Asus X102BA review

This low price touchscreen Windows 8 laptop is a steal

Asus X102BA

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3D Mark: Ice Storm: 9423, Cloud Gate: 858, Fire Strike: 170
Cinebench 11.5: CPU performance: 0.80 pts, OpenGL graphics performance 6.90 fps
Battery life (PCMark 8 Home test): three hours 14 minutes

As the above results demonstrate, the X102BA is not a great performer. It actually fell below our expectations, considering that in real-world use it happily handled most basic tasks with ease, with only the occasional minor speed lag.

CPU performance from the 1GHz processor was better in the Cinebench tests than the HP Pavilion Touchsmart 11, though graphics performance seems to have taken a significant hit somewhere along the line, with much lower results in both Cinebench and 3D Mark. It's possible this is down to the lower base frequency and slower memory of the newer AMD A4-1200 versus the older A4-1250.

Asus X102BA

Energy efficiency means you'll see a bit less of this

The real boon of the newer 1200 processor over the older 1250 unit found in the Touchsmart is energy efficiency – it uses around 50 per cent less. Having said that, in the tests, though the three hours and 14 minutes we recorded is commendable, the Touchsmart managed three hours and 42 minutes, which flies in the face of logic. It obviously wasn't what we expected, but performance still felt good (unlike the Touchsmart), and battery longevity wasn't an issue.

One area where the X102BA fell down a little was when we loaded some HD movies in Windows Media Player. 1080p is, naturally, out of reach for this low-performing machine, though the screen can only output 720p anyway, so this isn't an issue. 720p movies ran reasonably smooth, though there was the occasional choppiness in places, which we didn't see from the TouchSmart. The speakers found in the Asus were loud, but they certainly weren't likeable. We wouldn't be using these unless absolutely necessary.

Asus X102BA

The trackpad can be a little oversensitive

The touchscreen might be the main attraction for many, but Asus has pitched this as a working laptop – evident due to the full version of Windows 8. It can take advantage of this thanks to an isolation-style keyboard, which feels as if it's been designed for long bouts of typing. It's comfortable, there's decent travel on each key, and it definitely doesn't feel as if quality has been compromised. The trackpad, on the other hand, isn't quite as pleasing, mainly down to the touch commands being a little more sensitive than we would have liked, and you might find that you occasionally activate one accidentally.