ASUS EeeBook E402M, First Take: Budget Windows laptop, with storage and screen quality issues

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How little money do you need to spend to get a usable Windows computer? If you've got around £199 (inc. VAT), you can get the ASUS EeeBook E402M -- but how usable is it?

Based around Intel's quad-core Celeron N3540 running at 2.16GHz-2.66GHz and supported by 2GB of RAM, the E402M is certainly up to basic document creation and editing. Web browsing is a little irritating as there are noticeable lags as image- and content-rich pages load. And although YouTube video streams well, and sound quality via the internal speakers is perfectly acceptable, you won't be able to overload this laptop with too many open browser windows or simultaneously running applications.

The internal storage on our review model was 32GB of eMMC flash, with just 12.1GB free right out of the box. There are hard disk-based storage options ranging from 500GB to 1TB, but you'll pay more for these. Our review unit ran Windows 8.1, and by the time you've upgraded to Windows 10 the storage available will be different -- but not radically so. You'll need 3GB free to download the upgrade file, so bear that in mind.

The glossy 14-inch screen is not touch-sensitive, colours are rather washed-out and there's a clear lag as you scroll through web pages that makes text blur (this is not replicated in WordPad documents, which scroll smoothly).

The worst aspect of the screen, though, is the viewing angles, which are abysmal to the point where pushing the screen back to its furthest point of about 135 degrees renders video unwatchable. The 14-inch panel's resolution is 1,366 by 768 pixels, or 112 pixels per inch (ppi). That's minimal, but not really a surprise on such a low-cost laptop.

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The EeeBook E402M may be a budget Windows laptop, but both the keyboard and touchpad are decent-quality components. Image: ASUS

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The keyboard and touchpad are both fine. The former is well sized, with island-style keys that feel light but firm. There's no keyboard backlight of course, but nothing really to grumble about. The touchpad is responsive and supports multitouch gestures efficiently.

There's a reasonable array of ports and connectors, although there are only two USB ports -- one each of USB 2.0 and 3.0. There's a VGA-out connector as well as an HDMI port -- the legacy port still has its uses, so it's nice to see it included here. An RJ-45 Ethernet port is another nice addition. There's also an SD card slot and a headset jack. The front-facing webcam has a rather paltry VGA resolution.

The plastic chassis feels reasonably solid at the base, and while there's no serious bowing in the lid section as we bent it, there were some worrying clicks. Apply too much pressure and, we feel, the screen could pop out, although we didn't actually manage to make this happen.

At this price you have to expect some compromises, and for the most part these are acceptable. However the paucity of internal SSD storage is likely to be a deal-breaker for many people, while the screen quality is far from exceptional.

Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Celeron N2840 / 2.16 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 2.58 GHz
Number of Cores Dual-Core
Cache 1 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Cache Memory
Installed Size 1 MB
RAM
Configuration Features provided memory is soldered
Technology DDR3 SDRAM
Installed Size 2 GB
Memory
RAM 2 GB (provided memory is soldered)
Technology DDR3 SDRAM
Display
LCD Backlight Technology LED backlight
Widescreen Display Yes
Monitor Features ASUS Splendid Video Intelligence Technology
Type LED
Diagonal Size (metric) 35.6 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation HD
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics
Integrated Webcam Yes
Sound Stereo speakers, microphone
Features ASUS SonicMaster
Hard Drive
Type SSD
Capacity 32 GB
Input
Type keyboard, touchpad
Features ASUS Smart Gesture technology
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
Wired Protocol Gigabit Ethernet
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
Processor
CPU Type Celeron
Processor Number N2840
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 2.16 GHz
Card Reader
Type 3 in 1 card reader
Supported Flash Memory SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card
Battery
Capacity 32 Wh
Cells 2-cell
Technology lithium ion
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 33 Watt, 19 V, 1.75 A
Connections & Expansion
Interfaces Headphone/microphone combo jack
USB 3.0
VGA
USB 2.0
HDMI
LAN
Memory Card Reader 3 in 1 (SD Card, SDHC Card, SDXC Card)
Header
Brand ASUS
Product Line ASUS EeeBook E402MA
Model EH01
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 4.0, Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Monitor
Diagonal Size 14 in
System
Notebook Type notebook
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 32 GB
Miscellaneous
Color dark blue
Features ASUS IceCool design, system password
Included Accessories power adapter
Dimensions & Weight
Width 13.3 in
Depth 9.3 in
Height 0.9 in
Physical Characteristics
Weight 3.64 lbs
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Windows 10 Home 64-bit Edition
Type ASUS WebStorage
Video Output
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics
Graphics Processor Series Intel HD Graphics
Notebook Camera
Integrated Webcam Yes

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