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ASUS VivoBook S14 Review: The Most Affordable Versatile Laptop Under $500

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ASUS VivoBook S14 Review: The Most Affordable Versatile Laptop Under $500

Asus is one of the most well-known makers of laptops. It has a 5.5% market share in 2019. The company is very well known, and it accounts for 5.5% of all laptop sales in 2019.

The Zenbook is a more expensive laptop. It takes risks and tries to do unusual things. The ASUS VivoBook S14 is less expensive, and it will focus on day-to-day things that most people need.

So, the 2020 refresh of its 14in model omits some features that are on other gadgets. But this does not matter because it provides a good experience.

ASUS VivoBook S14 Key Specifications

  • 14in 1920 x 1080 IPS display
  • Intel Core i7-1165G7
  • Intel Iris Xe graphics
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • Dimensions: 322 x 204 x 15.9mm
  • Weight: 1.3kg

Pros

  • 2x Thunderbolt 4, MicroSD card slot
  • Up to 64 GB of RAM
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Wi-Fi 6 and PCIe x4
  • No PWM (AUO B140HAN06.B (AUOA48F))
  • Comfortable keyboard with a backlight
  • All-aluminum build
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Soldered memory
  • Small arrow keys

Design

The ASUS VivoBook S14’s initial impressions are extremely positive. It’s a contemporary gadget that is in keeping with 2020 expectations.

When using the Chroma, the device’s all-metal frame gives it a premium feel, but it stays lightweight. Although Asus may be overselling its portability given that it weighs 1.4 kg, you’ll still be able to move swiftly between rooms or pack for trips away.

This computer does not have a fingerprint scanner. It is hard to unlock the laptop when there is no biometric option. Other ASUS VivoBook S14 have fingerprint scanners, but only long-pressing them will show a number pad on this one.

The touchpad itself may be a little cramped and fiddly, but an external mouse can easily help you avoid this.

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The keyboard is not easy to replace. I like that I could type on the ASUS VivoBook S14 and it was great. But this does not compare to a mechanical keyboard. Each key has enough travel and feels nice when you press it.

The keys are nice on this laptop. The company made them different from other laptops on the market. They chose a typeface for the keys that are different. One of the key features of this keyboard is a “color blocking enter key.” It adds color but doesn’t do anything else.

The keyboard is backlit, so you can see it when there is not much light. You can adjust the brightness of the light on the keyboard depending on how much light there is in the area.

Among the most impressive aspects of the ASUS VivoBook S14 is its range of ports. In addition to a power socket and 3.5mm headphone jack, you also get three USB-A ports, one USB-C, HDMI, and a microSD card slot. You’d need an adapter to access many of these ports on other laptops, so it’s great to see here.

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In an ideal world, the USB-C port could be used for charging, but it’s an inevitable compromise at this price point.

The ASUS VivoBook S14 can be used every day and it has a wide variety of colors. You can also buy the more eye-catching colors, Gaia Green, Resolute Red, or Dreamy White in addition to the Indie Black model that I tested.

Keyboard and trackpad

The inputs on this model are the same as the inputs on other ASUS VivoBook S14 models. They are good but not as good as the higher-quality connections on ZenBooks.

The layout of the Asus 14-inch laptop is standard with a full-sized deck of keys, a smaller row of Function keys at the top, and an extra column of Function keys on the right. The keyboard also has a yellow border around the entering key which just adds some brightness.

I like the keyboard, but I don’t like how it feels. There is not much to click and when you press it there is not much feedback, which is something that some other keyboards have more of. But the keyboard is fast and quiet.

Asus_Vivobook_S14_S433FL_9

This keyboard has backlighting which is very bright and even. The light leaks out from some of the keys, especially the top row of function keys. It also does not turn on when you use it with your fingers after a certain time. I am not sure if this is a problem with this particular laptop or something that will happen with all laptops in stores.

The click pad on many versions of the laptop can vary. It can be different depending on where you are in the world. One version has a glass NumberPad 2.0, which is usually found on more expensive laptops.

