Review : Asus VivoBook 14″ E403S

Asus VivoBook E403S Notebook Review

Asus VivoBook E403S

 

Price £280 as of March 2016

Specs:
Intel Pentium N3700 Quad Core ‘up to’ 2.4 GHz
2GB DDR3L 1600 MHz SDRAM
32gGB SSD Drive
14″ ‘Auto HD’ Display (1366×768)
Integrated Intel HD Graphics

1xHDMI. 1xUSB 3.0, 1xUSB 2.0, 1xUSB-C, SD Card reader, Audio Jack, WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0.

Full spec sheet here. – Asus.com


If you’re in the market for portable windows machine with a bit more kick then a 2-in-1 tablet but not too fussed about touchscreen, this may just sway you back to a fixed hinged notebook. Other advantages is a fullsize notebook keyboard which is alot better to type on then a compacted 2-in-1.

Power
With an impressive battery capacity rated for up to 14 hours of chargerless usage, this laptop could last you all day un-tethered to a charging wire. The charger on its own is small and compact and very portable to carry, just in case! Also noteworthy is the length of the charging lead; it’s ample.

Processor
The Pentium N3700 quad core processor is definitely a viable option compared with some of the fastest 2-in-1 tablets, punching above the high end Atom x5-Z8500’s weight in benchmarks.

Ram
This particular model has 2GB RAM, and running Windows 10 Home 64bit can be a bit of a struggle mainly because of the sheer amount of bloatware that arrived with this device, severely limiting the hardware’s potential which is a great shame for a good looking product.
*After some research, it seems unlikely to preform a ram upgrade, as it is located on the logic board itself.

HDD
This particular model ships with a 32GB built in SSD but there is a 64GB model available too.
Now, the OS takes alot of that space up, however one could argue that the bloatware takes up the majority of it. This model shipped with 250GB free cloud storage for 2 years which is plenty for textfiles and the like, however you may need to take advantage of the USB3.0 slot if you are to bring games and media files along with you (which isn’t too much of a problem nowadays)
*Again, research suggests that this isn’t an upgrade-able component

Screen
As a notebook, it doesn’t have a touch screen display and probably with battery economy in mind, the screen has been spared of a nice high def display isn’t too dis-similar to my old fullsize laptop display from 2006.
The colour is also quite wishy washy and would be nice if you could turn up the saturation sometimes.
However it is surprisingly sharp and can really shine when you turn up the brightness.

Keyboard
The Keys have a nice feel to them, but a tad noisey with a tinny outburst on keypress. There is alot of room on the keyboard and would be difficult to press another key by mistake. They feel quite solid and I can’t see one going missing anytime soon.

The touchpad is a different animal entirely, with very good responsiveness and a large surface area. It ships with Asus gesture input software with loads of useful combinations, some of which I’m getting used too. It has left and right click buttons at the bottom of the pad too, but I do find the buttons a bit on the noisy side.

Sound
The sound is delivered by stereo speakers situated on the underside of the device. A quick flick through some youtube videos gives some impressive sound! They can go quite loud with a nice blend of deep lows and clear highs; I can see that streaming video content would satisfying with this laptop.

Expansion
A combination of USB2.0, USB3.o, USB-C and an SD card slot allows Asus to cover all bases with this device. You are very future proofed and allows for alot of expansion. Not forgetting the fullsize HDMI output on the side. Great job!

Build Quality
The lid is quite thin but is protected well by a brushed metal shell which also matches the keyboard fascia too. It’s quite sturdy with the hinges giving a surprising amount of feedback when opening and closing the lid.
Build quality overall is good, even though the plastic surround of screen has a noticeable gap; probably could do with a clip. For it’s price range, whilst comparing to similar products, this is probably the sturdiest product I’ve handled.


Conculsion
Overall, I’m extremely happy with this product. It allows me to do many functions like a standard computer but with the clear advantages of portability and battery life. With the addition of being able to run linux on this machine, it opens the possibilities of mobile computing again. I would happily recommend this to someone who finds themselves sitting in coffee bars, or even as a cheap laptop to keep near the magazine rack in the lounge, full of features. For the price, you really cannot go wrong!


After-Notes
Upon making a backup of the original system files, I felt happy enough to start removing some of the bloatware and preinstalled software.
After the Third party Antivirus was removed, along with most of the bloatware, I found a noticeable improvement to battery life and system performance. System stability has not been affected, even after installing my own preferred Antivirus. As well as performance increase, I found that I have freed up a size-able amount on the internal hard drive too, which is an added bonus, even though I plan to use my USB as primary storage.
**Do this at your own risk as changes to some or all of the software may void warranty. Hence the backup.

2 Replies to “Review : Asus VivoBook 14″ E403S”

  1. I have one of these and the 32sdd is nowhere near enough. I have been trying to update windows 10 for about 3 three month on and off and no joy. The service centre is next to useless and condescending when they do not know the answer. Stay away Asus they were a great manufacture and I have had several laptops and motherboards but they have let there standards slip. Off to get a HP as helpful when needed.

    1. Yes I agree, the storage is a little short. I managed to update it however, by downloading a copy of Windows10 from Microsoft website on another PC.
      I installed the new installation to an empty USB stick.
      I backed up my files etc on the Asus to different external USB.
      I was then able to boot to the Windows10 installer USB and make a fresh installation to the Asus… E.g. newest W10 version.

      It’s alot of faffing and will probably void warranty… But it seems possible. There are more comprehensive guides out there, that you can follow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.