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Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip review: a value-first laptop

asus vivobook s 14 flip review plus featured
Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip
MSRP $690.00
“Its display aside, the Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip is a very solid laptop for the price.”
Pros
  • Decent productivity performance
  • Good battery life
  • Solid built quality for the price
  • Touch and pen support
  • LED numeric keypad
Cons
  • Display has poor colors
  • Too expensive in higher end configuration
  • Keyboard is a little harsh

Laptops have gotten expensive in recent years, especially with many cheaper models being sold out last year.

At $690, though, the Vivobook S 14 Flip is a breath of fresh air in the world of budget laptops. For the most part, the Vivobook S 14 Flip manages to balance price, quality, and performance, making it a reasonable value in an increasingly competitive market. The disappointing display aside, the Vivobook S 14 Flip has a lot to offer for its price.

Specs

  Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip
Dimensions 12.33 inches x 8.96 inches x 0.74 inches
Weight 3.31 pounds
Processor AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
Graphics AMD Radeon Graphics
RAM 8GB DDR4
16GB DDR4
Display 14-inch 16:10 WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) IPS touch
Storage 512GB PCIe 3.0 SSD
1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Touch Yes
Ports 1 x USB-A 2.0
1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
Wireless Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
Webcam 1080p
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 50 watt-hours
Price $690+

I know of two configurations of the Vivobook S 14 Flip that are available. There’s the $690 review unit configuration that I tested, which comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 14-inch WUXGA IPS display.

Then you’ll spend $1,100 to bump to an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. That places the laptop either in budget or mid-range territory, depending on the configuration.

Inexpensive doesn’t have to mean cheap

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Let’s get this one out of the way: The Vivobook S 14 Flip is constructed in part of plastic, specifically the chassis, while the lid is metal. While plastic is sometimes associated with cheap, that’s an unfair characterization. The Vivobook S 14 Flip is solid enough for a budget laptop, with just the slightest bending of the lid and flexing in the keyboard deck. If this were a $1,500 laptop, then I’d have more of an issue with the build quality.

But, it’s not. Note that I’d feel a little less confident about the $1,000 configuration. In addition, the hinge is too tight to open with one hand, but it does hold the display firmly in place in clamshell, tent, media, and tablet modes. Most truly premium laptops have smoother hinges.

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip tent mode hinge.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The overall aesthetic is minimalist, but that’s not an attribute of budget laptops. In fact, in previous years, budget machines were often kitted out with tons of plastic “chrome” that made them garish and cheap looking. The Vivobook S 14 Flip is a uniform blue color with the line’s new logo on the lid and no embellishments other than chrome hinges. The single, slightly weird standout feature is a striped pattern running along the bottom of the Enter key.

Still, I have no complaints about the Vivobook’s appearance, and it’s not much different from last year’s Vivobook Flip 14. The laptop is reasonably thin at 0.74 inches and weighs 3.3 pounds.

Interestingly, the Vivobook S 14 Flip is one of a handful of Asus laptops that incorporate the company’s Antibacterial Guard technology. That’s a coating throughout the laptop that inhibits the growth of 99% of bacteria, making the laptop less likely to spread disease. It doesn’t protect against COVID-19 and other viruses, but for the usual day-to-day bacteria that usually coat electronic devices, it’s welcome. And it’s a nice feature for a budget machine.

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The keyboard is spacious with large enough keycaps, and its switch mechanism has plenty of depth with a light feel. There’s a confident click midway through a keystroke, but the bottoming action is harsh. It’s not as good a keyboard as you’ll find on premium laptops like HP’s Spectre and Dell’s XPS lines, but it’s better than some other budget offerings. The touchpad is wide and spacious with a smooth surface and firm clicks that are just a tad too loud.

In a nod to the “S” designation in the laptop’s name, Asus included its NumberPad 2.0 technology that embeds an LED numeric keypad in the touchpad that can be easily switched on and off. If you enter a lot of numeric data, then you’ll love it, and if you don’t, then you can just switch it off and forget it’s there.

But it’s not something you typically find on a $690 laptop. Finally, the display is touch-enabled and supports the active Asus Pen 2.0 (not included) with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and USB-C charging, another surprise given the price.

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip top down view showing numeric LED keypad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The webcam is Full HD, while some newer premium laptops like the Dell XPS 13 Plus are still stuck on 720p. It incorporates Asus’s 3D noise reduction technology and provides a great image with plenty of detail in all kinds of lighting conditions. The resolution alone, though, is excellent for a laptop of this price. A physical shutter, meanwhile, provides peace of mind regarding privacy.

There’s no infrared camera for Windows 11 passwordless login support; instead, Asus incorporated a reliable fingerprint reader in the power button, the perfect location.