There’s a finger-sensor on this Asus VivoBook S14, which I prefer to the finger-sensor that was formerly built into the click pad, but no IR.

The new S435 series has a keyboard that is better than the one on the old ZenBooks. The keyboard is also more durable and dependable. They also have a bigger touchpad with either NumberPad or ScreenPad depending on which model you get. I suggest getting one of these instead of the other ASUS VivoBook S14 models because they are not as good.

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Screen

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The ASUS VivoBook S14 has a screen that is 14 inches. It also has a resolution of 1920×1080.

This screen is a little different from a typical laptop. It’s between sizes, but it has the same aspect ratio as other screens. This means that it will be familiar to people who have been using this type of screen before. It also has more space for multitasking than a 13in screen, although it is smaller too.

The display is fine for showing other things. It has a good level of detail and contrast, but the colors are not as bright as they could be. That means that you should not use it to watch videos.

The visibility of the screen is not good when it is open. The screen is too bright even on the highest setting. It records 250 nits, which are not as many as its competitors.

The ASUS VivoBook S14 has some thick bezels. It might look old when compared to more expensive laptops. But the front-facing camera doesn’t support Windows Hello for face unlock, so it might not be worth it. But you should double-check about this because it may be available on certain versions of the laptop.

A screen-to-body ratio of 85% is not as good as 90%. Many devices have a higher percentage that is better.

Ports

On the left side, you’ll find two Thunderbolt 4 connections, an HDMI 1.4 port, and an audio jack. A USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port is available when the laptop is turned over, as well as a USB Type-A 2.0 connection and a microSD card slot.

The Targus Category is outfitted with 3 USB-A ports, 1 USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port, 1 HDMI port, a microSD card slot (Why?), and a headphone jack in terms of input/output.

I think a lot of people should have a hard drive and an SSD. An SSD is where the computer’s operating system and main applications live. That makes it easy to find things. All the data can be saved on the hard drive.

The I/O is a lot of fun. There are 3 USB ports, but the laptop does not have Thunderbolt 3. It can be frustrating because it does not have this kind of connection. The company put a microSD card slot there too, and I am confused why they did that.

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Performance

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  • The Core i5 processor from Intel delivers good overall performance.
  • AMD processors that are better for high-volume applications include the following:

This laptop has a quad-core Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU with base and boost rates of 2.4GHz and 4.2GHz, 8GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, Intel’s HD Graphics (UHD 620). Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 are included for connectivity.

It’s the same hardware as the Acer Swift 5, which now costs $899 with a Core i5 processor, but it’s a generation behind Lenovo’s AMD Ryzen 7 4700U.

The Core i5 CPU in the ASUS VivoBook S14 is good for Office work. It can do many things at once, including many browser windows and some photo editing. But if you push it too hard, its limit will show up. The ceiling on AMD-powered laptops is higher than that on a MacBook Air.

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The ASUS VivoBook S14 was better than the Acer Swift 5 with Intel inside. The ASUS VivoBook S14’s PCMark 10 score is about the same as the Lenovo AMD chip, but it was much faster in PCMark 10 and Geekbench’s multi-core test.

The $999 MacBook Air has a powerful Apple M1 chip that scores 1731 and 7308 in Geekbench. It is the most powerful laptop on the market now.

The Core i7-1165G7-powered ASUS VivoBook S14 starts at $849, but the comparison stays the same – while both processors have a little more oomph, AMD CPUs and the Apple M1 chip continue to outperform in multi-threaded scenarios.

Asus Vivobook S14 05 | ASUS VivoBook S14 Review: The Most Affordable Versatile Laptop Under $500

The ASUS VivoBook S14 computer has a lot of power. It might not be as much power as the other computers, but it is still good. It is also cool and silent, which makes it even better.

The SSD’s read and write speeds of 2455MB/s and 1288MB/s are not that big. It is enough to use data transfers without waiting too long.

Battery life

I wanted to make sure that these two aspects were different from other design features since they are what I use the most on my laptop.

The ASUS VivoBook S14 has a 50Wh battery. The company claims it will last up to 12 hours before needing to be charged again.

