Asus’ Vivobooks have impressed us with their great ergonomics and value over the past year. Now, here’s the Intel Evo-certified ‘S’ model which promises more high-value performance and usability for SOHO users and creators. Will it be your next notebook? Our Asus Vivobook S 14 review will spill the beans.
Table of Contents
|14.5-inch, matte, 60Hz, 300-nit, 1,920 x 1,200, IPS display
|3.5-4.7GHz Intel i7-12700H CPU
|32GB DDR4-3200 RAM
|1.4GHz Intel Xe
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x USB-A 2.0
2 x Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio jack
|Webcam privacy slide
Fingerprint with Windows Hello
|398 x 262 x 27mm
Features, Ergonomics and Design
The Asus Vivobook S 14 looks stylish with its ‘Neutral Grey’ metal chassis, embossed logo (and name plate) along with its contrasting black keyboard and screen bezel. It’s sleek for the consumer market but will fit into a corporate office too (we expect the ‘Brave (light metallic) Green’ and the ‘Indie Black’ versions will as well). The chevron-decorated Enter key and bright-orange Escape key are nice, unusual flourishes which look neither cheap, nor ostentatious enough to bother the C-Suite.
The screen has a Full-HD-plus, 1,920 x 1,200 resolution and shows a crisp and clear Windows Desktop. However, it’s not the brightest display we’ve seen and colours are somewhat muted. It’s by no means bad, it’s just that we’ve become used to seeing Vivobooks with stunning OLED screens melting our eyeballs in recent times.
These facets extend into multimedia performance. Colours aren’t particularly vibrant and there’s light banding in colourful transitions. Monochromatic gradients can get a bit noisy but they’re actually well above average. Contrast is generally good with plenty of details remaining visible in dark areas. However, true blacks are washed out more than many rivals and details can get lost in highlights.
The display also has a 60Hz refresh rate and this combines with a tardy pixel response time to leave fast-moving objects looking rather blurry. Gamers might grumble but this isn’t a gaming laptop. Casual users will have few issues with the display, though.
Above the screen is an HD camera which does a decent job of staving-off grain in low light. The microphone array also does well at removing background noise, making it good for web-conferencing.
The Scrabble-tile keyboard is very well weighted, comfortable and accurate to type upon for extended periods. It has white backlighting which has three dimable levels plus, plenty of Fn key shortcuts. The arrow keys are annoyingly squished but, at least they’re isolated on their own at the bottom right which keeps them intuitively accessed and easy to reach. The large trackpad is smooth, accurate and the buttons are well-weighted.
The Asus Vivobook S’ speakers are above average. There’s reasonable fidelity from the top to bottom and even a modicum of bass. They’re not the loudest, but they’re good for most multtimedia functions.
All in all the Asus Vivobook S is a good laptop to interact with.
Inside the Asus Vivobook S 14 is a 3.5 – 4.7GHz Intel i7-12700H processor with six Performance cores and eight Efficiency cores. It’s flanked by an unusual 12GB of last-gen, DDR4-3200 RAM, whereby 8GB is soldered onto the motherboard and an extra 4GB is added via a SODIMM memory slot. There’s also a speedy 512GB NVMe PCIe 4.0 drive.
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These all combined to score a respectable 6,015 in the general-computing PCMark 10 test and illustrates it can fly through most general computing and office tasks.
In the processor-based rendering tests, Cinebench R15 and R23, the Asus Vivobook S 14 scored 2,417 in the quick-fire former and 12,314 in the longer-latter tests. These aren’t the fastest scores on the market, but they’re impressive for a relatively thin-and-light ultraportable. The mean you can do rendering with the S 14 but you’ll need to wait a bit longer than with larger, beefier laptops.
The Asus Vivobook S 14’s 3D performance comes from the integrated Intel Xe graphics which run at 1.4GHz. It wouldn’t run the difficult, 3Dmark ray-tracing tests, Port Royal and Time Spy but, it did run the AAA-game-mimicking Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme benchmarks. In these, the Vivobook scored 1,460 and 1,495 respectively – an average of just 7fps. Consequently, you’ll need to dial all settings right down to have a chance of playing some of the latest and greatest games.
The Asus Vivobook S 14 did manage much better in the 3DMark Night Raid test (which apes casual and competitive games) where it scored 13,172: that’s a playable average of 68fps.
We also ran our difficult CS:GO benchmark which stresses the whole system. Here it averaged 35fps which seems just about playable, but it dropped to only 8fps when smoke grenades went off and things got hectic.
Asus makes a big deal about the Asus Vivobook S 14’s cooling system saying, “To keep it cool in all situations, the ASUS IceCool thermal technology in Vivobook S 14 uses upgraded 8 mm and 6 mm heat pipes2, and an IceBlade fan that efficiently accelerates heat transfer. The 97-blade fan and impeller are made of a liquid-crystal polymer that means they’re lighter and thinner than ordinary fans. In addition, the fan uses a fluid-dynamics bearing that’s quieter and has less vibration than an ordinary bearing. The end result is that the mighty CPU can run comfortably at a blistering 45 watts total TDP in Performance mode — with no throttling!”
In reality we found the fan made a low whoosh under low loading and a much stronger whoosh when under higher load. It was constant and unobtrusive, although it couldn’t stop the centre of the Vivobook’s base getting uncomfortably warm when working hard. It’s not a deal killer though… it’s silent under general usage.
Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5. It might be a little lopsided when it comes to connectivity, but this Vivobook sports the most important ports. A microSD card reader would have been nice, perhaps?
At 1.65KG, the Asus Vivobook S 14 doesn’t weigh too much and the power supply and cables only add an extra 400g. It’s solidly built with a good hinge (which lies down flat) and the strong lid doesn’t flex much when a twisting force is applied. We expect it to happily survive life on the road.
Inside there’s a 70Wh battery which ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office test for an excellent 15 hours 39 minutes which is almost two full days out of the office. Very impressive.
Price and availability
Our version of the Asus Vivobook S 14 has an RRP of $1,799 although, at the time of going to press, it was on sale for just $1,199 – the price seems to plummet every couple of weeks! If you can find it at the lower price, it’s the best value laptop on the market. Note that there are many other SKUs available, most with OLED screens and faster components… but the price gets higher quickly.
Alternatives to the Asus Vivobook S 14
The HP’s RRP is cheaper and it can transform into a convertible with its touchscreen. It’s a worthy alternative but price will be a defining factor for many.
Dell’s Inspiron range is a rival to Asus’ Vivobook range. Each variant can offer more or less than its counterpart in our experience, so it’s always worth checking out both.
MSI’s Prestige is a flashy, 14-inch laptop that’s available in many funky colours. It’s got more-powerful components, but there’s no touchscreen and it’s more expensive.
This Dell is slightly smaller and more expensive, but its packed full of impressive technology and worthy of consideration.
It’s two inches bigger but packs in more power, features and quality. Why mention it? Because it’s currently on sale with a huge discount.
It’s a better in most ways, but it usually costs more. Worth buying if you can find it at a good price.
Conclusion: Is the Asus Vivobook S 14 worth it?
The Asus Vivobook S 14 is a very good general-purpose laptop. It might not stand-out in one area but it has few weak points and offers a well-rounded combination of ergonomics, features and performance for an excellent price. It’s main issue will be getting chosen in a slightly crowded laptop market sector where rivals are particularly impressive. However, when it’s in one of its regular sales, it becomes the very best value laptop on the market.
Good battery life
Can get warm
Poor 3D performance
The Asus Vivobook S 14 is a good, general-purpose laptop that does most things well. Even better, the price fluctuates between great value and the best value for any laptop.