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As a sub-$500 convertible, the Asus VivoBook 14 ($449) is inherently intriguing. The 2-in-1 notebook computer includes a stylish, clean design that’s both practical and pretty. But while it’s an attractive package on the top, the ZenBook lets users down as a result of what lies inside. A bland display, an underpowered processor and a horrible webcam are simply a great deal to overlook. If you need an economical notebook that can flip right into a tablet, we advise you avoid the VivoBook Flip 14. Fortunately, there are great alternatives to recommend instead. Black Friday is coming to greet you this year with lots of deals and offers.
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The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 includes a clean, if somewhat bland design. Its rounded corners, gray finish and notched base mimic the MacBook Pro, however the similarities end there. This 14-inch 2-in-1 includes a massive bezel beneath the display, and its own lid is rather thick. When closed, the oddly shaped notebook computer reminds me of an ice cream sandwich.
What sticks out about the VivoBook’s design is its flexibility. Two hinges rotate the display back 360 degrees, converting the device right into a tablet, or you can twist the notebook into tent mode for viewing movies or slideshows. A shiny, silver Asus logo is devoted to the lid and SonicMaster branding adorns the deck.
Despite its simple design, the VivoBook doesn’t look cheap. Its sleek, refined curves and textured-aluminum materials give it a deceptively premium appearance. I wouldn’t be embarrassed to transport it to school or work.
Its sleek, refined curves and textured-aluminum materials supply the VivoBook Flip 14 a deceptively premium appearance.
However, while we don’t expect premium materials as of this price, the construction of the VivoBook Flip 14 is questionable. The deck flexed under great pressure, and a soft tap caused the display to wobble. We likewise have concerns about the machine’s construction. The hinge on our review unit was bent, triggering the lid to be misaligned from the deck when closed. Asus sent us an upgraded unit, even though it didn’t exhibit the same issue, the lid didn’t sit flush with the sides of the bottom.
The VivoBook Flip 14 is relatively lightweight, at 3.2 pounds. The Acer Spin 3, another sub-$500 convertible, weighs 3.8 pounds. And at 12.9 x 8.9 x 0.6 inches, the VivoBook is smaller sized compared to the 13.2 x 9.1 x 0.8 inch Spin 3.
The VivoBook Flip 14 includes a strange range of ports. On the left side is a micro USB 2.0 port, something we’ve never seen on a laptop. Asus says this port is for data transfer with cellular devices, but we doubt anyone runs on the micro USB-to-micro USB cable.
A far more useful feature may be the Sdcard slot that sits next to a volume rocker and a power button.
The proper side of the device carries a micro HDMI, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, a headphone/mic jack and a DC connector.
The 1920 x 1080-resolution touchscreen display on the Asus VivoBook Flip 14 isn’t very good, but we’ve seen worse as of this price. When I watched the trailer for the upcoming film Mile 22, Mark Wahlberg looked rather bland. When the action got going, the display’s weaknesses became more apparent. What must have been an powerful fight scene with exploding colors was instead a washed-out battleground.
I also could have liked more contrast between your glowing orange fire and blue atmosphere in the trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Fortunately, the VivoBook 14’s 1080p panel is sharp. I possibly could evidently see falling wreckage left by the destructive monster together with individual drops of water running down Kyle Chandler’s face. When I visited the best news sites, their white background leaned red. I could correct the white balance issue using Microsoft’s color-calibration software.
Unsurprisingly, the VivoBook Flip 14 produced only 69 percent of the sRGB color gamut. That’s somewhat worse compared to the Acer Spin 3’s 70 percent and Lenovo Flex 6’s 71 percent. It really is nowhere near to the mainstream notebook computer category average of 91 percent or the Acer Aspire E 15’s exceptional 159 percent. That’s especially disappointing considering last year’s model produced more than 100 percent.
The VivoBook Flip 14 doesn’t get very bright, either. It reached a maximum brightness of 221 nits, which is merely short of both Acer Spin 3’s score (226 nits) and the mainstream notebook average (231 nits). The Lenovo Flex 6 (206 nits) and last year’s Acer Aspire E 15 (215 nits) were even dimmer. The display also looks faded when viewed from an angle, and its own glossy finish is quite reflective.
I didn’t have any problems tapping on the touchscreen to navigate the net or draw pictures using the SketchBook app.
Keyboard and Touchpad
I wouldn’t want to create a written report using the VivoBook Flip 14’s island-style keyboard. The keys are on the tiny side, plus they feel soft and mushy when pressed. At 1 millimeter, key travel is short of our minimum 1.5mm preference. I came across myself frequently bottoming out, a distressing situation where your fingers hit the bottom after you have fully depressed the keys. I also wish the keyboard were backlit.
As the keyboard isn’t comfortable to use for long sessions, its low actuation force of 61 grams helped me complete the 10fastfingers.com typing test at 109 words each and every minute with an accuracy of 96 percent. That equals my 109 wpm average and is right around my 95 percent accuracy average.
I had no issues using the touchpad to execute gestures, like pinch-to-zoom or switching to task view with a three-finger swipe up. However, I did so notice hook lag when opening certain features, like Cortana.
The VivoBook 14’s side-firing speakers aren’t notably loud, nonetheless they did an excellent job filling a tiny conference room. When I paid attention to “Lonely Town,” Brandon Flowers’ vocals sounded somewhat distant, however the clarity and separation of the instruments helped reproduce the funky ’80s vibe the Killers’ lead singer was choosing.
