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Computing

Asus Vivobook S 14X review: Lovely display, sad performance

Asus Vivobook S 14X

MSRP $1.00

“The Asus Vivobook S 14X has disappointing performance and battery life, offsetting the incredible 120Hz OLED display.”

Pros

  • Solid productivity performance
  • Spectacular 120Hz OLED display
  • Good keyboard and touchpad
  • Conservative good looks

Cons

  • Inconsistent performance overall
  • Poor battery life
  • Build quality is subpar

OLED laptops are not only becoming more common, they’re now even getting faster.

The new Vivobook S 14X (S5402) from Asus is the first OLED laptop to include a blistering 120Hz refresh rate. That’s pretty noteworthy, especially for a laptop in Asus’ budget to mid-range line.

I reviewed the high-end Vivobook S 14X configuration, $1,100 for a Core i7-12700H CPU and a 14.5-inch 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) 120Hz OLED display. It’s an odd machine in that it features a fast, 45-watt CPU without a corresponding discrete GPU, relying instead on the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. The display is indeed spectacular, but my enthusiasm was tempered by this Vivobook’s inconsistent performance and cooling.

Design

Asus Vivobook S 14X back angled view.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Simple lines and a minimalist aesthetic. That seems to describe so many laptops lately that I feel like I could cut and paste from one review to another. The Vivobook S 14X fits that description as well, with just a few exceptions. Its chassis is one solid color, with no chrome accents and only a new, more elaborate Vivobook logo adorning the lid. Color choices include Midnight Black (my review unit), Sand Grey, and Solar Silver.

The keyboards are color-matched, which is a nice look, and a vent along the left-hand side lends some aggressiveness to the design. Otherwise, the angles are pedestrian, and overall, the aesthetic is quite conservative. Two other touches stand out on the keyboard, namely a red Esc key and white stripes along the bottom of the Enter key — although frankly, those look odd and unnecessary. The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is another simply designed 14-inch laptop, while the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 stands out with a rounded and much more stylish look.

The 14.5-inch display is an unusual size, making the Vivobook S 14X slightly larger than others.

The Vivobook S 14X is constructed entirely of aluminum except for plastic display bezels that stand out as less than premium. There’s some bending in the lid and flexing in the keyboard deck, making the chassis feel less than rigid. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7 is a much more solid laptop, as is the Yoga 9i Gen 7, but of course, both of those are significantly more expensive than the Vivobook. And it’s not that the Asus feels cheap; it’s just not as solid as I like to see in a laptop over $1,000.

The 14.5-inch display is an unusual size, making the Vivobook S 14X slightly larger than other 14-inch class laptops. Its bezels are small on the sides and on top, but the bottom chin is large and that adds some size as well. For example, it’s about half an inch wider and taller than the IdeaPad Sim 7 Carbon while being thicker at 0.70 inches versus 0.59 inches and heavier at 3.53 pounds versus 2.4 pounds. The IdeaPad is a very thin and light 14-inch laptop, though, so let’s compare it to the Yoga 9i Gen 7.

In that case, the Vivobook is again about half an inch wider and taller, and the Yoga 9i Gen 7 is 0.60 inches thick and weighs 3.09 pounds. The Vivobook S 14X isn’t the smallest, lightest, or thinnest laptop in its class, but even so, it doesn’t feel overly large or heavy.

Ports

The Vivobook S 14X enjoys a solid selection of modern and legacy ports. On the left-hand side is a single USB-A 2.0 port. On the right-hand side are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The only glaring omission is an SD card reader, which would have been welcome.

Wireless connectivity is up to date with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

Performance

Asus Vivobook S 14X front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Up to now, every laptop we’ve reviewed with the 45-watt, 14-core (6 Performance and 8 Efficient), 20-thread Intel Core i7-12700H has been equipped with a discrete GPU. The Vivobook S 14X is the first we’ve seen that relies exclusively on integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. At the same time, every other thin-and-light 14-inch Intel 12th-gen laptop we’ve looked at has used the 28-watt, 12-core (4 Performance and 8 Efficient), 16-thread Core i7-1260P. That makes the Vivobook an outlier on a couple of fronts.

