With an Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GPU, the VivoBook S14 is an ultrabook with premium features. At the current price of € 900, it seems to be a real bargain. In our test, we find out whether the VivoBook confirms its excellent price-performance ratio or whether you have to compromise somewhere compared to more expensive competitors.
Before we jump into the test, you can first get an overview in the technical data.
Table of Contents
- 1 Technical data ASUS VivoBook S14 S433FL Review 2021
- 2 Scope of delivery – Minimalistic and environmentally friendly
- 3 Workmanship and service – Very good workmanship and good service
- 4 Connections – everything available – with one drawback
- 5 Display – high resolution, but with poor color space coverage
- 6 Software – McAfee is annoying, otherwise rather clean
- 7 Performance – a fast companion for (almost) all situations
- 8 Battery – work and after work on one charge
- 9 Emissions – elegant and surprisingly cool
- 10 Upgrade – SSD exchangeable, RAM firmly soldered
- 11 Sound/webcam – Harman / Kardon with surprisingly good sound
- 12 Conclusion: ASUS VivoBook S14 S433FL Review – The new price-performance tip
Technical data ASUS VivoBook S14 S433FL Review 2021
|Display||35.56 cm (14 ″) matt full HD display with 60 Hz refresh rate and LED backlight,|
250 nits maximum brightness, IPS level, 85% screen-to-body ratio
|resolution||1,920 x 1,080 pixels in 16: 9 format|
|processor||Intel ® Core ™ i7-10510U processor1.8GHz quad-core processor with Turbo Boost (up to 4.9GHz) and 8MB cacheIntel ® Core ™ i5-10210U processor1.6GHz quad-core processor with Turbo Boost (up to 4.2GHz) and 6MB cache|
|graphic||Intel UHD 620 / Nvidia® GeForce® MX250 (2GB GDDR5 VRAM)|
|random access memory||8GB / 16GB 2666MHz DDR4|
|hard disk||256GB / 512 GB / 1TB PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD + 16GB / 32GB Intel Optane ™|
|network||Intel ® Wi-Fi 6 with Gig + Performance (802.11ax)Bluetooth 5.0|
|connections||1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A,|
2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x MicroSD
card reader 1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack connection
|battery pack||Fast charge ability: 60% in 49 minutes3-cell lithium polymer battery with 50Wh capacity65W charger|
|Input devices||Backlit keyboard, touchpad with multi-touch gesture support|
|Sound||2x 2W speakers with Harman / Kardon branding|
|software||ASUS SplendidASUS Tru2life VideoASUS AudioWizard|
|operating system||Windows 10 Home 64 bit|
|Dimensions||1.59cm x 32.49cm x 21.35cm (H x W x D)|
Scope of delivery – Minimalistic and environmentally friendly
The VivoBook S14 comes in a simple cardboard box with a handle. No unnecessary accents like the competition from Cupertino or the new MateBook. Instead, when you open it, the phrase “in search of incredible” greets you – the search for the unbelievable. Our well-packaged test device’s color is also rather unusual, with a mixture of red, orange, and pink. Under the VivoBook, you will also find a very compact charger. There are also some stickers in the packaging. A fun side dish that should appeal to millennials. Otherwise, only the warranty card and quick start guide are included.
The complete renunciation of plastic deserves praise. Nothing is unnecessarily sealed, and all packaging materials are made of cardboard or paper. Other manufacturers are welcome to learn from this.
Workmanship and service – Very good workmanship and good service
When unpacking, the first thing that catches the eye is, of course, the signal red color of the ASUS VivoBook S14. ASUS calls it “Resolute Red” – and the name says it all. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the shade to introverts. It is still chic because it shines differently from different angles in combination with the aluminum cover of the VivoBook S14. The VivoBook is also available in more elegant colors, such as “Dreamy White” or “Indie Black.” On the other hand, “Gaia Green” should also be a little more unusual.
As you can see, ASUS hardly sets any limits on the choice of colors. So there should be a suitable color for everyone. My advice would be to look at the desired color in person beforehand, as the images are not entirely representative.
The great feel is the second thing that catches the eye with the VivoBook S14. Here, the VivoBook can really impress because it is inferior to the more expensive competitors. The entire housing is made of aluminum and is very torsion-resistant. Even with heavy pressure, the lid and base do not bend. Also, no excessive gaps are visible. Everything is made to measure and looks extremely high quality.
With larger feet on the back, the VivoBook S14 is inclined slightly forward, making writing easier. For additional stability, a mini stand is also attached in the middle of the rear knobs. Thus, the VivoBook is very stable on your desk. Lap operation is also possible without any problems due to the compact form factor.
The hinge of the VivoBook also looks very stable. Although it cannot be opened with one hand due to the bottom’s low weight, the hinge is solid and solid.
