smartcapture

ASUS Vivobook S14 S406UA full review

ASUS has quite a good line up of laptops with the new series of Vivobook series. One such model ASUS Vivobook S14 S406UA which has balanced features. It is pretty lightweight when compared to normal laptops. Let us check out ASUS Vivobook S14 S406UA full review and find out if its worth the money or not. The model which I received had the i5 processor in it. I used this laptop for roughly around 10-12 days for light gaming, heavy work, watching movies etc.

Front top

ASUS Vivobook S14 S406UA full review:

Design – 7.5/10

The laptop has a brushed aluminum finish plastic body to keep the weight to a minimum. I would not say that this is the best premium design I have ever seen, but it doesn’t look that bad too. The plastic quality is decent enough for the chassis. I am not a fan of the brushed design which is present on the top. Though the matte around the keyboard and the dotted print near the keys looks good. Overall the thickness of the laptop reduces as you go from the top(battery) to bottom(touchpad). There is a slot-like space between hinge bar and laptop base. If you look closely, you will find air vents for cooling. The vent is also present at the bottom and I felt that most of the air escapes from the bottom which might get hot if you keep the machine on the lap. The vent placing could have been improved to avoid heating issues at the bottom. It can be unbearable if it comes in contact with skin or while you are wearing a thin clothing. The touchpad is placed at the center just below the keyboard. It is large enough to operate the laptop properly. Keys are well spaced too and the typing experience was good. The laptop weighs just 1.2 kg and is highly convenient to carry at all times. Overall the design of the laptop is decent enough.

Display – 9/10

Display

When you open the lid you will see that the display has thin bezels on the sides, bit thick on the top and the max on the bottom. The bottom part feels quite thick considering the other sides. As soon as you boot the laptop, you will see that the display is very crisp and clear. ASUS Vivobook S14 S406UA comes with an FHD(1920×1080) 14-inch LED-backlit display. It has an anti-glare coating on the display which does work in sunlight to avoid too much light reflections. The viewing angles on the display are good and the display is bright enough to make it work outdoors. One of the major issues with the display lid is that it wobbles while you keep the machine on the lap by opening it to for more than 90 degrees and start typing. This issue is with the hinge design may be. And the other small factor is the large bezel at the bottom which could have been avoided by making the laptop form factor even small. But that is something you can work with. Overall if we only speak about display then it is pretty good.

Connectivity – 8.5/10

This laptop has pretty much everything if ports are concerned. ASUS Vivobook S14 S406UA has a USB 2.0 port, USB 3.1 type A port, USB type C 3.1 port, micro-HDMI, micro SD card slot, and a 3.5 mm audio jack. It does not have a LAN port given the thickness of the laptop. It has inbuilt Wifi and Bluetooth 4.0 support. The options given for connectivity are sufficient for any normal usage.

Performance – 9/10

ASUS Vivobook is a laptop which is meant for powerful multitasking work and not for gaming as it doesn’t come with a dedicated graphics card from Nvidia or AMD. In terms of processor, it comes in three variants – i3-7100U, i5-8250U, & i7-8550U. I had the i5 processor version which is a quad-core system having a base clock speed of 1.8 GHz and can go up to 3.4 GHz at peak. The machine has 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256/512 GB of SSD storage. Because of the SSD, the performance is quite good along with the operating system boot speed. I tried playing music along with many tabs of Google chrome opened up simultaneously which worked smoothly. It comes with Intel HD/UHD 620 integrated graphics which will help in day to day applications and not particularly meant for heavy gaming. Though I managed to run GTA San Andreas and some other low-graphics game pretty easily. I would say you can try out a few games on this laptop. I had no complaints regarding the laptop performance as such, the only issue was with the heating vents present on the bottom which can get heated up and irritate sometimes. As for the OS, it came with Windows 10 home 64-bit out of the box which worked pretty great.

Below are the results from Geekbench 4 – CPU and Compute Benchmark.

