the nice and clean “Deepin Fashion” mode for desktop

The E200HA is a 32GB EMMC laptop built by ASUS and I received mine for about 30,000 yen plus taxes. 32GB EMMC laptops are notorious for being slow, unuseable machines that are running the wrong OS (more on this next).

This E200HA is especially problematic. The problems are two fold; first, the aforementioned lack of disc space that means that the Windows OS alone will occupy more than half of the available space, with large updates usually impossible to install. Secondly, the Cherry Trail CPU chip does not play well with Linux Distributions in general. A cursory search across the web yields various results that condemn this machine even with lightweight distros.

Case in point, check out the Debian official report on compatibility issues. Meanwhile, my personal trial of Ubuntu installation on this laptop has severe lag with multiple applications. Even Chrome and Firefox is slow to launch and perform productivity operations.

Thereafter, I chanced upon a little known Chinese distro called Deepin. I read up a little on it before giving it a spin.

The initial installation was straightforward.

First, create the installation USB drive using the program provided by the Deepin website as well as the ISO image. Just a heads up, the installer was surprisingly slow to download on the main website, I would suggest using a trusted third party mirror site to download the installer.

Thereafter, follow the instructions for installation. On the E200HA, I had to first access the BIOS and choose the USB drive as the boot drive. After that, just follow the instructions and the installation will proceed smoothly, though speed will be another matter altogether.

First Impressions

On first impression, daily operations in Deepin are enjoyable, in part due to the lack of lag as well as the pleasant looking UI.

This, in turn, emphasises that UI is equally important to the creators as compared to power and practicality.

The choice given to the user at the start, between fashion and efficient mode, gives the user the choice to adopt a more MacOS or Windows style look respectively.

There is also an introduction into Deepin as part of the installation process.

This entire flow makes the use of Deepin appear very user friendly

Therefore, this particular distro is certainly one that can be recommended to casual users looking to resuscitate their ageing hardware with a lightweight yet elegant looking OS.

The control centre can be brought up with a click of the gear icon on the dock.

the control centre looks pretty nice and there are many customisation options

One aspect of the control centre I enjoyed was the ability to adjust the monitor brightness to the same degree as a Macbook, that is to say, from the brightest to screen off.

Almost all aspects of the user interface, where the hardware and drivers allow, can be tweaked to improve user experience. (except that video and sound do not work due to Cherry Trail processor incompatibility)

The launchpad, brought up by the windows key, gives access to all apps in a icon display reminiscent of MacOS.

Store/ app installer

One can use the GUI or the terminal to install packages using Apt-get command.

the App store has neat categories for you to browse and search for your preferred apps

The App store categorises all software and is rather user friendly. However, one issue to note is that the software has a distinctly Chinese slant, which is unsurprising given that the distro’s origin is China.

That aside, most common Linux based apps are here; GIMP for photo editing, Blender for 3D work, Audacity for sound, VLC for media consumption. There are also Deepin flavors of common applications which work fine.

Conclusion

With the installation of the Deepin Distro, for me at least the ASUS E200HA has been upgraded from nigh unuseable to somewhere useable for productivity purposes. Video and audio is unplayble.

But if you are looking to just browse the internet and to use some cloud applications such as google drive or type a few emails or even a short story (this post was typed on the E200HA!), this thin, light and long lasting laptop may be the one for you yet.