I can imagine what Asus was trying to do: Provide a faster CPU for tasks that can utilize it while minimizing power and heat by skipping a discrete GPU. The problem is that despite its IceCool thermal technology with dual fans and heat pipes, the Core i7-12700H throttled during every benchmark with temperatures reaching as high as 97 degrees C (still less than the chip’s 100 degrees C maximum) and CPU frequencies often dipping down below 1GHz. As a result, the Vivobook S 14X’s performance was inconsistent and, in some cases, downright bad for the class of CPU.

For example, it was the slowest laptop in our comparison group running Geekbench 5, with only the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED being slower in single-core mode with its 8-core/16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 6800U. In fact, the Vivobook was much slower than even the Core i7-1260P laptops in the table below. I’ll also note that the Asus thermal tuning utility wasn’t terribly effective, with performance mode offering only modest increases over balanced mode but with very loud fans. I’ve reported results from both modes.

The powerful, 45-watt chip seemed wasted on the Vivobook S 14X.

In our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Vivobook S 14X was slower than the other Core i7-12700H machines and more in line with those running the Core i7-1260P. Its Cinebench R23 score was faster, still behind the other laptops with the same CPU but at least within the same range. And then, it scored a little low on the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark that tests a variety of productivity, multimedia, and creative tasks. Only the Dell XPS 15 9520 was slower (an unusually low score for that laptop).

Finally, I ran the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark that uses a live version of Adobe Premiere Pro. That benchmark leverages discrete GPUs, so we don’t typically test machines with integrated graphics. But I was interested to see how the Vivobook would perform. In a word, its performance was abysmal. It scored just 190 in balanced mode and dropped significantly to 137 in performance mode. That compares to the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 with a Core i7-1260P and Iris Xe graphics that scored 265 in balanced mode and 332 in performance mode. Laptops with discrete GPUs tend to score 700 or more in this benchmark. It seemed like the Vivobook was severely throttled in this real-world test.

Overall, the 45-watt chip seemed wasted on the Vivobook S 14X. Yes, its Cinebench scores were decent, but its Handbrake scores were mediocre and its Pugetbench results were terrible. It’s a fast enough laptop for productivity workloads, but it’s not a creator’s laptop. And as we’ll see below, there was a price to pay in efficiency.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Complete
Asus Vivobook S 14X
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,595 / 6,692
Perf: 1,681 / 7,175
Bal: 113
Perf: 102
Bal: 1,757 / 10,339
Perf: 1,792 / 12,051
5,378
Asus ZenBook Pro 14 Duo
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,699 / 12,042
Perf: N/A
Bal: 94
Perf: 82
Bal: 1,793 / 12,045
Perf: N/A
6,242
Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,470 / 9,952
Perf: 1,714 / 11,053
Bal: 100
Perf: 77
Bal: 1,509 / 11,578
Perf: 1,806 / 13,313
4,940
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
1,650 / 8,080
Perf: 1,621 / 8,544
116
Perf: 120
1,587 / 7,682
Perf: 1,611 / 8,078
5,537
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
1,717 / 9,231
Perf: 1,712 / 10,241
130
Perf: 101
1,626 / 7,210
Perf: 1,723 / 8,979
5,760
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
1,417 / 6,854
Perf: 1,404 / 7,223
112
Perf: 111
1,402 / 8,682
Perf: 1,409 / 8,860
5,647

The Vivobook S 14X was an even worse performer in our gaming benchmarks. In the 3DMark Time Spy test, it scored well below the rest of the Iris Xe field. That translated to a poor showing in Fortnite, where it hit just six frames per second (fps) at 1200p and epic graphics. I didn’t even bother running the game at 1600p. Perhaps it’s a driver issue with the Core i7-12700H, but the laptop was fully updated, and it simply performed atrociously. We don’t expect great gaming from integrated graphics, but we expect better than this.

