Asus is expanding its Vivobook series, designed to equip an audience with multimedia needs and a tight budget. With its controlled price, its ultrabook chassis and its powerful Ryzen 5-H processor, the Asus Vivobook S14 S1403 combines several arguments to seduce. It remains to be seen where the sacrifices were necessary to squeeze costs. On to the test.
It’s all about compromise
The Asus Vivobook S14 S1403 is the perfect representative of the mid-range laptop: elegant and sober chassiswell assembled and visually solid, but surfaces mixed between metal and polycarbonate and not very well optimized measurements. With 317.1 x 222 x 19.9mm And 1.6kg on the scale, the PC is positioned in the high range according to the current requirements for ultrabooks. If you have already handled small PCs like Huawei’s MateBook 14 for example, this one will immediately seem a little chunky. Good point, the plastic inspires confidence and does not bend too much under the fingers, logically ensuring a good longevity. Another small advantage of this material, it is not cold under the fingers.
Distributed mainly on the right side of the PC, the connection is rather well off for everyone. A USB-A 2.0 port sits on the left side, while the right side sports two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports. one USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port, an HDMI 1.4 output, a headphone jack and a proprietary power jack. Please note that USB-C port does not support power delivery, which is a little frustrating. It will therefore be necessary to go through the supplied 90W mains unit – cumbersome – to recharge the device.
The lid requires the use of both hands to open and rocks completely flat (at 180 degrees). This can be practical to slide it under an external screen for example.
The internal box is in keeping with the exterior and sends back a good feeling, not luxurious but honest. Around the screen, we notice a relatively thin frame with an embossed finish, a good way to “show off” a hard plastic. Even if we prefer glass frames that stretch to the edges of the PC, we are forced to salute the proportions of this one, made possible by the 16:10 aspect ratio of the screen. It recovers a little more display height than a standard 16:9 screen, which will de facto thin the bottom edge, and improve the reading experience on documents or web pages in particular. Manufacturers are gradually tending to extend this type of format (with 3:2) from premium to their intermediate range, which is validated more than once.
For the rest of its characteristics, the screen of the Vivobook S14 S1403, a Chi Mei CMN1441 panel of definition Full HD+ (1920×1200px)is doing quite well with his good contrast (1506:1), its white point at 5959K and its peak brightness at 348 nits, in the average. On the other hand, the sRGB colorimetric spectrum is not fully covered (61%) and the DeltaE is at 5.4. Forget any job requiring color accuracy. Values aside, the overall experience is good as long as you stay indoors and don’t have any graphic requirements.
The study of the screen finished, let’s look down and touch two words about the keyboard. Well spaced (3 mm), of good size (16×16 mm) with a standard distribution, the keys ensure a fast and precise strike, with no adaptation time required. Our criticisms mainly focus on the somewhat “plastic” typing feeling due to a deeper stroke than what we are used to on modern ultrabooks and a somewhat soft switch, but this is rather the norm on this category of PC.
On the other hand, no quarter for the “Enter” key cut in half which causes many typos. Likewise, if the 3-level backlight has the merit of being there, it is unusable during the day because it makes the lettering illegible and a little weak in the evening. Some will be happy to learn of the presence of a Caps Lock indicator light.
The Vivobook also benefits from a large touch pad (13 x 7.5 cm) whose plastic surface is not very far from the glass on the feeling side. The glide is fast and precise and above all, it incorporates the famous Numpad, a fingertip-activated touchpad in the upper right corner. This feature is a significant plus if you regularly use alphanumeric characters. It is also an option on the series which replaces the fingerprint reader, positioned in the same corner in the absence of the Numpad. We regret its absence, especially since Asus has not integrated facial recognition technology into its webcam, thus making Completely skip Windows Hello. Speaking of the webcam, if the rendering is standard for the category of the PC, that is to say mediocre, note the presence of a physical cache for confidentiality.
