A light and compact convertible laptop that is well made for the price, but lacks grunt to be truly useful.
C heap laptops generally don’t equate to a solid physical design. The Asus TP200SA however, is remarkably well made for a laptop with an RRP of $599. Compact with an 11.6” screen and weighing only 1.2kg, it will slip into a satchel bag easily, as will its compact power supply, which is about the size of a large USB charger.
The keyboard feels great to use and the connectivity options on such a small and thin laptop are high end. A USB 3.0 Type-C connector makes the TP200SA extremely versatile. Flipping the laptop around to use in tablet mode is quick and sturdy. The display is rich and vibrant, whilst not pro graphics quality, it’s very legible and doesn’t upset my precious eyes.
Unfortunately, that’s where that’s where good stuff ends. The low end Celeron N3050 CPU in this machine is slow, which runs at over 50%, just using the Microsoft Edge browser. The laggard CPU is paired with far too little RAM - only 2GB! With the pre-installed bloatware hogging almost 1.7GB of that RAM in Windows, you’re only left with 300MB free. Uninstalling all the apps helps a little, but 2GB is just not enough for Windows 10 to run on. 4GB of RAM should be the bare minimum on a new computer in 2015.
To make matters worse, the slow CPU and tiny amount of RAM is paired with an equally small amount of eMMC storage (32GB or 64GB). The speeds of an eMMC drive are barely acceptable on a tablet, let alone on a proper laptop running a full operating system. A SATA SSD would have been nice and made a world of difference.
These are the compromises a manufacturer makes to hit a price point. Whilst it may be acceptable to some, for me the shortcomings are annoying to the point where I don’t want to use the Asus TP200SA very often, making it a difficult purchase to recommend, despite the great physical form factor.