Notebookcheck

Asus X200MA Netbook Review

Sven Kloevekorn (translated by Bernie Pechlaner), 08/29/2015

A tiny companion. Small, light, affordable: pretty much all old-school netbooks fit the bill in that regard. To make them truly usable, they also need to be equipped with good input devices, a decent display and feature a long battery life. Despite the fact that Asus' netbook offers a good price-to-value ratio, the user has to deal with a few drawbacks as well.

For the original German review, see here.

Users looking for highly mobile and affordable companion for simple tasks like browsing and word processing, but who don't think that convertibles or touchscreens bring additional value to the table, might want to consider a standard netbook like the 11.6-inch Asus X200MA. Our review version - called BING-KX366B - is available at a low starting price point of 250 Euro (~$280). During a comprehensive price comparison conducted in Berlin (Germany), we unearthed no less than 12 different versions of the netbook, which differ in their color (black / white), CPU and RAM configurations, as well as the display, as some models come equipped with a touchscreen.

Our review netbook comes with the frugal - and this class very common - dual-core Intel Celeron N2830 with integrated HD graphics. The SoC can't handle demanding software and is best suited for old and / or less power-hungry (2D) games. The amount of RAM is also meager at 2 GB, which again is typical for netbooks. Possible competitors like the Lenovo S20-30Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L10-B-101, Medion Akoya P2214T MD 99430 Test Medion Akoya P2214T MD 99430 Convertibleand Acer Aspire V3-111P-P06A also offer similar performance and price points.

Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Core: 313 - 750 MHz, Shared memory, 10.18.10.3925
Memory
2048 MB 
, Single-channel, soldered on, 2 RAM slots open
Display
11.6 inch 16:9, 1366 x 768 pixel, TN LED, AU Optronics B116XW03 V0, glossy: yes
Storage
Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680, 500 GB 
, 5400 rpm
Soundcard
Intel Valleyview SoC - HD Audio Controller
Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: Combo Audio Jack, 3,5 mm Klinke , Card Reader: MMC/ SDHC/ SDXC/ SD
Networking
RealTek Semiconductor RTL8101/2/3 Family Fast Ethernet NIC (10/100MBit), Realtek RTL8188E Wireless LAN 802.11n PCI-E NIC (b/g/n)
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 25.6 x 302 x 200 ( = 1.01 x 11.89 x 7.87 in)
Battery
33 Wh Lithium-Ion, 3300 mAh, 3 cells
Operating System
Windows 8.1 (64 Bit) + Bing
Camera
Webcam: VGA
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, front, bottom, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Asus: WebStorage, Live Update; MS Office trial version, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.24 kg ( = 43.74 oz / 2.73 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
289.00 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case & Connectivity

The back of the display lid and the deck of the completely black plastic netbook feature a very finely textured pattern, which aids in slip-resistance; the bezel and the bottom of the base unit are simply rough plastic. Fingerprints are visible, but not overly so. From a design perspective, the netbook doesn't stray from the basics and optical accents are nowhere to be found.    

The base unit can be twisted a little with some force applied and responds with creaking sounds during the process. Overall, the chassis as well as the somewhat pressure-sensitive display lid are sufficiently rigid and stiff. The lid can't be opened with one hand, but that also means that the display remains rock-solid during mobile use in a car or train. Mobility is further enhanced thanks to the low weight of 1.2 kg. Except for the clickpad (see below), we can't really criticize the build quality. The gaps are very even and the edges are generally flush with each other.    

Since the battery isn't removable and there isn't a maintenance hatch, getting access to the hardware requires the removal of the bottom plate, which is secured with seven screws. Careful though: doing so can void the warranty. The number of ports listed in the spec sheet exceeds expectations slightly; we are also quite happy with the placement, since the ports are generally located on the sides towards the back. Some cutbacks affect the included communication modules, since dual-band WiFi (ac), Gigabit Ethernet, and Bluetooth are not offered.

