Customer Review

339 of 349 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Viva VivoBook!, November 3, 2012
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This review is from: ASUS S400CA-DH51 14-Inch TouchScreen Laptop (Personal Computers)
I have been using this laptop for the last few days and my initial impressions are highly positive. I bought it as a gift for my wife but I had to take some time with it before giving it up. She was using an older 17" Dell and was tired of carrying around an 8 pound laptop so I started my search. With Windows 8 coming out I knew I wanted a touch screen and the only model in my price range was this Asus. I have had plenty of experience with Asus motherboards and video cards and they have always been great products so I decided to take the plunge. So far it has been a wise decision.

When I opened the box I was impressed with how thin and light the laptop is. Compared to my Dell XPS 15 this thing is tiny but packs a screen just 1.3" smaller. While it is light weight it still feels very solid in your hands. The laptop weighs about 4.0lbs by my scale. Surprisingly the power brick is tiny as well, measuring about 3"x3"x1" and weighing 1.2lbs. My wife wanted something smaller to carry around and this fits the bill perfectly.

Opening the lid reveals a 14" touch screen with 1366x768 resolution and the keyboard/touchpad combination. The screen is bright and clear and the viewing angles are very good. Love it or hate it Windows 8 is included and having a touchscreen makes it even better. The screen responds well to your touch and the only time I see fingerprints on it is when the screen is off. The top of the laptop however shows more fingerprints than the screen. I was initially concerned with the lower resolution but on this size of screen it works well and my wife actually prefers it over the HD resolution of my Dell as it makes text easier to read.

The laptop has a Chiclet style keyboard that is not backlit. I have read about people having issues with the space bar on other Asus models but it appears to have been resolved because every key has been very responsive. The touchpad works well and supports multi-touch gestures such as pinch to zoom and two finger scrolling. After some use I like the touchpad and buttons. The touchpad and buttons are all one piece with the buttons slightly elevated to provide a click when you press them. You do not have to press very hard on the buttons and they do not feel stiff or mushy. In the center of the buttons is a line to show you left and right. I prefer the touchpad on the Asus over my XPS.

On the left side of the laptop are two USB 2.0 ports, a memory card reader and the microphone/headset jack. On the right side there is 1 USB 3.0 port, a full size HDMI port, a VGA port, an Ethernet jack and the AC jack. There is no optical drive but with high speed memory sticks and the internet I don't see this as a problem. If you really need it there are plenty of small, cheap external drives available.

We have had the laptop for a few days day now and the battery life is very good. Over the first few days we used it quite a bit and only charged it once a day. Tonight I unplugged the laptop from the charger (it was at 93%) and watched Netflix for the next 3 and a half hours and the battery meter says it still has 1 hour or 21% of the battery left. The brightness was set to about 30% for my test. I would guess 4 to 5 hours of battery life will be average.

Sound on this laptop is good but not to the level of my XPS 15. There are two speakers on the bottom of the laptop to the left and right sides, angled to bounce the sound off whatever surface the laptop is sitting on. I cranked up some music and the sound is clear at any volume with no distortion but lacked a little fullness in the low and mid-end. I listen to a lot of music while at work and I certainly would not complain if I had to use this laptop to do it.

The included wireless N adapter has good performance with speeds up to 7 MB/s when transferring files to and from my HTPC in the living room over 40 feet away. It connected to my wireless network right away and reconnects almost instantly when resuming from sleep. The wireless radio only operates on the 2.4mhz band and while Asus' webpage says that Bluetooth is included, I don't believe it is. I can't find anything in Device Manager for Bluetooth Devices.

Performance has been very snappy thanks to the dual core I5 processor and 24gb SSD caching drive. Applications launch quickly and boot times are minimal. Even my wife has noticed how much speedier the computer is than her old one. I have not done any gaming on it yet but will amend my review when I get a chance. I will note that there is some bloatware installed on the machine such as McAfee that you should get rid of as soon as you can. Windows 8 includes Defender by default so why Asus loads McAfee is beyond me. Asus Updater was also showing an error in the desktop when I booted but that cleared up after Windows 8 installed some updates.