Finally, connectivity is solid. There’s a single USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port (no Thunderbolt 4 given the AMD chipset), a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a USB-A 2.0 port, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. Power is provided by a propriety connection running at 90 watts, leaving the USB-C port available for connectivity. Wireless connectivity is a step behind with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

Inexpensive also doesn’t have to mean slow or short-lived

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip rear view showing lid and logo.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

My review unit was equipped with the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, a six-core/12-thread CPU running at up to 4.2GHz with a default 45-watt TDP that’s configurable between 35 and 54 watts. On paper, the CPU should provide solid productivity performance.

In our benchmarks, the Vivobook S 14 Flip does well against the slower Vivobook Flip 14 AMD and the VAIO Fe 14.1 with a 15-watt Core i7-1255U. It can’t keep up with the 28-watt Core i7-1260P. Interestingly, the Ryzen 5 5600H was fast in Cinebench R23 multi-core while slower in Geekbench 5 and our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265. It also did well in the PCMark 10 Completely benchmark that tests a variety of productivity, multimedia, and creative tasks.

Overall, as expected, the Vivobook S 14 Flip was a solid productivity performer but isn’t going to be very well-suited for more than lightweight creative tasks. Its Radeon graphics scored unusually low in the 3DMark Time Spy graphics test, at just 727 and about half of what Intel’s Iris Xe graphics achieve. The laptop hit just seven frames per second (fps) in Fortnite at 1200p and epic graphics — poor by any standard.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
PCMark 10
Complete
Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip
(Ryzen 5 5600H)
Bal: 1,132 / 4,833
Perf: 1,333 / 5,060
Bal: 152
Perf: 159
Bal: 1,370 / 8,630
Perf: 1,367 / 8,861
5,537
Asus Vivobook Flip 14
(Ryzen 5 5500H)
Bal: 1,102 / 5,432
Perf: N/A
Bal: N/A
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,180 / 7,579
Perf: N/A
5,191
VAIO FE 14.1
(Core i7-1255U)
Bal: 1,682 / 5,167
Perf: N/A
Bal: 208
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,562 / 5,045
Perf:
4,895
Acer Swift 3
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,708 / 10,442
Perf: 1,694 / 10,382
Bal: 100
Perf: 98
Bal: 1,735 / 9,756
Perf: 1,779 / 10,165
5,545
Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
Bal: 1,417 / 6,854
Perf: 1,404 / 7,223
Bal: 112
Perf: 111
Bal: 1,402 / 8,682
Perf: 1,409 / 8,860
5,647

Battery life is important here, too, as it’s a characteristic that old-school budget machines once compromised. The Vivobook S 14 Flip does well enough, though.

With its 50 watt-hour battery (a 70 watt-hour version comes with the OLED display configuration), the Vivobook S 14 Flip did well in our web browsing test, leading our comparison group. It fell behind in our video test but still managed an average score. Overall, the Vivobook S 14 Flip can likely manage a full day’s work with a light enough productivity workload. Like some other AMD systems I’ve reviewed, it was unable to complete the PCMark 10 Applications battery test that’s the best indication of productivity battery life.

Web browsing Video
Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip
(Ryzen 5 5600H)
10 hours, 15 minutes 10 hours, 53 minutes
Asus Vivobook Flip 14
(Ryzen 5 5500H)
9 hours, 1 minute 12 hours, 7 minutes
VAIO FE 14.1
(Core i7-1255U)
7 hours, 14 minutes 11 hours, 57 minutes
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(Core i7-1255U)
6 hours, 42 minutes 10 hours, 6 minutes
 Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 6800U)
8 hours, 4 minutes 13 hours, 13 minutes

A very budget display

Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip front view showing display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

So, where did Asus cut a corner to slip into such a low price? Arguably, the display qualifies. While it was bright enough at 321 nits, exceeding our 300-nit standard, and its contrast was good at 1,230:1, its colors were narrow and not terribly accurate.

It shared similar results with the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 while falling well behind contemporary premium and midrange display standards. You definitely don’t want to do any photo editing or design work on this laptop — at least not without connecting to a better premium monitor.

Brightness
(nits)
Contrast sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(lower is better)
Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip
(IPS)
321 1,230:1 64 48 3.14
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
(IPS)
288 1,330:1 64 48 3.35
Acer Swift 3 OLED
(OLED)
439 31,380:1 100% 97% 1.31
HP Pavilion Plus 14
(OLED)
398 27,830:1 100% 95% 0.78
Acer Swift 3
(IPS)
368 1,330:1 98% 75% 1.51

Audio was just okay, with two downward-firing speakers providing adequate volume and clear enough mids and highs. Bass was lacking, though, meaning you’ll want a good pair of headphones for binging Netflix and listening to music.

A solid budget alternative with the right configuration

At a price of $690, the Asus Vivobook S 14 Flip is an attractive laptop with solid if not spectacular performance, good battery life, and a solid enough build. Its display lacks colors, which is the laptop’s primary weakness. That’s not unusual at these prices, though — even today.

Jump up to the $1,000 configuration, though, and you’re competing more directly with laptops like the HP Pavilion Plus 14 and the Acer Swift 3 OLED that have spectacular displays and stronger performance. So, pick the low-end configuration and enjoy a solid value.

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