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Asus VivoBook E403SA-US21

Introduction, Design Features

What do we design when we consider of an under-$400 laptop? If you’re meditative of a chunky-plastic vessel anchor, you’re not alone.

But a folks during Asus had something opposite in mind when they envisioned a Asus VivoBook E403SA: a thin, light appurtenance with upscale touches that confute a $399 price. Yes, corners have been cut somewhere, namely in a choice of processor and in a storage scheme. But for simple computing needs, a VivoBook E403SA will some-more than suffice, and it will demeanour good doing it.

The things that set a VivoBook E403SA detached from other budget-priced laptops are a distance and a company’s choice of materials. Instead of a textured-plastic shell, a lid and a keyboard rug are brushed aluminum, that gives a appurtenance a neat coming suggestive of a company’s upmarket ZenBook line.

Now granted, a aluminum tends to get fingerprint-streaked when touched, as we can see above. And where a Asus ZenBooks tend to be all aluminum, a bottom of a VivoBook E403SA is high-impact plastic, a required concede to strike a cost target.

Still, that trade-off does not seem to have influenced a VivoBook E403SA when it comes to distance and weight. The appurtenance is usually 0.7 in. thick and weighs usually 3.3 pounds, creation it among a thinnest, lightest 14-inch laptops during any price.

As with many thin-and-light machines, a E403SA does not offer a user-replaceable battery on a bottom. In fact, a well-spoken underside doesn’t even have any feverishness vents.

The low-voltage processor puts out small feverishness compared to today’s faster CPUs, and a inner blueprint of components was designed to effectively waste what feverishness is generated. In fact, a appurtenance requires no inner fan, that means scarcely wordless operation. Asus also points out that a inner blueprint keeps heat-generating components divided from a palm rest, so that area stays cold and comfortable.

The skinny edges of a VivoBook E403SA house what has turn a standard preference of ports and slots for an ultraportable. The right corner of a appurtenance houses an SD-card slot, a USB 2.0 port, and a Kensington-style cable-lock slot…

An HDMI output, a USB 3.0 port, and a headphone/headset jack reside on a left edge, along with a USB Type-C port…

Long left are Ethernet and VGA connectors, yet that Type-C USB pier is a good hold for a low-cost laptop, even if many of us don’t have any USB Type-C-compatible peripherals to block in utterly yet. (For some-more on USB Type-C, see a authority on USB 3.1, USB Type-C, and Thunderbolt 3, that runs down a sum of these related, rising connectivity options.)


The VivoBook E403SA offers a 14-inch shade that packs full 1080p HD (1,920×1,080) resolution. Note that certain other models in a VivoBook E403 line make do with a 1,366×768 panel, so compensate special courtesy to a sum of a indication numbers as we shop. (We reviewed, specifically, VivoBook indication E403SA-US21.) 

The 1080p fortitude creates for really frail text, nonetheless it’s small during default wizz levels. Indeed, a recommendation in Windows’ Display Settings dialog is to run during 150 percent. The row is really bright, and a LED backlighting of a shade means vivid, well-saturated colors. To keep a cost down, though, Asus opted for a lower-cost, non-IPS panel. The observation honeyed mark is far-reaching side-to-side, yet not so in a straight plane; we have to have a lid open to usually a right angle to equivocate tone shifting. Another cost-cutting magnitude is a miss of a hold screen, so if we like Windows 10’s hold abilities, a VivoBook E403SA is not for you. Then again, we didn’t design hold in this $399 laptop.

The full-size island-style keyboard is ample and offers gentle pivotal spacing…

The key-press transformation is a bit on a squashy side for a tastes, and, as with other ultra-thin machines, a pivotal thrust (the volume of up-and-down travel) feels a small shallow. There’s also no backlighting for a keys, nor any dedicated keys or buttons for oft-accessed functions such as volume and brightness. But all told, it’s a good keyboard for a bill machine, though a flex and inexpensive feel we’ve encountered in many other low-cost models. And a VivoBook E403SA’s hold pad is impressive. No corners cut here: It’s vast and utterly manageable to taps, swipes and other gestures.

Another considerable underline is a sound system. Thin laptops in ubiquitous (and thin, low-cost laptops in particular) tend to have diseased speakers that broach tinny sound. But a VivoBook E403SA’s stereo speakers broach purify sound with no clipping, even during a tip volume level. The audio also has some-more participation than one competence expect, even if a drum response is lacking.

Much reduction impressive, though, is a Webcam. Topping out during usually 640×480 resolution, a VGA (yes, VGA!) picture peculiarity is suggestive of an early Webcam, from a time when people were tender we could broadcast a video picture during all. Images demeanour grainy, with bad detail, colors seem cleared out, and any transformation causes suit blur. Considering how critical video communication is these days, we approaching a small some-more propensity to be practical to this component. (Maybe Asus is reckoning many people would usually use their smartphones for video chats.)

Another strike opposite a VivoBook E403SA’s componentry is a default of onboard storage. We’re happy to see that a bill appurtenance includes all-flash storage, yet bear in mind that this is not a loyal solid-state expostulate (SSD) here, yet eMMC peep memory, that tends to be slower. Flash is cool to crashes caused by drops and bumps of a laptop, distinct a tough drive, yet a ability tops out during 128GB (and some E403SA models have usually 32GB or 64GB helpings, so again, demeanour delicately during your indication numbers).

Clearly, a normal spinning tough expostulate would have thrown off a whole feng shui of a interior, requiring some-more room, cooling, startle protection, and so on, and so thickness. But 128GB gets consumed flattering fast these days. To assistance equivalent this shortcoming, Asus offers 500GB of online storage giveaway for dual years.

Rounding out a underline set are 802.11b/g/n (notably, not 802.11ac) and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity.

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