ASUS X205TA-UH01-BK Review

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December 11, 2014
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ASUS X205TA-UH01-BK, with a moniker Signature Edition, is a sub-300 bucks laptop featuring Intel Atom level performance on a 11.6″ display. Its most obvious competitors are other rock-bottom laptops, Chromebooks being a prime example. Without further ado, let’s see what components this Asus possesses and how it could help your computing efforts.

Main things

The affordable price puts a limitation on the performance. The quad-core Intel Atom Z3735F processor runs only on 1.33 – 1.83GHz clock frequency, depending whether turbo boost is active or not. These Atoms are suitable for entry level use, like MS Office work and web browsing. For demanding applications they tend to lack in pure performance. I can recommend Intel Atom for casual users, but power users would do well to pick a more powerful CPU.

The mere 2GB RAM isn’t surprise given the price and size of this laptop. Again, it’s enough for basic use, but considering Windows 8.1’s requirements I wouldn’t try a lot of multitasking or heavier applications with so little RAM amount. As far as I know, the memory is soldered to the mainboard and can’t be upgraded.

The storage is advertised as SSD, but in reality it’s an eMMC – embedded multimediacard. It’s like a solid state drive’s little brother, losing in speed to SSD, but still being a common sight in budget subnotebooks. The storage space itself is 32GB which is nothing compared to hard drives. But also ASUS realizes this space limitation and allows you to expand the local storage with microSD card or external optical drive. Also 100GB free ASUS cloud storage is offered so you can keep some of your files on the Internet.

The non-touch display is 11.6″ diagonal with 1366×768 resolution and TN panel. Now, the resolution isn’t Full HD and the panel type isn’t professional IPS (In-Plane Switching), but for the price I wouldn’t really complain. Plus, the small screen makes the laptop extremely portable one.

Short summary of gaming capabilities

ASUS X205TA-UH01-BK is not, as you probably already guess, an obvious gaming laptop. The sluggish processor and little RAM amount make the ASUS prone to lag, although the real bottleneck would be the Intel HD Graphics (Bay Trail) graphics engine. There’s simply not enough performance to run most modern games with smooth frame rates. Situation is of course better with older titles, and games like Fifa 14 and World of Warcraft should have greater than 25FPS, at least on low settings.

Connectivity

Connections of these tiny laptops are usually limited. This ASUS is no exception. It features two USB 2.0 ports – enough to plug in a couple of peripherals – but only with the slower speed since USB 3.0 is missing.

Due to size, the laptop doesn’t feature an optical drive. As said above, you can use an external DVD drive if you want to work with discs.

For HDTV or other external monitor connection, there’s a micro HDMI output on the notebook.

Networking is possible with the 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi adapter that also supports Bluetooth. Ethernet (wired) internet connection is not possible on ASUS X205TA-UH01-BK.

A 480p webcam and microphone are installed on the laptop.

Other noteworthy things

Operating system of this ASUS is Windows 8.1, the 32-bit edition full version (not RT).

The laptop weighs mere 2.11 pounds which is less than Chromebooks of similar size. The 2-cell lithium-ion battery is promised up to 12 hours running time which again beats Chromebooks.

The small size means there’s no space for numeric pad on the non-backlit keyboard. However, the trackpad is thus centered, making it rather comfortable to operate.

Conclusions

ASUS X205TA-UH01-BK is a direct competitor of Chromebooks. Its priced similarly and has comparable performance to Chrome-powered subnotebooks. It’s definitely enough for home use, even for some limited gaming, but for a full-featured workhorse this laptop is no good. Compared to Chromebooks, an attractive thing for many is that the ASUS comes with Windows so you don’t have to settle for Chrome’s software. All in all, if you value excellent portability and Windows system and don’t care about having only limited performance backing you up, going for this ASUS for around 200 bucks is worth it.


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