ASUS has announced the launch of new netbook with Windows 8.1. It is called ASUS EeeBook X205TA and, for a netbook this affordable, it looks and feels great. We had the chance to use it for a week, and now we are ready to share our conclusions. It this device worth buying? What does it offer for its low purchase price? Read this review to learn the answers to these questions and more.
Unboxing the ASUS EeeBook X205TA
The packaging of the ASUS EeeBook X205TA is very simple. You only get to see the ASUS and Intel logos. There's no picture of the product and no information displayed. Even though it is not visible in the picture below, the box has a handle that makes it easy to carry around.
Inside the box, you will find the netbook itself, its charging adapter and the user guide. As you can see, we received the white version of this device.
The ASUS EeeBook X205TA that we tested is an entry level netbook with an 11.6" LED display with a 1366x768 resolution (135 ppi - pixel density).The display has vivid colors and decent viewing angles. The netbook weighs less than 2.4 pounds (1 kg) and it has a Li-Ion battery which promises to last up to 12 hours when browsing the web. ASUS EeeBook has a quad-core Intel Atom Bay Trail-T Z3735G processor running at up to 1.33GHz with Intel HD Graphics, 1GB or 2 GB of RAM DDR3 (depending on the model that you choose), 21GB/32 or 64 GB of eMMC of storage space, 500GB of free cloud storage available through ASUS WebStorage service for 2 years and another 115 GB of storage through OneDrive, for another 2 years.
ASUS EeeBook X205TA has a micro HDMI port, a microSD slot up to 64GB, a 3.5mm headphone/mic combo jack - all of these are located on the left side of the netbook. On the right side of the netbook, you will find two USB 2.0 ports. On the top side of the screen, you will find a VGA camera for video calling.
In terms of connectivity, the ASUS EeeBook X205TA includes a 802.11a/b/g/n dual band compatible wireless network adapter and a Bluetooth 4.0 chip. For audio, it has two incorporated speakers working at 2W and a microphone. The ASUS EeeBook X205TA comes with a 32-bit edition of Windows 8.1 with Bing. You can find the full specifications of this device here: ASUS EeeBook X205TA.
Using the ASUS EeeBook X205TA
I have been using the ASUS EeeBook X205TA every day, for one week, for writing and reading courses, browsing the web, reading and sending emails, connecting to social networks, playing music and movies and of course writing articles for our website. ASUS EeeBook X205TA is one of the most beautiful netbooks on the market. Although the case is entirely built of plastic you don't have the feeling of a low quality device. It uses a high quality polycarbonate that feels very good to hold in your hand. We also loved the fact that it weighs less than 1 kg (2.2 pounds). This netbook is available in four colors: black, white, gold and red. We also enjoyed how thin it is: 17.5mm/0.68 inches.
The keyboard and the touchpad are also very handy and work generally well. You can switch your big laptop with this netbook without having to worry that you will have to take the time to get acquainted with them. In terms of performance, the ASUS EeeBook X205TA is not exactly a beast but its Intel Atom Bay Trail-T Z3735G processor and 1GB or 2GB of DDR3 RAM memory are doing their job reasonably well if you don't ask for too much. If you are using this netbook to check your email, create Microsoft Office documents, browse the web and connect to social networks, it will work very well. It also does a reasonable job when playing HD movies. However, when viewing HD videos on YouTube, we did encounter a little bit of stutter. The 11.6" LED display has vivid colors, but it is a bit dark for our tastes, although the level of detail provided by the screen is very good.
The test device we received had just 21GB of storage space which is very little for a device with Windows 8.1 installed. If you buy this version you have only 10 GB of free space and you will run out of space rather quickly. When that happens, you have to uninstall the apps that you don't use frequently in order to install others. We recommend that you purchase the version with at least 32 GB of storage space, preferably the version with 64 GB. An interesting feature of this device is the Connected Standby mode offered by Windows 8.1, which is supported by the Intel Atom processor included in this netbook. This is a low-power state that allows Windows to function more like a tablet or smartphone than a typical computer. When in Connected Standby mode, ASUS EeeBook X205TA will listen for notifications and wake up regularly to fetch new emails, update live tiles and perform other similar tasks. When you get a chat message, it can wake up and notify you. Its screen will stay off the whole time while it does this, just as your smartphone can keep doing work while its screen is off. Note that these fetching features only work with Windows Store apps and not desktop applications. This mode replaces the Sleep and Hibernate modes used by classic netbooks and it allows for very fast resume times because it only has to turn on the display and not the whole netbook.
