows 8 and by using the "voice recognition" facility I am speaking many of my commands to the computer and able to "dictate" e-mails on the move.
The WiFi works well which is what I want when on the move. I don't use it for games so I can't comment on that but I have some music on it which plays well though headphones. YouTube is fine and as a LinkedIn rather than Facebook user it loads up quickly. In short this is a good computer if you want to stay in touch when away from home with all the connectivity you could reasonably expect. I wouldn't have it as my main computer but that's not what I bought it for.
on 22 October 2014
I got this item from elsewhere and thought of sharing my experience. It comes with Windows 8 and license key for Office 2013 home and student. Has 4 GB RAM, 500 GB Hdd and wifi. No bluetooth. Screen is 1366X768 and is not very reflective. Screen clarity is acceptable. The installed windows 8 was a bit laggy. It took several hours to install updates only to end up with some error and then reverted back. That process went on for hours. Many people have reported same problem and can be frustrating.
I erased everything and installed windows 8.1 clean. All hardware detected correctly and was very smooth running. Now the system is working perfectly fine with office installed. No lag and very usable.
(I had to search a lot to see how to get win 8.1 install media without 8.1 key. If you can manage to install 8.1, you will be able to activate it using the default windows 8 key supplied with the machine. If you do that please remember to extract the windows key from BIOS before you erase original OS using appropriate software.)
Bottom line is that this can be a bit laggy out of the box, big problem if you update (Asus support seems to give a solution which did not work for me) but smooth after a clean install of windows 8.1.
on 6 August 2014
For the price of this mini laptop it is most certainly good value the only drawn back is the length of time to update from windows 8 to 8.1 (many many hours over a weekend) once this hurdle has been negotiated the rest is plain sailing!
on 19 August 2014
Took on safari with me to backup my pics so the inbuilt SD reader is a huge plus, no need for an external reader/dongle.
Lots of storage and quick enough for my purposes - copying images and general surfing. You can't go wrong - I even got £30 back from Asus. I forget its touchscreen too, this element of the product works really well.
Extremely lightweight, fits into my hand-luggage satchel along with my cameras, no problems.
Could do without Windows 8 (took a while to upgrade, via Windows Update, to 8.1) but that's not the devices problem.