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Asus Q302LA Convertible Review

The affordable convertible. For about $500, this Asus is both a decent tablet and notebook. Unfortunately, a lot of important corners had to be cut to bring this transformer to such an inexpensive level.

Asus is more than just Zenbooks and Transformers despite its concentrated marketing on the high-end lineup. The manufacturer offers plenty of options on the other side of the spectrum for those who would rather not drop a grand for the latest in mobile hardware. The Q302 is a more down-to-earth budget model with 360-degree hinges to better appeal to those looking for a multi-purpose solution.

For around $500, our 13.3-inch test model comes equipped with a Core i3-4030U, 2 GB RAM, 1366 x 768 display, and a 500 GB HDD. We put the model through our quick set of tests in this short review to see if budget-conscious buyers should consider this alternative convertible.

Case

Aesthetically, the Asus Q302 has a sleek and flat profile that already puts it above other budget notebooks in this price range. The brushed aluminum outer lid and base make the notebook look more expensive than it really is while the matte plastic bottom has a rougher texture in contrast to the smooth surfaces on the Lenovo Edge series and Dell XPS 13. Build quality is good considering the price with rigid hinges and base. The lid doesn't twist so easily due to the small screen size and somewhat thick bezel, but pushing down on the center of the outer lid still causes a noticeable depression.

Weight is a tad on the heavy side at just over 1.8 kg. This is a few hundred grams heavier than the competing Acer Aspire V3 (1.5 kg) and just slightly above the HP Pavilion 13 x360 (1.76 kg). For comparison's sake, the popular and more expensive Samsung ATIV Book 9 comes in at 1.4 kg. While the Asus is heavier, it does feel better built than a budget Acer Aspire model. At the same time, however, it can be difficult to hold in tablet mode for longer periods of time.

Connectivity

Available ports include the basics with a notable exception. Users will be quick to notice that the system lacks a Gigabit Ethernet port, which forces wireless usage. Nonetheless, the 2x USB 3.0 ports should allow for a wide range of generic docking stations for additional connectivity features if needed.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: 3.5 mm combo audio, 2x USB 2.0, HDMI-out, Power adapter
Right: 3.5 mm combo audio, 2x USB 2.0, HDMI-out, Power adapter
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Left: Kensington Lock, 1x USB 2.0, SD reader, Windows Home button, Volume rocker, Power button
Left: Kensington Lock, 1x USB 2.0, SD reader, Windows Home button, Volume rocker, Power button

Communication

With no RJ-45 in sight, the Asus depends on WLAN for connectivity. The half-mini PCIe MediaTek MT7630E card is capable of wireless-n with integrated Bluetooth 4.0. We experienced no connection or dropout issues during our time with the test model. There are, however, user reports of connectivity problems with this particular MediaTek card when using older drivers. Updating the driver to at least v5.00.44.0 should prevent any related problems.

There are no WWAN or GPS options outside of standard WLAN.

Accessories

Included accessories are non-existent outside of the standard warranty card and quick user guide. In this case, it would have been nice to have a USB-to-Ethernet adapter thrown in to alleviate the lack of a dedicated LAN port.

Warranty

The standard one-year warranty applies. Best Buy offers additional coverage plans for accidental damage and extensions.

Input Devices

Keyboard

The Chiclet keyboard (27.5 x 10 cm) provides shallow travel with a firm-but-light response. The keys are relatively quiet, but they lack the tactile feedback that a standard AccuType keyboard would on a Lenovo notebook. The small Arrow keys are even worse with lackluster feedback. There are no additional dedicated multimedia keys outside of the volume rocker on the edge of the notebook.

We do commend Asus for including a backlight for the keyboard on such an inexpensive model. Unlike on recent Yoga models, however, the keys will not automatically depress when in tablet mode.

Touchpad

The touchpad is of adequate size (10.5 x 6 cm) with the same dimensions as on the Aspire V3-371. Unlike on the Acer, it avoids the cheap plastic look with a rigid surface and chrome perimeter similar to the touchpads on more expensive notebooks. Responsiveness and inputs are reliable with no issues around the edges and corners. The integrated keys are on the loud side when pressed, but this in turn means a firm response each time. Multi-touch is supported if the user prefers scrolling and zooming with the touchpad instead of the touchscreen itself.

