One common complaint I hear from people around me, is that they often run out of decent options when it comes to buying a new laptop. And there are good reasons for this. Most users do not upgrade their laptops as quickly as they do with smartphones. Second, most are skeptical about the money being spent on a laptop, and whether it will be good enough.
Like most users, I too found myself asking a lot of questions while I was buying a new laptop last year. Will it be worth the money, how long will it survive, will it slow down eventually to the point where I regret my decision and so on. So what should the ideal laptop offer? A lot of it boils down to the actual user requirement and yes, the budget.
Last month, Asus launched a new laptop in India dubbed Asus VivoBook S14 (S410U) starting at Rs 54,990. It has three variants and they all differ in terms of the processor and graphics: 8th generation Intel Core i3, i5 with Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 and Core i7 with Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620. But apart from those differences, all other specifications and elements remain more or less the same. Asus sent me the top-end variant of their VivoBook S14 laptop that runs on Intel Core i7 processor. I have been using Asus VivoBook S14 as my primary machine since the last few days and based on my experience, here is the full review.
Asus VivoBook S14 specifications
14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED | 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor | Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 | 8GB RAM | 1TB HDD | 256GB SSD | Windows 10 Home | Ports: 1 x Type C USB 3.0, 1 x Type A USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SD card reader | Connectivity: Dual Band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, HDMI, headphone jack | Dimensions: 326 x 226 x 18.8mm, Weight: 1.4kg
Asus VivoBook S14 price in India
Rs 77,990 with 8GB RAM and Intel Core i7 processor
Asus VivoBook S14 Design, Display Review
The Asus VivoBook S14 stands out for its simple and minimalistic design approach, and it was what I was expecting from this laptop in the first place. Expensive laptops are sometimes bulky and not easy to carry. The Asus VivoBook S14 does remind me of the Apple MacBook Air in some ways from a design perspective, though of course, the overall look and feel is different.
The point I am trying to make here is that Asus VivoBook S14 is somewhat small for the price, which I prefer. Asus appears to have taken design cues from their own ZenBook series and this laptop is lightweight at only 1.4 kgs, which is great. I have had no complaints about its build quality either.
Asus VivoBook S14 sports a 14-inch Full HD display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, resulting in 80% screen-to-body ratio. Edges are round and bezels are fairly narrow. No, they are not completely edge-to-edge. These are some things I hope Asus continues to offer in this price segment. But there is no touchscreen support, which is a little disappointing. Since it has an LED screen, using it under a tube light or bulb did not reflect on the screen to cause distraction.
Asus VivoBook S14 Performance Review
Asus VivoBook S14 has 8GB of RAM to offer, making it an ideal choice to run Windows 10 operating system. I experienced zero lag whatsoever and the performance so far has been smooth, which is commendable. I would open over 30 tabs in Google Chrome and run YouTube or other resource intensive websites simultaneously. None of that impacted the performance in anyway. Web pages would often load quickly and I had no complaints on this front as such.
Asus VivoBook S14 runs on 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor and Intel UHD Graphics 620. It performed well at some other resource-intensive tasks like playing games. Although it is not a gaming laptop at the heart, it survived games like CS:GO and GTA 5 without running into any performance-level issues. Touchpad and fingerprint reader worked flawlessly as well.
However, audio output was mediocre and I had absolutely no option other than plugging in my earphones while listening to songs or streaming YouTube and Netflix. For a Rs 77,000 laptop, this is a disappointing aspect.
Asus VivoBook S14 Keyboard, Battery Review
Typing experience on Asus VivoBook S14 was enjoyable. Keyboard travel distance is short, resulting in fast keystrokes. I could type much faster without making errors once I got used to it. Since it has a compact-sized keyboard, it comes without a separate number pad. There is a power button on the keyboard at the extreme top right corner. Battery performance on Asus VivoBook S14 has mostly been satisfactory.
It took close to 3 hours to charge the laptop to 100%. There were multiple modes for battery optimisation to choose from: Better battery, better performance and best performance. And based on what mode we choose, it optimises battery performance accordingly. With 85% battery left and screen brightness level set to medium, it could last 10 hours. I observed that battery did not drain drastically during normal usage.
Asus VivoBook S14 Verdict
Asus VivoBook S14 ticks all the boxes for a good laptop, and it hardly leaves any room for complaints. It offers a minimalistic design, good keyboard and superior performance. Although the minimum bezels display was impressive, it has no support for touchscreen. Fingerprint reader performs accurately as well. But poor audio output does stop it from emerging as a true entertainer and as I said, your last hope is to plug in earphones for listening to audio.
At Rs 77,990, Asus VivoBook S14 is priced reasonably, especially for what specifications and design it offers. And remember, there are two other variants as well. But if performance is all you are looking for and are ready to shell out money for a 8GB RAM and 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, which should last long enough, I would say the Asus VivoBook S14 is a really good option.