Display and Touchscreen
Both models have an 11.6", 1366 x 768 TN display with 10 points of capacitive multi-touch (there's no digital pen support but you can use a capacitive stylus). For this price, you don't get an IPS display with wide viewing angles, full HD or super-rich colors, but it's a decent display that's no worse than non-touch screen models on the market. Viewing angles aren't as important on the VivoBook since it has a standard notebook design rather than convertibles with displays that twist, flip or slide to tablet mode where wider viewing angles are a necessity. Colors are reasonably pleasing and contrast is adequate. The touchscreen is responsive and easy to use. Again, for the price we aren't complaining and it's quite usable.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The VivoBook has an island style keyboard that's fairly roomy for such a small machine and it has decent key travel. Once again, in this price range don't expect amenities like a backlit keyboard. Men with big hands might find an 11.6" keyboard cramped, but even with my relatively large hands and long fingers, I had no trouble typing at my usual 80 wpm. The keyboard might not beat Lenovo ThinkPads (they have the best keyboards in the business), but it's very usable and gave us no trouble.
The large trackpad (simply branded as Asus, so we don't know who makes it) was horrid out of the box unlike the Synaptics-equiped Windows 8 convertibles and notebooks we've reviewed so far. But an Asus update pushed a much improved driver that made Windows 8's gestures work fairly well. Happily, with a touch screen, one need not use the trackpad all that often.
Performance and Horsepower
The VivoBook ships with 4 gigs of RAM, which is adequate for most Windows users. The 500 gig, 5400 RPM HDD is plenty roomy, but it won't give you the 8 second boot times and instantaneous application launches that an SSD will. SSDs are relatively pricey, so we don't expect one here (they cost $200 to $500, depending on capacity). The machine has a standard SODIMM RAM slot so you should be able to upgrade to 8 gigs of RAM if needed, and it has a standard 2.5" SATA drive bay. Compared to Ultrabooks that are often harder to open and have RAM soldered to the motherboard, the VivoBook is easier to upgrade.
The 1.8GHz Intel Core i3 3217U ULV (ultra low voltage) Ivy Bridge CPU is the low man on the Intel totem pole, and it's adequate for MS Office, web, email and even photo editing. The X202 with Intel HD 4000 graphics plays HD video well, but don't expect it to fly when using demanding apps like video editors and current killer 3D games. In fact, you'll want to stick with casual games and older 3D games on this notebook. The Q200 runs on last year's Sandy Bridge Core i3, and it noticeably slows down if you have several apps running simultaneously. The X202 multi-tasks better, though it too can bog down if you've got 5 apps running. Simple solution: quit apps if it gets slow. If you need that many apps running simultaneously, get a more powerful computer. Is the VivoBook as fast as current Ultrabooks and touchscreen convertibles with Intel Core i5 ULV CPUs? No, but that's why it costs less.
Asus VivoBook Q200: 1523
Asus VivoBook X202:
Asus VivoBook Q200 Windows Experience Index (scale of 1.0 - 9.9):
Desktop Graphics: 4.4
Primary Hard Disk: 5.9
Asus VivoBook X202 Windows Experience Index (scale of 1.0 - 9.9):
Desktop Graphics: 4.4
Primary Hard Disk: 5.9
The X202 and Q200 have a 2 cells 5136 mAh, 38 Whrs Polymer Battery that lives under the bottom cover (you'll need to remove the bottom plate's screws to remove and replace the battery). That's a decent capacity battery for a machine with a small display and low power CPU/GPU combo, and in our tests the machine averaged 4.5 hours on a charge with moderate use that included MS Office, web, email running in the background and 45 minutes of YouTube streaming. So far, Windows 8 machines haven't had stellar battery life, and the X202E has average battery life vs. the competition. The laptop comes with a compact black wall wart charger that looks similar to the charger included with Asus Android tablets and Zenbook Ultrabooks.
The Asus VivoBook X202E is definitely worth a look if you're in the market for a very affordable and portable Windows 8 touch screen notebook running full Windows 8 64 bit on and Intel Core i CPU. As you know by now, we highly recommend the X202 over the Q200: you get significantly better performance for just $50 more. The laptop is good looking, is well put together has a quality metal casing. It's also easier to upgrade than most Ultrabooks and the touch screen lets Windows 8 shine. If you're on a budget and are looking for an ultraportable touchscreen notebook, we recommend the Asus VivoBook X202.