It’s been awhile since we reviewed notebooks. With that thought in mind, I reached out to ASUS to see if they’ve anything they want reviewed. Turns out they did! The ASUS BR1100FK.
The thing is, the ASUS BR1100FK isn’t like the regular hardcore notebooks we usually take for a spin. Instead, this one’s geared for the education market. Since Covid-19’s made home based learning a very distinct possibility at any time, it stands to reason that students would need a cheap yet effective machine to do their school work with.
Is the ASUS BR1100FK that machine?
Read on to find out.
What is the ASUS BR1100FK?
The ASUS BR1100FK is a 11.6-inch notebook geared for students. Our SKU comes with an Intel Celeron N4500 processor, an integrated Intel UHD graphics chipset, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
Here’s the full spec list.
On the exterior, the machine has multiple ports, USB-A, USB-C, HDMI 1.4, an audio jack and even a LAN port.
If you’re rolling your eyes at the paltry hardware the ASUS BR1100FK is sporting you’re not alone. While billed as an educational notebook, the specs (at least for the SKU we’re reviewing) are rather underwhelming. I’ll be getting to that later though…for now let’s talk about the exterior hardware.
On my initial inspection of the ASUS BR1100FK, I’ll admit I was pretty impressed.
The 11.6″ screen is actually a touchscreen, and the notebook is constructed so that you can even use it as a tablet. It’s not detachable, but you can flip it around and use the keyboard portion as a stand. There’s even a stylus that you can use if you don’t want to smudge the screen.
Speaking of the screen, I do have to point out that the bezels surrounding it are incredible thick. Due to how thick they are, you get the impression that the screen size is smaller than you’d think. It’s a shame because the display (while small) is a pretty decent one with good color reproduction.
Other aspects of the notebook impresses as well.
The chassis is light and the textured material on the unit is great to touch. In fact, I prefer it over some of the higher end laptops we’ve reviewed. The rubberized edges too are pretty awesome. As somebody who is pretty accident prone with machines, rubberized edges surely help in keeping the machine stay in one piece.
In fact, ASUS went above and beyond in making the notebook nigh unbreakable. The laptop is actually MIL-STD-810H certified, which means it can endure a couple of drops with no issue.
The keyboard’s decent to type on too. While the keys don’t have as much travel as I’d like, they’re responsive and decently sized for a machine this small. I also love how there are shortcuts for volume control on the right side of the machine.
On top of that, keyboard’s also spill-resistant, which means the occasional spillage can just be wiped away without issue. I wish MY laptop’s keyboard’s spill-resistant!
Certainly, if you’re afraid of accidents befalling your beloved notebook, the ASUS BR1100FK should allay your fears…at least externally.
Internally…it’s not so great. To say the guts of the machine needs more power is understating matters…by a LOT.
4GB RAM isn’t going to cut it, especially if you’re going to multitask. Chrome and a couple of video links (or even Zoom meetings) will eat up that RAM faster than you can say horrendous slowdown. Incidentally, that did actually happen…multiple times.
It happened while I was using the Microsoft Edge browser to download Chrome, it happened while I was using the machine to test out its streaming capabilities and it even happened while I was typing in the Windows Search bar with a couple of apps (Steam and Chrome) running in the background.
It’s unrealistic to expect decent performance with just 4GB of RAM in today’s world. Billing the ASUS BR1100FK as an educational machine does nothing to cover that fact up. Adding in an Intel Celeron processor on top of it is just rubbing salt into the wound.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s a PCmark 10 benchmark for you.
While it might look like the Productivity and Essentials scores are somewhat decent, you have to remember these are just benchmarks. I suppose if you don’t have multiple tabs open and work only on a single program at one time, the ASUS BR1100FK will suffice.
Then again, is that really realistic?
Even if it was, the 60GB storage sure isn’t. There’s an open m2 PCIe 3 slot but why not just have more storage space in the SKU as standard? Surely 128GB or even 256GB wouldn’t make much of a dent in the asking price? 60GB storage is Chromebook level storage…which is extremely pathetic.
The Bottom Line.
Honestly, I rarely rag on review products but the ASUS BR1100FK is truly an underwhelming piece of hardware. While it does impress with its build quality and features, the internal hardware can be much improved upon.
Even viewing it in the eyes of a student, it’s a disappointment. It’s no hyperbole when I say my old, budget laptop that I used in polytechnic was better than this…and that was in 2011!
Despite the great things the notebook has going for it, the sluggish performance makes it a terrible machine for anything other than the most mundane of tasks. I suppose it’d be great for young kids as a learning tool, but teenagers will quickly get frustrated with all the slowdown that they’d be hard-pressed to get any work done.
Great chassis and awesome features let down by sluggish hardware.
- Great features.
- Durable and rugged.
- Sound button shortcuts.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Touchscreen and stylus.
- 4GB RAM is insufficient.
- Slow processor.
- 64GB storage is not enough.