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Asus Vivobook S 14, 15 and 16 hands-on: Asus unveils a range of sensibly priced “AI-enabled” portables

Asus Vivobook S 14 OLED

Asus’ latest Vivobook laptops come fully AI-enabled and include a dedicated Copilot button

Asus has kicked off CES 2024 with the launch of a huge range of products, including updates to its budget-friendly Vivobook S range. The Asus Vivobook S 14, 15 and 16 are powered by the recently announced Intel Core Ultra range of CPUs and AMD’s Ryzen 8040-series chips, and all of them come with vibrant 120Hz OLED displays.

Along with every other major laptop manufacturer on the planet, Asus is also making AI a key selling point of its new laptops and, to go with the NPUs (neural processing units) that come with their new Intel and AMD CPUs, the Vivobooks will arrive with a special key for launching Windows Copilot.

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Asus Vivobook S 14, 15 and 16 preview: Specifications and price

  • 3K or 3.2K 120Hz OLED displays with quoted 600 nit peak brightness and 100% DCI-P3 colour space coverage
  • Intel Core Ultra 5/7/9 CPUs; or AMD Ryzen 7/9 8040-series CPUs with built in AI
  • 8GB, 16GB or 32GB RAM
  • 512GB or 1TB SSD
  • Weight: S 14 OLED: 1.3kg; S15 OLED: 1.5kg; S16 OLED: 1.5kg
  • RGB backlit keyboards with Copilot key
  • Windows Hello compatible webcam with physical privacy shutter
  • Price: From £1,000

Asus Vivobook S 14, 15 and 16 preview: Design and key features

There are six new machines in the Vivobook S range of laptops: three with Intel’s Core Ultra 5, 7 or 9 chips inside and three with the latest AMD Ryzen Series 8040 CPUs (either the Ryzen 9 8945HS or the Ryzen 7 8845HS). The two ranges of laptops are available in 14in, 15.6in and 16in sizes, weighing a reasonably light 1.3kg for the 14in, 1.5kg for the 15in and the 16in.

Other than the size and weight, the new Vivobooks are pretty similar: fairly plain in design but functional with slightly larger touchpads than last year’s model.

Asus Vivobook S 16 OLED - close up on Copilot button

The big news, of course, with most of the new laptops launched at CES – or at least so the manufacturers would have you believe – is they’re all AI enabled. That’s courtesy of the NPU (neural processing unit) embedded in their CPUs, which is designed to take care of local AI tasks such as Windows Copilot – the more intelligent Cortana replacement – and Windows’ new webcam effects, without placing extra strain on the CPU.

To this end, each of the new Asus machines has a dedicated key for launching said assistant, which takes the place of the right-hand Ctrl key, just next to the Alt and space bar. It occupies the space that’s directly opposite the Windows key and is stencilled, appropriately, with the Copilot logo.

This isn’t particularly objectionable, and no doubt it will make finding Copilot slightly easier for newbies, but neither is it particularly essential. Only a little Googling will reveal there’s already a quick way of launching Copilot built into Windows 11: just use the Windows key+C key combination.

Asus Vivobook S 14 close up on keyboard and Copilot key

What will be of more interest and benefit to users will be the increased power of the new CPUs. We haven’t had the chance to test out any laptops based on the new AMD chips; however, we have benchmarked the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H inside the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED and the Acer Swift Go 14, and its Arc graphics are a big upgrade on Iris Xe.

Indeed, in the GFXBench tests we ran on both those machines, the Intel Arc GPU ran at an average frame rate nearly double that of the Iris Xe GPU in the Swift Go 14 (2023) at native resolution. It’s also worth noting that performance is better, too, than Apple’s far more expensive M3 based MacBook Pro 14.

It’s also good to see that all the new Asus machines come with Arc Graphics. Surprisingly, the very cheapest of the Core Ultra chips don’t come with Arc graphics at all, and still rely on Iris Xe.

Asus Vivobook S 14 OLED in black

Elsewhere, the new Vivobooks are as expected. They come with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage, with support for Bluetooth 5.2 and 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E. They’re equipped with Full HD IR webcams with support for Windows Hello, with background blur and eye contact correction courtesy of that AI acceleration.

And, as for displays, you get a choice here of either Full HD OLED or 3K OLED panels on the 14in machine, but only a 3K OLED on the 15in and a 3.2K OLED on the 16in.

Asus Vivobook S 14, 15 and 16 preview: Early verdict

They may not look particularly exotic to look at but there’s nothing wrong with the latest Asus Vivobook S laptops’ value proposition. If nothing goes awry with cooling, they should offer performance, particularly from the GPU, that’s significantly better than both their predecessors.

And with prices starting at £1,000 for the 14in Vivobook, they look like they’ll continue the form that saw 2023’s Asus Vivobook S 15 gain {award details go here}. The new laptops will go on sale at Amazon and the Asus eShop at some point in Q1 2024.

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