ASUS has been pushing out boundaries in their premium segment but with the launch of the world’s smallest 14-inch laptop – ASUS VivoBook 14 X412, the company has overthrown the stereotypical budget-end segment. Well, we have tested it for over well over a week now, so, here’s our comprehensive review of VivoBook 14 X412.
ASUS VivoBook 14 X412FA: The Introduction!
The main attraction of VivoBook 14 X412 is its overall compact design, mid-range hardware, and comes under budget. Coming to X412, there are three variants of VivoBook 14 X412;
- Intel Core i3-7020U CPU + 4GB of RAM + 256GB SSD (base variant)
- Intel Core i5-8265U CPU + 8GB RAM + 512GB SSD (mid variant)
- Intel Core i5-8265U CPU + NVIDIA GeForce MX230 + 8GB RAM + 512GB SSD (top-end variant)
We got to review the mid variant i.e Core i5-8265U CPU, coupled with 8GB RAM, paired with 512GB SSD storage, runs on Windows Home and is backed by a 2-cell 37Wh battery.
- 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080p) NanoEdge LCD display
- Intel Core i5-8265U
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- 512GB PCIe G3X2 SSD storage
- Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 5.0
- Windows 10 Home
- 2-Cell 37Wh battery
- Dimensions: 5.7 x 8.8 x 11.4 mm; Weight: 1.5kg
ASUS VivoBook 14 X412FA: Build And Design
The VivoBook 14 X412 comes with a matte plastic design for its top cover and its base panel. As proclaimed the laptop is really small and compact. The display (as we have seen is ZenBook’s) is chiseled with the most area covering with the display i.e 87-percent screen-to-body ratio. The screen’s bezels are in matte black and rest all is in monotone.
Although the laptop doesn’t look rigid but can take handle day-to-day baffle. We have encountered a good amount of flex across the entire width of the display and on the keyboard area. Speaking of the keyboard area, the area around it gets a dotted finish for an extra push in the character.
The near-frameless four-sided NanoEdge design makes the visuals more immersive and less distractive. Much like the recent ZenBook’s, this one too comes with ErgoLift hinge, that provides you with comfortable typing, improves cooling and audio performance.
The VivoBook 14 X412 offers good amount of connectivity options. On the left side of its body, there’s a round-pin power port for charging, a full-size HDMI port, a USB-A 3.1 port, a USB-C 3.1 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack for headsets. While on the right-hand side, we have a Kensington lock slot, USB-A 2.0 port, couple of LED indicators and a microSD card slot.
The company resisted adding a full-sized SD card for ease of workflow. And adding another USB-A 3.1 port would have been better but most mainstream laptop users shouldn’t have a reason to complain about the two. The laptop also features a fingerprint scanner on the top right corner of its touchpad for faster and safer unlocking through Windows Hello.
ASUS VivoBook 14 X412FA: Display
The VivoBook 14 X412 packs in a 14-inch Full HD LCD display with minimal bezels i.e 87% screen-to-body ratio and 178-degree viewing angle. As this is an LCD panel, it doesn’t support a full range of sRGB color gamut, but it was still capable of reproducing 59 percent of the colors in the sRGB color space and 43 percent of the colors in the Adobe RGB color space.
No matter what, the colors on the display look mostly washed out and whitish whether you’re browsing on the web, watching a video, or playing a game. The display is also coated with a matte finish that reduces most of the glare that falls on it making it legible for indoor and outdoor use.
ASUS VivoBook 14 X412FA: Keyboard, Mouse, Audio & Webcam
The typing experience on this laptop was excellent. In fact, the tactile feedback with a relatively shallow 1.3 mm backlit keys. The keys are well spaced out, however, there was no Numpad on it. The Delete key is placed adjacent to the power button, which could lead to unintended sleep and hibernate.
Furthermore, the hinge design comes into play here as it raises up the keyboard platform by 2-degrees and the hands fall naturally in place for typing away. Overall the keyboard on X412 is satisfying and can be treated a good to go.
Coming to the trackpad, it is made of plastic, but is enough smooth for gestures to be effective. The clicks on this are quite good, and thanks to Microsoft’s Windows Precision Drivers, the accuracy and the gestures works really well.
The trackpad also has a capacitive fingerprint sensor which you can use to log into the machine (under Windows Hello). Overall, the sensor worked really well.
The dual down-firing SonicMaster speaker on the VivoBook X412 is underwhelming. For the most part, the audio felt blunt and flat at max volume. Speaking of max volume, the speakers weren’t too loud, you’re better off getting a Bluetooth speaker or headphones. Well, the laptop comes with an HD webcam that gives out a realistic experience with colors.
ASUS VivoBook 14 X412FA: Performance
The unit we received for review was powered by an Intel Core i5-8265U (clocked at 1.60GHz), coupled 8GB of RAM, paired with 512GB Intel 660P Series PCIe NVMe solid-state drive. On GeekBench, the VivoBook 14 scored 2093 (single-core) and 8726 (multi-core). We ran 3DMark’s Sky Diver test which gave it a score of 7529. The sequential read and write speeds tested through CrystalDiskMark6 were 1833.6 MB/s and 990.9 MB/s respectively.
According to CrystalDiskMark, the Intel solid-state drive chip inside scored 1620.2 MB/s and 950.1 MB/s on sequential read and write tests respectively. That said, in real conditions, the performance was arguably good.
Switching between the tasks was buttery smooth. I have used this machine to type a lot, minor photo editing, and YouTube/movies. If you’re into the creative field, this laptop will be able to run Adobe’s editing applications like Lightroom and Photoshop. Overall, the performance is sweet.
ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434: Battery And Heat
The Vivobook X412 runs on a 2-cell 37watt-hour battery. In our daily usage with streaming videos on Netflix/YouTube, running Chrome (4-6 tabs opened) and slight documentation with 70-80% brightness, the battery lasted us around 5 hours 45 minutes on average, which is respectable. While the charging from 11 percent to 100 took nearly 2 hours 10 minutes on average.
Coming to the heat management, the VivoBook X412 uses a blower-style cooling method, opposed to the regular cooling solution which requires heat pipes to work with the heat sink in order for the fan to bring down the temperature. There are vents in the chassis of the laptop for air intake through the fan which then gets circulated across the internals to lower down the heat.
- Well designed
- Reliable fingerprint sensor
- Ultra-Portable for a 14-inch laptop
- The lid and keyboard area has a lot of flex
- Lack of full-sized SD card slot
- Below average speakers
The ASUS Vivobook X412 is a well-designed laptop that fits itself in different scenarios and different needs. As said earlier, if you want a laptop to browse, document and watch movies, you won’t go wrong with this one, especially when it is priced;