Are you looking for a laptop that’s durable enough for everyday work? This ASUS VivoBook S14 review will really help your search.
Itechguides' Take on ASUS VivoBook S14
The ASUS VivoBook S14 delivers a solid all-around laptop experience at a competitive price. Except for video editing and heavy gaming, its graphics performance is impressive. It also has a solid case and good battery life. However, the audio output can barely fill a small room.
- Relatively affordable price
- Strong case
- Metal build
- Good battery life
- No facial recognition sensor
- Poor audio quality
- Terrible keyboard backlight
I will review the laptop’s performance in the various essential aspects. To achieve this aim, I will offer a detailed review of its design, CPU, RAM, storage, graphics card, and battery life.
You will also get to learn about how the laptop performed against others in its category. After reading this review, you will be certain of your purchasing decision.
My Initial Thought
ASUS – a Taiwanese company – is one the most recognized brands across the globe, having above 5.5% of global laptop sales in only 2019. Therefore, if you’re looking out for a Windows laptop, there is a degree of possibility that you’ll be considering one from ASUS.
If that is the case, you might want to consider the ASUS VivoBook S14. With its Vivobook line, ASUS tries to push the limitations on what is achievable in a small form factor.
- MSI Modern 14 Review: One of the Best Releases in 2021!
- Lenovo P51s Review: A Versatile Workstation Laptop
In addition, ASUS also classified the VivoBook lineup for everyday use to make sure it stays relatively affordable.
As such, the 14-inch 2020 update of the Vivobook has few of the features of more expensive devices for a $684.99 starting price. If you are wondering what those features on the ASUS VivoBook S14 are, you need to read on to find out.
ASUS VivoBook S14 Design, Dimension, and Weight Review
The first impression of this VivoBook is hugely positive. It is a sleek, modern laptop that keeps up very much with the 2020 laptop design standards.
Also, the ASUS VivoBook S14 presents itself as a slim lifestyle laptop. For the body, ASUS uses metal as the build material.
This metal body makes the laptop look very solid. Also, the all-metal chassis offers the device a premium look and feel.
ASUS also gives buyers the luxury of choosing between different colors. ASUS named these colors Resolute Red, Gaia Green, Dreamy White, and Indie Black.
Now let us begin talking about this laptop’s design features starting with the lid.
The laptop’s lid has an ASUS VivoBook branding at the right corner. Oddly, ASUS also includes a dozen of random stickers with the laptop.
Hence, you might decide to paste the stickers all over the laptop’s chassis in order to create a special look.
Now, let us proceed to open the lid which is quite difficult to do with one hand. However, when you eventually open the lid, you will be exposed to a 14-inch display surrounded by fairly slim bezels.
On the top bezel, there’s is a front-facing HD camera that doesn’t support Windows Hello for facial recognition. The camera is also not suitable for taking good pictures as it delivers blurry photographs.
Moving on, to support the lid and hold it firmly to the base, ASUS used an “ErgoLift hinge”. An Ergolift hinge slightly lifts the base when you open the laptop to create a more comfortable typing position.
In addition to improving your typing experience, the Ergolift hinge also improves airflow into the laptop.
Proceeding to the screen resolution, as a mid-range laptop, you should not expect anything outstanding from this laptop.
In that regard, the display has a 1080p resolution whose quality is not remarkable but is adequate.
The display is convenient for everyday work, media viewing, and web browsing. In real-world use, images look great, TV shows pop, web pages, and casual games look vibrant and punchy.
Another feature of the VivoBook S14’s display is its IPS (In-plane switching) technology which gives it wide viewing angles. This implies that you will get a clear view of the display even when you view it from acute angles.
Let’s also talk about the display’s peak brightness of 400 nits. This display brightness makes it good enough for outdoor use hence, the display will still be legible even in direct sunlight.
Proceeding to the laptop deck, despite the laptop’s fairly small size, the VivoBook S14 has a relatively spacious keyboard.
Furthermore, the key travel is also good which makes the keyboard comfortable to type on. By key travel, I am referring to the distance between a key’s rest position to its fully pressed position.
Unfortunately, one downside with the ASUS VivoBook S14’s keyboard is that its backlighting feature is a little weak. Also, the light leaks from underneath some of the buttons.
As a result of this poor backlighting, you almost cannot identify the keys in dark environments. So, you’ll often struggle to see the buttons you’re pressing.
Another problem is the awkward placement of the power button next to the delete key. First-time users will find the power button’s position annoying and will have to train their fingers to always hit it right.
Thankfully, the VivoBook S14’s trackpad has a wide, smooth, and accurate surface. However, its two in-built buttons feel a little hollow when you click on them.
More on the trackpad, there’s a small fingerprint scanner located by its top right-hand corner. With the fingerprint scanner, you can quickly get back into Windows 10 with a swipe of your finger.
Moving on, you will find the speakers of this laptop at the bottom of the chassis. Unfortunately, the speakers are very weak and can’t really fill a room with enough audio output.
Therefore, if you’re thinking of watching a movie, it will be best to use headphones or connect a Bluetooth speaker.
