• High performance
  • Faster SSD storage
  • Thunderbolt-3 port which also support Display port and power delivery
  • Pretty tactile keyboard
  • Smooth, responsive, and accurate precision-enabled touchpad
  • Pretty solid and sturdy build
  • Lightweight
  • Fingerprint sensor with Windows Hello support
  • Wide viewing angles display
  • No dedicated GPU
  • Average quality camera and microphone
  • No Windows Hello support for camera
  • Fingerprints show up but easy to clean
  • Speakers are below-average loud
  • Display is little below-average brighter
  • Poor screen color gamut
  • Small and very closely placed 4 arrow keys
  • CPU undervolting is found effect whereas a cooling pad is completely useless.
  • Can do
  • Android programming without emulators in parallel
  • Light gaming
  • Web programming
  • Desktop programming
  • Graphics editing
  • Can't do
  • Android programming with emulators in parallel
  • Machine learning
  • Gaming
  • Smooth video editing
Buy at Amazon

Hello, guys. Today, in this article, I am going to review the Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop in detail. In addition to that, I will also compare it with other laptops to give you an idea of what to expect from the same price range laptops. So, let’s get started. But before I begin, read my dedicated article on laptop specs written in easy-to-understand language.

Table of Contents

Furthermore, the review unit that I have received from New Delhi, India, has the following specs.

Technical Specs of Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA Laptop

Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop.
  • CPU: 1.0GHz 4 Core 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 Processor | 6MB cache, 3.6GHz Max.
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics
  • RAM: 3733MHz 8GB LPDDR4X
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD + 32GB Intel Optane Memory
  • Display: 14-inch FHD display | IPS & Anti-glare panel
  • Battery: 72Wh 4 Cell Li-ion battery
  • Wireless connectivity: 802.11ax 2×2 Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Weight: 3lb (1.35kg)
  • Laptop dimensions: 32.3 x 20.8 x 1.7 cms

The Build Quality and Material

All-aluminum build of Asus VivoBook S14 S403Ja laptop.

This Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA is made of all-aluminium. It's pretty solid and sturdy. The aluminium lid has contributed more strength while keeping the weight very low. Overall, A quite impressive solid build this VivoBook does have.

Dimensions and Weight

The dimensions of this HP 14s dr1009tu are 32.3 cms (12.7 inches) in width, 20.8 cms (8.2 inches) in depth, and 1.7 cms (0.7 inches) in height. In addition to that, I have also measured the weight using Propert’s weighing scale. The weight is

  • For laptop only: 1.35 kg (3 lbs)
  • For laptop with charging accessories: 1.6 kg (3.5 lbs)

The purpose to check the laptop’s weight with its charging accessories is to give you an idea about the weight you may need to carry during travelling. When compared to other laptops, it found much lightweight.

Display Quality and Color Reproduction

Size and Quality

The 14-inch FHD IPS display of Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop.

This Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop is coming with a 14-inch Full HD IPS display. And, it has a 60Hz refresh rate. The display is surrounded by a 4.5mm thin bezel which gives you more screen-to-body ratio. It has better viewing angles with a 930:1 contrast ratio, thanks to the IPS display. The contrast ratio for this display is little below-average (1000:1). At thanalysis, we recommend the minimum 1000:1 value for it. Next, see the color gamut of the screen.

Screen Color Reproduction

I have measured the screen color gamut to measure color reproduction efficiency. For that, I have used the Spyder 5 PRO. And the SRGB, AdobeRGB, and NTSC results for this 14-inch IPS display are in the below image.

Screen color gamut of this laptop's display measured by Spyder 5 PRO.

As shown in the above image, the color gamut for this laptop’s display is 66% of SRGB, 39% of AdobeRGB, and 38% of NTSC as produced by Spyder 5 PRO. Honestly, the color gamut result is quite a poor, which makes this laptop useless for professional photo and video editors. However, there are some reasons that they can use it. I will discuss it later in this article.

Display Nits at different Brightness levels

Display nits of this laptop at different levels of brightness.

This Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA’s display has reached 267 Nits at 100% of screen brightness at the center of the screen as shown in the above image. So, below an average brighter display. The average brighter display should have nits value of at least 290 to 300. The 300 nits display allows you to work in direct sunlight without having pain in your eyes.

Screen Flex

When intentionally moved the laptop screen up and down with fingers with a fair amount of pressure, I found little flex there despite having an aluminium lid. But, to be frank, the flex wasn't problematic for me. I found the lid of display quite solid. In addition to that, the hinge that’s running mostly along the base has also contributed to the prevention of the flex. In addition to that, it doesn’t allow the screen to rotate 180-degree right back to the keyboard.

It is to note that I failed when I have tried to open the display with one finger. That shows the uneven distribution of weight across the hinge.

Keyboard

Build Quality and Flex

A chiclet keyboard of this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop.

The chiclet keyboard has a metal island which is designed to give it more strength to resist flex as much as possible. When pressed the keyboard of this laptop down hard with fingers with a fair amount of pressure, I found a little bit flex there. But, to be frank, it wasn’t even problematic for me during aggressive typing.

The flat square keys which are mostly identification marks of the chiclet keyboards are made of metal keys. It has a silver color with darker grey fonts on it for both primary and secondary functions. In addition to that, the WASD part isn’t highlighted here, which isn’t even required since this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop is not a gaming machine.

Backlit

2 Brightness levels white backlit of the keyboard.

The keyboard has a white zonal 2 brightness levels backlit to illuminate the keys in the low-light or darkroom. The backlit is enough bright to illuminate the keys’ secondary functions.