Input Devices

Since space is at a premium, the chiclet-style keyboard is about a centimeter narrower than a regular desktop keyboard. The width of the flat keys with their rough surface is pretty standard, but the space between the keys is restricted, which takes some time getting used to and which can hamper typing speeds. The layout offers no surprises. The keys offer very short travel and the keystroke is well defined, but the overall feedback is a little on the soft side in our opinion. The keyboard is recessed slightly and yields to pressure very easily in the middle.     

The clickpad features a usable size, but in our case, the unit was not inserted cleanly into the base unit during the manufacturing process. The surface of the pad, which is not touch-sensitive all the way at the bottom as well left and right edges, slightly protrudes above the base unit in some areas and rattles when touched. Response and precision are OK, although drag & drop didn't always work as intended. Because of their rather weak and inconsistent feedback, the mouse buttons are also a point of criticism and reinforce the impression of only moderate quality.

Display

The matte TN panel features a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels (135 ppi); its brightness misses the mark of a minimum of 200 nits, which we feel is required to ensure a halfway decent experience when outdoors. The display is the dimmest example in the netbook-segment we've encountered in the last 12 months with the average recorded value right at 248 nits. Because of the decent black value of 0.34 nits, the contrast is acceptable for the price point at 550:1 and about average for the class.

Our photo shows what the combination of low brightness and reflective panel does to the readability outdoors especially in direct sunlight. Users who need to venture outside a lot are definitely better off with a different notebook.

CalMAN Graylevels
CalMAN Graylevels
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Saturation
CalMAN Saturation
Asus X200MA vs. AdobeRGB
Asus X200MA vs. AdobeRGB
Asus X200MA vs. sRGB
Asus X200MA vs. sRGB
Asus X200MA outdoors
Asus X200MA outdoors

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189
cd/m²
188
cd/m²
178
cd/m²
175
cd/m²
187
cd/m²
176
cd/m²
175
cd/m²
186
cd/m²
172
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 189 cd/m² Average: 180.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 91 %
Center on Battery: 187 cd/m²
Contrast: 550:1 (Black: 0.34 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.55 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 5.78 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
59% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 38% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.71

A plus: the average brightness distribution of 91 %. The color accuracy is less impressive, although the DeltaE-deviation of 6 (as shipped, not calibrated, profile linked below) happens to be quite decent for a TN panel and not something that should be taken for granted at the given the price point. Color space coverage is decidedly unimpressive at 38 % for AdobeRGB and 59 % for sRGB. These values are typical for very inexpensive notebooks, but about as low as they can get.

Asus decision to use a TN panel with decent viewing angle stability pays dividends during mobile use. Viewed from the side, both the brightness as well as the contrast decrease quite a bit, but the colors still look pretty natural. In the vertical plane, we encountered the usual deteriorations like a paler picture or colors that appear inverted - but these changes are a lot less noticeable and occur later than they would with many other TN panels.

Performance

Performance-wise, the Asus X200MA handles much like its peers, as it comes equipped with a frugal 7.5-watt, dual-core SoC without hyperthreading, a slow HD graphics (Bay Trail) GPU and a conventional hard drive. The netbook can handle word processing and multimedia applications reasonably well, but more demanding software like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom just doesn't run well on this entry-level platform. Applications like that run much better with an Intel Core i3 with a TDP of 15 watts and hyperthreading enabled.

Processor

The Intel Celeron N2830 (2 x 2.16 - 2.41 GHz, TDP 7.5 W, Silvermont) is suited very well for small netbooks, convertibles and tablets. The SoC is based on the Bay Trail M platform, which improves upon the per-MHz performance of previous Atom platforms significantly, but lacks hyperthreading. 

The performance of the SoC meets our expectations. As far as pure CPU performance is concerned, the X200MA has no problems keeping up with the competitors listed below during the single-core portion of the Cinebench benchmark, but of course loses a lot of ground during the multi-core test compared to systems equipped with the quad-core Celeron N2940 (4 x 1.83 - 2.25 GHz, no hyperthreading, TDP 7.5 W) or Pentium N3530 (4 x 2.16 - 2.58 GHZ, no hyperthreading, TDP 7.5 W). We didn't encounter any bottlenecks and the cores remained at the maximum of 2.41 GHz during the benchmark test.

Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
Intel Celeron N2830
0.45 Points ∼18%
Lenovo S20-30
Intel Celeron N2830
0.43 Points ∼18% -4%
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L10-B-101
Intel Celeron N2840
0.44 Points ∼18% -2%
Medion Akoya P2214T MD 99430
Intel Celeron N2940
0.42 Points ∼17% -7%
Acer Aspire V3-111P-P06A
Intel Pentium N3530
0.48 Points ∼20% +7%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
Intel Celeron N2830
0.87 Points ∼3%
Lenovo S20-30
Intel Celeron N2830
0.79 Points ∼3% -9%
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L10-B-101
Intel Celeron N2840
0.92 Points ∼3% +6%
Medion Akoya P2214T MD 99430
Intel Celeron N2940
1.62 Points ∼6% +86%
Acer Aspire V3-111P-P06A
Intel Pentium N3530
1.82 Points ∼7% +109%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
Intel Celeron N2830
38 Points ∼17%
Lenovo S20-30
Intel Celeron N2830
38 Points ∼17% 0%
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L10-B-101
Intel Celeron N2840
38 Points ∼17% 0%
Medion Akoya P2214T MD 99430
Intel Celeron N2940
36 Points ∼17% -5%
Acer Aspire V3-111P-P06A
Intel Pentium N3530
39 Points ∼18% +3%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
Intel Celeron N2830
71 Points ∼2%
Lenovo S20-30
Intel Celeron N2830
67 Points ∼2% -6%
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L10-B-101
Intel Celeron N2840
69 Points ∼2% -3%
Medion Akoya P2214T MD 99430
Intel Celeron N2940
132 Points ∼3% +86%
Acer Aspire V3-111P-P06A
Intel Pentium N3530
141 Points ∼3% +99%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit (sort by value)
Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
Intel Celeron N2830
1169 Points ∼11%
Asus EeeBook X205TA-FD005BS
Intel Atom Z3735F
813 Points ∼8% -30%
Lenovo S20-30
Intel Celeron N2830
1202 Points ∼11% +3%
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L10-B-101
Intel Celeron N2840
1334 Points ∼12% +14%
Lenovo Miix 3 10
Intel Atom Z3735F
952 Points ∼9% -19%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit (sort by value)
Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
Intel Celeron N2830
2316 Points ∼5%
Asus EeeBook X205TA-FD005BS
Intel Atom Z3735F
2867 Points ∼6% +24%
Lenovo S20-30
Intel Celeron N2830
2224 Points ∼4% -4%
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L10-B-101
Intel Celeron N2840
2533 Points ∼5% +9%
Lenovo Miix 3 10
Intel Atom Z3735F
2931 Points ∼6% +27%
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
1169
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
2316
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.45 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
0.87 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
38 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
71 Points
Help

System Performance

No surprises here, either: the system performance is low, but not unexpectedly so. The user needs to accept more or less frequent lags and slowdowns and excessive multi-tasking is also not a good idea. Once an application is loaded into the - admittedly sparse - RAM, load times are reduced significantly. We had no problems working with MS Office programs once they were loaded and surfing the web was also mostly stress-free.

PCMark 7
Lightweight (sort by value)
Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
1420 Points ∼19%
Asus EeeBook X205TA-FD005BS
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3735F, 32 GB eMMC Flash
2214 Points ∼30% +56%
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L10-B-101
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2840, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
879 Points ∼12% -38%
Lenovo Miix 3 10
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3735F, 32 GB eMMC Flash
1402 Points ∼19% -1%
Score (sort by value)
Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
1651 Points ∼19%
Asus EeeBook X205TA-FD005BS
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3735F, 32 GB eMMC Flash
2388 Points ∼28% +45%
Toshiba Satellite Radius 11 L10-B-101
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2840, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
1723 Points ∼20% +4%
Lenovo Miix 3 10
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3735F, 32 GB eMMC Flash
2366 Points ∼28% +43%
PCMark 7 Score
1651 points
Help

Storage Device

The Hitachi Travelstar (no SSD cache) spins at 5400 RPM and has a capacity of 500 GB. This particular drive, which we've encountered quite a few times in the past, isn't one of the most impressive examples in the category. HD Tune reports an average transfer rate of 78 MB/s; our average for conventional drives (including 7200 RPM models) over the last 8 months is 87 MB/s. Access times are worse though and the Asus X200MA trails all other systems here. According to CrystelDiskMark 3.0, things aren't quite as dire and the hard drive performance is lower-end middle-class.

Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
Transfer Rate Minimum: 3.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 105.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 78.4 MB/s
Access Time: 20.6 ms
Burst Rate: 107.6 MB/s
CPU Usage: 10.7 %

GPU Performance

The integrated Intel HD Grafik (Bay Trail) offers very little performance and ranks almost at the bottom of the range. The fact that DirectX 11 is supported doesn't help much, since the combination of very few EUs together with a low clock speed simply prevent the fluent game play of DX11-titles. Users looking for better performance in this price range should probably try to find a netbook with AMD APU, although there aren't many available at the time of writing. A comparison: the ARM Mali-T760 MP8 in the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Smartphone exceeded the performance of our review unit by 60 % when running the 3DMark (2013) Ice Storm benchmark.

3DMark 11 Performance
226 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
14576 points
Help

Gaming Performance

To keep a long story short: even moderately current games with some demands on the hardware are out of the question. Even titles like Diablo III and Fifa 15 at the lowest settings completely overwhelm the system. For more details on the benchmark performance please take a look at the dedicated page for the HD Graphics (Bay Trail).

low med. high ultra
Civilization: Beyond Earth (2014) 9.6fps

Emission & Energy

System Noise

At distances of half a meter and above, it's hard to hear the fan - which is always on - even under load conditions, but the clicking of the hard drive was audible. Compared to the other netbooks which we have tested in the last twelve months, the noise level of the Asus is about average during idle, but it's among the more noisy ones under load. Netbooks generally don't get very loud, however.

Noise Level

Idle
32 / 32 / 32 dB(A)
HDD
33.2 dB(A)
Load
34.4 / 36.1 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Potential buyers of the Asus X200MA probably don't have high-load marathon-sessions in their mind, so it doesn't really matter that the netbook gets a little warm - we measured up to 44 degrees C in one area on the bottom. Normal use (idle, low loads) results in average surface temperatures of only about 27 degrees C. 

The X200MA was almost not able to handle our stress test with Prime95. The system either crashed completely or it slowed to the point where HWiNFO64 was barely able to refresh properly and display the stats. Waiting around payed off though since the netbook usually recovered after a few minutes and resumed with the CPU cores at maximum speed just like during our benchmark attempts with Cinebench.

 25.9 °C
79 F
25.1 °C
77 F
24.5 °C
76 F
 
 25.6 °C
78 F
26 °C
79 F
24.7 °C
76 F
 
 24.7 °C
76 F
25.2 °C
77 F
26.6 °C
80 F
 
Maximum: 26.6 °C = 80 F
Average: 25.4 °C = 78 F
26 °C
79 F
27 °C
81 F
26 °C
79 F
25.7 °C
78 F
28.4 °C
83 F
26.2 °C
79 F
26.7 °C
80 F
25.5 °C
78 F
26.3 °C
79 F
Maximum: 28.4 °C = 83 F
Average: 26.4 °C = 80 F
Power Supply (max.)  28.8 °C = 84 F | Room Temperature 22.7 °C = 73 F | Voltcraft IR-360
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 27 °C / 81 F, compared to the average of 29.8 °C / 86 F for the devices in the class Netbook.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 30.8 °C / 87 F, compared to the average of 33 °C / 91 F, ranging from 21.6 to 53.2 °C for the class Netbook.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 44 °C / 111 F, compared to the average of 36.6 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.4 °C / 78 F, compared to the device average of 29.8 °C / 86 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 30.8 °C / 87.4 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(±) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.3 °C / 84.7 F (-1.5 °C / -2.7 F).

