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Asus VivoBook

Ardjuna Seghers

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Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook
  • Asus VivoBook

Summary

Key Features

  • 11.6-inch and 14-inch glass touch screens
  • Dual core Pentium – Core i7
  • 4GB of RAM, 500GB HDD
  • Aluminium unibody chassis with soft-touch base
  • Manufacturer: Asus
  • Review Price: £399.00

Forget the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina, Asus’ VivoBook could well be the new ultraportable line to get excited about. Get this: the affordable VivoBook sports a smooth, unibody aluminium base chassis with build quality to match its own premium Zenbook line and indeed Apple’s MacBook laptops. The lid is brushed black aluminium. It offers touch, which is essential to its Windows 8 OS, and it all hums along on a third-gen Intel processor with 4GB of RAM and HDD or hybrid SSD storage. What makes this superbly build and great-looking laptop family truly amazing is that the basic 11.6-inch model starts at a mere £399…

Read our full Windows 8 review here

Yes, under £400 will get you an ultraportable laptop in 11.6 or 14inches, one that easily looks like £1,000 and sports the kind of specifications you’ll find on many £600-£700 Windows 8 touch machines. You even get generous connectivity, with USB 3.0, HDMI and a card reader among others. It’s almost too good to be true, so did Asus cut any essential corners?

Check out our Asus Vivo Tab hands-on

Asus VivoBook 4

Asus VivoBook Design and Build Quality

This laptop is, in a word, gorgeous. It’s just so difficult to believe we’re talking about a budget laptop with the VivoBook. The brushed metal lid looks and feels great, though it does pick up the occasional fingerprint.

The keyboard surround and sides of the base are solid metal with a smooth, silver finish, easily on a level with premium laptops and far superior to other ‘affordable’ slim laptops and Ultrabooks like the Sony VAIO T13. It’s not just attractive, but also feels absolutely brick-like in its solidity.

Asus VivoBook

Cleverly, the bottom of the Asus VivoBook is coated in a soft-touch plastic that provides a superb grip when carrying this Ultraportable around and ensures it will never slip off your lap. This is the kind of thoughtful design that should be obligatory from every laptop manufacturer, and even Apple’s lovely laptops could take a leaf out of Asus’ book.

The screen is protected by a glass layer that extends across the black bezel to make this an ‘edgeless’ display, which protects it from enthusiastic touches and looks pretty great too, though it does cause the inevitable reflections.

Asus VivoBook 7

The only obvious ‘downside’ to the VivoBook’s design is that it’s a little thicker than the latest Ultrabooks at 21.7mm for the 11.6-inch model, but this avoids sharp edges, ensures good cooling and gives its ports plenty of room. Its weight is also perfectly acceptable at 1.3kg.

Asus VivoBook Connectivity

Connectivity is pretty generous for a laptop this affordable. Along the left you’ll find a slim non-Gigabit Ethernet jack, full-size HDMI, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and a Kensington lock slot.

Asus VivoBook 2

To the right we have an SD card reader, headphone/microphone combi jack, second USB 2.0 port and a good old VGA connector for those that still use displays without a digital input. Wi-Fi N is on hand for wireless connectivity.

Asus VivoBook Usability and Touch

The keyboard with its well-spaced black chiclet keys is reminiscent of that found on the Zenbook, though there’s just a bit more travel. So while feedback is still on the shallow side, it’s perfectly usable and typing is both accurate and comfortable. Naturally there’s no backlighting, a feature that laptops at twice the price also omit.

Asus VivoBook 5

The trackpad is huge, much bigger than you would expect on the 11.6-inch model. In fact, on the smaller VivoBook it’s still larger than those found on many 13-inch laptops. It’s also impressively responsive and its integrated buttons offer a nice click. Of course there’s full support for Windows 8’s multi-touch gestures too.

Asus VivoBook 8

As we said in our Windows 8 review, Microsoft’s latest OS really needs touch to get the most out of it, so it’s a good thing that the Asus VivoBook range sport multi-point touchscreens. We found these to be as accurate and responsive as the best of the rest, with the glass surface providing a smooth experience.

cliche

October 24, 2012, 10:26 pm

any ETA on this ? We messaged regarding the Eurocom 11.6 laptop previously
http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

and was intrigued enough to wait for the new set of touch Win8 laptops.
This is good value enough for me to consider jettisoning the gaming capability depending on battery life and if I can add my own SSD to the mix

cliche

October 24, 2012, 10:29 pm

update - I've just found it in stock at Comet

http://www.comet.co.uk/p/Lapto...