Small Arrow keys are difficult to use
Small Arrow keys are difficult to use

Display

A native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels is common on budget models and the Asus Q302 is no exception. At this level, the screen-door effect becomes much more apparent as pixels are large and even blocky. It's an inexpensive panel for sure, but it's a compromise at this price range. The BOE HB133WX1-402 panel on the Asus is not on any other notebook in our database, though similar TN panels from BOE can be found on other budget notebooks including the Transformer Book T200 and HP Stream 11 x360.

Brightness and contrast are just below average for a budget model at about 190 nits and 300:1, respectively. The Aspire V3 and even the Toshiba Chromebook have brighter panels and deeper blacks than the Asus. Thus, blacks tend to look gray and muddy during video playback.

189.4
cd/m²
185.2
cd/m²
203.6
cd/m²
189.7
cd/m²
202.4
cd/m²
199.4
cd/m²
181.9
cd/m²
200.5
cd/m²
185.9
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 203.6 cd/m² Average: 193.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 202.4 cd/m²
Contrast: 315:1 (Black: 0.642 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.76 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2.39 | - Ø
48.29% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.04
Asus Q302LA-BHIHP Pavilion 13-a000ng x360Dell XPS 13-9343 Non-TouchAcer Aspire V3-371-58DJLenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
Screen
-70%
34%
-39%
71%
Brightness
193
156
-19%
405
110%
236
22%
268
39%
Brightness Distribution
89
88
-1%
93
4%
90
1%
87
-2%
Black Level *
0.642
0.39
39%
0.366
43%
0.46
28%
0.31
52%
Contrast
315
431
37%
1119
255%
535
70%
923
193%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.76
9.65
-157%
7.67
-104%
7.45
-98%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.39
10.03
-320%
4.66
-95%
9.13
-282%
Gamma
2.04 118%
2.09 115%
1.65 145%
2.29 105%
CCT
6717 97%
11308 57%
6502 100%
9510 68%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
48.29
59.65
24%
41
-15%

* ... smaller is better

Color coverage is about 65 percent and 48 percent of the sRGB and AdobeRGB standards, respectively. This is above average for an inexpensive notebook where panels with 60 percent and 40 percent coverages of the sRGB and AdobeRGB spectra are more common. For the target audience, however, this is not significant.

vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. Acer Aspire V3
vs. Acer Aspire V3
vs. Acer TravelMate P246
vs. Acer TravelMate P246

Further color analyses with an X-Rite spectrophotometer reveal inaccurate Blue and Magenta at deeper saturation levels. Colors tend to become more accurate the lower the saturation level for this particular panel. Color temperature is not overly cool unlike on most cheap notebooks, so the grayscale on this Asus is better than expected.

Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation Sweeps
Saturation Sweeps
ColorChecker
ColorChecker

The glossy screen and average backlight both make the Q302 difficult to use outdoors on a bright or overcast day. The 360 degree hinges do help in providing more viewing angle opportunities to reduce glare, but the TN panel puts a damper on getting consistent colors when changing angles. Luckily, the display backlight will not artificially drop in maximum brightness when disconnected from an AC source.

Difficult to use under direct sunlight
Difficult to use under direct sunlight
Viewing angles Asus Q302LA
Viewing angles Asus Q302LA

Viewing angles are average due to the TN panel. The tablet and stand modes are subsequently more limited than they ought to be due to having a narrow viewing window. Sharing the display with others nearby is difficult regardless of what mode the notebook is in.

Performance

The Q302LA ships with an ULV Core i3-4030U with integrated Intel HD 4400 graphics. The dual-core Haswell does not support Turbo Boost as it is a part of the i3 family, so its base speed of 1.9 GHz is also its maximum. Another configuration is available with a Core i5-4210U for Turbo Boost up to 2.4 GHz for two active cores. For our Core i3 configuration on hand, running on Power Saver mode will limit the CPU and GPU to 800 MHz and 600 MHz, respectively.

RAM is provided by two SODIMM modules for a total of 6 GB. The alternate Core i5 configuration will ship with 8 GB total. The RAM slots, HDD, and other core components are easily accessible by removing the maintenance panel underneath.

