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ASUS VivoBook S14 S433EA Review: The Tiger Cometh

Tiger Lake gives this notebook a boost

Verdict: The ASUS VivoBook S14 S433EA was already a great performing mid-range laptop even before the Tiger Lake refresh, but thanks to Intel’s new chips, it’s now even better. It’s slim, powerful, capable, and has great battery life – all the things that you’d want in a device like this.

The ASUS VivoBook S14 S433EA is priced at Php 49,995.

Pros

  • Comes in different colors
  • Relatively long battery life
  • Powerful 11th gen processor

Cons

  • Can’t upgrade RAM
  • Only comes with a single Type-C port

After unboxing the VivoBook S14 S433EA a few days ago, it’s now time to dive into the whole review. We’ve been playing with this particular laptop for more than a week now, and considering what you’re paying for, it’s one of the best value laptops you can get right now.

Design

You can check out our initial impressions of this laptop to get our full thoughts on the design, but the tl;dr; here is that the VivoBook S14 S433EA is a sleek, compact laptop that’s perfect for Gen Z. While the Indie Black variant is a little nondescript (and is perfect for more formal corporate settings) the rest of the variants (Resolute Red, Dreamy White, and Gaia Green) are visual standouts which is apparently what Gen Z wants, at least according to ASUS.

ASUS didn’t skimp on the build quality and materials for this mid-range laptop, with the VivoBook S14 S433EA sporting plenty of metal. The edges of the chassis are also chamfered for added style points.

Overall weight is around 1.4 kilos, which is just right for a laptop like this. There’s plenty of connectivity options scattered around in the body. There are three USB 3.0 ports, as well as a single USB Type-C port, HDMI port, and a microSD card reader.

It’s a little annoying that ASUS only includes a single Type-C port on the side for this particular laptop, but the saving grace here is that it’s not used to deliver power as there’s still a separate barrel plug for that.

Display

Just like its name suggests, the VivoBook S14 uses a 14-inch full HD display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. ASUS managed to thin down the side bezels but the top bezel is still a little thick, probably to accommodate that HD webcam. Still, the laptop has a respectable 85% screen-to-body ratio.

ASUS advertises the VivoBook S14 as having 100% sRGB color coverage. Our result from Spyder 5 Elite shows a little less than this, with our color calibration software reporting a result of 92% sRGB color coverage. That’s good enough for amateur use, but professionals that want a color-accurate display should stay away.

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Keyboard and trackpad

ASUS is keeping the VivoBook distinct from their excellent ZenBook lineup by not including their excellent ErgoLift hinge tech from it.

Nevertheless, the keyboard feels good to type on, having sufficient, if abrupt, travel. The keys are backlit, and the illumination is bright enough to be seen even on sunny days.

ASUS tries to keep the whole “made for the youth” aesthetic going with a greenish/yellowing color-blocked enter key. That may or may not be to your liking – it all boils down to personal taste.

The trackpad loses the fingerprint scanner that it had on the previous variant, replaced by a trackpad that pulls double duty as a number pad.

As for the trackpad itself, it’s good enough for casual use, though again, nothing really beats plugging in a mouse, especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of productivity work. Still, you’re not going to get frustrated using the touchpad (which is something we can’t say for most trackpads nowadays) so it serves its purpose in that regard.

Performance and battery

The VivoBook S14 S433EA comes with Intel’s new 11th generation processors, specifically the Core i5-1135G7 chip.

That comes with higher frequency 8GB 3200MHz DDR4 RAM, along with 512GB PCIe SSD.There’s still no option to upgrade the RAM as it’s soldered on, so that’s a bit of a bummer.

SSD read and write speeds aren’t that great either, with scores falling below the typical 2000MB/s averages we typically see.

Intel’s 11th-gen Tigerlake chips come with the company’s new Xe Graphics which should give the laptop a boost over previous generation integrated graphics. You’ll probably not going to be using that though, as the VivoBook S14 S433EA also comes with an NVIDIA MX350 discrete GPU in addition to that.

Performance scores for the VivoBook S14 S433EA are pretty formidable, and the inclusion of the MX350 GPU gives the laptop graphical grunt. Granted, it’s not really enough for AAA games in full HD with max settings, but it is enough for casual competitive games like CS: Go as well as Valorant.

As for battery life, we recorded a total battery endurance of 5 hours and 36 minutes on battery, running a YouTube video until the unit powered off. That’s not bad – you can probably stretch that even more with lower brightness settings and just productivity tools running.

Wrap-up and conclusions

The newly refreshed VivoBook S14 S433EA gives students and WFH peeps more graphical muscle, thanks to Intel’s Xe graphics as well as the included NVIDIA MX350 discrete GPU.

As far as value is concerned, you’re getting quite a lot here. 512GB of storage is more than enough for a typical user, though it’s a little annoying that the RAM is still soldered on and not expandable.

Finally, there’s the price. The VivoBook S14 S433EA is priced at Php 49,995, which is fair for a laptop with these specs. If you’ve been looking for a laptop for your family this Christmas, then you might want to consider the ASUS VivoBook S14 S433EA.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

2 Comments

  1. 8gb lang po ram. ano ba akala nila sa pinoy fb messenger at youtube lang alam. for sure soldered ram yan. kung me demo model kyo try nyo po buksan. meron yan isa pang slot. have u checked with crucial website ano max ram na pede. maybe pede p ng addl 8 or 16gb for a total of 16 or 24gb. my asus ua330q laptop 4gb ram nilagyan ko ng addl 8gb ram last 2018. so far so good ok naman.

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