Overall this is a fun little computer and using the touchscreen with Windows 8 has proved to be a great experience. This review has been my opinion so far but after finally giving the computer to my wife it doesn't look like I will get it back any time soon. Now that she can play Bingo Blitz with the touchscreen it looks like I will have to get one of my own! She summed it up to me in two enthusiastic words, "It's Fun!" And here I thought this was a work PC...
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Comments

Tracked by 9 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 90 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 4, 2012 10:21:47 AM PST
Art Vandelay says:
@hlfbkd420-
Thanks for your review. Is the wireless card dual band, i.e., both 2.4GHz and 5GHz?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 10:47:17 AM PST
R. Reed says:
Hi, no the radio does not see my 5ghz band. Only the 2.4. Even my XPS only uses 2.4.... Not too many devices have added the 5ghz band and I find it odd.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 11:00:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 4, 2012 11:00:36 AM PST
Art Vandelay says:
That rules this one out then. I have many neighbors in close proximity and their routers transmiting on the 2.4GHz band result in slow internet speed. My 5 GHz speed is excellent so I'll keep looking. Thank you for the quick reply.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 11:59:47 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 4, 2012 12:02:37 PM PST
Ayman says:
Hello!
what's the weight of this machine? Asus website says it's 1.8kg (3.96lbs) but other websites say it's 4.4lbs. I was wondering which one's right.
also, does this have bluetooth? can you also please review the touchpad's clicking? I mean is it really hard to click the clicking buttons like other Asus laptops like G and K series? how would you compare it with the mac touchpad?
Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 12:13:57 PM PST
R. Reed says:
Hello, I will update the review to answer your questions but the weight of the laptop is 4.0lbs on my scale and the power brick weighs 1.2lbs. I have not used a mac so I can't compare but the buttons and touchpad are one unit with the buttons slightly raised to provide a "click" when you press them. I think they are very smooth and feel satisfying. I like them over the buttons on my XPS which require hitting them on side or the other. The Asus feels much better than the precision laptop I just got rid of from 2007. It does not appear to have to built in bluetooth either.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 2:02:11 PM PST
Ayman says:
okay, this is it! I think I'm getting this laptop. The only concern I had was about the weight, but 4 lbs is pretty reasonable for a 14 inch machine. I'll just buy an external bluetooth dongle.
Thanks for the swift response!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 2:24:04 PM PST
R. Reed says:
No problem! I think you are making a good choice considering the only comparable option on Amazon is $100 more for an i3 processor. I can't believe this Asus actually weighs 4lbs because it doesn't feel like it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 4:49:24 PM PST
Ayman says:
oh yes, one thing I forgot to ask. can you review the speakers' audio quality? and I got a little confused when I read about its battery life in your review. Does it really last 7 hours? I mean how much time will it last on mild use (web browsing, some media playing, very low brightness ~25%)?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 5:06:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 4, 2012 5:10:45 PM PST
R. Reed says:
The audio is pretty good. Not sure what music you listen to but Nine Inch Nails Closer sounds pretty good. Maybe a little too much treble but it sounds good for what it is. It has some good volume but the weird thing is the speakers are angled to direct sound off the surface it sits on. No speakers on top. My wife really enjoys the sound.

I will get back to you on battery life. Going to test it now. At the end of 7 hours it had probably seen 3 to 4 hours of use and still had battery left. I am going to loop some youtube and post back here in a few hours..

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2012 10:07:27 PM PST
R. Reed says:
Had more time listening to music and I think it sounds pretty good but not as full as my XPS which does have a built-in subwoofer.

Unplugged the laptop at 93% and ran Netflix for 3.5 hours with the brightness at about 30% and I still has an hour left on the battery. 4 to 5 hours seems accurate unless your gaming or encoding video.
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