3DMark
Time Spy
Fortnite
(1080p/1200p Epic)
Asus Vivobook S 14X
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,251
Perf: 1,253
Bal: 6
Perf: 7
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,899
Perf: 1,886
Bal: 17 fps
Perf: 16 fps
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,740
Perf: 1,959
Bal: 15 fps
Perf: 19 fps
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,658
Perf: 1,979
Bal: 12 fps
Perf: N/A
LG Gram 16 2-in-1
(Intel Iris Xe)
Bal: 1,746
Perf: 1,919
Bal: 15 fps
Perf: 20 fps
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(AMD Radeon)
Bal: 2,110
Perf: 2,213
Bal: 19 fps
Perf: 19 fps

Display and audio

Asus Vivobook S 14X front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Vivobook S 14X’s hallmark feature is its 14.5-inch 16:10 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED display running at a refresh rate of 120Hz. Asus also touts the panel’s incredibly fast 0.2ms response time. Put those two together and you have a display that’s buttery smooth in running Windows 11, with no cursor ghosting, clear text scrolling, and windows that fly across the display. It’s a noticeable difference over standard 60Hz displays, and if the Vivobook were capable of gaming, it would make for a pleasant experience there as well. Of course, the colors were bright and plentiful as always with OLED displays, and the blacks were inky and deep.

According to my colorimeter, this is a phenomenal panel to find in an $1,100 laptop. Its colors were wide at 100% of sRGB, 99% of Adobe RGB, and 99% of DCI-P3, and they were accurate at a DeltaE of 1.07 (1.0 or less is indistinguishable to the human eye). Its contrast ratio was incredibly high, as is typical of OLED displays, and it was bright at 403 nits. It competed well against our very strong group of comparison machines in all metrics.

It’s a spectacular display that will please productivity workers, media consumers thanks to the VESA DisplayHDR True Black 600 high dynamic range (HDR) support, and creators who can live with the laptop’s performance.

Brightness
(nits)
Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
Asus Vivobook S 14X
(OLED)
403 27,930:1 100% 99% 1.07
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(IPS)
386 1,900:1 100% 81% 0.78
MSI Summit E14 Flip
(IPS)
516 1,320:1 100% 89% 1.10
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(OLED)
406 28,380:1 100% 95% 0.87
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro
(IPS)
369 1,340:1 100% 80% 1.65
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
(OLED)
397 27,590:1 100% 96% 0.88

Two downward-firing speakers at the front bottom of the chassis provide the sound, backed up by Harman Kardon tuning and DTS Audio Processing. I found the sound clear and bright, with nice highs and mids but minimal bass. The volume was just loud enough to be usable, and I could see myself watching some Netflix without pulling out a pair of headphones.

Keyboard, touchpad, and webcam

The Vivobook S 14X's keyboard.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

As mentioned above, the keyboard is color-matched with the chassis and presents a nice appearance. The red Esc key and white stripes on the Enter key are distracting, but I suppose I’d get used to it. The keycaps are large and slightly sculpted, and the key spacing is generous. The switches are light and bouncy, with a nice snap and a precise response. My only complaint is that the bottoming action is a little abrupt, which might get uncomfortable over exceptionally long typing sessions. It’s a good but not great keyboard.

The touchpad is adequately sized, although there’s room on the palm rest for a larger version. It was smooth and responsive, with Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers providing full support for Windows 11’s complement of multitouch gestures. An optional NumberPad 2.0 LED touchpad provides a virtual numeric keypad, which is available on the Solar Silver model only. The display was not touch-enabled, which is always a disappointment.

Asus Vivobook S 14X webcam view.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The webcam is 720p, so it hasn’t kept up with the move to Full HD on many other laptops. It does feature the Asus 3D Noise Reduction technology, which I found to be effective in making a clear image. It’s a fine webcam, but a higher resolution would have made it more effective for today’s hybrid workers. The webcam also features a physical slider that covers the lens for some extra privacy.

