Forget black and white, here’s a laptop flaunting funky colourways you’ve never seen before. Mind you, it’s also packed with the latest tech and doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
You might be familiar with Asus’ earlier VivoBooks - S14 and S15, but we’re sure you’ve never seen something like this one, at least colour wise. Asus pimped its previous VivoBook with slight exterior and interior modifications to please millennials looking to stand out from the regular crowd. With its propriety ErgoLift hinge, thin bezels, quirky coloured textures and dual storage system, Asus’ VivoBook paves the path to end 2018 with a bang. Well, hopefully.
The question is - is this worth your money? Let’s find out.
Design and build: Pick your favourite colour
Once you’ve torn apart the box in excitement, you’ll notice its matte metallic finish lid that looks neat and simple. Take it out and you will compliment its 1.4kg body weight which isn’t that light compared to the ZenBook 14, but is easy to carry from one room to another with just one hand. You’ll also appreciate the sleekness (18mm) so it’s convenient to slip into your backpack or laptop bag. Asus does not give a case or sleeve with it, so you’ll have to order one in case you bump into sharp corners or edges which tends to happen while commuting. Luckily, this one’s a strong bugger and we didn’t have to call up anyone to complain about it being broken. Phew.
Asus added its famous ErgoLift hinge to the VivoBook S14 and S15 that lifts the laptop by 3.5° and helps in better cooling, louder audio and easier typing. If you’re bored of the regular black and white, both the VivoBooks come in a variety of colours to choose from. We received the Firmament Green colour with a textured woven finish around the keyboard that has a good feel to it when your palms are stuck to it all day. Apart from that, there’s Star Grey, Silver Blue, Gun Metal and Icicle Gold colour options to pick from too. Choose your favourite colour to suit your personality. Just like your ice cream.
There’s also no need to invest in a dongle. There are three USB Type A’s, one Type C 3.1, an HDMI port, headphone jack and a MicroSD card slot. Convenient right?
Keyboard and Trackpad: Gotta type 'em all
Asus planted its typical layout on the VivoBook 14’s keyboard, except, there’s no fancy LED NumberPad like on its high-end ZenBook. Thanks to its ErgoLift, the keyboard has a smooth incline and boosts the typing experience very naturally. Although, there’s a bit of flex in the keyboard but nothing that would hinder your typing experience. The key travel (1.4mm) is not too punchy and not too dull, just in between. The matte finish keys are well spaced out and quite chunky that help deliver accuracy when you're firing words for a mid-semester project on Microsoft Word. And if you’re up all night, turn on its backlit keyboard instead of depending on the screen’s light.
The glass coated trackpad has a silver ring around that adds to to the premium look. It’s roomy, smooth and very responsive if you have to hover from one point to another. We’d not use it for gaming though. Asus also made sure to add four-fingered multi gesture support with making it easy to switch applications and screens.
What’s that square ‘thing’ in at the top right corner? Welcome to using Windows Hello. Just set up your fingerprint and tap once to gain access to your machine in a giffy. It’s not as fast as your smartphone scanner, but it’s super close.
Display: Pretty pixels
Some of y’all must've guessed this right - the VivoBook S14 is a 14 incher and it's also got a bigger brother - the S15 (15.6in). It’s got a very pretty LED Full HD (1920 x 1080) matte finish display and it shrunk the bezels a little for more screen.
The screen can get quite bright while indoors, but you might need to turn up the brightness if your desk’s situated right where the sun shines. Watch out for battery levels though. Colours are full of life and quite vibrant. Watching TV shows like Haunting of Hill House seemed spooky and immersive but the occurrence of noise in dark scenes wasn’t too easy to spot. Apart from that, editing images on Photoshop or creating PowerPoint presentations is decent enough.
Eyes starting to strain? Hold on. Switch to Asus’ Eye Care mode which dims the screen nice and yellow so it’s easier to keep binging on your TV show or continue stalking neighbours on Facebook without going blind.
Small tip - since the lid’s a bit thin, do not try flexing it. Just saying.
Performance: What a charmer
For ₹54,990, Asus is hooking you up with Intel’s 8th gen processor (i3, i5 or i7), Intel's UHD Graphics 620 (Nvidia GeForce MX150 for the i7 variant), up to 12GB DDR4 RAM(4GB+8GB SODIMM), dual storage (256GB SATA3 SSD + 1TB HDD) and Windows 10 Home. Quite a package for that price, eh?
Photoshop, InDesign, Adobe Acrobat Reader and basic video editing ran smooth and didn’t stutter or demand more power. Using Google Chrome with multiple tabs open wasn’t a problem and web pages opened quickly too. If it didn’t, go annoy your Wi-Fi guy.
Would you still be able to play games even though it isn't a gaming machine? Hell yes. Intel’s UHD 620 graphics is sufficient for FPS games like Fifa, CS or Rocket League. But you might have to play on low graphics. What about games like Age of Empires or Road Rash? Go ahead, there’s nothing stopping you.
Battery and Sound: A little boost
The VivoBook has a 42 Whrs 3-cell Lithium-prismatic battery which claims to serve up to 7hrs of usage. However, we got an average of 6hrs on low power saving mode and an average of 4hrs on ‘Better Performance’ mode. That’s sweet for students or young businessmen who aren’t always on the move and happen to be near a power socket the entire day. Need some instant juice before a presentation? It’s got the ability to fast charge giving up to 60% in 49 minutes. Phew.
The ‘2x high-quality stereo speakers’ with ASUS SonicMaster technology and surround effects that Asus claims, do sound fine, but they're very soft. Forget blasting music in the office. Even if you’re sitting in a silent room with the fan or AC switched on, you’ll have to draw yourself closer to listen to what’s playing. But hey, there’s a headphone jack and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity.
Asus VivoBook S14 S430 Verdict
Has Asus finally crafted its best VivoBook yet? Maybe. It’s definitely an upgrade from its predecessor (UA410) with its amazing screen, portability perks, dual storage system, decent battery, the unique ErgoLift hinge and plenty of colours to choose from too. Looking for more power? Spend a little more and treat yourself to Intel's i7 variant and Nvidia's GeForce MX150 graphics card.
But, is it capable enough to compete with Lenovo’s 330S, HP’s Pavilion 360 and other student-oriented laptops around the ₹60k range? Yes sir.
The Asus VivoBook is a great student machine, ticking all the boxes you’d expect from a laptop at its price. But there’s nothing noteworthy or innovative compared to others in the market. Nevertheless, it’s a great machine if you’re wanting power, speed and pretty looks combined. After all, it’s a matter of preference, right? So, we leave the decision to you.