Now, from a connectivity point of view, the VivoBook S14 does not have much to offer. On the left, there’s a power supply port, HDMI, and one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port.
Additionally, there is one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, and a 3.5 mm headset connection.
On the right side, you have a microSD card reader and two USB 2.0 ports. Impressively, you will also find a Thunderbolt 4 port on this laptop which will enable you to connect to a lot of other devices.
Next up, the weight and dimension of the ASUS VivoBook S14 are quite impressive. It has a weight of 1400 g and a dimension of 324 x 213 x 15.9 mm (W x D x H).
Hence, this laptop is one of the most portable 14-inch laptops you will come across.
As a matter of fact, the ASUS VivoBook S14 is compact enough to slip into a laptop bag or backpack and take on the go. However, in comparison with the 15-inch HP Spectre x360, the VivoBook S14 weighs more, it is also bigger but slimmer.
Specifically, the HP Spectre x360 weighs 1270 g and has a dimension of 306.8 x 194.5 x 17 mm (W x D x H).
All things considered, the ASUS VivoBook S14 is designed as a sleek laptop. Hence, I rate it seven in this design review section.
ASUS VivoBook S14 Processor (CPU) Performance Review
When it comes to processors, ASUS offers two quad-core processor options for the VivoBook S14. The ASUS VivoBook S14 comes shipped with either an Intel Core i5-1135G7 or an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor.
The Intel Core i5-1135G7 has a 2.40 GHz base frequency, 4.20 GHz boost frequency, and 8MB cache memory. Meanwhile, the Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor has a 2.80 GHz base frequency, 4.70 GHz boost frequency, and 12MB cache memory.
The model reviewed in this article is the Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor model. As an eleventh-generation processor, this processor can handle both basic and complex computing tasks.
However, a Cinebench R15 benchmark test will help us to determine the capability of the laptop better. This is because the Cinebench R15 is a good evaluator of a computer’s CPU ability by tasking its cores.
Hence, Cinebench records single-core and multi-core results. For the single-core, the test checks the performance of only one of the processor cores.
Meanwhile, for the multi-core result, all the processor cores are put to work. However, it is important to note that in the Cinebench test, a higher score means a better delivery in performance.
Therefore, according to the test result, the ASUS VivoBook S14 scored 904 points. However, it didn’t quite meet up with the Acer Aspire 5’s 1,121 points in the same test.
Nevertheless, the ASUS VivoBook S14 holds out averagely well for everyday use. Therefore, I rate the ASUS VivoBook S14 eight in this section of the review.
ASUS VivoBook S14 Memory (RAM) Performance Review
The ASUS VivoBook S14 features DDR4 memory on a single slot. Sadly, the RAM is soldered to the motherboard which means that it is not user upgradable.
However, you can purchase this laptop with either an 8 GB or 16 GB RAM preinstalled. From the price point of view, you should bear in mind that the 16 GB model will be more expensive than the 8 GB model.
The more expensive price is a result of the better productivity that the 16 GB option will provide over the 8 GB option. Therefore, if you have a few more dollars to spend, you should settle for the 16 GB RAM model.
Meanwhile, this review aims at considering the performance of the VivoBook S14 shipped with 16 GB RAM.
Firstly, with this RAM size, you can conveniently open up to 25 Chrome tabs and stream a video on YouTube as well. Not only that but you can also switch between these tabs conveniently and still have a smooth workflow without lag.
We have talked about the multitasking ability of the 16 GB RAM model of this laptop. Now let’s also discuss its performance in a PCMark 10 benchmark test.
First of all, a PCMark 10 is a benchmark that calculates the memory performance of a computer. It accomplishes this by simulating day-to-day productivity tasks such as web surfing, writing, checking emails, and so on.
Similar to the other benchmark tests discussed in this review, a higher score means better performance in the PC Mark 10 test.
Hence, from the PCMark 10 test results, the VivoBook S14 had 3,933 points. In comparison, the Lenovo Yoga C640 which also uses 16 GB RAM offered better performance with its 4,608 points.
However, both laptops are below the category average of 5,099 points. Nevertheless, I think the ASUS VivoBook S14 deserves an eight in this memory review section.
ASUS VivoBook S14 Storage Options and Performance Review
Like its processor and RAM, ASUS also made the VivoBook available with two storage options. The first storage option comes with an M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD storage with a maximum capacity of 1 TB.
Meanwhile, the second storage option also comes with an M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD together with a 32 GB Intel Optane memory. An Optane memory helps to improve the performance of a storage drive by caching frequently used processes.
Since both storage options available on this laptop are NVMe SSDs, we expect a respectable storage speed from them. However, the second option with the Optane memory will be faster.
In addition to the sufficient storage capacity that this laptop offers, there is also a Micro SD reader for storage expansion. Hence, you should never have to worry about insufficient storage space.
In this review, we will look at the performance of this laptop with a 1 TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD storage. To do this, let us consider the Crystaldiskmark benchmark test results.
First off, a CrystalDiskMark test estimates the reads and write speeds of a laptop’s storage drive. Read and write speeds refer to how fast a computer’s storage drive opens and saves data.