Finally, Windows 11 Hello passwordless login is provided by a fingerprint reader embedded in the recessed power button. It was fast and reliable during my testing.

Battery life

Asus Vivobook S 14X rear angle view showing hinge and ports.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

There are 70 watt-hours of battery packed away inside the Vivobook S 14X, which powers both a high-res OLED display and a fast 45-watt CPU. I wasn’t expecting miracles, but what I got was still disappointing.

The laptop lasted just 6.3 hours in our web browsing test that runs through some popular and complex websites, which is a couple of hours less than we like to see. It also made it to just 8.25 hours on our video test that loops a local Full HD Avengers trailer, which is again several hours short. And in the PCMark 1o Applications test, which is the best indication of productivity battery life, the Vivobook S 14X made it to just seven hours.

Across the board, the scores were less than our comparison group, some of which also had power-hungry OLED displays. The Dell XPS 15, for example, had both the same CPU and a larger 15.6-inch OLED panel. Although it had just 23% more battery capacity at 86 watt-hours, it lasted 50% longer in our web browsing test, 53% longer in our video test, and 60% longer in the PCMark 10 Applications test. The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 7 also lasted considerably longer with its own 14-inch OLED display.

The Vivobook S 14X is unlikely to make it through a full day of light productivity tasks, and if you push the CPU, you’ll be plugging in by noon. That’s not great, even for a laptop with an OLED panel.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10
Applications
Asus Vivobook S 14X
(Core i7-12700H)
6 hours, 20 minutes 8 hours, 18 minutes 7 hours, 1 minute
Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
9 hours, 38 minutes 12 hours, 40 minutes 11 hours, 14 minutes
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
10 hours, 10 minutes 16 hours, 12 minutes 10 hours, 33 minutes
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 7
(Core i7-1260P)
9 hours, 10 minutes 12 hours, 45 minutes 8 hours, 32 minutes
 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
8 hours, 4 minutes 13 hours, 13 minutes N/A
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
(Ryzen 7 5800U)
10 hours, 6 minutes 11 hours, 12 minutes 9 hours, 22 minutes

Price and configurations

There will be two configurations of the Vivobook S 14X when it ships in July 2022. My review unit will be a Costco exclusive priced at $1,100 with a Core i7-12700H, 12GB of DDR4 RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), and the 14-inch WQXGA+ OLED display. The other model will cost $900 with a Core i5-12500H, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and the OLED display.

Our take

The Asus Vivobook S 14X is a challenging laptop to rate. Its performance is inconsistent and generally slower than it should be given the fast CPU, and its battery life is poor. Its build quality is also a bit less rigid than I like. But it’s only $1,100 with a competitive configuration and a spectacular 120Hz OLED display that’s better than those on much more expensive laptops.

In the end, the performance and battery life hold me back from recommending the Vivobook S 14X. You might have to spend more money, but there are better 14-inch laptops available today.

Are there any alternatives?

We haven’t reviewed it yet, but the HP Pavilion Plus 14 looks like a solid alternative. It’s $1,190 for a more robust configuration with the same CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 2.8K OLED display. You can spend a little more and get a discrete GPU, albeit the entry-level Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050.

If you’re willing to spend more money, Lenovo’s Yoga 9i Gen 7 is a great option. It has a stunning design, performs similarly, has better battery life, and enjoys a lovely OLED display. It’s also a convertible 2-in-1, so it has some additional flexibility.

Finally, you could slightly drop down in display size to the new Apple MacBook Air M2. Although it’s $1,200 with less RAM at 8GB and storage at 256GB, it will be significantly faster and with much better battery life. And its display should be more than good enough.

How long will it last?

Although I dinged the Vivobook S 14X for being a little less rigid than I like, it should still last for years as long as it’s taken care of. The one-year warranty is industry standard.

Should you buy it?

