The Asus Vivobook S14 (S3402) laptop with Core i7 processor and 2.8K OLED display comes with a starting price of Rs. 74,999. At this price, what does it really offer? Find out in our review.
Asus Vivobook S14 is the 2022 model of the Vivobook S series, which brings a display-focused laptop with a focus on performance. But if you haven’t heard much about it, you’d be forgiven because the laptop has been overshadowed by the Asus Zenbook 14X OLED Space Edition, which is making headlines around the block. But even as its lesser-known sibling, the Asus Vivobook S14 has enough appeal to not only stand out but to make its presence felt.
And that’s because these everyday laptops pack a pretty heavy punch when it comes to performance. This year’s model comes with a 12th generation Intel processor and is paired with a whopping 16GB of RAM. The king feature, however, is the 2.8K OLED display, which is a first for the Vivobook S series. Just perusing the spec-sheet alone makes this laptop look decent. But, as is often the case, real-life experiences are often quite different.
And with this laptop, there is an additional factor involved – its price. Yes, with the hardware it packs, it’s sure to command a hefty price tag. But at Rs. 74,999, the range of options has also become wider. At the end of the day, buying a laptop is about buying the whole experience it’s selling versus the other options available, and that’s what we’re trying to figure out. I have been using this laptop for more than two weeks and this is what I found.
Asus Vivobook S14 Design
The Vivobook S series claims to offer slim and light laptops for users. At 1.5kgs and 18.9mm thick, I don’t find it particularly thin but it’s definitely lighter than my Dell laptop. Although the laptop has an average thickness, carrying it around feels very comfortable. But if you’re looking for a really slim and light laptop in the same segment, you can check out the HP Pavilion Aero 13. It weighs less than a kilogram and is about 16 mm thin. The laptop comes in three colors Brave Green, Indie Black and Neutral Gray and all have a smooth matte finish. I have the color Indie Black with me.
The previous year’s S14 had a rather minimalist cover with the Asus logo etched in the middle. This year, however, Asus decided to change things up and it added a badge-like logo design in the middle of the leftmost corner of the laptop. The logo is definitely larger than previous years and could feel overwhelming for those who prefer a minimalist look for their laptops. But personally, I like it because it brings something unique to the laptop and gives it an identity.
The identity story doesn’t end here though, the entire laptop is filled with these easter eggs. When you open the lid, you’ll see the Enter key has a black-and-white striped line going down and the Esc key has a bright red color. This is part of the design language of laptops and while funny at first, they don’t really offer an appealing look to me. It’s a personal choice, and you may enjoy a distinctive look.
Regarding the build quality of the laptop, the body has a very smooth texture that feels really good while holding it. The laptop lid feels more fragile than the rest of the body and it has a cheap plastic feel. At this price point, I expected more premium material quality for a laptop. One interesting thing about the Asus Vivobook S14 is that the laptop has a 180-degree hinge that allows for flexible use across multiple settings. Even if I use the laptop lying down (thanks to working from home), I can work comfortably without neck pain within an hour.
Moving to ports, the Asus Vivobook S14 is equipped with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, two USB type-A ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is no MicroSD card slot which is disappointing in this price range. There is a fingerprint sensor to unlock the device as well.
Asus Vivobook S14: Display
The display is the hero element of the Asus Vivobook S14. The laptop features a 14-inch OLED display with 2.8K (2880 x 1800) resolution, 100 percent DCI-P3 color coverage and a 90Hz refresh rate. Just to emphasize on the display quality, this is the same display that Asus has used for Rs. Zenbook 14X OLED is priced at 1.6 lakh. And the display quality is great.
The display has sharp contrast, high brightness and a wide color range that appears to make watching videos or going through websites a very enjoyable experience. The viewing angle is also great. Not much to say except that, display quality in this price range is very hard to find and Asus has added quite a few segment-leading specs with this display. The 90Hz refresh rate also ensures that my free time spent scrolling through social media always feels smooth.
Asus Vivobook S14: Performance
The Asus Vivobook S14 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-12700H processor, 16GB LPDDR4 RAM and 512GB PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage. It also has an Intel Iris Xe GPU to manage graphics-intensive tasks. Just going by the raw specs, it makes the laptop very powerful compared to other laptops in the same segment.
However, I did find some hiccups in its performance that would appear during multitasking. Running multiple programs simultaneously such as Google Chrome with multiple tabs, video players running videos and Microsoft Word will often slow down the computer briefly when switching between tasks. Using one application is not a challenge. No matter what the task, the device handles it with ease, but as soon as you switch between them, the laptop slows down instantly.
We encountered the same issue with the Asus Zenbook X14 OLED as well, and our best guess is that it’s likely an optimization issue for the 12th Generation processor that comes with Windows 11. However, it’s hard to gauge whether it’s a problem with the device itself or the operating system for sure . However, this makes using the laptop less fun at this price range, and it will frustrate multitaskers. As a fair alternative, you can look at the Dell Inspiron 15 laptop. Although it doesn’t have a flashy OLED display, it has a more stable 11th Gen i5 processor, which can handle more or less all normal tasks without the occasional glitch.
The keyboard has good travel and good feedback that makes typing fun, but I’m not a fan of how flat and smooth the keys are. I would have liked the keys to be raised a bit or with a bit more grip, as I find my fingers slip a bit at times. Regardless, I’m a stickler for certain keyboards and for general use, they don’t give much grief. However, for any other keyboard enthusiast like me, you can go for the Lenovo ThinkPad L390 which is in the same price segment but comes with a great keyboard.
Coming to the webcam, it is nothing special. It will suffice for office meetings, just don’t use it if you need to look good on screen. Finally, the laptop’s audio performance is average. The speakers are loud but flat and the richness felt missing.
Asus Vivobook S14: Battery
This laptop is backed by a 70Whr battery, which is a huge battery. However, most days it lasts between 6 and 8 hours a day depending on how intensively I use it, before calling for a charger. Battery performance is affected by the powerful i7 processor, but it still manages to deliver an above-average lifespan. But if you’re going to be out and about all day, make sure you practice all the battery saving tips or you might end up praying for a charging outlet.
However, if you manage to find an outlet, it shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half to fully charge.
Asus Vivobook S14: Verdict
It’s clear today that the Asus Vivobook S14’s trump card is its display and 12th Gen Core i7 processor. Laptops won’t succeed after earning brownie points for design or high battery life. It offers you a great system for entertainment, casual tasks, light gaming and non-stop internet browsing.
The question at this point is whether the USP is justified at a price of Rs. 74,999 when you can probably get the MSI GF75 Thin if you’re a gamer or the Dell Inspiron 7000 if you want a device with consistent performance in the same price range. And the answer, at least for me, is yes. Asus Vivobook offers something unique in the laptop world. When all laptops are either trying to be the most powerful or the thinnest and most portable, Asus is trying to be a great entertainment box and there’s nothing wrong with that.
So, if you are someone whose main use case is watching movies and shows on Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar in addition to basic office work and you don’t need to leave the house often, then this laptop is definitely for you.
Asus Vivobook S14 S3402
14-inch 2.8K OLED 90Hz
Intel Core-i7 12700H