comscore Asus VivoBook 14 X403 Review: An impressive mid-range Windows laptop
Review

Asus VivoBook 14 X403 Review: Impressive mid-range laptop in a crowded market

How does Asus stack up against the competition including Dell, Lenovo, HP, Microsoft, Toshiba, and more? Does Asus VivoBook 14 X403 manage to hold its own in the overwhelming thin and light laptop market? Let’s find out in my review.

Asus VivoBook 14 X403 Review (1)

Asus VivoBook 14 X403


Asus VivoBook 14 X403 4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Highlights

  • Asus VivoBook 14 X403 features 8th generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor.

  • The laptop is now available on Amazon India, Paytm Mall and offline stores.

  • Asus is only selling one variant of the VivoBook 14 X403 right now.

Taiwanese electronics giant Asus has launched its latest lineup of thin and light laptops in the Indian market. The company launched three different models as part of its updated VivoBook lineup. These include the VivoBook 14 (X403), the VivoBook 15 (X509), and the VivoBook 14 (X409). Taking a look at the pricing of all these laptops, we are left with a clear picture regarding these laptops. To be clear, the company is aiming at the budget and mid-range segments with these thin and light laptops.

Asus has also launched a number of different configurations for the three VivoBooks. Interested users can head over to Amazon India, Paytm or all the usual offline channels to buy the new VivoBook laptops. The company sent us its Asus VivoBook 14 X403 for testing. Given that Asus is known for its ROG gaming laptops and other premium laptops, these budget and mid-range lineups intrigued me.

How does Asus stack up against the competition including Dell, Lenovo, HP, Microsoft, Toshiba, and more? Does Asus VivoBook 14 X403 manage to hold its own in the overwhelming thin and light laptop market? Let’s find out in my review.

Asus VivoBook 14 X403 specifications and pricing

Before we start with the Asus VivoBook 14 X403 review, let’s talk about the hardware that users will get. First up, Asus has added a 14-inch display with 16:9 aspect ratio, FHD (1920×1080 pixels) resolution. The display also comes with ultra-thin edges with the help of NanoEdge technology. The VivoBook 14 X403 is powered by 8th generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor with 8GB RAM LPDDR3 with 2133MHz. The X403 also comes with two 512GB PCIe generation 3 chips.

Talking about graphics, the device features an integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 chip. In terms of connectivity, the laptop features 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.2. Other connectivity options include one Type-C port with USB 3.1 generation 1 protocol, one Type-A port with USB 3.1 generation 1 protocol. Asus has also added a Type-A port with USB 2.0 port with HDMI 1.4 port, DC jack, an SD card reader and an audio combo jack.

The VivoBook 14 X403 also features two built-in speakers along with SonicMaster technology and an array microphone with a webcam. The laptop is powered by a four-cell 72Wh lithium-polymer battery. Asus claims that it features a 24-hour battery life. The laptop only comes in one variant with Windows 10 Home and the company has priced this at Rs 54,990. Interested buyers can get the laptop in Silver Blue color on Amazon India, Paytm Mall, and other offline channels.

Impressive build quality and modern design

Now that we have covered the specifications and the pricing, let’s jump into the Asus VivoBook 14 X403 review. Asus has done an impressive job when it comes to the build quality of the VivoBook 14 X403. It is really well built with a sturdy “all-aluminum chassis”. The company also claims that the laptop has passed the MIL-STD-810G durability test, a military-grade reliability test.

There was no flex in the keyboard, trackpad or palm-rest area. The bottom of the laptop also did not show any signs of weakness. The only area where we would see a very small amount of flex was around the screen. However, that did not qualify as anything as remotely of concern for anyone. Beyond this, the laptop features quite a modern yet minimal design. It may not look as impressive and appealing as Microsoft Surface Laptop or Dell XPS 15 in the real world. However, it is quite clean and impressive for anyone on the budget or for business use.

