• Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-7100U
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Memory: 4GB DDR4
  • Storage: 128GB SSD
  • Input/Output: 1x Micro HDMI, 1x micro SD reader, 1x audio/mic combo jack, 1x USB 3.0 Type A, 1x USB 3.0 Type C, 1x USB 2.0
  • Dimensions: 328 x 226.5 x 14.8 mm
  • Weight: 1.2kg
  • Pros:
  • Affordable
  • Light
  • Cons:
  • Slight muffled speakers

Cost Effective Portability

With the coming of mobile Intel Coffee Lake CPUs, we’re seeing a refreshed lineup of notebooks. Offering greater performance than before, ASUS’s new VivoBook S14 (S406U) is targeted at people who are looking for an affordable ultrabook.

Let’s take a look at the device itself first, which comes in a metallic body with a subdued colour that’s close to beige. The body is thin at just 14.8mm in thickness and comes at a rather light 1.2kg in weight. In addition, its build quality is not compromised as it feels mostly solid, though there’s a slight flex to the bottom of the body.

Being an ultrabook, the Vivo S14 is a thin device, which means it lacks the range of ports that larger notebooks would have like an Ethernet port. Nevertheless, ASUS managed to give the device a good number of ports to ensure that the majority of users would not feel inconvenience. This includes a a micro HDMI port for video output and three USB ports – consisting of a USB 3.0 Type-C, USB 3.0 Type-A and a regular USB 2.0 port. Rather than the typical SD card reader, it comes with a smaller micro SD reader instead, as well as a 3.5mm jack for headsets.

Having what ASUS calls a Nanoedge display, the VivoBook S14’s screen stretches from almost end to end. This essentially enables the device to house a relatively (for its size) large 14-inch display here. It’s also a matte display, so you don’t get that reflective glare and it’s not as easily smudged. While this affects the brightness level somewhat, its max brightness is still high and it has good viewing angles thanks to being an IPS panel. This combination makes it great for portable use, as a screen with glare can be hard to see outdoors. The colour reproduction is only average, but more than enough for most users.

At 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM, one might wonder if the VivoBook S14 can perform well. Fortunately, it never feels annoyingly sluggish to use due to its SSD. Its CPU is capable of handling typical multitasking scenarios like word processing with internet browsers on, while the built-in GPU is sufficient for basic video entertainment like movies or online streaming. Typing on it is comfortable too, as the keyboard has great key travel. In addition, the fingerprint on the corner of the trackpad works well, allowing us to quickly sign in.

CHIP CONCLUDE: A laptop that’s highly portable and works well for most use cases, definitely worth considering if you need an affordable ultrabook.

(previously published in issue June 2018)