M. Long

October 25, 2012, 3:35 am

Damn, I want one! Shame we're not getting the SSD in the UK though. (Is the battery replaceable, by the way?)

Jedibeeftrix

October 25, 2012, 1:39 pm

i like it, i really do, but:

1. Why on earth put an enormous VGA port on it?
2. Wouldn't it be lovely if there was an option for a 25W AMD Trinity A10 chip?

TechVegan

October 26, 2012, 12:20 am

Thanks @Cliche for finding the answer, today was a little hectic so I'm late answering comments.

@M. Long:
That's the base model, maybe it will make its way into higher specs - also, it's not a pure SSD in the US model.

Re the battery, not really, though if you had a screwdriver to hand...

@Jedibeeftrix:
1. Some people still own VGA-only monitors, sad but true.
2. It would indeed - who knows what a few months on might bring though?

phred

October 26, 2012, 4:37 am

These cos. make good products that sell for less than Apple's laptops,have glossy colored ads that make the product look good,but the service is terrible.Wait a long time to speak to someone who speaks with an accent that is hard to understand.Why doesn't anyone ,as far as I know, talk about service?

junl64

October 28, 2012, 4:44 pm

It looks nice but it's disappointing that now that it's released, it's not the £399 price the reveiw states it would be. The cheapest I've seen for the base model with the Pentium is £442 at Pixmania.

professordes

October 29, 2012, 12:04 am

I picked up the i3 version a couple of days ago at Comet. It is indeed a very nice little machine for the price. Two caveats however:

1) battery life is pretty indifferent "up to 5 hours" is probably 3-4 hours in real life

2) a major annoyance - the cooling fan kicks in on startup and runs constantly so the machine is pretty noisy compared with any other laptop I have. I was wondering if this was perhaps a BIOS issue, but there are no updates available (yet) for download. The fan is churning away whatever power profile is chosen in Windows 8. I also tried running Ubuntu on it out of curiosity. It works well, but the fan is still annoyingly active.

professordes

October 29, 2012, 12:26 am

aha - I found a BIOS update (205) and it is quite a bit quieter with this.....

federer

October 29, 2012, 6:08 pm

please let us know if it improves. i was thinking of buying the i3 version ???

professordes

October 30, 2012, 1:46 pm

My i3 version is definitely quieter after the 205 BIOS update - I don't think it is my imagination...

Other thoughts after a couple of days' use:

The keyboard is very usable

The touchpad, while not quite up to Apple standards, functions well enough

Windows 8 makes much more sense with a touchscreen

Battery life is fair to middling at best

For the price the build quality is amazing, actually for any price.

Good connectivity, especially compared with some much more expensive ultrabooks.

The screen is pretty decent for colours/visibility

I actually use the enormous vga port :)

TechVegan

October 31, 2012, 4:04 pm

@professordes:
Thanks for your great contributions!
These are the kind of useful comments we love to see most :)
Glad your findings gell with my experience of the device. Interesting about the BIOS update too.

Indeed, build quality/design is simply stunning - not sure how Asus managed it at this price point...

"I actually use the enormous vga port :)" LOL, good for you.
Is that because you have a VGA-only monitor or one where you are already using the HDMI port? And if so, have you considered a £12-ish HDMI splitter?

cp5921

November 2, 2012, 6:13 am

Would you be able to post where you got the bios update? I have been looking around for it and havnt been able to see anything from the ASUS website. Thanks

professordes

November 7, 2012, 3:32 pm

It's a bit obscure finding the BIOS update download - it doesn't link off the main product page. This is where I stumbled across it:

http://support.asus.com/Downlo...

Choose Windows 8 64bit on the OS pulldown, then the BIOS is listed (as is the BIOS flash ultility)

professordes

November 7, 2012, 3:33 pm

Re: HDMI splitter
- The fewer dongles I have to lose the better :)

VGA out is useful for projectors for lectures and seminars still.

TechVegan

November 9, 2012, 8:02 pm

True beans :)

On VGA, indeed, and it's still dominant in many business environments.

Thanks again for your engagement.

MarkTMorgan

November 30, 2012, 7:29 pm

I picked mine p today from Comet and got 20%off so bought the purchase price down to £359.99, an offer oo ood to miss on such a highly rated Windows 8 notebook with a touchscreen :O) Well chuffed!!

Two questions:

1) Can you purchase an upgraded battery in the UK for this?
2) Can anyone recommend a good carry case that's a snug fit nd not too feminine?

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