Apps that are Bundled With The ASUS EeeBook X205TA
Most manufacturers tend to bundle applications that you might never use. ASUS doesn't keep the EeeBook X205TA 100% crapware clean but doesn't fill it up with junk either.
You will find the following pre-installed applications:
Office 365 Personal Edition - this version of Office 365 includes Word 2013, Excel 2013, PowerPoint 2013, OneNote 2013, Outlook 2013, Access 2013, Publisher 2013, 1TB of cloud storage in OneDrive and 1 hour for Skype calls per month.
McAfee LiveSafe - an antivirus software which protects your device against the latest viruses, malware, and online threats.
Netflix - depending on where you live, you'll either love this app or dislike ASUS for bundling it. In the US and a couple of other countries where Netflix is available, you will want to use this app and stream movies and TV shows to your device. In countries where this service is unavailable, you should uninstall this app as it will not provide any value to you.
Twitter - the official Windows 8.1 app for this social network. It is useful only if you use this social network otherwise, you should uninstall it.
ASUS WebStorage - this is a cloud storage service from ASUS that provides you with 500GB of free cloud storage space for 2 years. You may want to give it a try.
ASUS LiveUpdate - an application that you can use to manage the operating system updates. Is very similar to the settings found in Windows 8.1.
Flipboard - a popular news app which you can use to create customized magazines based on your news feed. You may want to experiment it with before deciding on whether to keep it or not.
WinFlash - an application dedicated to updating the BIOS software of this device. You should keep it.
Splendid Utility - through this application, you can change the display colors settings. Try it, and choose whether you want to use it or not.
Line - a chat app that is like a mix of WhatsApp and Skype. You may want to experiment with it before deciding whether to keep it or not.
eManual - is not an application, is actually a.pdf file with a lot of information about how to use this device. If you have any problems don't hesitate to read it.
Performance in Benchmarks
We have run some benchmarks on ASUS EeeBook X205TA and we have compared it with ASUS Transformer T100 and ASUS Transformer T200. First, we used Bootracer to measure how fast Windows 8.1 starts on this device. ASUS EeeBook X205TA booted, on average, in 43 seconds. This is 1.5 seconds faster than the T200 and almost as fast as the T100.
Then we have used the Ice Storm Unlimited test from the 3DMark app. This test measures how well this device performs when running casual games that are generally suited for tablets with modest hardware configurations.
Below you can see the overall score of the ASUS Transformer T100 and T200 compared to that of the EeeBook X205TA. As you can see the difference between the average scores of the ASUS Transformer devices and the EeeBook X205TA is of approximately 27%.
If the overall score doesn't tell you very much, let's see the frames per second that were obtained in each test. In first Graphics test, the difference between devices isn't very high, but it grows quite a lot the Graphics test 2 and the Physics test.
To evaluate the battery time, we ran the Powermark test. When using the Balanced benchmark which mixes web browsing, word processing, video and light gaming workloads, the battery of the ASUS EeeBook X205TA lasted 7 hours and 6 minutes which is a very good result in our view. Charging the ASUS EeeBook X205TA from 0% to 100% lasted approximately 2 hours, which is a very good result.
As you can see from these tests, ASUS Eeebook X205TA doesn't offer spectacular performance but it does its job well at the tasks it was designed for. Also, we very much appreciated its very fast charging time.
ASUS Eeebook X205TA is a very affordable netbook which wants to look good, be easy to carry around and allow you to perform basic computing tasks like browsing the web, checking your email, doing light office work and so on. If you buy it for this purpose, it is a great device that works well. You will appreciate its Connected Standby feature, the fast charging time and its autonomy. However, if you want to do more with it, than you should look elsewhere and consider purchasing more expensive devices with more powerful hardware.