If you’re looking for a cheap laptop that’s ideal for a school going child, you’re in luck as we’ve found one that is not only built tough but is competitively priced too. Our ASUS BR1100F review puts their latest convertible for learners through its paces and determines if it’s really worth your money…
What is the ASUS BR1100F
Thriving in the new normal where executives and students are increasingly working and studying from home inevitably requires you to have some means of getting online and unless you’re well heeled, most laptops, phones and tablets worth the name cost a pretty penny.
While professionals and those who earn a paycheck will likely eye and be able to afford ASUS’s more upmarket offerings like their ZenBook range of laptops, those on a lower budget and students who don’t need the computing equivalent of a sports car don’t usually have much of a choice barring hunting for dated models which is where the new ASUS BR1100F convertible comes into the picture.
Intended for students, the ASUS BR1100F is a convertible running Windows 10 Pro that features a surprising amount of versatility and features for its price point of RM1,599.
Featuring 360-degree hinges, the ASUS BR1100F lets you use it as a traditional laptop or you can flip the screen around and about to use it as a tablet.
It also integrates a built-in stylus via a side-mounted stylus well that lets users sketch and create diagrams or whatnot too. This makes it a very versatile, full-featured option as you have the functionality of a stylus-equipped tablet and a laptop in one form factor.
ASUS BR1100F Review – Design and What’s in the Box
Out of the box, the ASUS BR1100F comes with a 45W DC-IN charging adaptor, the laptop itself and nestled behind a cardboard cutout is a zip-up fabric laptop sleeve done up in matte gray to tote it around. The sleeve itself is fairly thin and isn’t padded or armoured so it’s not going to fully protect the laptop if you toss it in from drops or dents.
Externally, the ASUS BR1100F is made of thick, sturdy polycarbonate with a stippled, grippy texture that resists smudges in an amazing fashion. According to ASUS, the finish is robust enough that it’s capable of shrugging off scratches which is a huge bonus if you aim to use it for several years.
This sturdy material is repeated on the base as well which features rubber pads to raise it slightly for ventilation as well as a rubber strip next to the hinges that runs the length of the laptop to ensure a steady grip when held..
Running all around the top lid, the sides and the corners are tough rubber bumpers that in tandem with its tough chassis grant it a ludicrous MIL-STD 810H casing that allows it to survive a 120cm drop to the floor without damage and survive 28kg of force on the lid or bottom without damage.
That’s not all as the keyboard itself is designed to be tamper proof so that kids or the terminally bored can’t pry the keys out. On top of that, the keyboard is notably spill resistant too so that splashes of water up to 300ml can be drained without damaging the laptop.
All this makes it tough, durable and highly ruggedised; qualities which make it ideal for a laptop intended for younger learners.
ASUS BR1100F Review – Ports and Specifications
The ASUS BR1100F comes in a variety of configurations depending on region so I’ll cover it in the context of what Malaysia is getting.
|Display||11.6-inch HD glossy touch display, 1,366 x 768 pixels|
|Processor||Intel Celeron N4500 1.1GHz processor|
|Graphics||Intel UHD graphics|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro|
|Memory||4GB DDR4 RAM/ 64GB eMMC|
|Battery||42Wh, 3-cell Li-ion 45W AC adapter 19V DC, 45W|
|Size/Weight||294.6 x 204.9 x 19.9mm / 1.4kg|
Under the hood, our ASUS BR1100F review unit has somewhat modest specifications that include an Intel Celeron N4500 1.1GHz dual-core processor paired with 4GB DDR4 RAM and 64GB eMMC storage though you can supplement this on your own by installing an SSD up to 1TB in size.
Working in its favour is the fact that it runs Windows 10 Pro versus Linux or Chrome OS, which lends it more versatility when it comes to installing apps.
The right side of the laptop has a 3.5mm headphone jack, a power button, a volume rocker, a USB 2.0 Type-A port and an Ethernet port. It also has a sealed off section that would have housed a SIM card and microSD card tray but which is not available for units sold in Malaysia. Even so, 64GB is plenty for the usage profile of a primary school kid.
On the left side of the laptop, you get a HDMI 1.4 port that lets you port the feed out to a larger display, the built-in stylus well, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port with power delivery support, the DC-IN jack for power and a Kensington lock. You can alternatively charge it with a USB-C charger with sufficient juice like the UGREEN GaN charger in lieu of the provided DC-IN charger.
In terms of connectivity, our ASUS BR1100F review unit features WiFi 5 802.11ac only but configurations overseas have been spotted to have microSD card slots and SIM cards with LTE 4G connectivity. These features aren’t available for local units in Malaysia which would have also jacked up the price.
If you flip the ASUS BR1100F open, you’ll discover the rather quaint sight of two cameras, one mounted on top of the display and another just above the keyboard though there is method to this madness which I’ll get into later.
The provided 11.6-inch LED display has 1,366 x 720 pixels resolution, a screen-to-body ratio of 63% and features stylus support. The panel is rated for 250 nits peak brightness with an NTSC colour gamut of 50%. Perched just above it is a 720P HD camera intended for video calls with a built-in manual privacy shutter. Flanking the webcam are a pair of mics, which ensures clean audio pickup.
While users would be curious as to why in heck ASUS would mount a skywards-facing 13MP camera in the ASUS BR1100F , it’s actually emplaced there for usage in tablet mode so that users have access to a better quality camera for projects and classwork while using the display as a gigantic viewfinder.