Speaking about the keyboard, the keys are spread out as there is no dedicated numpad. The travel distance is around 1.4mm which gives quite nice typing experience. I enjoyed typing on this chiclet keyboard even at night as it comes with backlit keys which surely does help. The touchpad comes with a fingerprint sensor to unlock the laptop, which works pretty good too. Apart from that, the laptop has an HD 720p webcam for video calling.

Sound – 8/10

ASUS Vivobook S406UA Speaker Grill

ASUS Vivobook S14 S406UA comes with 2W stereo speakers from Harman Kardon along with microphone support. The speakers are placed at the bottom, which is a bad place. If you use it on a flat surface like a desk, then the sound output is maximum. But in case you keep it on lap or bed or on a pillow, the sound will get suppressed. The sound quality is amazing and is very crystal clear. Though I felt that the audio level could have been better to match with something like Macbook. Overall the audio experience for movies and games was decent.

Battery – 8.5/10

ASUS Vivobook S406U rear/bottom

ASUS Vivobook S14 S406UA has a 2 cell 39 Wh battery which lasts for about 6 hrs with normal work usage and 4 hrs with music+power usage. The laptop battery will survive based on your usage. I would say that the battery life is decent and considering that it charges quickly – 60% in 1 hr approx. The power adapter is square in shape and pretty compact to easily carry it along with the laptop.

The laptop is priced at around 46,500 INR for the i3 model, 51,000 INR for the i5 version, and 71,000 INR for the i7 model on Amazon. The machine has 2 years of warranty and is available in Grey and Gold color options.

Verdict

The new ASUS Vivobook S14 S406UA is a laptop that is lightweight, good on performance, has an excellent display and a decent battery life. It is not meant for hardcore gamers but for someone looking to carry it around for multitasking, requiring good performance or to watch movies its a good choice.

laptop battery life

13 Tips to improve laptop battery life

Laptop battery life gets degraded over time mostly due to overcharging and various other factors. Though some of the people may find this as a myth that overcharging affects battery life. Let me tell you that we have performed some tests and it does affect the battery life. Apart from that laptop battery life is the only thing you will rely on when you have to work on the go. I have seen many laptops with a dead battery so they have to be plugged in like PC all the time. So today I will give you some tips to improve laptop battery life. These tips will help you to last longer with the battery you have.

laptop battery life

Tips to improve laptop battery life:

Before starting with the tips let me tell you that every rechargeable battery has a certain number of charge cycles. In simple terms, if your battery has 1000 cycles then you can charge and discharge it only 1000 times. After that, it will not charge or maybe it will hold less current.

1.If possible don’t use your battery

Remove battery

If you have an option of removable battery then I would suggest that you avoid using the battery. I know this may sound like a crazy option but trust me it worked great in my case. That means just plug in the charger and slide the battery out. If you don’t have the issue of power fluctuation then this is the best way to ensure that you don’t waste your battery’s charge cycles. For the first 2-3 years, I practiced this and my battery quality was at excellent(shown by a Sony Vaio utility). But now from the last year, my Laptop is just plugged in all the time and suddenly my battery quality rating is Good. Plus the battery backup has reduced substantially. If you are removing the battery then do ensure that it is not completely empty, charge it till 80% and then keep it aside. You must have seen the laptops showcased at an offline store in malls are often kept without the batteries. Again do it at your own risk, mostly it should not have a negative effect. Also, don’t keep the battery unused for a longer period of time. Plug it in once in a while and use it for some time before removing it again.

2.  Calibrate the battery

Sometimes the electronic circuit inside your battery may miss out some values due to prolonged charging. This happens when you don’t let your laptop battery go low. So first fully charge your battery. Then unplug the laptop charger and fully discharge the battery. Keep it discharged for like 2 hours and then again charge it from 0 to 100%. Voila! This is how you calibrate your battery so that it can hold maximum charge possible. Though I will suggest calibrating your battery once in a while and not frequently as draining the battery to 0% often will also decrease the battery life. So always charge your laptop when your battery percent reaches 30%. Do not let it go below 30%.