No. There are better 14-inch laptop options available with more consistent performance and better battery life, and it’s a shame because that 120Hz OLED display is awesome.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Computing

Asus VivoBook Flip 14 Review: A Fast, Cheap AMD Laptop

Asus VivoBook Flip 14 2021

“The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is a powerhouse budget laptop despite a disappointing display and build quality.”

  • Outstanding productivity performance
  • Mostly attractive aesthetic
  • Affordable
  • Active pen is bundled
  • Upgradable RAM and storage
  • Mediocre build quality
  • Lackluster display
  • Below-average battery life

Everyone likes a good budget laptop. They might not seem as exciting as the latest and greatest, but budget-oriented laptops have their place. Not everyone has the resources or need for a laptop that costs well over $1,000, but everyone deserves something great. Locating a diamond in the rough can be a lot of fun.

Most manufacturers have a distinct budget lineup, and in the case of Asus, that’s the VivoBook. Recently, the company released the updated VivoBook Flip 14, an AMD-powered 360-degree convertible 2-in-1 that’s meant to offer solid performance and an exciting experience at a budget laptop price.

I reviewed the $629 VivoBook Flip 14 configuration (when Asus offers it on their site, it will retail for $600) that includes an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, and a 14-inch IPS Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) display in the increasingly old-school 16:9 aspect ratio. You can also get a version with a 256GB SSD for just $529. That’s an attractive set of components for the price, but does the VivoBook Flip 14 live up to its value promise?

Design

The VivoBook Flip 14 is mostly plastic, with aluminum alloy lining the lid. You don’t have to get plastic at this price, but it’s not uncommon. Unfortunately, the build quality wasn’t up to the usual Asus standard, with a lid that bends with too little force and can cause LCD distortion, quite a bit of flex in the keyboard deck, and a chassis bottom that gives in to pressure. The similarly priced Acer Swift 3 is more solidly built, and for $300 more or so, you can grab the HP Envy x360 13 that’s also far better built — unsurprisingly, both machines are on our list of best budget laptops. You don’t find many 14-inch 2-in-1s at this price level, and so I can’t think of a direct comparison that we’ve reviewed.

Aesthetically, the VivoBook Flip 14 is a little more impressive, if a bit odd at the same time. It comes in a “Bespoke Black” color scheme that covers 99% of the chassis. There’s a bright silver logo on the lid and some chrome trim around the touchpad, but that’s mostly it. What’s odd is that the Enter key is lined and lettered in lime-green, standing out quite boldly — but I’d say garishly at the same time. And it’s the only element on the laptop to sport that color, so it’s not part of a theme.

If you typically have difficulty finding the Enter key, then the bold coloring will help, but I usually don’t run into that predicament, so the coloring detracts from the aesthetic for me. Even so, I find the VivoBook Flip 14 to be better looking than the Swift 3 and on par with the Envy x360 13. It’s even as attractive as a more expensing laptop like the MSI Prestige 14 Evo and has a more distinctive look than the Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 2-in-1, which is also about $300 more expensive.

The bezels are a little large, with a screen-to-body ratio of 82%. More premium laptops tend toward a 90% ratio or better, but the VivoBook Flip 14 isn’t bad for a budget machine. That does make the chassis a little larger, and it’s not the thinnest or lightest 14-inch laptop at 0.72 inches and 3.31 pounds. The Yoga 7i comes in at 0.69 inches and 3.09 pounds, while the MSI Prestige 14 is 0.63 inches thick and weighs 2.85 pounds.

The Acer Swift 5, another 14-inch clamshell, is a mere 0.59 inches thick and quite light at 2.31 pounds — it’s also twice as expensive. Looking at our budget competition, the Acer Swift 3 is 0.63 inches thick and weighs 2.65 pounds, and the HP Envy x360 13 is 0.65 inches thick and weighs 2.92 pounds. Clearly, the VivoBook Flip 14 doesn’t win the thin-and-light battle.