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A video loop test, which is a long video recording, tells you how long your battery will last. It can tell you how many hours and minutes it will work for. I tested the battery and found that it lasted 8 hours and 38 minutes when the screen brightness was set to 120cd/m² (nits).

This laptop has a battery life of 7 hours and 33 minutes. This is a little less than the average battery life, which is 8 hours. There is a tradeoff. If you want to use this laptop at the best performance level, then it will last for about 7 hours and 33 minutes.

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Nonetheless, these two laptops have good battery life. One laptop has a long battery life of 14:26 and the other has a shorter one with 10:43. This means that Asus needs to improve in this area.

Laptops take longer to charge than smartphones. My testing showed that the ASUS VivoBook S14 took 24% longer to charge than a smartphone. This means it might take two hours to charge.

Speakers

The stereo speakers are Harman Kardon certified, and Asus claims that they ‘provide high-quality detailed audio with superb clarity.

The speakers are good, but they don’t have bass like other laptop speakers that I’ve seen. The maximum volume should be louder for the speaker to fill up a room. If it is loud, then there will be some sound distortion.

This laptop has Bluetooth 5.0. That means you can connect to more than one speaker at the same time. There is also a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack if that’s what you like to use.

Price and value for money

The Asus VivoBook S14 was revealed at CES in January 2020, but it didn’t go on sale until April.

For the Core i5 processor, it’ll cost you US$699.99, but the one I tested (i7-10510U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD) will set you back $889.97 from Laptops Direct. If you’d like to go with Amazon’s options instead, both configurations are also available there.

For a machine that’s capable of pretty much everything, I think this is a fair price. Several of the entries on our best laptop chart are considerably more expensive, but it compares favorably to other competitors such as the HP Envy 13, Acer Swift 5, and Lenovo Yoga C740.

Despite having rather large bezels, the ASUS VivoBook S14 feels well future-proofed, and it should be able to run the most recent version of Windows 10 for many years.

It’s a great budget laptop, but for the greatest bang for your buck, I’d recommend checking out our best cheap laptop list.

ASUS VivoBook S1411 | ASUS VivoBook S14 Review: The Most Affordable Versatile Laptop Under $500

What you’ll like about the ASUS VivoBook S14

The S14’s appearance from the moment you remove the packaging is stunning. The gunmetal version I have is one of several, but there are numerous others with brighter and more entertaining colors such as green or pink. The gray, on the other hand, is very elegant. I’m a big admirer.

The chassis is made entirely of metal, and while it isn’t as tiny as a Dell XPS 13, it’s still very small for a 14-inch laptop. Its compact design is aided by the extremely narrow border bezels that surround the display.

The S14 is small and slim, yet it has lots of ports. USB-A, USB-C, microSD, and even a full-sized HDMI port are all there to use. If you need numbers on your keyboard then don’t worry – the trackpad can be used with numbers by tapping in the top right corner.

On some models, a fingerprint sensor is in a corner of the trackpad. It can be convenient.

This 14-inch screen has no touch and a 1080p resolution. There are two models available, one of which has 100% sRGB color fidelity. I do not have the superior of the two to test how accurate sRGB is, so I cannot tell you about it.

The device I’m reviewing has a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 512GB SSD, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and Wi-Fi 6. It also has Intel Optane memory on the SSD.

And it has Intel integrated UHD graphics too. Some regions offer the NVIDIA MX250 instead of the integrated graphics though.

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However, the performance is good in this price range. The CPU is like other CPUs and it’s also like AMD Ryzen 4,000 series laptops. But it’s not as good as similarly priced AMD Ryzen 4,000 series laptops. It’s a good experience overall though.

The ASUS VivoBook S14 has a long-lasting battery. The battery can last for 7-8 hours of use on a single charge. The only downside is that the laptop does not have a USB-C port so you would need to bring an extra charger with you.

But, it also has a fast-charging feature which charges the laptop up to 60% in 49 minutes.

Finally, there’s the keyboard. ASUS keyboards are typically fantastic, and the S14 is no exception.

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ASUS went out of its way to draw the enter key with a Day-Glo yellow outline, which is strange because typing on and using the keyboard is great.

