Asus practically invented the netbook with the launch of the Eee PC line of low-cost, mini-laptops in 2007. While the netbook moniker has fallen out of fashion in recent years, there’s no shortage of inexpensive portable computers these days, including Chromebooks, 2-in-1 tablets, and more basic laptops.

Still, Asus has a longer history in this space than most companies — so when Asus introduced a $199 Windows laptop called the EeeBook X205 in late 2014, it generated a fair bit of buzz.

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Asus loaned me a demo model to test for a few weeks for this review, and I have to say it largely met or exceeded most of my expectations.

This little laptop gets around 10 hours of battery life, has a comfortable (if somewhat small) keyboard, and offers enough performance for most basic computing tasks.

The EeeBook X205 sells for $199 or less and makes a great Windows alternative to a Chromebook. It’s a great little machine for getting some work done on the go and it makes a decent secondary computer — but I wouldn’t recommend buying one for use as your only PC.

That’s because the EeeBook X205 has limited storage space, a mediocre display, and a few other shortcomings that could be dealbreakers if you’re planning on using it as your primary computer.

Overview and design

The Asus EeeBook X205 is a 2.2 pound laptop that measures 11.3″ x 7.6″ x 0.7″. It’s powered by a 1.33 GHz Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core Bay Trail processor.

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That’s an inexpensive, low-power chip which is also found in low-cost Windows and Android tablets and mini PCs, but it’s a surprisingly capable little processor that allowed me to get a fair amount of work done on the EeeBook X205 — I wrote most of this review on the laptop.

Part of the reason this laptop is so thin and light is that the low-power chip doesn’t generate a lot of heat — so Asus didn’t need to include a fan. There are no vents or holes in the bottom of the case unless you count the stereo speakers located near the front.

Other hardware includes 2GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC flash storage. You can’t upgrade the storage or memory, since both are soldered to the motherboard.

Since Windows takes up a bit of space, there’s only about 14GB of free disk space when you first turn on the computer. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for programs and files — you won’t want to load your entire music, video, and photo collections on the EeeBook X205. But there’s certainly enough room to load a few programs such as Office, Firefox, and GIMP and to store a few documents.

x205 storage

You can always upload your other files to cloud storage services such as Microsoft OneDrive, Google drive, or the Asus WebStorage service (the last one comes pre-loaded on the laptop).

usb

The notebook has 2 USB 2.0 ports, a micro HDMI port, and a microSDXC card slot. While the USB ports are full-sized, the lack of a full-sized SD card reader can make transferring pictures from a camera a little tricky. And you’ll need a micro HDMI cable rather than any old HDMI cable if you want to hook up an external display.

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The laptop has a combination mic and headphone jack which you can use to connect a headset or just a pair of headphones.

Asus includes 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. If you want to connect the notebook to a wired network you’ll need a USB to Ethernet adapter, and if you want to connect to faster 802.11ac WiFi networks you’ll also need a USB adapter.

There’s a 38 Wh battery under the hood, which Asus says should offer up to 12 hours of run time. I never managed to get quite that much battery life during normal use, but I did regularly get close to 10 hours.

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The Asus EeeBook X205 features a glossy 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display which looks pretty good when it’s placed directly in front of you. But the colors can easily wash out when you view the laptop from the side or tilt the screen back — which can be especially awkward when watching videos with friends.

awful color

Above the screen is a VGA webcam which you can use for video chats — but don’t expect stellar image quality or low-light performance.

The laptop’s keyboard is pretty easy to type on. While some keys are a little small, particularly the arrow keys (which also function as Page Up, Page Down, Home, and end keys), I had no problem typing at or near full speed on the keyboard.

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I did notice a little flex when pushing down on the center of the keyboard. This doesn’t usually bother me, but if you’re the sort of person who likes your keyboard to be perfectly rigid, you should probably consider spending more than $200 on a laptop.

touchpad

Below the keyboard is a surprisingly large touchpad for a laptop this small. The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures such as two-finger scrolling as well as edge gestures such as swiping from the right side to bring up the Windows Charms menu or from the left side to switch between Windows Store apps.

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Asus includes a tiny AC adapter that looks more like a smartphone charger than a typical notebook power brick.

