With the prevalence of technology creeping into our everyday life, it’s easy to forget that we were not born into gadgets, and some of us need time to navigate around electronics, not only for their benefit but also for us. We’re talking about children here and how many of us can afford to pass a child an iPad to teach them, only to risk them mishandling it, or worse, dropping it.
That’s where the ASUS BR1100C laptop comes in, designed for the younger demographics, to ease them in learning how to use smart technology, especially at a time where home-based learning (HBL) becomes the new norm.
So what makes it a children’s device? For one thing, it’s small, with an 11.6-inch screen, but it also makes the device lightweight, coming in at just 1.26kg. It also has a rugged built, and the unit comes with an all-around rubber bumper that can withstand a drop of up to 120cm while it’s still powered on. This feature ensures that drops made to the laptop will minimise harm especially in areas such as the I/O ports. However, due to the bumpers, the bezel surrounding the monitor is thicker than usual laptops to take in the vibrations and avoid damaging the LED screen in case of a drop.
Seeing as it is catered for children, one would expect the laptop to be more colourful and eye-catching but the BR1100C is only available in one colour – dark grey. Yet, to somehow compensate for the dull aesthetics of the laptop, ASUS has given the BR1100C a durable 3D-textured outer finish that shrugs off scratches and fingerprints.
However, that does not mean oil won’t be a problem. Natural oils from fingers do transfer over and are visibly evident in the marks that it leaves on the laptop but a wipe down with a clean cloth would do just the trick in removing them easily, and with children, that’s more of an issue.
Despite having a thick bezel, the anti-glare display offers clear and sharp graphics, although it can never stand up against other high-performing laptops like the ASUS Zenbook Duo 14 or the ROG Strix Scar 15 as it is designed with younger students in mind.
The BR1100C is a 2-in-1 device that can be used as a laptop or transformed into a tablet with its 360-degree hinges. Its small size and weight make it compact enough for stuffing into backpacks and yet still comes with both touchscreen capabilities and a physical keyboard and touchpad that allow users to switch between typing and drawing with the handy ASUS pen it comes with. The active stylus pen is efficient especially in subjects or activities that require students to scribble.
Moreover, what is a laptop without ports for seamless connectivity? The BR1100C has five available ports consisting of a USB 2.0 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, HDMI, LAN port, and even a micro SD card reader with a SIM card slot. These come in super handy for students and their productivity as a whole for them to have a more efficient way to get their things done.
As for the keyboard, it is a basic design where the keys are labelled specifically with icons for the users to identify them easily such as the mute key, off-camera key and the screenshot key located in the first row. These features are especially effective during online classes.
Additionally, the keyboard is developed in a way that is tamper-free due to it being gap-free and spill-resistant as well. Spill accidents will never be one to be avoided when it comes to kids, therefore, ASUS has considered that and created a feature that assures parents that investing in a laptop is worthwhile.
One unique feature found in the BR1100C is the dual camera that it comes with. One is located at the top of the monitor where a safety feature to cover the lens can be found. This is very practical to ensure safety and security for the young users who will spend their time browsing through the vast world of the internet. The other camera can be found by the keyboard. It may seem to be an unusual place but ASUS took into consideration the camera capabilities of the laptop when it is switched to tablet mode. Users may now take pictures without having to use the front camera effectively.
Yet, one aspect to consider is when it’s held up to capture a picture. The laptop is quite thick in width when it’s on tablet mode, therefore those with small hands might find it a hassle to hold. The weight is not much of a problem as compared to other laptops, it is lightweight. Also, don’t expect such a high-resolution camera. The BR1100C sports only a 720p HD quality for both cameras, enough for users to take school-related pictures.
When it comes to smart devices, it has a lot of benefits and advantages, but one aspect that remains to be a worry, especially for parents, is the slightly harmful light emitting from the screen. The ASUS BR1100C is developed to protect the eyes of the young users by ensuring that low blue-light emissions are achieved and this has been certified by TÜV Rheinland who are experts in testing technical systems and products all over the world and certify them according to international standards.
Furthermore, to guarantee the well-being of the children, an anti-bacterial protection technology is used, called the ASUS BacGuard. This protective feature is applied on the keyboard, touchpad, and palm rest where most contact happens with the laptop. To seal the deal, BacGuard also withstands alcohol-based cleaning products which encourage users to keep laptop surfaces clean from bacteria, especially with the COVID-19 situation.
Similarly, with any other laptops, maintenance is key when it comes to technological devices. As for the ASUS BR1100, it has a modular design that allows key components such as the keyboard, battery, thermal module and I/O ports to be replaced and fixed in a matter of minutes using simple tools. The underside is secured using captive screws that eliminates the worry of losing them during the tinkering. The easy maintenance allows users to have uninterrupted learning without the need of bringing it to a technician straight away. This ultimately saves more money as well.
Overall, the ASUS BR1100C is the perfect starting laptop for a child to have as it teaches the basic functions and features that are best for their age, especially with a price tag of S$699. With up to 10 hours of battery life and 42 watts per hour battery capacity, other than simple research, note-taking, doodling, watching YouTube or Disney+, this laptop is not able to withstand such high performing programmes such as gaming, or editing videos, but that’s not what this machine was built for anyway.
The ASUS BR1100C will be released towards the end of June 2021 and includes a wired optical mouse and a grey laptop sleeve. Those interested in purchasing the ASUS BR1100C Laptop may register their interest through ASUS’ store.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
The ASUS BR1100C is the laptop best suited for young students. With a durable material and top-notch technology to ensure the user’s well-being, “Strong, smart power for learning” is indeed the perfect description for the product.
Aesthetics - 7/10
Build Quality - 9/10
Performance - 7/10
Value - 7/10
Geek Satisfaction - 7.5/10