The keyboard itself has an anti-bacterial coating and is spill proof, shrugging off up to 300ml of clear fluid and has closely spaced keys that prevent overly curious kids (and adults) from prying them off. Unfortunately, it’s not backlit so you’ll have to be a fairly good touch typist to get the most out of it in the dark.
All these features combined make for an absurdly overengineered laptop that’s tough enough to withstand all but the most butter fingered users and the most cavalier children with enough features to tackle almost everything kids up to highschool would likely require in a laptop for school including a webcam, a camera and a stylus too.
ASUS BR1100F Review Performance
The ASUS BR1100F has a decidedly low-powered setup. The Intel Celeron N4500 was announced earlier this year in 2021 and is a dual-core processor built on a 10nm process, lacks hyper threading and has a single core burst speed of up to 2.8GHz. It also features Intel UHD graphics. This lends it a mission profile capable of handling word processing and basic computing tasks.
Needless to say, we don’t exactly have any school going sprogs onhand at the moment to try out school specific apps like Google Classroom but we did put it to the test with scenarios that would be expected of someone in school.
We also subjected it to benchmarks but the modest specifications means that all but the most basic of our tests were able to run at all. Here’s what we did come up with.
|Unigine SuperPosition 720P Low||1028|
|Unigine SuperPosition 1080P Medium||345|
|3DMark Fire Strike||569|
|Geekbench 5 Single Core score||605|
|Geekbench 5 Multi Core Score||1095|
In the course of our ASUS BR1100F review, we subjected it to a variety of field tests using Microsoft Home & Office 2019, Google Docs and LibreOffice to process content like text documents with plenty of images along with web browsing and YouTube.
Loading apps takes a few seconds and things putter along nicely until you start adding a significant amount of photos to documents before it starts experiencing lag. The same goes when your spreadsheets start spanning multiple pages. Still, it’s more than enough for schoolwork. Just don’t expect to come up with a prize-winning, rich multimedia presentation for the Nobel prize or the Oscars using this.
Just for a lark, and because we’re all kids at heart, the laptop was capable of very basic retro games. Kingdom: New Lands with its retro-esque graphics ran smoothly without issue along with King of Fighters 2000 and Far Cry 2 on 720H with settings turned to medium but this eats up storage fast and you already have precious little available. There is an option to add an SSD if you pop open the casing.
The provision of Windows 10 also means that it helps kids acclimate themselves to using the world’s most dominant operating system in childhood and the ease of installing and uninstalling apps makes it a better choice over more complicated or limited operating systems in the market.
The webcam allows for 720P HD video calls and the front facing cam next to the keyboard allows for up to 12.6MP shots in 4:3 aspect ratio and 1080P@30fps video too. They’ll do the job for taking snaps for a classroom project or the odd family photo or two, with just enough quality for classroom projects and social media use.
While the provision of a webcam and a front camera are welcome, they’re unfortunately nothing to write home about as they’re strictly functional with significant shutter lag, drab colour rendition and below average low light performance with soft, grainy results. The benefit here though is that all of this is integrated into the same laptop without the need for parents to buy additional gear like a separate tablet, a webcam or other potential gear.
The ASUS BR1100F’s 11.6-inch HD resolution touchscreen is sufficient for the job though it has rather chunky bezels on all sides. Working in its favour is that the screen is responsive and has good colour rendition with great viewing angles which makes it decent enough to watch a movie or YouTube.
When used in tandem with the integrated stylus, the display was fairly responsive though you need to enable palm rejection in WIndows 10’s settings or you’ll end up with a frustrating user experience.
Battery life is sufficient for all-day use and the highly efficient processor and modest HD display means it has excellent endurance for basic computing tasks.
A combination of web browsing, YouTube videos and Google docs easily lasted 9 hours of usage with moderate screen brightness. Charging the battery takes about an hour plus and you have the option to use a USB-C charger with power delivery in lieu of the provided charger.
Is the ASUS BR1100F worth buying?
The ASUS BR1100F is an ideal student laptop for young learners up to primary school and likely midway through secondary school that costs under RM1,600.
It’s not the most powerful convertible available but it has a wealth of practical features that include a webcam, a camera, a stylus and a splash proof keyboard shoehorned into a tough casing built like a tank, ensuring that it will survive through a child’s schooling days. For what you pay for, you’re getting a tough laptop with a touchscreen that can work as a tablet, has a free stylus and has a necessary webcam for remote learning. This, folks is everything a young scholar need shoehorned into one fantastically robust laptop.
There are certainly better specced laptops but there are few that give you the functionality of a tablet and a laptop along with a stylus thrown into one form factor. The ASUS BR1100F easily earns a Value Buy award from Hitech Century and is definitely worth consideration for the sheer amount of features it packs under the hood.
ASUS BR1100F review unit courtesy of ASUS Malaysia. For more details visit https://www.asus.com/my/Laptops/For-Students/Everyday-use/ASUS-BR1100F/
The ASUS BR1100F is a feature-packed convertible that is ideal for young students up to Standard 6 and even a few years beyond that into secondary school; that’s up to Year 12 if you translate it to the US school system.
For a reasonable price tag, you get a tough device running Windows 10 that can double as a tablet and a laptop while packing in a stylus and long battery life too. The limited performance means it’s useful up to a point but it’s more than enough for young students up to secondary school if you avoid heavier tasks like video editing and the like.
Exceptionally durable chassis for travel and daily use
Enough performance for primary and secondary school use
Features webcam and integrated stylus
Features Windows 10
Converts to tablet and PC as needed
No LTE or microSD card slot
Thick bezels on display
No backlighting on keyboard