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[Review] Asus L203MA-DS04: For "Light Users" Only

ASUS L203MA-DS04: review
Pros
  • Ultra-compact and lightweight design
  • Dual Intel Celeron processor
  • Windows 10 S pre-installed
  • Wi-Fi 5 Connectivity
Cons
  • Non-upgradable RAM 
  • HD Display
While it's true that netbooks are well past their prime in terms of popularity. It's undeniable that there's still a market of people who are looking for a compact, lightweight, affordable, and basic laptop that can perform your simple everyday tasks. 

Why not use a tablet you ask? Well, it's because sometimes, some people, - and I include myself amongst them - would rather perform certain tasks such as typing on a dedicated keyboard or managing files on Windows instead of a tablet-based OS. Not to mention the possibilities that open up when having multiple available ports.  

It's with this in mind that today we're happy to say that the netbook format is alive and thriving and today it's taking the form of the Asus L203MA-DS04.  A nice, compact, lightweight, and extremely cheap notebook that will satisfy your basic computing needs as it has already managed to do so with thousands of satisfed customers. 



Index


ASUS L203MA-DS04 Technical Specs


Make model ASUS L203MA-DS04
Dimensions 11.3 x 7.6 x 0.67 inches
Weight 2.2 pounds
Panel LCD | Anti-glare | 11.6 inch
Resolution HD (1366 x 768 pixels)
Processor Intel Celeron N4000 (2 cores up to 2.60 GHz)
RAM 4 GB (LPDDR4)
Graphic Controller Intel UHD Graphics 600
Storage 64GB (eMMC)
Drums 3 cells (Li-Po)
Operating system Windows 10 Home in S mode
Connectivity Wi-Fi 5 
Bluetooth 4.1 
USB-A 3.1 (x2) 
USB-C 3.1 
HDMI 
Audio combo connector 
VGA webcam 
Digital microphone 
microSD card reader


Who's it for?


This laptop is absolutely perfect for casual users or light users. It's perfectly suitable for children. It's also a great option for writers who are looking for a lightweight, affordable laptop to take with them everywhere they go and focus solely on writing. It's also a very good option for seniors and in general anybody who's just looking for a laptop to browse the web, edit documents, stream movies and chat with friends. 

This is not a laptop we would recommend for heavy users. 

Anybody who needs a Full HD display or dedicated graphics or even a powerful CPU with ample RAM because they need to work on multiple things at a time will be quickly disappointed by this laptop.

Their people should definitely look elsewhere - and increase their spending - with more advanced options such as the recently reviewed HP 15-dy2021nr or the incredibly popular Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L which is just slightly more expensive yet substantially more powerful. 

Design

ASUS L203MA-DS04: 11 '' ultrabook with Windows 10 Home and autonomy of up to 10 hours
Designed with your daily mobility in mind, this textured mini laptop boasts a slim 11.3  x 7.6-inch size, a height of just 0.67 inches, and a net weight of 2.1 pounds. You'll barely notice it.

The set has an attractive navy blue finish and a robust hinge with a turning angle of up to 180º, to better adapt to your needs, whether you will use it at home, in the office or outdoors.

Obviously, the quality build is far from premium. This is a plastic laptop with a plastic cover and base. Then again, you can hardly expect Asus to use another material on an entry-level notebook. If you're expecting a more polished design and a more robust build quality we would suggest going for any model within the VivoBook 15  lineup, such as the immensely popular Asus VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS34

Keyboard and Trackpad

The work area has a full-sized QWERTY keyboard (without backlighting), made up of correctly sized island keys and a good enough travel distance (1.6 mm) to ensure smooth and efficient typing experience - ie: perfect for writers -.

The integrated touchpad, meanwhile, boasts about being 17% larger compared to other mini notebooks in this segment, offering that perfect balance between sensitivity and usability to simplify navigation through Windows apps.

Display

The 11.6-inch LCD screen of this computer has a native HD resolution to allow the visualization of multimedia content (movies, series, photos, YouTube video, etc.) with correct definition and brightness.

ASUS Splendid technology will be responsible for optimizing the color fidelity of your content, while its matte surface drastically reduces the appearance of reflections, especially in brightly lit places.

Again, this is an entry-level model so you can't expect a high-quality display. That said, it should be noted that being an 11.6-inch notebook means that you would hardly notice a Full HD resolution even if it was there. That kind of resolution upgrade is far more noticeable in a 13.3-inch or 15.6-inch display.

The hardware side of the ASUS L203MA-DS04 in review is powered by the low-consumption entry-level microchip, Intel Celeron N4000 , made up of 2 real cores and 2 virtual cores , whose frequency ranges between 1.10 and 2.60 GHz depending on the tasks you're performing at any given time.

Its TDP is only 6W and it has a 4 MB cache memory. For the RAM memory, a 4 GB configuration is chosen, implemented in an LPDDR4 module to favor energy savings in each task.

Storage-wise, ASUS has opted for a flash memory type eMMC whose capacity of 64 GB can only store a very finite amount of content. More so when you consider that within the 64 GB you need to substract the operating system Windows 10 Home S. 

Having said that, if you're looking to use this laptop to store movies, pictures and all sorts of content then you can easily go around this limitation by getting yourself a microSD card. 

Currently, it's relatively inexpensive to buy a 256 GB microSD card, with several models below the 30 dollar mark. Once you get this card it's just a matter of inserting it and within the computer's settings setting it up to serve as a storage unit. It's as simple as that.

Ultimately,  this laptop is geared towards those who usually perform simple computer tasks such as: office editing, internet browsing, basic multimedia editing, social media management, and streaming movies. If you're looking to do more than this, get some serious multitasking going, or work with complex programs then the L203MA-DS04 will inevitably fall short. 

Ports and Connectivity

The ASUS L203MA-DS04 has connectivity options designed to keep you connected wherever you go, including Wi-Fi 5 wireless technologies - operating at 5 GHz - and Bluetooth 4.1 .

The terrestrial solutions section brings together a reversible USB-C input and 2 USB-A 3.1 type, an HDMI video output, a VGA webcam with a digital microphone, and a MicroSD slot to expand the memory as standard. There's also a 3.5 mm audio jack to connect your headphones. 

Battery Life

To meet your mobility and productivity needs, this model mounts a 3-cell lithium polymer battery, whose duration exceeds the 10 continuous hours of mixed-use (office automation, internet and multimedia) after a single charge.

At least that's what Asus says and while we're used to discrediting manufacturers on their battery claims, we've gotta say it looks like Asus didn't inflate the numbers by much, at least if you consider what its buyers are claiming, with some clients claiming over 14 hours of video streaming

When it's all said and done, we would venture to say that while your mileage may vary depending on a lot of factors, a good 8-hours worth of battery life definitely seems doable and that's pretty good from where we're standing. 


Conclusion: Is the ASUS L203MA-DS04 worth buying?

In short, the Asus L203MA-DS04 is more than equipped to help you perform your routine tasks, boosting your daily productivity with the performance you need - within its possibilities -.

Amongst its most notable advantages, beyond its ultra-portable design, we would highlight the comfort of its keyboard when typing, the varied and modern connectivity suite that accompanies it as well as the long-lasting battery life to give you a cord-free existence.

Wrapping up, if you're looking for a straightforward compact laptop to do some light computing tasks be it because you're a casual user, you're buying it for someone that's only going to use it to browse the web, or you simply don't need a powerhouse because you basically limit yourself to the tasks listed previously, this laptop is definitely a great option that will serve you well without breaking the bank.