What is needed where it is needed
The Asus Vivobook S1403QA-LY067W which was lent to us for the test is powered by a processor AMD Ryzen 5 5600H (6 cores) coupled with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and 512 GB SSD storage. This is the mid-range configuration par excellence, where AMD still excels with its Zen 3 (2021) SoCs which master the power / autonomy balance . We are therefore dealing with a so-called “high performance” processor (H series) with a thermal envelope (TDP) of 45W which does quite well inside the Vivobook.
Of course, for office and multimedia uses, which this PC is intended for, the presence of an -H processor does not really change the situation compared to a “low power” processor (U series). Only a few processing tasks requiring CPU computing power, such as development, for example, will be able to benefit from it. The rest is status quo.
Indeed, creative tasks such as video editing or photo editing will draw on the integrated graphics part and let’s face it, the small Radeon Vega 8 Ryzen 5 does not really measure up against the integrated chip of recent Intel processors (Iris Xe), even less against a dedicated GPU. And it’s not the “Performance Mode” of the Asus utility that will change anything. It made no difference in our testing.
In short, all that to say that the Vivobook S14 is fully functional for everyday use and that its raw power is on par with other ultrabooks on the market in 2022. No task scares him except for heavy graphics tasks or gaming, but some just require a bit of patience.
In terms of noise and heating, the Vivobook does well with 85°C measured in peak at the level of the CPU and surfaces which heat only moderately (advantage of plastic) and away from the hands. In common use, the ventilation is discreet or even inactive. In performance mode, however, it can quickly reach 52 dBA in a slightly noisy breath, less muffled than with some. But again, why inflict this on yourself when the mode does not change the result?
And it is not the speakers that will be able to cover the “din”, if necessary, or at least not in the best conditions. We are dealing here with a reproduction without heat, focused on the voices and without relief. This is the norm at this level.
Finally autonomy is doing rather well with 9 hours of office use. It’s in the right average for a mid-range laptop and can last the full day by chaining work sessions, entertainment and a few presentations. The black point is that you will have to take the two-part proprietary 90W charger (75×75 mm; 332g) with you, as power supply via USB-C is not supported.
Our opinion on the Asus Vivobook S14 S1403: the reasonable ultrabook
Offered at 799 euros in the configuration tested, the Asus Vivobook S14 M1403 manages to squeeze costs without making any serious concessions. We have there an ultrabook that looks great. Solid, well assembled, its case uses the right amount of metal in strategic places so as not to be afraid of transport. Bring a good bag that said, because its measurements are not the most compact. The screen opens flat, which is practical, and its 16:10 format is comfortable for office use, but the rest of its characteristics are just passable. Ditto on the keyboard side, effective but could do better, while the touchpad receives a Numpad, practical. The connection is well matched, its only complaint being that it does not allow charging via USB-C.
The performances are those expected at this price level, neither more nor less. So don’t be fooled by the so-called “high performance” Ryzen -H series, it won’t save you much against a “low power” processor, even if an audience like developers who need CPU power will be able to find it. some interest. Finally, let’s highlight the autonomy of 9 hours which does the job.
One word then comes to mind to sum up this Vivobook S14: reasonable. The package is compelling for a student or family home use that primarily revolves around office and multimedia tasks. As it stands, the Vivobook S14 is a good PC, but the competition has raised the bar quite high and, frankly, there are better.
The Asus Vivobook S14 S1403 scores 3.5/5
Compare the different available configurations of the Asus Vivobook S14 S1403
Features of the Asus Vivobook S1403QA-LY067W
|14.0″ Full HD+ 16:10 IPS (1920 x 1200, anti-glare)
|AMD Ryzen 5 5600H Cezanne (3.3 GHz, 6 cores)
|8 GB soldered + 8 GB DDR4 3200 MHz
|AMD Radeon Vega 7
|512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
|1 USB 2.0 + 2 USB 3.2 ports + 1 USB 3.2 Type-C Gen1, HDMI 1.4
|Wi-Fi ax, Bluetooth 5.2
|NumPad on the touchpad
|Windows 11 Home 64 bit
|Announced autonomy / Battery
|8 hours / Li-ion 3 cells 50Wh
|Weight / Dimensions (mm)
|1.6 Kg / 317.1 x 222 x 19.9