Unfortunately, the keyboard cannot quite do justice to the very positive overall impression of the VivoBook S14. The keys are a bit spongy, and the keyboard bends slightly when typing heavily. The competition from Huawei is significantly better here and offers a more tactile feedback when pressing a button.
Long copywriting is still not a problem. All keys are well spaced from one another and are therefore easily accessible. The keyboard’s white lighting is also subtle and can be regulated in three stages.
The touchpad of the VivoBook S14 reacts precisely and quickly. For my taste, however, it could be a little bigger. It also has a bit of play and clicks minimally when using the mouse buttons. However, this is a high level of criticism because it still sits stably in its frame.
The fingerprint sensor is located on the top right corner of the mouse pad and is very responsive.
It’s just a bit of a shame that there is no physical cover for the webcam. But ASUS includes stickers with which you can cover the webcam of the VivoBook.
Overall, regarding design and quality, it can be said that neither of them has to hide from significantly more expensive laptops. Only the keyboard and touchpad do not reach the very high level of the competition, but they can still be rated as good in everyday use.
Connections – everything available – with one drawback
On the connection side, the VivoBook is almost fully equipped. You get the fast USB 3.2 standard of the first generation with both a USB type A connector and a type C counterpart. Unfortunately, the latter does not have a DisplayPort function. However, there is still a full-fledged HDMI connection for your television or monitor. On the right side of the VivoBook, there is a micro SD card reader and two USB ports, with the older 2.0 standard. It is a pity that there is no full SD card reader on board.
Camera users, in particular, are thus forced to dongle life. A micro SD card reader is better than none. Especially since the competitors, like the MateBook 13, offer significantly fewer connections. A 3.5mm jack connection is also available in the VivoBook S14 for your headphones or a microphone. So you can attach (almost) everything to the ASUS Ultrabook and don’t have to carry an additional docking station with you.
You can Also Read: MSI GF75 Review 2021
Display – high resolution, but with poor color space coverage
For many, 14-inch notebooks in 16: 9 format are the best compromise between productivity and portability. Especially if you like to watch series, films, or YouTube videos on the go, the 16: 9 format is the most common and best choice for you. However, for productive work, I see the 3: 2 format of the MateBooks and Surface laptops as a bit of an advantage. Due to the greater height, documents and websites are displayed more completely, and you don’t have to scroll as much. But tastes can also differ here.
With its Full HD resolution, the display of the VivoBook S14 is really razor-sharp. It is best to set the scaling in the Windows display settings from the standard 150% to 125% so that apps and websites are better displayed. ASUS speaks of the panel of the VivoBook S14 as an “IPS-level display. IPS stands for high viewing angle accuracy and good colors. However, it is not an IPS display, just a TN film supposed to achieve results similar to an IPS panel. The matte screen actually has perfect viewing angles in practice.
Unfortunately, the color space coverage is not particularly high. It is only 63% of the sRGB color space. So you can only edit images moderately well in Photoshop and Lightroom. But make sure that only the VivoBook S14 S433F L has such a display. The model with the designation S433F A even only has a coverage of a meager 52% sRGB. This further disqualifies itself for image processing. So look carefully when buying and pay attention to the type designation of the VivoBook.
The brightness of the display is not the highest at 250 nits. However, it partially makes up for this with its matte display coating. So you can acceptably work on the VivoBook S14 outdoors – if you don’t have the sun behind you.
All in all, the VivoBook S14 S433F L offers a solid display for its price range, which, however, has to be significantly inferior to more expensive ultrabooks. The MateBook 13 and ASUS ZenBook series offer better solutions for Photoshop and Lightroom users.
Software – McAfee is annoying, otherwise rather clean
The first thing to notice is the McAfee antivirus program. Unfortunately, a 30-day trial version is preinstalled in the VivoBook S14. Pop-ins often want to convince you of the expensive full version. Fortunately, you can uninstall McAfee. Windows Defender is not necessarily worse and does not annoy you with constant messages.
Asus also has its pitfalls. Because before you start the program for the first time, the program wants to cheer you on DropBox and the full version of McAfee – even if you have already uninstalled the latter.
Asus then wanted to reset the VivoBook to its factory settings before every start. So it’s best to keep your hands off the tool and use the official website to download the drivers.
Otherwise, the VivoBook doesn’t come up with any further bloatware but is pleasantly clean.
Performance – a fast companion for (almost) all situations
On paper, the VivoBook S14 is sometimes better equipped than ultrabooks which are twice as expensive. We now wanted to find out whether it can confirm this high performance in reality.
The dedicated graphics unit of the VivoBook S14, in particular, raises it in terms of performance above most other laptops in its price range. While many devices only come with an integrated GPU, the VivoBook has an MX250 from Nvidia. So you can already play older games on high settings in 1080P without any problems. Fortnite or CS: GO should also be loose.
