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ASUS Vivobook S14 (2018) S430U – Review

You will end up buying the best laptop only if you know your usage well. Most people over-estimate or under-estimate their needs and end up with a device that is not suited to them at all. If you are a person, who uses the laptop every day and you are not planning to run any resource heavy programs, here is the new 2018 generation of Asus Vivobook S14. The Asus Vivobook S14 is an everyday work-horse with a style quotient and good value for money. If that is not enough, let us dive in deeper and expand between those words.

Design

Asus has made a mark for itself with its laptop designs. A quick look and you can easily callout that its an Asus. The design of the Vivobook S14 is simple and yet elegant. It is made of plastic but made to look like metal. The laptop is sturdily built with very little flex. It is available in multiple color options, but our review unit came in soft gold color. The brushed metal finish and the sturdy construction gives it’s a premium and luxurious look and feel. When you open the lid, the base raises to an angle. This is designed to improve the airflow and reduce the operating temperature. The base goes up like a bridge to reveal the air exhaust at the back base of the laptop along with the speakers. But the speakers are not loud enough. The max volume barely crossed 90 db.

It has 3 USB Ports, one USB C Port and it does not charge via that port, one micro HDMI port, microSD card slot and a 3.5mm port. Though the choice of ports available is a bit weird, it does cover most of the requirements to help you be a road warrior. The DC charging port connects to a proprietary charger which is quite compact for a laptop charger.

The 15-inch variant has a larger area to accommodate dedicated number keys, but the 14-inch variant sacrifices the number keys to retain the size of each key. This is a very good decision as the keys are well spaced out and have a good travel distance. It is backlit and the intensity can also be controlled. I found it very comfortable to type on the keyboard. The trackpad is huge and it is responsive as well. It has a fingerprint sensor to unlock the laptop, though it has a webcam above the display, this model does not have facial recognition. The fingerprint sensor is fast and accurate.

Display

The S14 Vivobook has a full HD IPS LCD display. The color representation on the display is accurate. It has decent brightness levels and good viewing angles. It is not a touch screen display. The display is well suited for office work and media consumption. I would not recommend this display for image edition or gaming which requires a better color reproduction and faster refresh rates.

Performance

This sleek laptop is also slick in the hardware department. It comes in a choice of Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 processor. My review unit has 8th gen 14nm kaby lake i5 processor. It also has 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD and 1 TB hard-disk all fitted inside that thin chassis. The S14 is also available in other storage options. It is welcoming to see SSD + HDD combo becoming mainstream in mid-range laptops. The laptop does not have any dedicated graphics card, but it has an integrated Intel graphics card.

The i5 processor and 8GB RAM combo are good for most of the daily task that would be demanded off a laptop in this price. The SSD has good read-write speed but the HDD is slow. I tried playing some basic games off the Microsoft store and these games had no problems playing on this laptop. But when tested PUBG, I noticed very low FPS that I was barely able to play the game. If you are watching movies, streaming content, editing documents, processing basic images this laptop is a breeze to use. But it cannot handle heavy loads.

Battery

In the battery department, the Vivobook S14 can last somewhere between 5 to 6 hours depending on your usage. I watched a movie for 2 hours, worked with Outlook, Word and Excel for office purposes and a few minor editing works with Gimp and with this usage, I got about 5 hours on a single charge.

Verdict

The Asus Vivobook S14 is a sensible laptop that would suit most of the use-cases for most of the users needing a dependable laptop. It has a stylish design, sleek looks, sufficient performance, decent display and battery. The only negative point, I see is the low powered speakers. But most laptops in this price range have similar performance in speaker and display department. I recently got a Lenovo 330S for my office purpose and I find the Vivobook S14 to be identical to 330s. But the Vivobook S14 has a stylish look which trumps the Lenovo 330S. As we started this post with understanding your usage, if your usage is regular travel, extensive office works, occasional media consumption and mild editing, you can choose the Asus Vivobook S14.

Asus Vivobook i5 Variant with 8 GB / 256 GB / 1 TB memory is priced at Rs 58490 in Flipkart.

Giridhar

A Technology evangelist, Giridhar reviews gadgets and mobile applications. He is also a passionate photographer and a user experience designer by profession.

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