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Unfortunately it isn’t a smartphone adapter — the EeeBook X205 has a proprietary charging port rather than a micro USB port, so you won’t be able to charge the laptop unless you have the correct power adapter.

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Flip the laptop over and you’ll find 10 screws. You can remove them to open up the case, but as tlbhd notes there’s not much reason to do that since just about nothing is upgradeable. You could theoretically replace the battery yourself, but you’d need to find a battery designed for this particular laptop.

Software

Asus ships the laptop with Windows 8.1 with Bing and the demo unit I received also included a license key that provides 100GB of Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage for free for two years.

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Unlike the HP Stream 11 and some other low-cost Windows notebooks, the EeeBook X205 does not come with a 1-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 (unless you pay extra for it).

Windows 8.1 with Bing is basically the same as the full version of Windows 8.1. It just costs less for PC makers to license because they agree to leave Bing as the default search engine for Internet Explorer. Once you buy the laptop, there’s nothing stopping you from changing your default search engine or web browser.

In fact, I’ve barely touched Internet Explorer on this notebook because I prefer to use Google Chrome.

x205 about

Windows runs smoothly on the EeeBook X205. The operating system boots quickly, resumes from sleep almost instantly, and while the Start Screen and settings menus are clearly optimized for touchscreen devices, I haven’t had any difficulty using them on this non-touchscreen laptop by using touchpad gestures or by connecting a mouse.

Don’t want to run Windows? It’s theoretically possible to replace the operating system with something else — although you have to jump through a few hoops to run Ubuntu or other GNU/Linux-based operating systems on most devices with Intel Bay Trail processors.

Ubuntu (32 no WiFi)

I was able to boot Ubuntu from a USB flash drive using pretty much the same steps I used to run Ubuntu on the Asus Transformer Book T100 2-in-1 tablet a few years ago.

In a nutshell, I had to create a liveUSB with a recent 64-bit version Ubuntu on it, but then I had to add a 32-bit bootloader since the the EeeBook X205 doesn’t recognize 64-bit bootloaders.

Then I had to disable Secure Boot from the laptop’s UEFI settings. There may be a way to boot from a USB flash drive with Secure Boot enabled, but I wasn’t able to figure out how to do it. While Secure Boot was turned off, I was able to boot from the removable drive and run Ubuntu… but I was unable to boot into Windows 8.1 until I turned Secure Boot back on again.

When Ubuntu did load, I also noticed that WiFi doesn’t work out of the box. You may be able to install wireless drivers manually or to use a USB WiFi or Ethernet adapter to get online. But I didn’t test either of those things. I just wanted to see if Ubuntu would run at all… and it does. The process for loading it just isn’t as user friendly as it could be.

Performance

Netbooks with small screens, low prices, and Intel Atom processors were all the rage a few years ago — and I still see people using aging netbooks at coffee shops from time to time. In fact, I spotted a few journalists using them at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.

But netbooks were also frequent punching bags for critics that complained the screens and keyboards were too small to be useful and that the cheap, low-power processors that helped many models offer decent battery life also made the little laptops painful to use.

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There will probably be folks that make similar complaints about devices like the Asus EeeBook X205: the screen has limited viewing angles, there’s not enough storage space, and the keyboard is less-than-full-sized.

But in many ways the EeeBook X205 doesn’t feel like just another netbook. It feels like the evolution of the netbook: a higher form of budget portable computer.

It has a processor that’s fast enough to keep up with common computing tasks, an operating system that’s designed to run smoothly on low-end hardware, and it sells for half the price of the original Asus Eee PC (which had a list price for $400 when it launched in 2007).

x205 work

While testing this little laptop, I regularly found myself opening more than a dozen browser tabs in Google Chrome, cropping and resizing images in Irfanview, and watching YouTube videos. The computer was able to keep up with all of those tasks without freezing, crashing, or slowing down.

lilbenchIt can also handle more CPU-intensive tasks such as transcoding video files using VirtualDub or Handbrake… although it’s certainly not as fast as a computer with a more powerful processor.

handbrake

In fact, you can see that even notebooks with more powerful Intel Bay Trail chips including the Atom Z3740 and Pentium N3530 were able handle audio and video transcoding jobs more quickly than this laptop — although all of these chips have similar graphics cores, so they score pretty comparably in tests that rely more heavily on the GPU, such as the Street Fighter IV benchmark.

street fighter

If you want a high-performance computer, get a system with an Intel Core processor, not a model with an Atom chip. But if you want a cheap machine… and one that also happens to offer all-day battery life, the Asus EeeBook X205 feels pretty zippy for common tasks and it can do heavy-duty jobs if you really need it to.

