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Asus Vivobook S400CA review

Kat Orphanides
8 May 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
499
inc VAT

Great if you need a lightweight touchscreen ultraportable laptop, but a little underpowered for the money

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We were impressed by the top-spec version of the Asus VivoBook S400 Ultrabook when we reviewed it recently but, at £700, the recent Core i7-based Best Buy winner won't suit everyone's budget. Fortunately, you can buy this Core i3 version for under £500. While it lacks the processor power of the more expensive version, it has the same great build quality and display as its more powerful sibling.

Asus Vivobook S400CA

The S400CA is a stunning little laptop, light and slim enough to easily carry around with you all day and done out in a snazzy black and silver colour scheme. There's loads of space on the wrist rest, which adds to the comfort of using the Chiclet-style keyboard. Although it doesn't look very different to the keyboard found on so many other laptops on the market, it's unusually accurate for touch-typing, with well-sized keys. There’s no unusual positioning or key spacing to throw off your accuracy, either. The touchpad is large and accurate, but centrally positioned in a way that makes it unlikely to be accidentally brushed while typing. The touchpad buttons are built into to the pad, rather than being individual keys, but we had no trouble hitting them accurately.

Asus Vivobook S400CA

The 1,366x768 14in touchscreen has a glossy finish that makes colours look particularly vivid, but despite that, it isn't too reflective. However, it's not particularly bright, and its narrow viewing angles mean your viewing position has a major impact on how colours appear. Fortunately, there's plenty of scope to tilt the screen until you find your optimal viewing angle. The touchscreen is accurate and responsive, although the screen quivers a little if you tap it too vigorously, so you'll want to be gentle.

The laptop achieved an overall score of 33 in our benchmark tests. This is a rather low score, but it's still adequate for most applications, from document creation to light image editing. The 1.8GHz Intel Core i3-2365M processor only has two cores, though, so it will take a while to render the output from a video-editing package, for example. The processor has an on-chip Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU. This failed our Dirt Showdown test, showing it's no gaming chip, but you will at least be able to run older titles such as Left 4 Dead 2. Battery life was six hours and 28 minutes – reasonable, but rather low compared to many Ultrabooks we’ve seen.

Asus Vivobook S400CA

The laptop has both VGA and HDMI graphics outputs, so you can connect a proper monitor, TV or projector. It also has three USB ports, one of which is USB3. As with most Ultrabooks, there's no disc drive, but there is an SDXC card reader and a 500GB hard disk. There's a 3.5mm headset port which can also drive a standard pair of stereo speakers or headphones and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Further connection options are provided by 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The integrated speaker doesn't have any bass to speak of but produces a clean, bright sound with quite a bit of volume.

Asus Vivobook S400CA

This Core i3-based S400CA is a great lightweight laptop but its performance – although adequate for simple desktop tasks – isn’t up to that of the admittedly bulkier Dell Inspiron 15. If you need a touchscreen ultraportable for basic tasks, the VivoBook range is a brilliant choise, but many still prefer a laptop with a faster Core i5 or i7 processor instead of the touch interface for similar money.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i3-3217U
Processor clock speed1.8GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size21x340x240mm
Weight1.8kg
SoundIntel HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad and touchscreen

Display

Viewable size14 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics 4000
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity500GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSDXC
Other ports3.5mm headset port

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 8
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includednone
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£499
Detailswww.asus.com
Supplierhttp://www.ebuyer.com