You should be aware that a higher read and write speed denotes a better performance in this benchmark test.
Hence, in the CrystalDiskMark test, the VivoBook S14 had a sequential read speed of 1223 MBps. It also had a sequential write speed of 753 MBps.
When compared to the Lenovo Yoga C640, the VivoBook S14 had a faster read speed, but a slower write speed. Specifically, the Yoga C640 had a sequential read speed and write speed of 1119 and 807 MBps respectively.
The implication of this comparison is that the VivoBook S14 will open saved files faster than the Yoga C640. However, the Yoga C640 will probably save files faster than VivoBook S14.
In conclusion, the ASUS VivoBook S14 offers large storage capacities with good storage speed. Hence, I will rate it eight in this review.
ASUS VivoBook S14 Graphics Card Performance Review
Once again, there are two graphics cards options available on the ASUS VivoBook S14.
The first option is an integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics with a 300 MHz base frequency and 1300 MHz boost frequency. As an integrated GPU, this option has no dedicated VRAM which makes it unsuitable for high-end gaming or graphics-intensive tasks.
Meanwhile, the second graphics option is a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX350. This GPU has a 1354 MHz base frequency, 1468 MHz boost frequency, and a 2 GB GDDR5 dedicated VRAM.
For this review, we will evaluate the performance of the VivoBook S14 with NVIDIA GeForce MX350 GPU. This GPU gives the ASUS VivoBook S14 sufficient power to handle casual gaming activities and handling other graphics tasks.
Hence, you can play old game titles on the ASUS VivoBook S14 easily if you use medium graphics settings. Not only that, but you can play modern game titles at the lowest graphics settings as well.
For example, on low settings, the ASUS Vivobook S14 can play games like Dota 2 Reborn at 113 MBps, GTA V at 109 MBps, and Witcher at 59 MBps. To add to that, at the lowest graphics settings, it can run some latest games like Final Fantasy XV at 33 MBps and the X-Plane 11.11 at 49 MBps.
Telling you about the gaming performance of this laptop is all well and good. However, to help me guide you with facts about its potential graphics capabilities, I need to look at a benchmark test.
Using th 3DMark benchmark test, let’s consider the graphics ability of the Vivobook S14. First of all, the 3DMark is a benchmark test that assesses the graphics rendering capacity of a computer in 2D and 3D.
Hence, from the 3DMark test, the Vivobook S14 scored 4,785 points. It outdid the HP Pavilion 14 which scored 4,614 points in the same benchmark test.
For a better perspective, the HP Pavilion 14 has the same GPU as ASUS Vivobook S14. To further clarify, both HP Pavilion 14 and the Vivobook S14 use NVIDIA GeForce MX350 GPU.
In conclusion, this laptop is suitable for casual gaming even though it cannot play many modern games at maximum graphics settings. Therefore, I score Vivobook S14 seven in this review.
ASUS VivoBook S14 Battery Life and Performance Review
Where the ASUS Vivobook S14 really impresses is its battery. ASUS equipped the Vivobook S14 with a 3-Cell 50 Wh Li-ion battery.
This battery sustains the laptop for a sufficient amount of time. With 150 nits of brightness, the laptop lasted for 10 hours in a web surfing test.
With the same level of brightness and 50% volume, the laptop lasted for 8 hours in a video playback test. Comparatively, it lasted two hours longer than the HP Pavilion 14 in both tests.
When it comes to charging, it takes the Vivobook S14 less than 2 hours to get completely charged. However, when it eventually does, you will get a respectable level of usage before needing to recharge.
Therefore, this brings me to rate the Vivobook S14 a nine in this battery review section.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the ASUS VivoBook S14 can handle some light gaming. It is equipped with two graphics option that allows light gaming.
However, if high-end gaming is what you are looking for, you won’t get it with the ASUS VivoBook S14.
Yes, the ASUS VivoBook S14 supports Bluetooth versions 4.1 and 5.0.
Yes, the keyboard of the Vivobook S14 has a backlit feature but the backlit is poor and will leave you searching for keys in dark environments. This is one area where ASUS seemed to have cut costs.
This laptop features a 720p resolution webcam. The webcam is adequate for video chats, but you have to be in a reasonably well-lit room to get decent pictures.
The ASUS VivoBook S14 was launched in 2020.
My Final Thoughts
The ASUS VivoBook S14 proves itself to be a very versatile laptop even in benchmark tests. It offers more than enough power for office applications.
Also, its Nvidia GeForce MX350 GPU offers enough performance and is adequate for casual gamers. In combination with the solid battery life and the small size, this 14-inch laptop is a good mobile companion.
However, its poor backlit keyboard and audio quality are worthy criticisms. Nevertheless, these downsides can be excused for the laptop’s affordable price.
Finally, the ASUS VivoBook S14 S433FL is an average all-rounder that offers good performance in most situations.
I hope you found this ASUS VivoBook S14 review helpful. If you found the review helpful, click Yes to “Was this post Helpful?” below.
You could also review this product with the “Leave a Reply” form found at the end of this page.