Hands-on Gear Review

ASUS C202SA Review

Price:   $230 List | $223.21 at Amazon
Pros:  Inexpensive, rubber reinforcements, spill resistant keyboard
Cons:  Relatively poor screen, not great for multitasking
Bottom line:  Good for bargain hunters that just need basic internet
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight:  2.65 lb
Dimensions:  11.57" x 7.87" x 0.89"
Touchscreen:  No
Manufacturer:   ASUS

Our Verdict

The ASUS C202SA is a very simple Chromebook designed for classroom use. It even has some rubber reinforcements and a spill-resistant keyboard to better stand up to the unpredictability of a classroom full of kids. If you're looking for a simple machine just for using email and doing some basic web browsing, and you tend to be a bit clumsy with your morning coffee, this is a good choice. If you want something simple and can be trusted not to spill your beverages, the Samsung 3 may be a better choice. It's not ruggedized at all, but it is the same price and has a slightly better display.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Chromebooks of 2018


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

Last Updated:
Monday
April 9, 2018

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For those that want a barebones computer for simple tasks that can stand up to a little extra abuse, the ASUS C202SA isn't a bad choice. Its relatively poor display may disappoint some people, but if you don't mind your Netflix binging looking a bit like it's 1995 this is a decent machine.


Performance Comparison


The ASUS C202SA certainly is not a high powered machine, as you can see in the table above. However, it does gain some merit as a durable machine for travel. You can see exactly how it performed in all of our tests below.

Performance


There wasn't a single poor performer in our testing. That being said, the ASUS C202SA was at the bottom of the barrel in that capacity, about even with the other low-priced option we tested, the Samsung 3. This machine has the requisite 4GB of RAM that allows for lag-free web browsing. We were even able to stream video while browsing with 5-10 tabs open without any real lag. If you start to throw web apps into the mix you may start to see some jumpiness. For example, with an HD video streaming and 10 tabs open, we started editing a Google Sheet and noticed that moving cells around had a bit of a delay. It wasn't a terrible delay, but it was noticeable. If you're going to be doing some heavy multitasking you'll want to invest in one of the higher end models if you can, like the Samsung Pro.

The C202SA easily handled web browsing in our testing  but could be bogged down a little by too much multitasking.
The C202SA easily handled web browsing in our testing, but could be bogged down a little by too much multitasking.

Interface and Features


Here again the ASUS C202SA was at the bottom of the totem pole, along with its main competitor, the Samsung 3. The 11.6" size means the keyboard isn't quite full sized. It isn't ridiculously cramped, but if you're coming over from a standard sized keyboard it may take a minute to get used to. The keys themselves feel pretty nice, not quite as crisp as those of higher-end models, but a bit better than the more clunky keys of the Samsung 3. The trackpad is responsive but on the small side. This is one of the few newer Chromebooks, along with the Samsung 3, that does not have a touchscreen, so using Android apps is no fun. Bottom line, if you're just doing a little surfing and typing a few emails, this interface is fine. If you want to use Android apps or do some more serious computing, you're going to want a larger and better interface.

The trackpad works well  but is a bit on the small side.
The trackpad works well, but is a bit on the small side.

Display Quality


This is one area where the ASUS C202SA is really lacking. The screen's resolution is 1366 x 768, which qualifies it as 720p HD, but the picture it produced honestly didn't feel HD to us. 720p videos watched on other screens looked considerably more crisp than on the C202SA. The colors aren't so vibrant and there isn't much to speak of in terms of contrast, giving everything a muted and dull look. You're not going to hate watching TV shows on this screen, but honestly watching a show on the smaller screen of a nice smart phone is a better experience. This is one area where the Samsung 3 is appreciably better.

Battery Life


The ASUS C202SA was at the back of the main pack in our battery testing, lasting 4.5 hours in our torture test. For this test we really pushed the limits, using a streaming video and maximum screen brightness, so this is the absolute minimum you'd get out of a charge.


Portability


Here the ASUS C202SA earned some brownie points thanks to it spill resistant keyboard and ruggedized rubber bits. This makes it great for those of us that are clumsy, or those that are more likely to use a laptop in less than ideal situations where it could easily be dropped or spilled on. At 2.65 pounds and nearly an inch thick, the C202SA isn't exactly thin and light, but it isn't big and heavy either. The Samsung 3 is about the same size and weight, but without the ruggedized parts and spill resistance. To get something lighter you'll unfortunately have to pay more.

The rubberized edges of the C202SA make it more resistant to drops.
The rubberized edges of the C202SA make it more resistant to drops.

Value


At $230 the ASUS C202SA is fairly economical. You certainly sacrifice a lot of performance and quality when compared to the larger models, but for simple tasks this is a decent value. If you don't care about the reinforced rubber and spill resistant keyboard the Samsung 3 is a better value as it costs the same and has a better screen.

The C202SA's ports: 3-in-1 card reader  2 USB3.0  headphone jack  HDMI  and power port.
The C202SA's ports: 3-in-1 card reader, 2 USB3.0, headphone jack, HDMI, and power port.

Conclusion


The ASUS C202SA isn't going to wow anybody, but for those looking for an inexpensive email/web browsing machine, it works well.
Max Mutter and Steven Tata

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