Okay, so I’m starting off with kind of a story-type thing at first (to explain my decisions), so if you want to read it then read along. Otherwise, just click here to skip to the main stuff.
So, if you’re planning to get a thin & light laptop right now, and you’re super frustrated from your inability to find a good option and also the fact that there seems to be no good option that kind of checks all the boxes and provides a good value, then yeah. Welcome to my world. This was literally me, a month ago. Very frustrated and urgently needed a laptop.
And then after waiting way too long and almost losing my mind, I ended up getting the Asus VivoBook S14. It wasn’t my first choice but now that I got it, I kinda like it a lot.
Okay so, my first pick was the new 2020 MacBook Air. Yeah. I liked it because it was super nice in pretty much every aspect (for my needs) other than the performance part (it sucks BTW, it’s highly thermally limited). And also the fact that it costs 90 freaking thousand in India, which is just stupidly overpriced, which made it hard for me to justify getting that.
So, I dived into the Windows world, where you have too much stuff to choose from. And especially in India, getting a good thin and light laptop, at a reasonable price is almost impossible. All the top of the line good stuff is super overpriced. And also the fact that Intel kinda stucks right now, and AMD is just decimating Intel’s chips limits the choice even more.
So, there’s a couple of thin and light laptops that come with the new Ryzen 4000 chips and are also reasonably priced, there’s the Acer Swift 3 and then there’s the Asus VivoBook S14 AMD line up and there’s also the HP Envy 13, which is good, but in traditional HP fashion, it’s overpriced, as usual.
Compared to the Acer Swift 3, the S14 is pretty much the same. There’s not a ton of difference other than the fact that the Asus VivoBook S14 is priced more reasonably. And if there’s a sale or something like that you’ll get it at even less of a price.
Asus VivoBook S14 Ryzen 4000 Review
And, here’s the Asus VivoBook S14 Ryzen 5 4500u review. I’ll divide the review into mainly two parts. The good stuff and the bad stuff. And there’s also a sub-segment to those, because why not, right?
One more thing, if you’re planning to buy the Asus VivoBook S14 i5 variant or the Ryzen 7 variant then, this review is valid for you too, for most of the part except the performance. Because that’ll vary quite a bit.
So, here’s the Asus VivoBook S14 Ryzen 5 4500u review:
/\\/ The Good Stuff:
\//\ The Build:
Well, it’s constructed from metal. You’ll not find any plastic on the outside shell. Though the top lid is constructed of a magnesium alloy type of thing, which might feel like it’s plastic, it’s actually metal. The upper deck where the keyboard and trackpad reside has a matte metal finish with chamfered edges all along. And these chamfered edges are what make it look more expensive than it actually is. The upper deck has a bit of flex, you won’t’ really notice it, unless you’re purposefully trying to test it. And lastly, the bottom part feels the most clingy, but you won’t see or touch it anyway, so it’s fine.
So, overall I’d say the build quality is really good, for the price. You won’t really have any problem with it. It’s pretty solid and also looks good. So, won’t be an issue.
\//\ The Keyboard, Trackpad and I/O:
The I/O on the ASUS VivoBook S14 is simply amazing. You’re pretty much covered in every aspect. It has 3 USB A (2x – 2.0 and 1x – 3.2) ports, 1 USB C (3.2) port, 1 HDMI port, 1 Headphone jack, and one MicroSD card slot.
Sadly you can’t charge it with the USB C port. And this is super annoying, I mean that port can surely handle it! But it’s still not enabled, Why? So, that Asus can sell its proprietary crap, barrel charger. Though the charger brick is small, so that’s kinda good but why heck skip on the USB C charging port.
Now, coming to the Keyboard and trackpad. Well, they’re just fine. You won’t have any problems with it whatsoever. It’s really good, for the price.
Except for the one little thing. WHY THE [email protected]#* DOES ASUS THINK, PUTTING THE DELETE BUTTON BESIDE THE POWER BUTTON IS A GOOD IDEA !!!!!!!!! IT’S TERRIBLE !!! And until you get used to that stupid thing, you’ll end up shutting the laptop down by accident, multiple times and lose your mind. You might think, that ain’t gonna happen to me, but trust me, it will! And when it does, it’ll feel really bad.
Anyway coming back to the trackpad, well it’s really nice. It has a Windows precision trackpad with a glass top, and it works very nicely. Also, the fingerprint scanner is on the top right corner of the trackpad, and that works flawlessly. And lastly, the palm rejection on the trackpad is good too, it works 90+% of the time.
\//\ The Performance:
In case you don’t already know, AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series chips just decimate Intel’s 10th crap. So, unless you’re a hardcore Intel fanboy, get the Asus Vivobook S14 AMD Ryzen 5 4500u variant. DO NOT get the Asus VivoBook S14 i5 variant, like seriously, it’s just bad. And also if you’re getting the Asus Vivobook S14 AMD Ryzen 7 4700u variant, then probably skip on that too.
Why? Well, it’s more powerful, sure. But the laptop’s cooling capability isn’t top-notch to keep up with that, so it won’t be able to take full advantage of the Ryzen 7’s power. So, sticking to Ryzen 5 would be the best thing in my opinion.
In daily day-to-day use, the Ryzen 5 flies through everything and doesn’t lag at all. Even if you’re pushing it hard with some light 4K editing then too, it’ll handle it. For light to moderate use it’s awesome.
And for occasional heavy use, it’s kinda good unless you’re trying to edit heavy 4K footage or trying to play AAA games, it won’t lag behind. And speaking of gaming the laptop has an integrated Radeon graphics chip, so it’s okay for light gaming but in heavy load, it ain’t gonna chug along.