Just keep in mind the limited amount of storage space. Sure, you could theoretically use this system to edit HD video files. But you’ll probably run out of disk space pretty quickly if you do that.

As for watching HD videos, I had no problems streaming HD content from YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Instant Video (although I did have to close a few browser tabs to prevent a video from Amazon from stuttering).

x205 perf

Verdict

The Asus EeeBook X205 is a laptop for someone who likes the size and price of the typical Chromebook, but doesn’t understand why you’d want to buy a laptop that can’t run desktop Windows apps.

It’s also a laptop for fans of netbooks who have been using low-cost, portable Windows computers for years — but who want better performance than you could get from earlier models.

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The Asus EeeBook X205 isn’t a laptop for folks looking for a high-performance machine for gaming or other tasks that would benefit from a faster (and more expensive processor). It’s also not a system for anyone looking for a machine that can store their entire music or video collections.

It has a good enough display and a fast enough processor for watching videos, playing casual games, or running productivity apps.

In other words… it’s a pretty good secondary computer for anyone who has a more powerful machine at home or at the office, but who doesn’t need all that power every time they go to a coffee shop.

Asus isn’t the only company offering this type of machine. The HP Stream 11 and Acer Aspire E11 sell for about the same price — and both of those laptops have Intel Celeron N2840 dual-core Bay Trail chips that should offer better performance (at least on single-threaded tasks).

But the EeeBook X205 weighs about half a pound less than either of those laptops and gets longer battery life than most full-fledged Windows notebooks in its price range.

batlife

 

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49 replies on “Asus EeeBook X205 budget Windows laptop review”

  1. I think now Ram 2 GB (And can not Upgrade) doesn’t work right now
    look at the picture Taskmanager Use ram 1.6/1.9 GB
    Yep, I Have Acer E11. I upgrage to 8 GB Ram It’s Happy
    if i buy Asus 205ta Im not sure about Ram enough or not

  2. I just got an ASUS eeebook X205ta and I would like to uninstall Mcaffe and instead use my subscription to norton internet security. However I am hesitant to do so because I worry about the impact on performance or how much space it will take up on the very limited free space on this computer. Would I see much of a difference if I uninstall the Mcaffee and use the Norton? P.S. Thanks for your informative review. It helped me in making my decision to purchase!

  3. I really feel they could have gone for USB 3.0 and a full size HDMI port on this. Unfortunate.

  4. Have used netbooks (ASUS and Acer) for 4-5 years. More than adequate for my needs.
    QUESTION: can Windows 7 (or 10 when it’s released) be installed on this computer? REALLY don’t like 8!

  5. I got one for $140 at Best Buy. Love it. My Chromebook still sits next to my easy chair at home, but the X205 goes with me just about everywhere. Works great. Now, if only I could find another power adapter for it . . .

  6. A teardown of this would have been nice, that way people could see if you could maybe fit the N116HSE-EA1, which is a 11.6″ 30 IPN EDP 1920×1080 LED IPS pannel, that goes for about $43+shipping on aliexpres. I.m sure quite a lot of people bought this and many of them would probably like to throw that TN panel in the garbage.

  7. A great buy for schools supplying laptops to kids. My school district is buying Macbook Airs for all 9-12 graders. With this device, the district could supply kids with a device for 1/4 the price.

  8. Picked this up for about 250 USD here in South Korea (Gold). Everything here is overpriced. If you are having problems with the gestures, did you install the new BIOS 208 (Not 206) from the ASUS site? My gesture touchpad has been fine when I wake it up from sleep. There is some lag but I usually have Chrome, Powerpoint, Word, PDF Reader, Itunes Radio and another program or two so this isn’t a big deal.

    I also decided to run the intel graphics card at max capacity just to test the battery life.

    @250, if this lasts me for a year I’d be happy to be honest. It’s better than lugging around my IdeaPad (4ish pounds and 4 hour battery life).

