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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Asus VivoBook S14 review: A great notebook for those on the move

Here's our full review of the new Asus VivoBook S14. Read on to find out if this is the right laptop for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rs. 68,890
Written by Chetan Nayak | Mumbai |
Updated: August 16, 2021 5:25:43 pm
Asus VivoBook S14 review, Asus VivoBook,Here's our full review of the Asus VivoBook S14 laptop. (Express Photo)

Asus’ VivoBook series has been associated with sleek machines that pack power and at the same time they offer a balanced blend of everything you expect from an everyday notebook. The VivoBook series has been doing that for a few years now, and we managed to get out hands-on the latest model with the Ryzen 5 5500U CPU. With an updated processor more powerful than ever and features to go with it, does the new VivoBook S14 still count as a good value-for-money proposition? Read on to know more.

Asus VivoBook S14 Specs: AMD Ryzen 5 5500U | 14-inch FHD IPS display | 8GB DDR4 RAM | 1TB SSD | AMD Radeon Graphics | 50 Wh battery | 1.40kg |

Asus VivoBook S14: What’s good?

Design, Build: The Asus VivoBook S14 is a prime example of ‘Don’t fix what ain’t broken’. The design of the laptop was one of its best aspects last year and it doesn’t seem like a lot has changed. We still have the 14-inch screen with slim bezels, the compact keyboard, a great hinge and very minimal, sleek looks.

Asus VivoBook S14 review, Asus VivoBook, The design of the laptop was one of its best aspects last year and it doesn’t seem like a lot has changed. (Express Photo)

You also get the usual bells and whistles you see on Asus VivoBook and ZenBook laptops. The ErgoLift Hinge, that lifts up the base at an angle facing you everytime you open the notebook is here, and so are the dedicated secondary Fn key functions, which are very handy.

The compact nature, slim build and a weight of about 1.4kg also makes this an easy laptop to fit into most workstations or desks and also easy to carry around in your bag. The build quality here is also great as is expected from the VivoBook series.

Keyboard: The compact keyboard on the VivoBook S14 is great and comes with decent key travel. The keys are comfortable to press and are well spaced. There is three-way backlighting on the keys but you wouldn’t want to use them unless it actually is dark, especially on this white variant as the white backlight actually acts as a hurdle against the white keys.

Asus VivoBook S14 review, Asus VivoBook, The keys are comfortable to press and are well spaced. (Express Photo)

The yellow Enter key is a nice touch and does enough to make the VivoBook stand out without being too loud. Meanwhile the trackpad does its job well and comes with a button-less design.

I/O, Connectivity: The laptop features a decent range of I/O on both sides given its segment. This includes a USB 3.2 Type A, a USB 3.2 Type C, two USB 2.0 Type-A and an HDMI port. There’s also an SD card reader thrown in. For connectivity, you get Wi-Fi 6 support along with Bluetooth 5.0 which is nice.

Asus VivoBook S14 review, Asus VivoBook, The laptop includes a USB 3.2 Type A, a USB 3.2 Type C, two USB 2.0 Type-A and an HDMI port. (Express Photo)

Performance: The VivoBook S14 is a good performer at day-to-day tasks and is a great machine for work as well. However the RAM maxes out at 8GB and to some users, that may not be enough, especially if their tasks involve graphic-heavy usage scenarios.

This is also one of those cases where the Ryzen 5 variant makes more sense than a more powerful chip like the Ryzen 7, the capabilities of which would be bottlenecked by the 8GB RAM variants made available in India.

On the contrary, users get 1TB SSD with the laptop, and it offers another slot that can accommodate up to an additional 1TB of SSD storage, which is great if you ever feel  the need for more storage in the future. Upgradeable SSD storage also makes the lack of more RAM on the VivoBook series more evident.

Thermals are good here as well and the VivoBook rarely got too hot with a couple of browsers and other programs running at the same time. Other elements like the built-in fingerprint scanner and the speakers work great too. The scanner is fast and accurate, while the speakers felt decently loud for a compact laptop even though the sound itself is a tad flat.

Battery Life: The Asus VivoBook S14’s 50Wh battery is good enough for a day at college or an evening of movies and entertainment. In our usage case comprising a lot of web browsing, watching videos and listening to music on either our headphones or the laptop’s speakers, we managed to get between 6 to 8 hours before the machine needed to be plugged in. There is plenty of juice for long sessions of pretty much anything of what you can do on this laptop.

Asus VivoBook S14 review, Asus VivoBook, The Asus VivoBook S14’s 50Wh battery is good enough for a day at college or an evening of movies and entertainment.(Express Photo)

Asus VivoBook S14: What’s not good?

Display: The 14-inch FHD display panel on the Asus VivoBook S14 is good at viewing angles thanks to its IPS panel, but isn’t the brightest out there at 250 nits. However, what was more evident were the muted colours. that while colours are not particularly bad, they do feel a little washed out when put next to a good screen.

Asus VivoBook S14 review, Asus VivoBook, Colours on the VivoBook S14 display felt washed out. (Express Photo)

Meanwhile, text and images you view on this display will retain their crispness. So if colours and brightness aren’t a bother to you, this shouldn’t be a dealbreaker, but if they are, you might want to look elsewhere. This isn’t a bad display, but it remains the most least best parts of an otherwise well-balanced package.

Verdict: Should you get the VivoBook S14?

At its price, the VivoBook S14 Ryzen 5 is great value for money and doesn’t do much wrong. The display panel here isn’t the best, as we mentioned above, but is more than just workable. Chances that a decently crisp panel with muted colours being a dealbreaker on a thin-and-light at this price are slim anyway.

The VivoBook is hence a great work laptop with its performance, feature-sets and portability being its top advantages. It’s ability to get work done makes it a good deal for those who work on the move and an even better package for students wanting a little more oomph than an entry-level machine.

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