So, to sum it up. For light and moderate use and even light gaming, it’s totally capable, and I’d highly recommend it. For heavy tasks like 4K video editing and AAA gaming, not so much. Maybe look at the Zephyrus G14. It’s a great option, for tasks like that.
\//\ The Battery Life:
With light to moderate use. And by light to moderate I mean, a lot of browser-related stuff with music playing on the back, or maybe even light photo editing. So, yeah with light to moderate usage you can get easily up to 7.5 to 10 hrs depending on how hard you’re pushing it. And with heavy use like light gaming or even video editing, you can expect around 5.5 to 7.5 hrs easily. Also, it has fast charging support, so you can get it fully juiced up in about 1.5 hrs from around 15%.
So, the battery life on this one is on lock. And this is also a reason why I said to get the Asus VivoBook S14 Ryzen 5 over the Asus VivoBook S14 i5 or the Ryzen 7 because with the Ryzen 5 you’ll get the most out of your battery life. Intel’s chip just sucks more power and the Ryzen 7 is the same, not because it’s shit, but because it’s more powerful.
\//\ The RAM, Storage & Connectivity:
The S14 comes with 8GB DDR4 dual-channel memory. Sadly it’s not upgradable though. It packs in a 512GB internal SSD, which is okay, but not great, you can get up to around 1.5 GBPS of reading speeds. With some good SSDs, you can get up to 3 Gbps, but unless you’re comparing both sides by side, it won’t bother you too much.
Coming to the connectivity part. Well, the laptop has WiFi 6 support and it also has Bluetooth 5 support, so you’re pretty much covered for a long time.
And now, a subcategory:
?| The Good Stuff which is good, but also at the same time, is somehow kinda crappy.
\//\ The Screen:
The screen on the S14 is good, but the colors are just *struggles to find a word* bad. It could’ve been better, but it’s somehow not.
The display has an anti-glare coating on top, which works very nicely. The viewing angles are great, the brightness and stuff are also really good. But when it comes to the colors, well it messes up.
Now, unless you do photo or video stuff, which involves the display to be color accurate, you’re good. The display is good for all the casual stuff you’re going to go and for watching movies too, it’s great. Skip the next part (about the screen), because it won’t bother you at all.
/\\/ The Bad Stuff:
\//\ The Screen:
So, the color accuracy on this display is not total garbage, but it’s not good either. The colors have a cooler tone and even if you adjust the color calibration and fiddle around with all the settings, then it’s not good enough. So, if you’re planning to do color-critical work on this, be prepared to calibrate the display to get it somewhat good. But won’t be too good, even after that. So keep that in mind.
\//\ The Keyboard Backlighting:
If you’re planning to the black color variant, then this won’t be an issue for you. But if you’re planning to get some other color, then read along.
The keyboard deck on the lighter color variants is a bit on the lighter end of the spectrum, so as a result the backlighting kinda doesn’t work too well unless you’re in absolute darkness. Whereas in the black color variant the backlighting works flawlessly.
\//\ The Webcam:
It’s bad. Although to be honest no laptop in this range has a decent camera anyway. So yeah, it’s not that bad maybe. It’s plenty good for a Zoom call though.
\//\ The Speakers:
It’s average, like really average. In certain scenarios, the speakers might sound amazing, because the speakers might be in a good position which amplifies the sound a bit. But other than that, it’s really average. The sound gets muffled and the loudness isn’t too much either. So, if you’re going to watch a lot of movies and stuff, get a separate headphone or speaker.
/\\/ The Conclusion:
So, that’s the Asus VivoBook S14 Ryzen 5 4500u review. Now the question is, should you get it? Well, yeah. If after reading the review you felt this laptop suits your workflow then surely it’s worth it. It doesn’t have any major flaws which are a deal-breaker or something like that. It’s an overall safe bet.
And considering the Asus VivoBook S14 is priced decently, makes it even better. Also btw, in case you’re wondering, the official price is 60k. So, if it’s selling at more than that, don’t get it. Wait for a couple of days or wait for the Asus VivoBook S14 to go on sale on Flipkart or Amazon. The price will drop quite a bit.
So, to sum it all up again. The laptop’s great for light to moderate use. The build quality is solid, the keyboard and trackpad are good. The performance is amazing and along with the battery life is really good too. The screen is good too, if you’re doing color-critical work, then maybe not so much. But other than that it’s really good. The webcam and speakers aren’t its strong point, but it’s not too bad to ruin the experience.
So, with all that under its belt, it’s a real good option. But only if you get it at the right price. So, remember not to buy it when it’s overpriced.
/\\/ The Specs:
- Colors: Indie Black, Gaia Green, Resolute Red, Dreamy White
- OS: Windows 10 Home (with pre installed Office Home and Student 2019)
- Processor & Graphics:
- AMD Ryzen 7 4700U(8C/8T, 4.1 GHz Max)
- AMD Ryzen 5 4500U (6C/6T, 4.0 GHz Max) (As tested)
- Integrated AMD Radeon Graphics
- Memory: 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 (dual channel)
- Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
- Display: 14’’ Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 (85% screen-to-body ratio & 178° wide-viewing angle)
- I/O: 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Type-C); 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Type-A); 2x USB 2.0; 1 x HDMI; 1 x Audio combo jack; 1 x MicroSD card reader; 1 x DC-in
- Keyboard: Backlit, with 1.4mm key travel
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth V5.0
- Battery: 50Wh with Fast charging
- Dimensions: 1.59 x 32.49 x 21.35 (in cm) (height x width x depth)
- Weight: 1.4kg