  9. Brad, bought this one for my wifey and we both loved it, its fast and smooth. Planning to buy one for me too.

  10. ASUS male a 200 dollars smartphone with a 1080p display and 200 dollars notebook with a poor 720p display? No **** asus.

    1. For me the 720p screen IS the selling point. If you’re using it for the desktop…1080p makes programs too small to see everything clearly. I dumped my Dell 11 Pro because of this very issue. Nice with the ‘very limited’ Metro programs that are useful, but terrible for desktop use. I’m thinking of picking one of these up…or the Stream series I can’t decide.

    2. Does that $200 phone also have 11″ screen, keyboard, USB etc? Or possibly there are other costs involved that make comparing harder.

  11. This uses Baytrail-T where the competition uses Baytrail-M. One potential advantage is Connected Standby and free bitlocker encryption. Can anyone confirm those two features are available? If so is the most secure of the cheap Windows laptops.

  12. This a a great laptop. I bought it for $150.00 at Staples. I am using it for downloading and sorting pictures when I am away from home. It runs Photo Mechanic fast enough for me. Reliably downloads, renames and backups photos to 2 external usb drives reasonably fast. Generates thumbnails quickly so that I can mark my keepers. I have not tried running Office on it yet, but I have no doubt it will work fast enough. I’m glad I bought it. Only downside is the power adapter. It uses a proprietary connector. I did find replacement adapters online for 62.00 dollars. I will probably go ahead and buy one now, while they are available.

  13. Got one for $100 at bestbuy when they had it on sale. For $100,it is a great laptop! Way better than arm Samsung Chromebook that I’ve used. The screen isn’t that bad on it, chrome works fine with no lag. I have noticed a popping sound that happens every so often from speakers, bit disturbing but not a deal breaker.
    I really like the 11.6 inch screen, I wish my dell venue 11 pro would of had one instead of 10.8 inch screen. The asus is so light compared to my i3 dell venue 11 pro with keyboard dock.

  14. I got this netbook from Staples for about $150. It is a great travel laptop. Some people criticize the limited viewing angles of the screen but I think this is a feature for a travel laptop when you are in tight spaces and want a bit of privacy. I installed a 64gb microsd card and installed portable apps on that and try to run as many apps of that as possible. I monitor the storage and do disk clean ups more often than I have done on any windows laptop I’ve owned. However, I’ve managed to consistently keep the free space between 13-14gb. I also moved the iTunes library to the microsd card.

    When I travel, I’ll put a bunch of movies on a 128gb usb thumb drive to watch using VLC. It has worked great for me so far. Owning this nebtook is a little bit of high maintenance but for the price it can’t be beat, especially the battery life. .

  15. Netbooks were pretty under-rated in terms of what they could actually do. It didn’t help that they were often sold with an OS and software that ran poorly on them, and that their main buyers were low skill users. My eee pc 1000he with windows XP served a very reliable work companion PC from 2009 up until 2014 when I bought a T100. Even though my company provides me with the option of a macbook I still found myself preferring to use my netbook due to its reliability, battery life, weight and replaceability. For me the fact that netbooks can take a lot of abuse but are cheap to replace if they are damaged is key for a portable work device.

    I am probably going to pick up an X205 for my family as it seems like a perfect replacement for my wife’s ageing laptop based on her needs (internet, videos, photo editing). The only real negative I can see apart from the storage (they really need to release the 64gb version and/or one with a 500gb hdd) is the fact they went with a proprietary charging port. That was a bad decision in my opinion as it would have made the device so much more flexible if it could be charged in the same way as the T100. I can’t see a micro usb charging port being any more expensive to produce than a proprietary one so it seems like a really bad choice on ASUS’ behalf considering how user focused the rest of the laptop appears to be.

    1. The Problem with most Windows Tablets and Laptops using MicroUSB for Charging is that your typical MicroUSB Charger provides so little juice that they struggle to recharge the battery in a timely manner even when the device is completely turned off, if it’s running you can more easily watch grass grow than notice the batterymeter creep percentage point by percentage point.

      So in the end it makes little difference what plug is on the end of your proportionately dimensioned “quick charger”.

