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Asus VivoBook S400CA Laptop Review

Asus VivoBook S400CA Laptop

The Asus VivoBook S500CA is an attractive laptop with a large, glossy 15.6in widescreen display. It's one of the largest laptops in theVivoBook range, but it shares the same sleek design and metallic and black finish as the other VivoBook models. The touchscreen display, although relatively large, has a standard laptop resolution of 1,366x768. This obviously lacks the detail of a 1080p screen, which would work well at this size, but Windows 8 still looks good on this many pixels. The lower resolution makes icons slightly larger at Windows' default settings, which actually makes it easier to use the touchscreen in desktop mode as well as on the Start Screen interface.

The screen's glossy finish makes colours look vivid, but how bright the large screen appears varies depending on viewing angle; at the wrong angle, the bottom of the screen can appear to be much darker than the top. Fortunately, there's plenty of scope to adjust the viewing angle thanks to a generous amount of screen tilt. The screen is also rather reflective, and its size makes this more of a problem than on smaller laptops in the VivoBook range; there's more screen to pick up sources of illumination behind you as you work, and you got a very clear view of the office strip-lighting on the ceiling behind you when you would rather have seen more of your web browser.

Unlike smaller laptops in the VivoBook range, the S500CA has a numeric keypad, although its skinny keys aren't particularly easy to hi accurately. The Chiclet-style keyboard is comfortable to use, even though the flat keys don't have a great deal of travel. In terms of performance, the laptop's ageing Sandy Bridge Intel Core i3-2365M processor doesn't stand up too well when compared with more recent Ivy Bridge Core i3 chips, such as the Core i3-3217U found in the i3 version of the VivoBook S400. This is really a basic laptop for web browsing, document creation and media consumption, rather than a powerhouse desktop replacement.

The laptop's battery lasted for just under six hours in light usage test, which is fairly average and well behind the eight-hours-plus of the latest models. The S500CA's on-chip Intel HD Graphics 3000 graphics chipset isn't much cop. There are three USB ports, one of them USB3, a headset port which can also take a 3.5mm stereo connection and Gigabit Ethernet. There's a 500GB hard disk and SDXC card reader, but no disc drive. There are also DVI and HDMI graphics outputs, so you can easily connect the laptop to an external monitor, home cinema projector or TV without needing an adapter.

The integrated speaker is much better than that found on most laptops, with very little mid-range muddiness and plenty of volume, although there's still not much bass. Although it's fairly light and has a great touchscreen, plus is very cheap at under £500, the S500CA is significantly under-powered compared to its non-touhscreen rivals. One alternative is the smaller Asus VivoBook S400CA , which is significantly more powerful.

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