The Asus Vivobook S14 (Intel Core i7) is priced at Rs 69,990.
The laptop comes with a 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD, for a combination of fast storage and sheer volume.
Performance is excellent for basic productivity purposes.
For people who write a lot, make presentations, and seek on-the-go productivity, it is crucial that the device they use is comfortable enough to carry around. They would also rather not have to worry about the battery backup, and also have something that allows them to do everything on the same machine, with no extra strings (read wires) attached. Notebooks or ultrabooks are the best fit for such consumers and adding to the segment, Asus has launched its VivoBook S14 in India. The unusually named laptop costs Rs 69,990 (for the Intel Core i7 variant), and is one of the most affordable high-spec options available today. We have put it through the life of a journalist to see whether it is the ‘IT’ machine or not.
Asus VivoBook S14: What’s in the name?
The Asus VivoBook S14 has a very strange name. It is a ‘Vivo’ book, but is made by Asus, which can be particularly confusing considering Asus also makes smartphones. Before we talk about the performance of the laptop, let’s have an overview of its specifications. The 14-inch laptop features a full-HD NanoEdge Display, where the side bezels are thinner than the top and bottom bezel. This essentially gives you a widescreen-like experience, without making the display panel too fragile for daily use.
Powered by Intel Core i7-8550U CPU @1.80 GHz, the laptop includes 8GB of RAM, 1TB HDD and 256GB SSD, which gives you both the advantage of fast booting and storage as well as sheer volume. To put it simply, that’s more than what someone for on-the-go productivity can possibly require. It is a Windows 10-powered device and comes with support for Windows Hello, which is the native biometric authentication system.
Design: Hey beautiful
The laptop comes with a brushed metal finish. The unit I reviewed is grey, but there’s an option of a gold color as well. As claimed by Asus, the VivoBook S14 is actually light weight. It weighs just 1.3kg in total and is 18.8mm thin, making it easy to load and carry around the city. Being accustomed to heavyweight laptops, the VivoBookS14 was a breeze for me. Owing to its thinness and ergonomic design, I could fit it easily in most of my bags. The accompanying charger is also not too bulky and you can easily throw it even in a handbag and not feel the weight. While it is not advisable to run with a bag that’s loaded with a laptop and its related accessories, I was able to successfully run across an airport while rushing for a flight, without hurting my back. Just for that, it wins points in my book.
One of the most practical features of the laptop is its backlit keypad. The intensity of the light is adjustable, which makes it seamless to work on even in low-lit conditions and support reviews like this one which has been partially typed on-the-go at night.
Between PCs, full-size laptops, and notebooks or ultrabooks, one of the biggest arguments revolves around the number of ports to support peripherals. For an average user, the most number of peripherals that are usually required simultaneously is unlikely to exceed four or five. This is likely to include peripherals or accessories such as a mouse, an SD card, external drive, earphones or headphones, and possibly a USB-enabled design pad if your profession involves sketching.
The VivoBook S14 comes with 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, 1 SD card slot, 1 HDMI port, 1 Type-C port, 1 DCIM port, and 1 port for headphone jack (3.5mm). This makes it a wholesome package where you can attach a mouse (if you are not comfortable with the super responsive native touchpad), plug in your traditional earphones or use a Type-C headset, continue transferring data from one external card to the other drive, without having to look for an extra connector. Having said that, what the laptop lacks is a port for the LAN cable. Even as we have moved into better Wi-Fi networks, there still are certain areas where the traditional cable-based approach is the way to go. In a bid to keep the device thin, the LAN port has been intentionally given a skip.
While the laptop is visually appealing, there are a few glitches with the design, which scream “handle with care”. For one, the display panel is wobbly. You can’t tilt it too much, lest the incessant typing will cause it to shake. The second thing to notice is the keyboard panel is not too firmly glued to its base. For someone like me who has to type a lot, much more than an average non-writer user, if the keys threaten to pop out during the frenzied typing, it is a concern.
Performance: Oh, it’s fast
Here’s an admission. Like a lot of other professionals who are provided with a work laptop, I too have been provided with one. However, as is the case with a large number of those professionals, owing to the old processors, OS and general lack of quality, the work machine is not so reliable. At least, not when you have live events to cover.
The day I powered on the Asus VivoBook S14, I realized how important it is to have a functional, swift machine which boosts your productivity at work. For a user like me, whose maximum waking hours are spent navigating through a series of tabs and browsers, all while juggling between excessive typing, YouTube, live event videos thrown in between, speed is indispensable. With the given configuration, the laptop is fast, and by fast, I refer to everything that includes powering it on, using Windows Hello, the obsessive internet-related work, and virtually no-charger days (a dedicated section to follow). Despite the level of use, there were no instances of lag or heating up.
Battery: Lasts like a laptop, charges like a phone
For me, most of my usage included the filing of daily news stories, light photo editing, watching videos, and continuous streaming of music to keep the day going. The laptop survived 5 hours and slightly more with a single charge before it alerted me to plug in the charger, which isn’t fantastic but it isn’t shabby either. Usually, I would plug it during the lunch break and in slightly more than 2 hours it would charge to its maximum, leaving enough juice to continue working for the rest of the shift and leaving some for the next morning as well.
One of the reasons why I would recommend this is due to its battery backup. With a full charge, it will easily survive you a prolonged presentation or outstation assignment, like it did for me, and also ensure you don’t have to look for a charging point at least for a couple of hours. While much more expensive laptops will get you through the day and more, it’s important to remember that the Asus Vivobook S14 is a top-spec laptop for just Rs 69,990. With that in mind, I’m pleased with the battery life.
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Final words: Buy it for the performance, but handle with care
The Asus VivoBook S14 is recommended for the modern aesthetics, processor power, and the impressive battery backup. At the given price, you are getting a sleek laptop which feels more compact than it actually is. It is a performance-centric device with the specifications to show for it.
However, if you are one of the frenzied writers then you will have to be a little careful with this machine. On the whole, it is a complete package with the newest OS, current hardware and security features. Having said that, the device may appear slightly pricier to those looking at an affordable option, and most people may be shopping for Core i5 devices in the sub-Rs 50,000 range. If you are price conscious, you may consider the Intel Core i5 model of the VivoBook S14, which retails at around Rs 55,000.