ASUS VivoBook S14 S433FA-DS51 Review
The Asus VivoBook S Series has been around for a while now, and every year it gets refreshed updates that are both innovative and practical. A few days ago, we reviewed the Asus ZenBook 15 that touted the company’s new ScreenPad 2 and ErgoLift hinge, which is exactly what you’d find on most VivoBooks. The VivoBook S433FA-DS51 we’re reviewing doesn’t feature either of these, but instead it cuts a few corners to deliver a stylish, entry-level laptop that’s good in many ways.
With the S433, Asus is trying to appeal to younger users, and in a way that approach does work. It gets bold colors, the latest components and great performance, that make it great for carrying around on a college campus, or for lying in bed over a comfortable Netflix binge.
Asus offers the VivoBook S14 in four color choices: Gaia Green, Resolute Red, Dreamy White, and Indie Black. There’s also a pop of yellow around the Enter key, just to crate that ‘hip’ feel. It comes in an aluminum alloy chassis that gives off a polished and clean look, and luckily it isn’t a fingerprint magnet.
The laptop weighs 3.97 lbs and measures only 0.6 inches thin, making it compact enough to slide into a backpack or laptop back and take on the go. Here, Asus gains bonus points for designing a truly compact laptop charger, one that’s no bigger than your palm.
Connectivity is excellent. You get a full-sized HDMI port, and USB 3.0 ports (both Type A and Type C). However, its underwhelming that the Type-C doesn’t support video out, but it will easily charge up a smartphone. There are two more USB ports on the opposite side, only that they’re USB 2.0, meaning they are only ideal for connecting peripherals and really not the best for connected storage devices. It also includes an SD card reader, which is fine considering the laptop is geared towards creatives who might need to use an SD card directly.
Asus has a good reputation for its VivoBook brand, and it’s only going to win more fans here, with a full HD (1920-by-1080) resolution screen. It uses In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel technology to deliver vibrant colors and clear images, something we only see in notebooks that cost more. The full HD screen is a delight to use, both for serious office tasks and for watching movies, with great viewing angles.
In fact, it’s a NanoEdge display that has an 86 percent screen-to-body ratio, giving you more screen estate over the body bezel. Asus includes its Tru2Life video technology to deliver enhanced visuals, which apart from being a marketing tool, doesn’t offer any major improvement that would set it apart from other entry-level IPS panels.
On the ASUS VivoBook S15 S533, the design, and screen should be the main attraction before you look at even performance. Another thing should be its weight. It’s light. Seriously so, but it doesn’t feel flimsy because of the lightweight profile.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The same material used in the body is replicated in the illuminated keyboard deck and touchpad. Still, it offers a decent amount of key travel and a comfortable feel, though, the keys themselves aren’t particularly luxe. They do take another point from this laptop’s premium construction, but it’s a design you won’t be seeing in similarly-priced systems.
Despite the laptop’s compact size, the keyboard is big in all the right places, with nicely sized letter and number keys. The Backspace and Enter keys are large enough, the Shift key is the same size as the rest of the keys, which is sometimes hard to hit, but over time you’ll get used to it. For the touchpad, it is fairly good, but it doesn’t give you the instant feel you get from the likes of Dell’s XPS 13 and MacBook Air.
Our review model, the Asus VivoBook S433FA-DS51 comes with an Intel Core i5- 10210U CPU running at 1.6GHz. You’ve also got 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage and Intel UHD graphics for light creative activities, but don’t expect to for heavy video editing or hardcore gaming on this laptop. In case you need to run graphics-intensive programs or games on a budget, you can look at something like the Asus TUF FX505DT-AH51 that offers a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card for around the same price.
For everyday tasks, the ASUS VivoBook S15 S533 holds its own fort pretty well. Flipping through various programs, running multiple browser tabs, and streaming music in the background is handled with ease. Surprisingly, you can edit images in photoshop, though performance in Premiere Pro is obviously bad, with HD videos taking upwards of 30 minutes to render a few minutes.
Gaming on the other hand is acceptable for older and more casual games, but modern AAA are certainly going to put a strain on it. For as long as you limit your gaming appetite to casual games, the S14 should play fine.
If there’s something the new VivoBook S14 certainly does well, better than its predecessor, is battery life. You can regularly get 9-11 hours of battery life out of it, whether you’re surfing the web, watching Netflix or just editing documents. It charges for a little under two hours for a full battery, but once you have enough juice you can stay away from the mains for the better portion of the day.
The ASUS VivoBook S14 S433 is a stellar laptop that wouldn’t look out of place in the classroom or on a cross-country travel with you. It boasts decent battery life and can handle most everyday tasks quite easily without having too much trouble.
However, there are a few things that might not excite you on this laptop, like the average screen, some outdated ports, and the inability to add in more RAM. These are certainly things that will affects your decision to buy the Vivobook S14 or not. Even with these issues, the Asus VivoBook S433FA-DS51 remains a great entry-level laptop that’s good for a decent number of things.
ASUS VivoBook S14 S433 Thin and Light 14” FHD Display, Intel Core i5-10210U CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, Windows 10 Home, Indie Black, S433FA-DS51
2 used from $535.04