System information Asus Q302LA-BHI

Processor

Synthetic CPU benchmarks place our Asus alongside other notebooks sporting the same processor such as the Pavilion 13 and Aspire V3. Thus, core clocks are not artificially reduced for any thermal reasons. Overall performance is similar to a mid-tier AMD Richland processor, such as the A8-5550M while requiring less power (15 W vs. 35 W). Compared to the previous Sandy Bridge generation, the i3-4030U is just a hair slower than the popular i3-3110M by 5 to 10 percent according to CineBench.

CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15 64-bit
CineBench R15 64-bit
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5981 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
7956 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
3683 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5719
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
6246
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
2808
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
20.36 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.07 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.81 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
22.96 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
192 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
68 Points
Help

System Performance

PCMark benchmarks return average scores that are expected from Core i3 notebooks with mechanical 5400 RPM drives. Other models with a similar i3 or i5 configuration return very similar scores, such as the VivoBook S301 and Toshiba Satellite Radius P50W. It's worth noting that the final PCMark 7 score of 2614 points is essentially identical to the Pavilion 15 equipped with the AMD A10-5745M APU and Radeon R7 M260 GPU.

Subjectively, system performance is of course not as fast as systems with dedicated SSDs. What we look for instead is consistency in navigation and when launching applications. In this regard, the Asus is lag-free with no skipped frames or unusually long bouts of loading.

PCMark 7
PCMark 7
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 7 Score
2614 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2221 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
2245 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
2962 points
Help

Storage Devices

The Asus ships with a standard 500 GB 5400 RPM Toshiba drive. Average transfer rate according to HD Tune is good considering the low RPM at almost 85 MB/s. 7200 RPM drives frequently near 100 MB/s or higher, while slower 5400 RPM drives typically come in around 75 MB/s. In comparison, SATA III SSDs that are now common amongst mainstream Ultrabooks have transfers rates at hundreds of megabytes per second with almost non-existent access times.

Replacing the Toshiba HDD with a standard 2.5-inch SSD is fortunately easy on the Q302. If replacing the existing HDD with another HDD, it may be best to stick with a thickness of 7 mm for compatibility.

For our growing performance list of HDDs and SSDs, see our dedicated page here.

CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark
HD Tune
HD Tune
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage

Gaming Performance

The Intel HD 4400 is designed for ULV processors and supports DirectX 11.1, OpenCL 1.2, and OpenGL 4.0. Its clock speed is highly variable depending on the CPU it is paired with from as low as 200 MHz up to 1100 MHz if boost is available. On our Asus model, the GPU tends to stick in the 600 to 1000 MHz range.

Gaming power is limited and is most similar to dedicated low-end Nvidia GPUs that are now more than a few years old. For example, the GeForce GT 620M and GT 540M score similarly to the HD 4400 in 3DMark 11 and 3DMark Cloud Gate, respectively. Users can expect to play most games at reasonable frame rates at very low graphics settings, but demanding 3D titles like Thief and Middle-earth are unplayable even on bare minimum settings.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
3DMark Ice Storm
3DMark Ice Storm
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Cloud Gate
3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark Fire Strike
3DMark 11 Performance
951 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
37575 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
3978 points
Help
low med. high ultra
Guild Wars 2 (2012) 4515fps
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) 1184223fps

Stress Test

We stress the Q302 under synthetic conditions to test for any throttling or stability issues. With Prime95 active, the CPU is able to maintain its full 1.9 GHz clock while core temperatures peak at 54 C. Similarly with FurMark active, the integrated GPU runs reliably in the 800 to 950 MHz range while core temperature becomes a bit warmer than the CPU at 62 C. Full stress with both Prime95 and FurMark active simultaneously will throttle the CPU to 1100 MHz. The GPU experiences less of an impact and almost never falls below 800 MHz.

Running on batteries will have a very slight impact on overall performance. A 3DMark 11 run on batteries returns graphics and physics scores of 797 and 2644 points, respectively, versus 851 and 2712 points on AC adapter power. Users will still have access to nearly all of the computing power of the Asus should AC power be unavailable.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Full stress
Full stress

Emissions

System Noise

The system fan is near-silent and is perfect for video playback or in quiet environments like classrooms or libraries. Standard browsing and Flash games do not increase fan noise, so users can enjoy light multitasking without pulsating fans that occasionally happen on much more powerful systems like gaming notebooks. 3D gaming will bump fan noise all the way up to the 43 dB(A) range, which is as loud as the similarly equipped HP Pavilion 13 x360. This is also similar to most Ultrabooks when under high CPU or GPU stress.