  16. I’m an unabashed fan of mine. Fantastic battery life, decent keyboard, adequate horsepower to get work done, and cheap enough to not worry about it. Plus, I can use Steam’s in-home streaming to play Metro 2033 Redux at maxed out settings via my 4770K/GTX970 desktop machine for lulz. I can’t get any old OpenGL-based games to run on the machine itself, though. Must be a limitation in the Atom’s graphics.

  17. For around that kind of money and size, your best bet would be the Onda V102W, 10.1″ 1920×1200 IPS, 2/32Gb, 8200mAh, HDMI-out, aluminium case, for 216.99. https://tinyurl.com/ptbw9za
    And if you absolutely have to have a keyboard, they make one with trackpad and magnetic connector, for about $25 on aliexpres. https://tinyurl.com/op5eskz

    1. Why would you compare a tablet with a laptop? And you can buy anything cheaper if you’re willing to buy it direct from China, wait three weeks for delivery (hoping it gets through customs ok) and risk having it not work when it arrives and (if you’re lucky) have to go through the extra cost and hassle of getting a timely replacement.

      Maybe a few people are willing gamble to save a few bucks, but most consumers aren’t.

    2. In total that comes to $240 + shipping which makes it more expensive to buy than a locally sold X205. The V102W has a higher resolution screen but is only 10″ compared to 11.6″ for roughly the same weight. The X205 is a better size for a portable laptop and has a much better keyboard&touchpad. Onda products are noted for having reliability issues; notably a number of people have already reported failures or the tablet arriving broken due to insufficient packaging. Finally aluminium may feel better to touch but cheap aluminium adds unnecessary weight and is prone to bending. Overall composite materials used by companies like ASUS and Samsung protect components better and such devices often stand up better to day to day use.

  18. I bought and returned this because the touchpad driver kept crashing on resuming from sleep, disabling gestures (including 2-finger scrolling). And even when the driver was working, the inertial scrolling was very weird and inconsistent.

    1. I’ve had two X205’s for a month now, the touchpad driver is the biggest problem with the device. As a workaround, I have a .bat file on my desktop with this in it:

      Taskkill /IM AsusTPCenter.exe /F

      I just double-click that when it jams up and I’m back in buisness.

      1. download the new driver – fixed my issue, but dont update audio driver, it screwed me.

  19. Tried it and sold it. The screen is awful – poor color reproduction and it starts to wash away even when you are looking at it more or less straight on it is that bad! It is expected at certain angles on a TN screen but this one is one of the worst I’ve ever tried. Great size and weight but no full sized SD card or USB 3. Even for $199 I think they could have put those in.
    I guess you can’t complain for $99-199 so I ended up spending a lot more and got a XPS 13 instead.
    Good that there is choice out there.

      1. the new Xps 13 is fantastic but obviously way above the asus x205’s league.

  20. You joke about it, but I remember using my original Eee PC to edit video, and it only had 4GB!

  21. Got it for $99 on black Friday. Just sayin to make everybody’s day brighter 😛
    Really nice laptop though. One thing I noticed is that installing Google Drive does slow it down noticeably. As in stuttering while scrolling and Netflix watching, at times.

  22. In December I picked up a Asus T100 MS Signature edition for the price of the X205. I tried out the X205 and walked away impressed, but still preferred the versatility of the T100.

    It is nice that decent computing is so accessible nowadays. If your municipality offered free Wi-Fi you would have just about all you need for $200.

  23. I like it, nice price too, this Laptop for just $199 it’s about as good as it gets folks.

    1. it was like $99 during the BF/holidays.. at least in quite a few stores

      1. Dude, it WAS, now try to get one today.

        Hey Homer we’re living in 2015.

        1. Well thanks for the awkward arguing attitiude I was just saying that if Teknotronico found $199 cheap, he/she would’ve loved it when it was on sale. I wasn’t trying to be a dick or anything. But thanks for being one.

  24. Waiting for the 64gb versikn since it was anounced? Any clue on when eill it be released?

  25. I have been using this laptop for over a week. My local Microsoft Store had it for $179. I was debating spending over $1000 but am very happy with this device. Chrome, Office and my selection of Windows Store apps work great. No issues, and no bloatware thanks for being a Microsoft Signature Edition. You can’t do much better at this or similar price points. It replaces a tablet for my workload at home and when travelling.

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