Monday, 20 August 2018

ASUS update their budget laptops

Asus updated their range of budget laptops; some of these laptops are refreshed with Intel's Gemini Lake processors. I like ASUS’ budget strategy - you get choice and variety below the £300 threshold. Below is a list of the ASUS’ latest releases (the list only has sub 14-inch laptops; I think 13 - 14 inches are the right sizes for a primary computer, as you get a good screen size and portability):
  • The entry-level ASUS E203MA 11.6 has been updated with a Gemini Lake Celeron N4000 (the exact model number is E203MA-FD001TS). The laptop is priced like other entry-level laptops, but two features make it stand-out: (1) 4 GB RAM; (2) a bundled one-year Office 365 subscription. Yes, other entry-level laptops have one of these features, but few come have both. This is also the lightest laptop in the entry-level category weighing only 999 grams. As I've posted before, entry-level laptops serve the purpose of a secondary laptop; thus, the light-weight of the E203 is an attractive bonus.
  • ASUS Laptop E406MA: The E406MA is a recent release and comes in different versions: two with Intel Gemini Lake Celeron processors (N4000 and N4100) and one with an Intel Gemini Lake Pentium N5000. The top-tier Pentium version is available in Canada and sells for 400 Canadian Dollars (equivalent to $306 US). It is not clear if the top-tier version will be available in the UK. Unfortunately, the US tends to get models with better specifications. The UK market, to contrast, often get the 1366 X 768 models with lower storage (32GB). In my view, a 1366 X 768 on a 14-inch laptop is a deal breaker. In many ways the top-tier ASUS E406MA is a good upgrade to the ASUS VivoBook L403. 
  • ASUS Chromebook 12 C223: The laptop looks nice. However, on paper, it does not offer much for the price (the retail price is rumoured to be close to 320 Euros). If the price is correct, I expect the device to be discounted in a few months. A Chromebook with an Intel Celeron Apollo Lake N3350 should be priced closer to 200 Euros. 
Other budget laptops from ASUS running Intel Braswell and Apollo Lake processors:
The above laptops have a full HD screen, capable processors for basic tasks and 4GB RAM. The 32GB on the Asus C301SA is enough for a Chromebook. The best value Chromebook, in my view, is the Asus Chromebook C302CA. It now sells for £400 and for that you get a vastly superior Core M3 processor and a battery life close to eleven hours. Considering the use-base target of Chromebooks, I do not think it is worth going for pricier models.

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