Noise Level

Idle
30.8 / 30.9 / 31 dB(A)
Load
33.5 / 42.4 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Surface temperatures when idling are flat on both sides of the notebook. The bottom is slightly warmer by a few degrees near the rear of the unit.

When under maximum load, the highest recorded temperature was just a little over 36 C. This is very good as Ultrabooks tend to reach 40 C or higher under the same conditions. The drawback is the slower Core i3 CPU in our test model compared to more common and powerful Core i5 solutions. The Acer Aspire V3-371, for example, has a more powerful Core i5-5200U with surface temperatures as high as 40 C under stressful conditions.

Max. Load
 25.2 °C30.4 °C28.2 °C 
 25.2 °C31.2 °C30.4 °C 
 23.2 °C23.2 °C25.8 °C 
Maximum: 31.2 °C
Average: 27 °C
29.8 °C34 °C27.6 °C
36.4 °C32.4 °C27.4 °C
25.4 °C24.6 °C23.2 °C
Maximum: 36.4 °C
Average: 29 °C
Power Supply (max.)  40.4 °C | Room Temperature 21 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

Stereo speakers on bottom front edges of notebook
Stereo speakers on bottom front edges of notebook

The stereo speakers on the front of the notebook are loud at maximum volume with good quality for the size. There are no heavy imbalances or static during playback, though bass is of course lacking. Otherwise, the speakers are acceptable for the occasional music and video. Best results are still with external speakers via the 3.5 mm audio port.

Battery Life

The integrated 3-cell battery has a capacity of 4430 mAh and is non-removable. Runtimes are a bit above average at just over 5.5 hours of constant WLAN use at 150 nits brightness. This is longer by at least an hour compared to the older first generation Lenovo Yoga 13, though it still falls behind the Aspire V3-371. The latest generation of Ultrabooks, such as the new Dell XPS 13, can last for over two hours longer during WLAN use under similar conditions.

Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
11h 16min
WiFi Surfing
5h 44min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 24min
Asus Q302LA-BHIHP Pavilion 13-a000ng x360Dell XPS 13-9343 Non-TouchAcer Aspire V3-371-58DJLenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
Battery Runtime
-22%
47%
50%
-27%
Reader / Idle
676
430
-36%
1295
92%
1182
75%
385
-43%
Load
144
100
-31%
145
1%
151
5%
119
-17%
WiFi
344
345
0%
585
70%
269
-22%
WiFi v1.3
598

Verdict

Asus Q302LA-BHI
Asus Q302LA-BHI

The Asus Q302 is great at its surface with an appealing brushed aluminum lid and easily upgradeable HDD and RAM. Since it doubles as a tablet, the model is also versatile around the household with respectable battery life.

The notebook begins to fall apart under outdoor conditions. Even though the screen size is fit for traveling and classwork, the TN panel limits usefulness in tablet mode with greatly reduced viewing angles. The low brightness further exacerbates the poor visibility of the glossy screen. The Asus is fine as a secondary home notebook, but competing models tend to be lighter with faster hardware or offer higher display resolutions for better primary use.

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In Review: Asus Q302LA-BHI
In Review: Asus Q302LA-BHI

Specifications

Asus Q302LA-BHI
Processor
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4400, Core: 1000 MHz, Memory: 800 MHz, 10.18.10.3496
Memory
6144 MB 
, DDR3, PC3-12800, Dual-Channel
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, Capacitive, BOE HB133WX1-402, TN LED, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
Storage
Toshiba MQ01ABF050, 500 GB 
, 5400 RPM
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, Card Reader: SD, Sensors: Accelerometer
Networking
Mediatek MT7630E (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 22.9 x 330.2 x 226.1 ( = 0.9 x 13 x 8.9 in)
Battery
Lithium-Polymer, 4430 mAh
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Warranty card, Quick Start Guide, User Guide, Pouch, Asus WebStorage, PowerDirector, PhotoDirector, Live Update, Dragon Assistant, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.814 kg ( = 63.99 oz / 4 pounds), Power Supply: 175 g ( = 6.17 oz / 0.39 pounds)
Price
440 Euro

