In the recent past, we’ve seen a huge rise in demand for compact notebooks with good performance and battery life, the Asus VivoBook series has been adapted to offer just that. Until very recent times the Apple MacBook Air was one of the only reliable offerings in this segment, but we’ve seen the rise of several other offerings especially from Asus which cannot only counter but also surpass the MacBook air in terms of performance. The New Asus VivoBook 14 offers exceptional looks and very good build quality for a very admirable price, despite the form factor and the added performance the laptop still manages to have a pretty good battery life overall.
The Asus VivoBook 14 is very similar to the Asus VivoBook S14 that we reviewed earlier, both the devices look similar and offer subtle changes under the hood. The Asus VivoBook 14 might be one of the best in terms of competition to a MacBook and offers the best combination of design, performance and battery life. The Asus VivoBook 14 looks and feels like an ultra-book but lacks out slightly on the performance front. A lot of the design characteristics of the VivoBook 14 are borrowed from the more expensive ZenBook line up of Asus for about half the price. The VivoBook 14 doesn’t compromise on the build quality and uses a premium metal build for the most part of the laptop similar to the offering from Apple.
Unlike the VivoBook S14, the new VivoBook 14 uses a simpler metal frame and chassis throughout the device and gives the device a very simple finish. The body of the laptop feels rigid and offers confidence for one-handed usage. While the brand has focussed a lot on the design aesthetics the device still keeps up in terms of performance and other constraints and doesn’t disappoint the user. The brand has included some unique features in the VivoBook line up that add unprecedented value to the devices, the design of the VivoBook 14 has been given a major overhaul and now looks much more premium and also occupies less of a footprint while carrying it around.
Despite the claim of scratch resistance on the lid of the laptop, we could notice minor scratches on the device after the course of testing it through the week. The device is mostly made of metal with few plastic inserts like the bottom panel. The Asus VivoBook 14 uses a technology called as Ergo lift by the brand, the metallic lid of the device extends a little beyond the base and helps raise the device by a small amount when the laptop is opened. This not only helps offer a more ergonomic position to aid with the typing but also offers a boost in the thermal performance of the laptop overall. This does add comfort to the overall experience and we’ve got used to the ergo lift technology and extremely liked it over the last few Asus Laptops that we’ve reviewed. The most significant advantage that is easily noticeable with the Ergo lift is the comfort in typing, the laptop makes typing a breeze and we could reach good speeds while retaining the accuracy without getting any fatigue despite extended typing sessions on the VivoBook 14 due to the Ergo Lift.
The selection of ports on the VivoBook 14 is decent, the device comes with a full-size USB on the left along with a SUB Type-C port, the right side of the device has the charging connector, Full-size HDMI port, another USB port and a 3.5mm headset jack along with the microSD reader slot. The device has two USB 3.1 ports in Type-C and in the generic format and one USB 2.0 port. There are two tiny LED’s next to the microSD card slot to indicate the power and battery status of the laptop. The Asus VivoBook 14 loses out on one USB port when compared to the S14, however, the port selection is pretty good. The lack of Thunderbolt 3 was a little disappointing as it limits the connection to a few accessories, but overall, at the given price range there isn’t much we can complain about.
The Bezels on the Asus VivoBook 14 are very thin and this helps greatly maximize the screen to body ratio, the webcam on the device is to the top center of the bezel. While the webcam isn’t the best in the market, it is one of the better webcams that we’ve seen. The position of the Webcam on the laptop is perfect and the camera gets a good view while making video calls. Coming to the keyboard, Asus has provided a well-placed chicklet keyboard with adjustable backlight for the keyboard, this is greatly useful and makes the device easy to use in different environments especially when the lighting is low. The keyboard offers 1.3mm travel which is slightly lesser than the 1.4mm travel that we are used to on most laptops, however, the difference isn’t really noticeable and the keyboard offers an extremely good typing experience. The trackpad on the Asus VivoBook 14 is pretty good and all the gestures without any hassle, there is even a fingerprint sensor in the touchpad that works with Windows Hello to quickly unlock the device without the hassle of entering the password each time.
Most other laptops in the price segment are not perfect and offer average build quality, the VivoBook 14 is an upgrade and offers a very good build quality in the segment with a sturdy feel. The hinge is strong and smooth with a very efficient rising mechanism, there is hardly any flex in most regions of the laptop and the build quality of the device offers confidence. The full-size keyboard on the Asus VivoBook 14 is ergonomically designed and the 3-degree lift by the Ergo lift hinge makes the typing experience much better than most competitors.