Speakers

The two speakers are located on the bottom towards the front edge. Although the maximum volume level is sufficient and the sound is quite clear most of the time, the speakers sound tinny and over-emphasize the middle frequency range. Many titles start to sound rather piercing at higher volume levels as well. The more instruments are in play, the harder it is to differentiate them and the limited frequency range of the speakers becomes more and more apparent. In addition to the limited dynamic range, the sound stage is also far from three-dimensional. At the given the price point, better performance can't really be expected.

Power Consumption

If we once again compare the X200MA to the other netbooks (many of which actually have more powerful SoCs or CPUs) we've reviewed in the past 12 months, it becomes apparent that the review sample is definitely among the more power-hungry ones - at least under load. That hampers the mobility, which is of course very important in this class. Like we said earlier, it's rather unlikely that the netbook will be subjected to high load levels though.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.2 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 4 / 6.9 / 7.8 Watt
Load midlight 15.1 / 16.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Life

The small 33 Wh battery of the X200MA lasted for 285 minutes during the WLAN test (our test criteria). It's hard to evaluate this result since we lack a sufficiently large number of comparable entries in the database, since the previously-used WLAN test was less resource-intensive. It's a given though that netbooks with similar hardware and similar battery capacity sometimes last significantly longer, so the run time of the Asus X200MA doesn't really deserve any accolades.

Battery Runtime - WiFi Websurfing 1.3 (sort by value)
Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N2830, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E680
285 min ∼11%
Acer Iconia Tab 10 A3-A30
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3735F, 32 GB eMMC Flash
485 min ∼18% +70%
Asus T100CHI-B1-BK
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), Z3775, 32 GB eMMC Flash
588 min ∼22% +106%
Dell Latitude 11 3150
HD Graphics (Bay Trail), N3540, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
591 min ∼22% +107%
Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
4h 45min

Pros

+ Affordable
+ Light & compact
+ Usable keyboard
+ Display with good viewing angle stability
+ Fast enough for home office and Internet
+ Quiet, runs cool

Cons

- Maintenance not possible without disassembly
- Display too dark
- Clickpad not integrated well into the chassis
- Slow HDD
- Comparatively high power consumption...
- ...resulting in moderate battery run times

Verdict

In Review: Asus X200MA. Test model courtesy of cyberport.de
In Review: Asus X200MA. Test model courtesy of cyberport.de

There's really not that much wrong with the Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B considering the price point. The clickpad, which is usable but far from great, isn't integrated into the chassis of our review netbook all that well, which in turn prompted us to lower our score for the build quality. We would also really appreciate it if Asus made it a little easier to access the system hardware. We like the keyboard and the overall build quality is actually decent as well. The TN display is quite dark, but at least the viewing angle stability and color accuracy are reasonably good. The X200MA doesn't offer a lot of performance, but it can't be compared to the first-generation netbook-paperweights either - overall it's certainly a usable representative of the genre.

It's too bad that the X200MA doesn't fare better as far as its power consumption and battery life are concerned, because that in turn hampers the - otherwise very decent - mobility.

The Lenovo S20-30 is also very affordable and better in that regard.

Asus X200MA-BING-KX366B - 07/10/2015 v4(old)
Sven Kloevekorn

Chassis
66 / 98 → 67%
Keyboard
73%
Pointing Device
72%
Connectivity
60 / 80 → 75%
Weight
72 / 35-78 → 86%
Battery
75%
Display
78%
Games Performance
42 / 68 → 62%
Application Performance
51 / 87 → 59%
Temperature
92 / 91 → 100%
Noise
87%
Audio
44 / 91 → 48%
Average
68%
75%
Netbook - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Asus X200MA Netbook Review
Sven Kloevekorn, 2015-08-29 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Bernhard Pechlaner
Bernhard Pechlaner - Review Editor
Ended up in the IT sector in the 90s more or less accidentally and have remained in the industry (as a sysadmin) ever since. Always been interested in laptops - first purchase was - if memory serves correctly - a Toshiba Satellite T2115CS with DX4-75 processor, 4 MB of RAM and 350 MB hard disk drive (and Windows 3.1). To this day, laptops appeal to me - much to the chagrin of my wife, who doesn’t seem understand why we need 5-10 of them at any given time ;-).