Touchscreen Windows 8 laptops with a modicum of style, Intel Core i CPUs and a very portable design don't come cheap. What if you want an ultraportable laptop with a touchscreen but don't have $1,000 or more for the likes of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, Sony Vai Duo 11 or Asus Taichi? How about the Asus VivoBook Q200 and X202 11.6" laptops that sell for $550 to $600? These two are nearly identical with the same casing, display and features but the Q200, sold mostly at BestBuy is $550 and has slightly less smart internals. But have a stylish Asus Zenbook inspired casing with a metal lid and keyboard deck along with the Zenbook's tapered design (though they're not as wafer thin). The VivoBook weighs 3 pounds and is a great buy if you're in the market for a touchscreen ultraportable.
Both models have an 11.6", 1366 x 768 TN display with 10 points of capacitive multi-touch (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. 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. 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 well.
This is a traditional notebook design, and the hinge doesn't swivel, pivot or do 360 degree flips. It's simply a small notebook with a touchscreen, but given Windows 8's Modern UI with Live Tiles, that touchscreen makes the new OS much more enjoyable to navigate. The notebook has a 5136 mah Lithium Ion battery, a webcam with mic and a good selection of ports for a small chassis: two USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, 10/100 Ethernet, VGA, full size HDMI and an SD card slot. The battery is sealed inside, but it's easy enough to remove the Philips head screws on the bottom to access the battery, RAM slot and SATA bay (it holds a 2.5" 500 gig, 5400RPM drive). You won't get an SSD drive or even a small SSD caching drive to speed up boot and app launch times at this price.
What the difference between the VivoBook Q200 and X202? Get the X202! The Q200 runs on last year's second generation 1.4GH Intel Core i3 CPU with Intel HD 3000 graphics and no Bluetooth. The X202 is $50 more, but you get a 1.8GHz Intel Core i3 CPU with much faster Intel HD 4000 graphics and Bluetooth. Both models have single band Atheros 802.11b/g/n WiFi, 4 gigs of RAM and a 500 gig HDD. The Asus VivoBook X202 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.