It’s finally out! The ASUS VivoBook S14 (S433) is officially here in the Philippines and it’s priced at only Php 59,995. I’ve already unboxed this weeks ago and have shared my first impressions, but some of those have changed over time after prolonged use of the laptop. Here’s a rundown of what I found:
DESIGN AND BUILD
Let’s start with the VivoBook S14’s eye-catching Resolute Red color – the thin and light chassis gives off a sleek and youthful vibe, which definitely fits a young user’s aesthetics. It comes in three other colors – Gaia Green, Dreamy White, and Indie Black. Albeit having a 14-inch screen, this laptop only weighs 1.4kg, which is already lighter than an average laptop of the same size. It’s compact and thin enough to be carried around in a backpack, laptop bag, or even a tote bag without your shoulders hurting.
Each box comes with artsy stickers that can make the laptop more appealing to young users, who prefer personalizing their things with random stickers. ASUS already provided a 5-piece starter pack for that along with a sheet of smaller stickers for the webcam and even the Enter Key – if you prefer going that far.
At the sides, you’ll find a surprising number of ports, considering how thin it is. There are two USB 3.1 ports (Type A and Type C), two USB 2.0, one HDMI port, a microSD card reader, and an audio jack combo. I mentioned in my unboxing video that it already has all the ports we need, but I failed to mention one thing – it doesn’t have one for a full-size SD card, which I use for my camera (and I believe this is the standard size for most cameras).
Underneath, there’s not a lot to see: You’ll find two speakers certified by Harman Kardon on the left and right side and a small opening for ventilation. The exhaust is hidden on the upper part of the laptop in between the screen and keyboard.
In case you’re used to opening laptops with one hand like me, that method won’t work on the VivoBook S14 due to its weight. You’ll have to hold down the bottom part of the laptop to fully tilt the screen. Inside, you’ll find a silver keyboard which somehow shimmers under bright lights. It also has a yellow color-blocking Enter key which is hard to miss due to its standout hue.
The trackpad’s size is good enough for its size and it comes with a fingerprint sensor, which makes it easier to unlock your laptop.
SCREEN AND DISPLAY
The ASUS VivoBook S14 takes pride in its frameless four-sided NanoEdge display and a 178° wide-viewing technology. The screen looks matte and it’s easy to clean. It’s great for indoor use (e.g. for work, binge-watching your favorite series at night, editing photos) and the screen is decent enough for its price but it honestly looks better under lowlights.
Those who have been using laptops with thick bezels will surely appreciate how the VivoBook S14 maximized its screen space. The logo at the bottom area is small but I think they can still do away with it for future models. The “HD camera” is situated at the top center of the screen, which is honestly the best place to put a camera. However, it’s not as HD as it promises to be. You’ll appear grainy in online meetings even under bright indoor lights.
Since it’s certified by Harman Kardon, expect a decent audio quality from the VivoBook S14. It doesn’t give off a buzzing sound nor does it make the keyboard vibrate when at max volume. Even though the speakers are situated below, it doesn’t sound muffled but there’s still a huge difference if you lift the laptop. Overall, you can still enjoy majority of the music genres that you listen to.
The variant that I got is powered by an Intel Core i7-1065G7 but there’s also an i5 variant. This one has an 8GB 3200MHz DDR4 memory with 512 GB SSD for storage, however, a major downside is that this laptop isn’t upgradeable so you’ll have to rely on storing your files on an external hard drive or keep them online. With its NVIDIA® GeForce® MX350 graphics card, you’ll be able to edit photos and videos, as well as play light games. However, since it’s not a gaming laptop, expect that it would budge when you need to work on really heavy files.
I was able to use the VivoBook S14 smoothly for my work-related tasks which involve a lot of browser tabs on multiple browsers. Photoshop images and GIFs are easy to create, but it can be quite challenging to edit long-form videos on Premiere. Downloading Steam also isn’t an issue so you can play select games (preferably casual and light games) on your laptop. Note, however, that it’s best not to keep other programs running in the background if you want a smooth gameplay.
It comes with an Office Suite so it’s easy to work on your job deliverables or online school work right off the bat. For me, it’s a nice option for people who need an easy-to-carry laptop for these purposes.
With a 50Wh 3-cell lithium polymer battery, the VivoBook S14 can keep up with your 9-6 job or class schedule before getting drained. This, considering that tasks are limited to heavy browsing, editing documents, playing music, and watching videos. What’s impressive about it’s battery is that it has fast charging, which enables you to reach around 60% within just 49 minutes of charging. The charger is still quite big for me, though. I’d still prefer a one-piece charger that doesn’t need an adapter for the socket since majority of the outlets in the Philippines can only be used for two flat parallel pins. It would be better if it used a Type-C one.
It’s also worth noting that even though the VivoBook S14 comes with a Type C port, it cannot be used to charge the laptop. What you can do, however, is charge your mobile phone or transfer files through that port.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Overall, the specs of the ASUS VivoBook S14 (S433) with Intel Core i7-1065G7 is decent enough for its price of Php 59,995. The Intel Core i5-1035G1 variant, on the other hand, is being sold for Php 49,995. Both units are now available in select ASUS Concept Stores nationwide. Every purchase also comes with a free ASUS Nereus bag!
– Can’t be upgraded
– Charger could’ve been a Type-C (with smaller charger)
– HD camera isn’t super clear
+ Youthful, eye-catching color
+ Good audio and battery
+ Quiet, doesn’t produce a throttling sound when cooling
+ Lots of ports but thin enough for travel