Asus incorporated its ErgoLift hinge into the VivoBook Flip 14, which is a nice touch given the general complexity of the 360-degree hinge. It works well, lifting the keyboard deck to a more comfortable typing angle and theoretically giving additional room underneath for airflow — except there aren’t any vents on the laptop’s bottom. Rather, air is drawn in via the keyboard, and so there aren’t the usual thermal benefits. Anyway, the hinge is a bit stiff, and the lid requires two hands to open, but it does a respectable job of holding the display in place in clamshell, tent, media, and tablet modes.

Asus also built in some upgradability. The SSD slot is readily accessible if you want to upgrade storage at some point, and of the review unit’s 8GB of RAM, 4GB is soldered on the motherboard, and the other 4GB plugs in. So, you can swap that out for an 8GB chip if needed and increase your RAM to 12GB. The maximum available is 16GB, which of course must be configured when ordering the laptop.

Connectivity is good, with one USB-A 2.0 port, a USB-A 3.2 port, a USB-C Gen 2 port, a full-size HDMI 1.4 connection, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card reader. A proprietary connector provides power, and given the AMD chipset, there’s no Thunderbolt support. Wireless connectivity is a bit behind the times, with Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2.

Performance

The VivoBook Flip 14 equipped the first six-core Ryzen 5 5500U CPU that we’ve tested, and I was looking forward to seeing how it compares to Intel’s various Tiger Lake variants and the Ryzen 7 line. I came away impressed.

It didn’t dominate in Geekbench 5, with the lower single-core score and more competitive multi-core result typical of AMD chips. It came in third in the comparison group, behind the Asus ZenBook 13 UM325UA with an eight-core Ryzen 7 5800U that dominated and the MSI Prestige 14 Evo with its quad-core Intel Core i7-1185G7. In PCMark 10, the VivoBook Flip 14 came in second behind the ZenBook 13, and it scored particularly well in the Content Creation portion of that test. According to these results, the Ryzen 5 5500U is competitive with Intel’s Core i7 and much faster than the Core i5.

In two particularly CPU-intensive apps, Handbrake and Cinebench R23, the VivoBook Flip 14 was particularly impressive. In the Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Asus was 31 seconds faster than the Prestige 14 Evo and only seven seconds behind the ZenBook 13. The results were similar in the demanding Cinebench R23 test where, at least in multicore mode, the VivoBook Flip 14 came in a close second to the ZenBook 13 and was significantly faster than the Prestige 14 Evo. And the Ryzen 5 5500U is a real step up from the previous generation, making the VivoBook Flip 14 an impressive budget performer.

As with all the recent Ryzen laptops we’ve reviewed, the VivoBook Flip 14 excels at CPU-intensive tasks and will churn through the typical productivity workflow. It can tackle creative applications as well, although its Radeon Graphics won’t offer much in the way of boosting applications that can utilize the GPU. That’s also true of Intel’s Iris Xe integrated graphics, of course. In this comparison group, only the HP Envy 14 with its Nvidia GeForce GTX-1650 Ti will bring real value to those applications. Everywhere else, the VivoBook Flip 14 will perform exceptionally well, especially given its $630 price.

Geekbench 5
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
Asus VivoBook Flip 14
(Ryzen 5 5500U)
1102/5432 131 1180/7579 5191 1099
MSI Prestige 14 Evo (Core i7-1185G7) 1593/5904 162 1479/6680 4866 1465
Acer Swift 3 2020 (Ryzen 7 4700U) 1120/4831 152 N/A N/A 975
HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen 5 4500U) 1101/4485 176 N/A N/A 902
Asus ZenBook 13 UM325UA
(Ryzen 7 5800U)
1423/6758 124 1171/7824 6034 1342
HP Envy 14 2020 (Core i5-1135G7) 1398/4741 190 1343/5028 5178 3147

One area that won’t impress is gaming. The 3DMark Time Spy test result isn’t anything to write home about, and the VivoBook Flip 14 was a weak performer in Fortnite. It managed just 25 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and medium graphics, in line with laptops equipped with Intel Iris Xe graphics. It hit 15 fps in epic graphics, again equivalent to Intel’s integrated GPU. Simply put, the VivoBook Flip 14 isn’t a gaming laptop at any price.

