New school-oriented Asus VivoBook W202 laptop is now available
Just in time for the 2017 school year, Asus has released a new budget laptop. The VivoBook W202 runs Windows 10 S—a "lite" version of Windows 10—and features very basic specs and a design that is made to withstand wear and tear—perfect for on-the-go students or teachers.
The main disadvantage that Windows 10 S presents is its locked app ecosystem. You can't install software that isn't found in the Windows Store. This may actually be a good thing when it comes to a laptop aimed at younger users, though, because it helps prevent accidental installs of malicious software. And although the Windows Store's app selection isn't as exhaustive as what's found on the Apple or Google Play stores, it still features many of the most popular apps and games.
Specs are usually a major selling point for any laptop, but the VivoBook W202 isn't aiming to impress with its power but rather its affordability. It costs US $279, about the same price as Chromebooks usually go for. For almost 300 dollars, here's what you get:
- An 11.6-inch, 1366 by 768-resolution screen
- 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron N3350 dual-core processor
- 4 GB of RAM
- 64 GB of internal storage (SD card slot available)
- 2x USB 3.1 Type-A ports
- HDMI port
- Headphone/mic combo jack
- 802.11ac wireless connectivity
- 0.3-megapixel (640 by 480-resolution) webcam
Asus is also offering models with better specs, such as a quad-core Pentium processor, more RAM, and bigger storage, at a higher price. But this model is the one that the company is specifically targeting at students. Aside from its low price and unique features, such as a 180-degree hinge and a spill-resistant keyboard, Asus is also touting its relatively-light weight (2.26 lbs) and its slim form-factor (2.25 cm) as reasons to purchase its new VivoBook.
Not everyone wants to buy a laptop with what is essentially a restricted version of Windows. For US $20 more, customers can get a VivoBook W202 that runs a full and unrestricted version of Windows 10. That brings the price up to US $299, which isn't that much of a difference anyway.
The Asus VivoBook W202 may not be packing the latest and greatest hardware, but its cheap cost means that it's a suitable device for first-time laptop owners or Windows users, as well as for students who just need a machine to get stuff done. It's also a reasonable alternative for Windows loyalists who are interested in the affordability, portability, and ease-of-use that a Chromebook provides, but aren't yet ready to leave Microsoft's ecosystem.