If you are looking to buy a new laptop, avoid those under Rs 30,000 as the devices in this price category are aren’t always designed to perform and may not be good for work.
However, that doesn’t have to be the case if you are looking for a notebook for educational purposes as powerful performance is not necessarily the primary requirement for students, particularly those who only use their laptops for learning.
Enter the Asus BR1100, a budget laptop that features a starting price of Rs 24,999 in India. The BR1100 is specifically designed with kids in mind — it isn’t meant to be all-powerful but to offer an overall affordable package that can handle all educational tasks you throw at it. So without any further delays, let’s take an in-depth look at the Asus BR1100.
Design and Build
Unlike most entry level laptops, the BR1100 features a tough build. Asus has put a little more effort into amping up the durability of the BR1100, considering the laptop is “made for kids”. The laptop is made of tough plastic and rubber, which is designed to help absorb impacts and protect the laptop from damage. The BR1100 features military-grade toughness and is touted to be able to withstand knocks, bumps, drops and spills. It is designed to survive drops from 120cm and can also withstand a force of 28kg.
You also get a rubber bar and two rubber grips on the bottom of the laptop to ensure stability, while the material is also easier to grip. Additionally, there’s an Asus logo in the middle of the lid, while the screen has sizeable bezels on all four sides. The BR1100 certainly isn’t the best-looking laptop you’ll find, but it is one of the toughest in the segment, which is essential considering its primary audience is kids.
When it comes to ports, the BR1100 certainly doesn’t fall short. You get a USB-A, USB-C, and an HDMI port on the left alongside a Kensington lock slot and power output. On the right, there’s another USB-A port, an RJ45 Ethernet port, and a headphone jack.
You also get power and volume buttons on the right, while an area is sealed off, which will otherwise house a microSD card slot in other regions. The BR1100 also comes with Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6 support and boots Windows 11.
Webcam & Speakers
The audio on the Asus BR1100 is handled courtesy of a dual-speaker setup powered by SonicMaster, which is located on the bottom of the laptop. The audio quality here is quite underwhelming, although the speakers get pretty loud considering the size of the laptop.
The notebook also comes with a 720p webcam that includes a physical privacy shutter. The webcam is more-than-adequate for attending virtual classes, although you’ll require a room with good lighting. ASUS has also equipped with the BR1100 with a noise-cancelling mic to help reduce background noise during calls.
Keyboard and Trackpad
For a budget laptop, the BR1100 has a pretty good keyboard. There’s no Numpad but that is often the case with 15-inch laptops, so no complaints here. The keys themselves are quite tactile and have a nice travel distance. Additionally, the keys are also well-spaced out, making it comfortable and easy to type on despite the small chassis.
The keyboard also comes with a spill-resistant design and gap-free keys, although there is a caveat here, which is the lack of backlighting. You can’t have it all! The laptop comes with a large plastic trackpad, although it isn’t very responsive, and I found using the mouse much easier. Lastly, the trackpad also has an anti-bacterial ASUS BacGuard coating. Overall, the keyboard on the laptop is excellent, especially considering its price, although the trackpad is mediocre at best.
The display on the BR1100 is not the best around. Asus offers an 11.6-inch IPS LCD screen with an HD+ resolution (1366 x 768 pixels). The display offers a peak brightness of 220 nits and 45 percent NTSC coverage. Considering the laptop’s primary purpose is learning, the screen isn’t colour accurate and doesn’t get bright enough for outdoor use. It does get bright enough for indoor use, while it also has an anti-glare coating so as to prevent reflections.
Additionally, the display on the BR1100 is certified by TÜV Rheinland for low blue-light emissions that help protect the eyes from potential harm. While the screen doesn’t come with touch support, it does have a 180-degree hinge design and can lay flat on a surface. However, viewing the display from different angles can’t be difficult as it doesn’t have the best viewing angles. Apart from educational use, the display wasn’t very good for watching videos.
For performance, the Asus BR1100 is equipped with an Intel Celeron N4500 dual-core processor with Intel’s UHD graphics. The CPU is paired with 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 128GB of NVMe PCIe Gen3 SSD storage. The BR1100 has no openings on the bottom and uses a completely fan-less design, which means it relies on heatsinks for better heat dissipation, something we see on smartphones.
Let’s take a look at a few benchmarks to get an idea of the BR1100’s performance. In Geekbench 5, the notebook managed a single-core score of 582 points and a multi-core score of 1111 points. The integrated graphics recorded an OpenCL score of 2067 points. In Cinebench R23, the laptop recorded a multi-core score of 1051 points and a single-core score of 471 points. In real-world usage, I found that the laptop handles mundane tasks like using MS Word or browsing the internet well enough.
However, opening too many applications while multitasking or multiple tabs in Chrome can result in stutters. On the other hand, the BR1100 had a pretty fast boot time, although I don’t know how it will fare in the long run. Gaming is a complete non-starter here as the laptop can get hot on the bottom when handling one too many productivity tasks simultaneously but the heat doesn’t really reach your hands.
For an entry-level laptop which is primarily meant for educational use, I think the BR1100 performance is well-above average. And the laptop is also highly modular and comes with an easily replaceable keyboard, battery, display, thermal solution, and ports. Additionally, the M.2 NVMe SSD is upgradeable up to 2TB courtesy of a second slot, which is excellent in terms of upgradeability.
The Asus BR1100 packs 42WHrs which is sufficient enough to last around six to eight hours on average. In my experience, you can expect a little over six hours of battery life under average use. I primarily used the laptop for web browsing and watching some YouTube videos, while MS Word was also opened. The laptop was tested on the default balance mode and the screen brightness was set at 70 percent while I used it. I thought the battery life was pretty decent considering the budget Asus was working with.
With a starting price of Rs 24,999, it is difficult to demand much of the Asus BR1100. It is actually pretty difficult to demand anything in this range. However, for an entry-level laptop, the BR1100 does do quite a few things right. You have to understand that this device is primarily designed for learning, so it is going to be far from perfect for work.
But Asus has still managed to pack an excellent Windows 11 experience on such a tight budget. If you are looking for a solid e-learning companion in the sub-25K segment, then you can’t go wrong with the BR1100. It may not be the best performer or offer good visuals, but it has tons of ports, is built to survive, offers decent battery life, has a comfortable keyboard, and is designed to be child-proof.