ASUS seems to be in some sort of marathon with itself (and other competitors) when it comes to the number of laptop launches this year. While it definitely is one of the top players in the game, the sheer number of products in its portfolio this year is mind-boggling! Slated as the latest everyday charmer, the ASUS Vivobook 14 OLED has been on my workstation for sometime now and here is how it fares.
The first thing that stands out is the redesigned Vivobook, a stylish striped icon alongside the brand name. Built with unibody polycarbonate chassis, the unit surprisingly neither looks nor feels too plasticky. I like the matte finish on the laptop, which not only lends it an air of a professional laptop but also feels great to rest my palms on while typing. The travel on the keys is nothing out of the ordinary, and the keyboard is well laid out, with ample space along both sides of the trackpad. As has been the case with many of the ASUS laptops launched this year, the Vivobook 14 too is a fairly lightweight companion. It weighs just above 1.5 kgs making it easy to lug it around when I take the metro to work.
The one winning feature that ASUS has been integrating in many of its laptops is the Pantone-validated OLED display. This one is 14-inches across and makes other LCD-display laptops look like they should take a time travel shuttle back to 2008. Coupled with a refresh rate of upto 90 Hz on the system, the ASUS Vivobook 14 offers a pretty decent gaming experience. However, the company states that to activate the Intel Iris Xe functionality, a second RAM stick needs to be in place, which is not the case out-of-the-box. This takes away from the Vivobook 14 OLED being a go-to option for gaming.
The Ergolift hinge is familiar with its ability to be pushed back all the way to lay flush with the keyboard, say on a worktable. Considering this isn’t a touchscreen, I can’t take notes directly on the horizontal screen or space out and doodle in the middle of a meeting, so it makes me think this is more of a gimmick than a feature that offers some functional use.
Tuning in to the rather creepy new drama ‘1899’ about a ship full of migrants who’re heading to start their lives afresh in New York City, chance upon another ship believed to be lost in the high seas. The speakers on this set are good enough but definitely don’t match up to ASUS’ other higher-end Zenbooks. The sound thankfully doesn’t get distorted much at max volume levels but in terms of timbre, there’s a feeling that something’s missing. I like the fact that the webcam comes with a physical camera shutter. However, the video quality on the webcam is disappointing with how grainy it is.
The noise cancellation on the system microphone works brilliantly well. In online meetings, it manages to deliver my voice clearly, as I try it out without a headset. When I record my voice with a fair bit of noise around me, I play it back to hear almost none of the ambient noise - just myself, loud and clear.
The unit I reviewed runs on a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U, although there’s a more affordable Intel i3 variant available as well. Mine had 16 GB RAM and ample connectivity options. ASUS has included an HDMI port, a headphone jack, one USB Type-C port, one USB 2.0 port, and two USB 3.2 ports. The 65 W charge is the standard size that ASUS issues and it took the laptop a little more than 1.5 hours to charge after being completely drained. It had charged up to 50 percent in 45 minutes of plugging in.
One thing I like about the laptop is that it’s yet another step towards making an OLED laptop available at a lower price segment that we’ve had access to in the past. While the ASUS Vivobook 14 OLED does impress with its display and form factor, there’s little else that’s not been seen before, making this a choice that does not really leave a lasting impression. If you’re looking for a laptop for non-intensive work, and to enjoy multimedia on a good display, this one might be a good fit, but there’s not much else alluring beyond it.
Pros - Good display, lightweight