Performance of the Asus VivoBook 14 X403

Daily usage

Talking about daily usage, the laptop chugged through regular day-to-day tasks such as web browsing, multimedia, and office work. The laptop did not break a sweat while going through 10-12 tabs on Microsoft Edge, multiple spreadsheets, and word files. The laptop is ideal for students, or people looking for a good multi-purpose laptop with regular tasks as their requirement. I used the laptop as my primary device for about a week. My work includes a lot of web-browsing, typing, and multi-tasking including light image editing.

I also used it as my primary multimedia consumption device for a lot of YouTube, Spotify and Netflix content. The laptop ran though it without any hiccup. This includes long extended hours of use with no stutter or lag. However, beyond the general use, VivoBook 14X403 is not the device for specific uses that require more power. These tasks include serious video editing, heavy image editing, illustration, graphics work, coding, and gaming. This is because of the Intel Core i5 CPU and the lack of dedicated GPU in the machine. If you are looking for something like this, you should head to someplace else. Just for the test, I did install games like Hitman 2, Borderlands 2, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the system. As mentioned, the results were quite painful.

Display and Audio

Now that we have talked about general usability, let’s move to the display and audio on the laptop. The VivoBook 14 X403 features a 14-inch FHD display. The laptop comes with thin 4.1mm bezels that offer 87 percent screen-to-body ratio. The FHD panel offers good vibrant colors but not the top of the line for any color accurate work. However, this should not really be a concern as the laptop is not aimed at video creators of photo editors.

I did however note one thing about the display during my review. I was not really happy with the maximum level of brightness that the display offered. Instead, I wish that it could have been about 15-20 percent brighter at its peak brightness. That change would have made the display ideal for casual use.

Talking about audio, the built-in speakers are at the bottom similar to most laptops in this range. The positioning of these speakers is less than ideal and it impacts the audio produced. It is quite easy to block the audio if the laptop is not kept on a solid, hard surface. I would recommend using a wireless, wired pair of earphones or dedicated Bluetooth speakers if they want to use it as a media consumption device.

Keyboard and Trackpad experience

Asus VivoBook 14 X403 Review (1)

Now, moving on to the keyboard, trackpad, and the battery on the laptop. The Asus VivoBook 14 X403 features a full-sized backlit keyboard that offers 1.4mm key travel. The typing experience on the laptop is good as the keys have good spacing between each other. The mentioned key travel does not require too much of actuation force. The keys are not that mushy at the end and to tend to come at an immediate haunt. Buyers should also note that the keyboard layout is not typical of what I have seen in other laptops. This means that they will have to get used to the layout with time.

Moving to the trackpad, and the VivoBook 14 offers an ideal, no-hassle experience. It comes with glass-back and Windows precision drivers. In addition, the company has also added a built-in fingerprint scanner on the edge of the trackpad. The fingerprint scanner is demarcated and slightly raised so that users can easily identify it even in low lighting conditions. One important thing to notice here is that this fingerprint scanner comes with support for Windows Hello login. This means that users can use this to directly login to their Windows device. The trackpad offers a decent surface area along with integrated buttons.

The battery on VivoBook 14 X403

The laptop comes with tall claims such as the 24-hour long backup. A 24-hour battery backup is most likely a marketing number achieved in a controlled environment under one specific loop test. The real-world number that I achieved during my daily testing was about 7 hours with 50 percent screen brightness. The number dropped to 5.5 hours under 100 percent brightness. These numbers are good for people looking at a decent, all-around performing machine. However, the device does come with a really slow charger.

During testing, the laptop took about three hours to charge from 0 to 100. Improving the charging speed will be a massive change for VivoBook 14. In fact, this change will likely make the laptop a much better over-all product. Though, despite the slow charger, I should commend Asus for including probably one of the most compact chargers out there.

Verdict: Should you buy the Asus VivoBook 14 X403?

To conclude, Asus VivoBook 14 X403 is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a compact laptop out there. It even comes with an aggressive price tag. The laptop works well for anyone looking at a no-excuse performance for regular day-to-day tasks. If you want anything serious with heavy tasks, you should look at the ROG series from Asus. Beyond this, the laptop stacks well with a number of devices from Dell, and Lenovo in the same range.

  • Published Date: September 9, 2019 9:36 AM IST