Only in our Photoshop benchmark did the VivoBook not quite bring its performance to the road or the screen. The low GPU performance compared to the nominally weaker competition is particularly surprising here. It is quite possible that Adobe only uses the integrated graphics unit of the Intel Core i7 by default. The VivoBook completely convinces in the Lightroom benchmark. With an export time of just 59 seconds, it is one of the fastest models we have tested so far.
In the model with 512GB SSD, you still have a good 430GB available in the delivery state.
Our VivoBook is also accelerated by 32GB Intel Optane. These cannot be used effectively but serve as intermediate storage for the SSD. Intel’s fast storage add-on is still a good acceleration for SATA SSDs. However, the VivoBook’s drive cannot compete with fast NVMe SSDs, such as those built into the MateBook 13. The memory is still sufficiently fast in everyday use. Programs open without delay and the loading times of games are very short.
Battery – work and after work on one charge
The VivoBook’s battery is perfect. One battery charge is usually enough for nine to twelve hours. Without an intensive workload, you can get through the working day and after work on the couch. YouTube, Netflix, and surfing are easy in this period of time. The display should not run at maximum brightness. In our test, we had it consistently at 70%. “More battery efficiency” was chosen as the battery profile, which is easily sufficient in most cases.
For a full battery charge, you only need a little under two hours.
Emissions – elegant and surprisingly cool
The VivoBook S14 is usually a silent companion. When I first turned it on, I didn’t hear it at all. Only in our benchmark test did the fan become more noticeable inside. If you want to use it primarily in quieter surroundings, then the cooling system’s coordination is really ideal. The temperatures are consistently perfect. A maximum temperature of 83 degrees may seem high initially, but the Comet Lake CPUs from Intel only slow down significantly from 105 degrees.
If the fan is running at full speed, the temperatures level off at 77-78 degrees. The VivoBook can then be heard clearly, but its pitch never becomes high-frequency or otherwise unpleasant. In contrast, the CPU temperature is a perfect 35 – 36 degrees when idling under Windows. The waste heat is particularly noticeable on the underside.
If you use the VivoBook on your lap under full load, it could get too hot for that. Also, a slight flow of air rises from the keyboard. Most of the waste heat is dissipated to the rear.
Upgrade – SSD exchangeable, RAM firmly soldered
Nine Torx screws separate you from the interior of the VivoBook S14. If you loosen it, the bottom can be removed relatively easily with a guitar lick or spudger.
It’s nice that the 50Wh battery is only screwed on. So you can exchange it yourself when you have the opportunity. You can also replace the M.2 SSD with a larger model if necessary. The fan is also connected to the mainboard with screws and can be removed and cleaned. Unfortunately, there is nothing to upgrade the RAM: it is firmly soldered to the mainboard.
Sound/webcam – Harman / Kardon with surprisingly good sound
The VivoBook S14 comes with two speakers. These sit at the bottom and are hyped by a Harman / Kardon branding. This even made it over the normal sticker and is located as lettering on the keyboard’s lower right end.
And the sound can actually be heard: Womack & Womack’s “Teardrops” comes without any distortion and even with a minimal bass foundation. In Efdemin’s “Bergwein,” however, the baseline is only reproduced as a light tap. In the classic “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Pages distorted the guitar solo significantly more than desired. At 100% volume, it becomes a bit uncomfortable. Here, however, other laptops are significantly worse and distort much earlier. The ASUS laptop volume is easily enough at 85% for a medium-sized room of 30m².
The voice reproduction of the VivoBook S14 is convincing in series and films. Medium tones are reproduced clearly and distinctly. Even a small stereo stage is set up in front of the centrally seated audience. Overall, the Harman / Kardon branding really is more than a gimmick.
The headphone jack also surprised me positively. Even more, inefficient and high-impedance headphones could be powered well. A strong performance that even significantly more expensive notebooks often fail to achieve.
The built-in microphones pick up voices a little too high for that. On the other hand, the built-in webcam convinces with a smooth and low-noise playback even in poor lighting conditions. An LED informs you about the commissioning of the webcam.
Conclusion: ASUS VivoBook S14 S433FL Review – The new price-performance tip
The VivoBook S14 S433FL has become a powerful ultrabook. It offers tons of performance in an excellent form factor. Also, it is well made, quiet, and also stays cool. Almost everything is offered on the connection side, and the battery lasts up to 12 hours, is exchangeable, and can even be charged quickly.
Is it now the egg-laying woolly milk pig among notebooks? No, because the keyboard and mouse pad are not quite on the same high level as the competition. Nevertheless, all input devices are rock solid. The display also does not offer sufficient color space coverage for image processing. The SSD is also – despite Optane – not the fastest, which you will hardly notice in everyday life.
If you plan to edit video while on the go, I would advise you to use the 16GB RAM option, as the VivoBook’s RAM is unfortunately soldered in.
If you are toying with an ASUS ZenBook, HP Envy, or Huawei MateBook, you should definitely take a look at the VivoBook. Because nowhere else do you get so much ultrabook for your money.