One of the highlights on the VivoBook 14 is the display, the display on the device is nearly edge-to-edge and offers a very good screen to body ratio. The display has a resolution of FullHD, the color accuracy on the device is pretty good and we liked the viewing experience. The brightness levels are pretty average, the laptop offers a pretty good experience for watching a movie or regular work purposes. It was a little difficult to take the laptop outdoor and work as the brightness was a little inadequate for that, the overall experience on the display of the Asus ZenBook 14 is pretty good unless you want to make manual color adjustments on the display.
Coming to the performance of the laptop, the regular usage on the laptop was super smooth and we found no issues. We were able to manage with multiple software’s running parallelly including Visual Studio Code, GIMP, Chrome, Word, and Spotify. The laptop handles most daily tasks with ease without breaking a sweat. At peak, we even used the laptop with over 50 tabs of Chrome open in it and streamed Money Heist at 1080p on Netflix and the VivoBook 14 handled all this pretty well. The VivoBook 14 is a budget-oriented Ultrabook and comes with the 8th generation Intel CPU, the variant we tested had an i5 the chipset in it. The laptop also came with a massive Intel 512GB SSD that greatly helped with the daily performance of the laptop and the device was responsive at all times. The device, however, doesn’t come with a dedicated graphics card and any 3D gaming is going to be a major let down. We still tested FORTNITE on the VivoBook 14 and got a frame rate of around 21fps at the lowest settings, we were unable to even start up the APEX LEGENDS game on this laptop.
Surprisingly, even with heavy load on the VivoBook 14, the device doesn’t heat up and the thermal management on the device is pretty good. We did try to put some intensive load on the CPU with random compilations and running emulators but the VivoBook 14 handled it well without getting very hot. The VivoBook 14 is oriented towards students and business audience and has the right spec for them. The unit we reviewed came with 8GB of RAM and a massive 512GB SSD which is not commonly seen for the price point. The device boots up very quickly and is super responsive for the most part, the SSD performance is pretty good and helped open up most applications in a breeze.
While the speakers on the VivoBook 14 have slightly improved it is far from pleasant, the volume is extremely low and lacks depth for the most part. It was very difficult watching Shows on Netflix and even worse streaming music on Spotify. Even with a ceiling fan in the ambient sound, the volume of the laptop feels inadequate and we found ourselves quickly reaching for a pair of headsets. However, the laptop performs extremely good on the battery front. While the brand claims up to 11 hours of battery life, we got an average battery life of about 7-8 hours on an average which is still pretty good for the specifications of the device.
During our usage of the device, I found myself leaving the charger at home of the most part and the device never gave up in the middle of the day. As a student and a part-time writer, the VivoBook 14 worked great for me, my regular day consists of about 3 hours journey in the bus at above average brightness levels and about another three to four hours of Application and Web development and despite such heavy usage, I always returned home with some residual battery. While the battery life of the VivoBook 14 might be a little better than the MacBook Air and other ultra-books, it is one of the best in the price segments.
The Asus VivoBook 14 is a very exciting laptop and is very suitable for most use cases unless it involves heavy graphics production or gaming. The device has enough power and juice for most average users and the battery life on the device is amazing. The major let down on the device is the audio ability, the display on the VivoBook 14 is above average and looks very good due to the high screen to body ratio. The VivoBook 14 might be a great buy if you are looking for a laptop in the Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 segment. The VivoBook 14 is a great choice for most working employees and students if you are prioritizing the portability and battery performance over gaming ability.
Specifications of Asus VivoBook X412
|VivoBook 14 (X412)|
|CPU||Intel® Core™ i7-8550U
Intel® Core™ i5-8265U
Intel® Core™ i3-8145U
Intel® Core™ i3-7020U
|Display specs||FHD (1920 x 1080) panel with 178-degree wide view angle
FHD (1920 x 1080)
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Graphics||Up to Discrete: NVIDIA® GeForce® MX 230
Integrated: Intel® UHD Graphics 620
|Memory||Up to 12GB DDR4 2400MHz (4GB on-board)|
|Storage options||HDD / SSD storage
Up to 512GB NVMePCIe SSD
1TB 5400rpm HDD (select SKUs)
|Wireless||Up to Wi-Fi 5 / Bluetooth® 4.2 (2*2)|
|Interface||1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C™
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
1 x USB 2.0 Type-A
1 x 3.5mm audio combo jack
1x micro SD card reader
|Audio||2 x high-quality stereo speakers with ASUS SonicMaster technology and surround effects|
|Battery||37Whr 2-cell lithium-polymer battery|
|Dimensions||322.4 x 212.7 x 19.5mm|