3. Reduce the heat

Every battery has a range of operating temperature and batteries do not perform well at high temperatures. So if your laptop is getting heated up continuous, then this will affect your battery life gradually. You need to reduce the heat and to do that make sure that your air vents are not blocked. Always use your laptop on a flat surface and not on the bed or pillow. Clean your CPU fan for dust and make sure you apply the heat sink gel timely. You can refer the video below  on how to clean CPU fan of any laptop and apply heat sink gel.

4. Avoid overcharging the battery

Many people say that this is a myth, but I know that overcharging will kill your battery gradually. If you don’t believe me, then try overcharging your smartphone the whole night for a month and you will get to know the difference. So never keep your charger plugged-in when your battery is fully charged. As soon as the battery is charged, remove the charger and use the battery backup. If you have an option of removable battery then follow the first tip.

Now we will move on to the tips where you can save battery life and last longer on battery backup. This is the case where the utmost priority is to save battery life in order to use it for a longer time.

5. Reduce brightness/Use dark theme

The first thing that most of you will follow is reducing the screen brightness. I can say that screen will consume most of the battery, so the first priority thing to do is reduce the brightness to the minimum. This will save a hell lot of battery. Try to use the dark theme and dark wallpaper which will also help in saving battery.

Reduce screen brightness

6. Disconnect any peripherals

If you have connected any peripherals/accessories which you are not using then remove it – External mouse/keyboard/hard disk etc. They all consume power over the period and will decrease the battery power.

7. Disconnect Wifi/Bluetooth

Disconnect all the wireless connections that are not in use. Switch to ethernet from Wifi if possible as it consumes a lot of battery. Best way is to disable the wifi adapter as it will stop searching for Wifi signals. Also, disable Bluetooth as most of the time we never use it and it is left turned ON.

8. Eject Disc

If you have any CD/DVD inserted in your laptop then remove it after the work is done. Do not keep it inserted as it will use power to rotate the disc at high speed.

9. Reduce the background tasks

Close down all the background tasks that are not in use. There are many applications at the right-hand side of the taskbar which are always running in the background. Make sure you close the unnecessary stuff like torrent client, skype, onedrive/dropbox, any other monitoring utility. Imagine every background task is going through the processor each second for processing and that is consuming power. So multi-tasking is not the greatest way to go with when you have to save the battery.

10. Turn ON the power saving mode

Turn on the power saving mode from the control panel. It will take care of the most of the tips mentioned above. Configure it properly so that it doesn’t affect your normal laptop usage. You can also install additional battery manager software that will help you save and improve battery life.

11. Defragment hard drive

Defragmentation will clear out the dead sectors of the hard drive and will increase the speed of the processing. Things will take less time to load which means low power consumption.

Defragmentation option windows

12. Shift to SSD

Buying an SSD will surely improve the battery life as all the mechanical parts are now removed. In the traditional hard drive, there is a mechanical arm plus the magnetic disc which spins at high speed to read the data. They are at motion continuously eating up all the power which is not the case with the analog components present in the SSD. While this option is a costly one, but it will substantially improve the speed of processing and increase battery life.

13. Buy a second battery

There is always an option to carry an extra battery, again if you have a removable battery option. You can always carry an extra battery with you for more power. Alternatively, if there is a bigger/higher capacity battery available for your laptop then you can go with that.

So these were some tips to improve laptop battery life and sustain longer on the battery backup. Using these tips you can ensure a longer life for your laptop’s battery. Trust me you will thank me one day in the case of emergency when your laptop will not give up on you. If you have any doubts regarding the above tips then do post them in the comment section below. Also, if you have any other tips or different views then also you are welcome to share with the rest of us in the comments.