A new budget-friendly laptop has arrived on store shelves. It’s the Asus X401U-BE20602Z. It has a $290 price tag as the main selling point. There’s a 14-inch display and a CPU from AMD’s E2 “Fusion” family on it.
When we talk about performance of the AMD E-series, we actually talk about the slowest laptop-use processors found on the market at the time of this writing. It’s usable just for the most basic tasks, without too much multi-tasking involved. You will notice sluggishness of the system if you open too many web browser tabs, for instance. What you will be able to do flawlessly is HD video playback, even at the full HD 108p resolution, thanks to a built-in hardware video decoder. The Radeon HD 7340 graphics processor embedded on the E2-1800 1.7GHz dual-core CPU ensures normal functioning of the display and 2D apps and games. But you definitively don’t want to experience 3D gaming on this laptop because the CPU/GPU combination is simply insufficient for that. As exception, some old and simple 3D games such as Minecraft and similar should work OK.
While we are at the visuals, let’s say the X401U-BE20602Z has the classic 1366×768-pixel resolution or approximately 720p. If you want a higher-resolution screen at a low price the only way to go currently is to buy a 17.3-inch laptop. They usually have 1600×900 screens, because budget 15.6-inchers are also at 720p. 14″ 1600×900 laptops are rarity and cost much more than $280.
To accompany the processing heart of the system, Asus has included averagely-sized 4GB of system memory and a 500GB hard disk in the X401U-BE20602Z model. On the other side, the manufacturer has eschewed the optical drive for greater portability of the notebook. The device weighs 4.1 pounds, down from about 4.5 pounds of the 14″ category’s average. In addition, this model has a sleeker appearance than many of its counterparts. Primarily thanks to one-piece cover of the top of the base, where the chiclet-style keyboard and button-less touchpad are located.
Besides omission of the optical drive, a potential turn-off for some users could be presence of only two USB ports, instead of three or four. Luckily, HDMI output is incorporated. Other notable features are stereo speakers, a 1-megapixel web-chat camera, 802.11n wireless, Gigabit LAN, VGA video connector, and a multi-format media card reader.
The battery inside the machine is a conventional six-cell one. The PC maker hasn’t provided info on power autonomy.
Overall, the Asus X401U-BE20602Z is a smart buy for those who have abandoned use of DVDs and CDs and want a very inexpensive laptop. Those still having optical drive needs can take a look at the Toshiba’s C855D-S5104 with a 280-dollar price tag. Keep in mind that the later doesn’t have HDMI. Luckily, there’s a plenty of other HDMI-enabled cheap notebook options. Some of them provide much faster performance for a couple of tens dollars more.
You can get the Asus on Best Buy.