What you’ll dislike about the ASUS VivoBook S14

asus vivobook s14 s433 review image10 | ASUS VivoBook S14 Review: The Most Affordable Versatile Laptop Under $500

I’ve talked about the display. One of them sounds good and the other one isn’t very good. And that’s the one I got.

The better claims to have a 100% sRGB degree, but my SpyderX colorimeter said it had 64% RGB. It was probably calibrated in a cool way because you can see it on the screen.

The display still looks good. It does not look bad to the eye. And calibration makes it better. But even at this price, you are within your rights to ask for more.

This is disappointing for someone who wants to edit pictures or videos because you cannot change the color of the screen on this laptop.

The light on the opposite wall didn’t hurt, but it was not very bright. The light is matte at least and I can read text when I sit at my kitchen table on a sunny day. I don’t work outside regularly, but it’s fine for me.

I wish that all versions of the S14 came with a better display, even if the price went up a little more to make it happen. It would be worth it.

The SSD performance is not good, either. In normal use, you will not notice any problems. The read speed from the Optane-infused SSD is very fast, to say the least. It’s not as fast as other laptops I have seen, but for something in this price range, it’s not too bad.

The read speeds are slow on this laptop. It could be because of the benchmark software or the Optane memory module. But it doesn’t matter, because if you are downloading large files, they take a lot longer than on other laptops I have lying around.

Should you buy the ASUS VivoBook S14?

Asus ZenBook VivoBook series | ASUS VivoBook S14 Review: The Most Affordable Versatile Laptop Under $500

I would recommend the ASUS VivoBook S14 if you are looking for a laptop that costs $500-$1,000. It is hard to tell exactly what kind of specifications you will get since it depends on where you live, but if you can find one with a higher-resolution display, it is worth it.

Regardless of whether you choose the Core i5 or Core i7 version, you’ll get a quad-core CPU with hyperthreading today, as well as NVIDIA graphics availability on certain models.

Price and availability

The Asus VivoBook S14 S435EA is available in most regions at this time.

This computer is popular in many countries. It has an Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 8 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of storage. The cost for this computer varies by country before any discounts.

For roughly 100 USD/EUR/GBP less, as well as configurations with more RAM/storage for a little extra, the Core i5 models are also available in some areas.

The specifications of the ASUS VivoBook S14 are a little less than those of the other models. It costs a little less, but it is still not as much as some other ZenBooks.

You can get an AMD Ryzen in one of two series: Q407 or Q433. But you should know that there are differences with those laptops–like screen quality, connectivity, and battery life. Make sure to consider all your options before buying one!

Conclusions

At a price that makes it extremely competitive in today’s market, the Asus VivoBook S14 delivers a strong all-around laptop experience.

There isn’t much actual invention here (unless you count the fluorescent enter key as innovation!). The ASUS VivoBook S14, on the other hand, is focused on regular usage.

With that in mind, the aspects that stand out on a regular basis are the most astounding. Performance is consistent across the board, with only heavy gaming or video editing indicating any need for improvement.

The keyboard has enough travel and feels tactile and responsive, while the port selection should allow you to use it without using an adapter.

The ASUS VivoBook S14 is a bit slower than competing laptops, and the screen isn’t as vivid or sharp as some others, but it has enough power to handle basic tasks.

Aside from that, there are several drawbacks, including an average display and unspectacular battery life. If you’re frequently near to the charger, however, the ASUS VivoBook S14 is an appealing alternative.

ASUS VivoBook S14
ASUS VivoBook S14 Review The Most Affordable Versatile Laptop Under 500 | ASUS VivoBook S14 Review: The Most Affordable Versatile Laptop Under $500

You can select the specification from "Ryzen 5 3500U, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD, Webcam, Backlit Keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, WiFi Bluetooth, Windows 10 Home" to "Intel Core i7-8656U CPU, 8GB RAM, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, IR camera, Windows 10 Home, S432FA-AB74" Price Range: $505.00 - $789.79

Product Brand: ASUS

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: $499

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.5

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