Display

Spend $630 on a laptop, and you’re going to give something up. Usually, a major compromise shows up in display quality, and the VivoBook Flip 14 is no exception.

First, it’s not very bright, at just 230 nits (we like to see 300 nits or more). That’s almost identical to the Acer Swift 3’s 233 nits, and so the VivoBook Flip 14 isn’t alone among budget laptops in having a dim display. The contrast is also poor at 720:1, below the Swift 3’s 770:1 and well below our preferred 1000:1 threshold. The Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 was even worse at 690:1, demonstrating that it’s not just true budget laptops that suffer from poor contrast.

Next were the VivoBook Flip 14’s colors, which were incredibly narrow. Coverage of the Adobe RGB gamut came in at just 50%, and of the sRGB gamut at just 66%. That’s well below the 70% and 95%, respectively, that we typically see as a minimum with midrange and premium laptops — and the HP Envy x360 13 that’s on our best budget list hit 71% and 96%, which is much better. I’ll note that, again, the Swift 3 was in the same class as the Asus at 48% and 64%. The VivoBook Flip 14’s color accuracy was better at a Delta E of 2.62 (1.0 or less is considered excellent) than the Swift 3’s 4.76, while the Envy x360 13 managed a lower 2.26.

Subjectively, the VivoBook Flip 14’s display wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, either. It’ll do for web browsing and productivity apps, but that’s about it. Watching media on the 2-in-1 wasn’t a terrible experience either, despite the poor colors and contrast.

Two downward-firing speakers provide audio with Harman Kardon tuning. The speakers get loud, but they also get distorted, with crackling at any volume above 80%. Highs were blown out and mids were subdued, giving a tinny sound. Of course, there was no bass to speak of. You’ll be okay with system sounds and the occasional YouTube video, but for anything else, you’ll want headphones or a pair of Bluetooth speakers.

Keyboard and touchpad

The VivoBook Flip 14’s keyboard is eerily reminiscent of HP’s Spectre keyboard, which is a good choice if intentional. It enjoys good spacing, large keys with attractive and legible lettering, and a row of Home, PgUp, PgDn, End, and Fn keys on the very right-hand side. Unfortunately, while it may look like a Spectre keyboard, it doesn’t quite feel like one. There’s plenty of travel and a nice click to the switches, but the bottoming action is too abrupt. There’s no crisp bounce like you get from HP, and the overall typing experience isn’t nearly as comfortable. I’d rate this keyboard a few steps behind the Spectre and Dell XPS keyboards and way behind Apple’s Magic Keyboard on the latest MacBooks. I’ll note that the three-step backlighting is even and useful.

To put it bluntly, the touchpad is way too small. There’s so much room left on the keyboard deck for a larger version, and the small size is exacerbated by the fingerprint reader stuck up in the right-hand corner. The touchpad is a Microsoft Precision version, so it works well with good support for Windows 10 multitouch gestures, but it’s just tiny.

The display is touch enabled, of course, this being a 2-in-1, and an Asus active pen is included in the box. It supports Windows 10 inking well, with smooth strokes and precise response.

The aforementioned fingerprint reader provides Windows 10 Hello passwordless login support. It was fast and accurate during my testing, and it was welcome on such an inexpensive laptop.

Battery life

Asus only packed 42 watt-hours worth of battery into the VivoBook Flip 14, which isn’t a lot for a 14-inch display, even at Full HD resolution, and a powerful CPU. I wasn’t expecting great battery life.

Starting with our web browsing test that loops through a series of popular websites, the VivoBook Flip 14 lasted for nine hours. That’s a little less than average for this class of machine but not a terrible result. The Acer Swift 3 managed just eight hours, while the HP Envy x360 13 made it to a little over nine hours. In our video test that plays a Full HD Avengers trailer until the battery dies, the VivoBook Flip 14 went for 12 hours, again a bit less than average but not too disappointing compared to the Swift 3’s 10 hours. The Envy x360 13 beat out both at 13 hours.