 

Affordable convertible targets the Lenovo Yoga
Affordable convertible targets the Lenovo Yoga
Tablet mode feels limited due to the TN panel
Tablet mode feels limited due to the TN panel
Great looking brushed aluminum chassis
Great looking brushed aluminum chassis
hinges are taut no matter the angle
hinges are taut no matter the angle
Standard Power button and Volume rocker similar to Windows tablets
Standard Power button and Volume rocker similar to Windows tablets
Multiple USB 3.0 ports, but no RJ-45
Multiple USB 3.0 ports, but no RJ-45
Glossy plastic display bezel
Glossy plastic display bezel
Keyboard keys feel light with shallow travel
Keyboard keys feel light with shallow travel
Brushed aluminum surfaces are a fingerprint magnet
Brushed aluminum surfaces are a fingerprint magnet
Palm rests remain cool even under intensive CPU tasks
Palm rests remain cool even under intensive CPU tasks
Smooth touchpad with chrome perimeter looks similar to the Samsung ATIV 9
Smooth touchpad with chrome perimeter looks similar to the Samsung ATIV 9
Glossy screen fit mostly for indoor use
Glossy screen fit mostly for indoor use
Reflective brushed look is not all that common in this price range
Reflective brushed look is not all that common in this price range
The Q302 only comes in two different configurations
The Q302 only comes in two different configurations
Hard edges and corners for both tablet and stand modes
Hard edges and corners for both tablet and stand modes
Backlight not powerful enough for comfortable use outdoors
Backlight not powerful enough for comfortable use outdoors
Hard matte plastic bottom panel
Hard matte plastic bottom panel
Bottom plate secured with Philips screws
Bottom plate secured with Philips screws
Very small power adapter similar to those for Zenbooks
Very small power adapter similar to those for Zenbooks

Similar Laptops

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

Dell Inspiron 13 7347 Convertible Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i5 4210U

Devices with the same GPU

Lenovo Horizon 2s-F0AT0003US AIO Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i5 4210U, 19.5", 2.478 kg
Toshiba Satellite Radius P50W-BST2N01 Convertible Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i5 4210U, 15.6", 2.168 kg
Lenovo Horizon 2e-F0AS0014US AIO Review
HD Graphics 4400, Core i3 4030U, 21.5", 4.581 kg

Devices with Same Screen Size and/or Weight

Asus ZenBook Flip UX360UAK-BB351T Convertible Review
HD Graphics 620, Core i5 7200U, 13.3", 1.3 kg
Asus Transformer Book T302CA-FL010T Convertible Review
HD Graphics 515, Core m3 6Y30, 12.5", 1.48 kg

Links

  • Manufacturer's information

Compare Prices

Pros

+Brushed aluminum chassis
+Relatively low surface temperatures
+Upgradeable RAM and HDD
+Keyboard backlight
+Taut hinges
+Low system noise
 

Cons

-Low display resolution
-Not bright enough for outdoor use
-No IPS panel options
-Moderately heavy
-No RJ-45 port
-Non-removable battery

Shortcut

What we like

Brushed aluminum chassis looks great especially for the price.

What we'd like to see

Brighter display and an IPS panel for improved usability and viewing angles.

The competition

Acer Aspire V3-371-58DJ

Dell XPS 13-9343

HP Pavilion 13-a000ng x360

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

 

Rating

Asus Q302LA-BHI - 04/14/2015 v4(old)
Allen Ngo

Chassis
75 / 98 → 77%
Keyboard
75%
Pointing Device
75%
Connectivity
56 / 80 → 70%
Weight
65 / 78 → 70%
Battery
88%
Display
75%
Games Performance
54 / 68 → 79%
Application Performance
76 / 87 → 87%
Temperature
94%
Noise
88%
Audio
60 / 91 → 66%
Average
73%
76%
Convertible - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Asus Q302LA Convertible Review
Allen Ngo, 2015-04-14 (Update: 2015-04-14)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.