The VivoBook did an improved job bringing Drake’s vocals to the forefront when I paid attention to “God’s Plan,” but a extreme insufficient bass drained the song of energy. The VivoBook didn’t redeem itself when I paid attention to the Skrillex remix of Avicii’s “Levels.” The bass sounded such as a cacophony of symbols clashing together rather than a low thud.
With an Intel Core m3-7Y30, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, the VivoBook Flip 14 are designed for basic tasks but buckles under much workload. The notebook computer slowed down drastically when I launched twelve Google Chrome tabs and watched a 1080p YouTube video. Even certain Windows processes, like enabling Cortana or opening the beginning Menu, were delayed.
On the Geekbench 4 efficiency test, the VivoBook Flip 14 scored 5,507. That mark is far behind that of the Core i3-equipped Acer Spin 3 (7,658) and the mainstream notebook average (8,423). However, the Core i3-7100U-equipped Acer E 15 (5,408) and Lenovo Flex 6 (3,072) with a Celeron N4000 CPU scored even lower.
With an Intel Core m3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage, the VivoBook Flip 14 are designed for basic tasks, nonetheless it buckles under much workload.
It took the VivoBook three minutes and 35 seconds to complement 65,000 names with their corresponding addresses inside our Excel macro test. The Acer Spin 3 accomplished the same task in 2:31, and the mainstream notebook computer average is even quicker, at 2:01. The VivoBook did outpace the Lenovo Flex 6, which took a leisurely 5:56.
The VivoBook performed slightly better inside our file-transfer test, duplicating a 4.97GB mixed-media file in 2 minutes and 53 seconds for an interest rate of 29.4 megabytes per second. The Acer Spin 3 took longer to duplicate the files (28.6 MBps), as the Lenovo Flex 6 (35.8 MBps) and Acer Aspire E 15 (36.6 MBps) were a lttle bit quicker. None of the laptops’ scores were anywhere near to the mainstream category average (138.7 MBps).
Given the VivoBook Flip 14’s low-end components, it’s no real surprise that machine took almost one hour to transcode a 4K video to 1080p using the HandBrake app. At a sluggish 52:34, the Flip 14 was substantially slower compared to the Acer Spin 3 (34:59) and the mainstream notebook average (26:37).
The Asus VivoBook Flip 14’s Intel HD Graphics 615 is merely powerful enough to play web-based games or less-demanding titles at lower settings. It ran Dirt 3 at 30 fps, which matches our playability cutoff. The Acer Spin 3 powered the same racing title at 38 fps, as the Lenovo Flex 6 produced an unplayable 14 fps. The mainstream notebook average is 49 fps.
The VivoBook scored a 51,586 on Ice Storm Unlimited, a graphics benchmark test. That’s well short of the Acer Spin 3’s score (70,127) and the mainstream notebook computer average (72,404), but destroys the Lenovo Flex 6’s result (25,678) and even outdoes the Acer Aspire E 15’s showing (49,211).
The VivoBook Flip 14’s battery life is slightly below par. It lasted 7 hours and 23 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, that involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. That’s considerably much better than the Acer Spin 3’s time of just 6 hours. However the Flip 14 was outperformed by the 11-inch Lenovo Flex 6 (9:11) and Acer Aspire E 15 (7:48). The mainstream notebook average is a few momemts longer, at 7:37.
The webcam on the VivoBook Flip 14 is dismal. The image it captured of my face was so out of focus that I wiped the lens thinking it had been smudged. Alas, no amount of cleaning would fix the 640 x 480 selfie cam. Adding salt to the wound, my gray shirt was a deep black, and my face was so dark that it appeared as if I was wearing eyeliner.
The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 remained relatively cool after streaming a full-screen video for quarter-hour at 1080p resolution. The touchpad was a chilly 80.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and the positioning between your G and H keys warmed to 91.5 degrees, which continues to be below our 95-degree comfort threshold. Underneath, however, reached a toasty 105 degrees.
Software and Warranty
The Asus VivoBook Flip 14 is a hotbed for preinstalled software. The 2-in-1’s Windows 10 Home OS includes a folder of Asus utilities, including Hello, Install, Utility, Splendid and WinFlash. Asus Install will automatically update your device with the most recent drivers, while Asus Splendid enables you to change the colour temperature of the display.
Additionally, there are separate Asus programs for adjusting the battery mode, registering the notebook computer and getting special deals on Windows apps. Another app, called MyAsus Service Center, offers you quick access to customer support and instructional videos. Other bloatware taking on limited space for storage includes the McAfee Security iphone app and a Microsoft Office knockoff called WPS Office.
But wait, that isn’t all. Microsoft brings its bloatware to the table. Making an undesired return will be the Candy Crush Saga games and a Netflix app.
Our $449 review unit came built with an Intel Core m3-7Y30 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of eMMC storage. You can double the storage amount for $50 more.
The $449 VivoBook 14 is someone to skip. While it comes with an elegant and flexible design, the 2-in-1 falls short where it matters most. Its 1080p display looks dull and dim, and the weak Core m3 processor struggled to perform multiple tabs inside our testing. A blurry webcam and uncomfortable keyboard don’t help the reason, either. Ultimately, we expect more, even as of this price.