In the PCMark 10 Gaming test that pushes the CPU and GPU, the VivoBook Flip 14 lasted for just over two hours, which is average for the test. The Lenovo Yoga 7i made it to just over 2.5 hours, and we didn’t test either the Swift 3 or the Envy x360 13 with this benchmark. In the PCMark 10 Applications test, which is the best indicator of productivity battery life, the VivoBook Flip was — again — below average at just over nine hours. That still beat out the Yoga 7i’s 8.5 hours.

Overall, the VivoBook Flip 14 was just a hair behind the pack in terms of battery life. It will likely last you a full day of work if you don’t push the CPU too hard, but it definitely suffers from the small battery. Again, though, this is a budget laptop, and so the results are pretty good when the price is kept in mind.

Our take

The VivoBook Flip 14 is really, really fast for a $630 laptop. Its build isn’t the best, its battery life lags, and its keyboard isn’t among my favorites. But a laptop that performs like this for so little money shouldn’t be disregarded.

If you have a demanding productivity workflow or use the occasional creative application, then the VivoBook Flip 14 will give you the performance you’re looking for. And nothing else is so bad about the laptop that you should be dissuaded from giving it serious consideration.

Are there any alternatives?

I’ll start with the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED UM325UA. It’s not a 2-in-1, but it’s just $170 more for a color-accurate OLED display, a faster AMD Ryzen 7 5800U CPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive. If your budget isn’t so tight and you don’t really need a 2-in-1, then the ZenBook 13 is a great option.

If you need a 2-in-1 and your budget is limited, then the HP Envy x360 13 is a solid alternative. It’s also a bit more expensive, but you get better performance, better battery life, and a better display. What’s not to like?

How long will it last?

The VivoBook Flip 14 isn’t the most solidly built laptop we’ve tested, but it’s not bad for a budget machine. It won’t stand up to extreme abuse, but it should last for several years given the normal wear and tear of home and office use. You won’t be surprised by the limited one-year warranty.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you don’t need a color-accurate display and you’re strapped for cash. The VivoBook Flip 14’s outstanding performance makes up for a lot of its flaws.

Editors’ Choice




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Categories
Computing

Need an affordable laptop? This Ryzen-powered Asus VivoBook is just $299

If you’re wishing you had another computer around the house with everyone at home, Walmart has a deal for you. A 15.6-inch Asus VivoBook with a 1080p display is $299 right now at the big box retailer, down from the usual $349, with free two-day delivery.

This laptop is packing a dual-core, four-thread Ryzen 3 3200U processor with a base clock of 2.6GHz and a boost clock of 3.5GHz. Note that this is a third-gen Ryzen processor and not one of the fourth-gen Ryzen chips that wowed us so much, but it should still handle everyday general tasks without hiccuping. For graphics, the APU is packing Vega 3 graphics. Most importantly, it’s a well-sized laptop with a full numeric keypad, along with a 1080p display. Many notebooks this cheap rock much lower-resolution 1366×768 displays.

The VivoBook also comes with 4GB of RAM and a piddly 128GB of onboard storage.

That storage size should be enough for creating documents or spreadsheets, managing email, and other basic day-to-day work for many students and office workers. If you feel you need more storage than that, a good option is to pair this laptop with an external drive. Check out our roundup of the best external drives for backup, storage, and portability.

This VivoBook comes with Windows 10 Home in S Mode, which is a stripped down version of Windows 10. It allows app installations only from the Windows Store. If you’d rather have the full desktop experience, there is a one-way free upgrade allowing you to switch to Windows 10 proper. Microsoft’s help pages have the full details on how to do it.

[Today’s deal: 15.6-inch Asus VivoBook with Windows 10 S for $299 at Walmart.]

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn’t like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he’s not covering the news he’s working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.

Repost: Original Source and Author Link