Typing Experience

While typing on this keyboard, I found the keys were travelling on average 1.4mm of distance down. That’s a little below than we recommend. At Thanalysis, we recommend at least 1.5mm of travel for keys for tactile feedback. However, I found the feedback consistent.

On 10FastFingers.com, I achieved 89 words per minute (WPM) speed while my speed on Macbook Pro 16-inch is 101 WPM. The keyboard of this laptop gives inconsistent tactile feedback. In addition to that, during aggressive typing, I found no flex on the keyboard. However, the keys are a little bit noisy but, you will find them considerably silent when compared to the mechanical keyboards.

Furthermore, like many Asus and Acer laptops, the Power button is placed next to the "Delete" key. So, there is a chance of accidental wrong presses but, it won't create any problem since you have to long-press the power button to execute the action assigned to it through the operating system.

Small and Very Closely Placed 4 Arrow Keys

Small and very closely placed 4 arrow keys.

The 4 arrow keys are smaller in size and placed very closely, which caused accidental wrong press when I have tried to press Up or Down arrow keys. The rest of the keys are not problematic except functions keys.

Touchpad

The 4.1-inch Smooth, responsive, and accurate precision-enabled glass-surface touchpad of this laptop.

The touchpad of this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop is 4.1-inch wider and has a glass surface. It’s smooth, responsive, accurate, and a Windows recognized Precision input-device. It clicks down anywhere, which is better than having buttons for left and right clicks. Unlike Mi Notebook 14‘s touchpad, this one doesn’t get bend down when pressed.

Fingerprints on the Smooth Surface

Fingerprints on the smooth surface of this machine.

Fingerprints easily show up on the smooth matte silver finish. But, I found it easy to clean using a micro-fiber cloth. In addition to that, unlike Alienware m15 R2 gaming laptop, I found no change in surface color over the use. In Alienware’s white version, I found it was getting slightly yellowish at some of the parts. But, that’s not the case with this laptop.

RAM

This Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop is equipped with 8GB of 3733MHz LPDDR4X Dual Channel RAM to give you an extraordinarily smooth and better performance during multitasking. However, there's no option to upgrade the RAM. So, Asus, in this laptop, forced you to stick the one that's coming with it. In addition to that, the Dual-Channel RAM is way efficient than the Single-Channel one.

See below the other laptops that allows you to upgrade the RAM.

  • HP 14s dr1009tu (review) - 2666MHz 8GB Dual Channel DDR4 – Upgradeable up to 12GB
  • Acer Aspire 5 A514-52G (review) – 2666MHz 8GB Dual Channel DDR4 – Upgradeable up to 12GB
  • Acer Swift 3 SF314-57G (review) – 2400MHz 8GB Dual Channel DDR4 – Upgradeable up to 32GB
  • HP 14 DK0093AU (review) – 2400MHz 8GB Single Channel DDR4 – Upgrade to 16GB
  • Acer Swift 3 SF314-57 (review) – 2400MHz 8GB Dual Channel DDR4 – Upgradeable up to 32GB
  • Lenovo IdeaPad S145 (review) – 2400MHz 8GB Single Channel DDR4 – Upgrade to 12GB
  • Acer Aspire 3 A315 (review) – 2666MHz 8GB Single Channel DDR4 – Upgrade to 12GB
  • Dell Inspiron 3593 (review) – 2666MHz Single Channel 8GB DDR4 – Upgradeable to 16GB

CPU and GPU Performance

The Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor of Ice Lake family and Intel’s integrated UHD Graphics are responsible for the powerful performance of this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop. In addition to that, Asus has equipped this laptop with 512GB of the solid-state drive to make this laptop work faster. An SSD storage allows the machine to read and write files at lightning speed. And, in addition to the 512GB of SSD storage, Asus has also provided 32GB of Intel Optane memory which is way faster than SSD.

So, let’s check some of the benchmarks to see where this laptop stands in terms of specs.

Cinebench R20 Score

Here, I took 3 runs of Cinebench on this laptop and shown the average of it. Cinebench is a tool to measure the single and multi-core scores of the CPU.

CInebench R20 Single and Multi-Core CPU score for this laptop during stress test with/without a cooling pad and 0.15v CPU undervolting.

When put on Cinebench R20 test without a cooling pad, this laptop has achieved 419 scores for Single-core and 1412 for Multi-core. And, the same scores Cinebench has displayed when the cooling pad was used. So, that makes clear that the cooling pad is unworthy to help in the performance of this laptop. With 0.15v CPU undervolting, the multi-core score has raised to 1441 while the single-core score was found the same. It tells that CPU UV is definitely going to help you.

Now, the question is what these scores tell?

First of all, During the testing, Cinebench R20 puts an excessive load on the CPU to execute the tasks. By doing so, it will check the machine’s cooling solution also which other tool doesn’t except for 3DMark. So, when the CPU comes under a heavy load, thermal throttling takes place in the processor and, it reduces the performance.

For example, If your CPU has a max clock speed of 4.5GHz, then you will reach 4.1GHz max during gaming or stress tests. The reason for not picking up the limit is thermal throttling. So, If the Cinebench R20 score of the laptop is high means it (laptop) has a high powerful CPU with better thermal management.

Now, let’s check Geekbench benchmarks.

Geekbench 5 Score

Geekbench 5 Single and Multi-Core CPU score of this laptop.

When tested this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop using Geekbench 5, I found this laptop has scored 1207 for single-core and 3942 for multi-core. Now, what does this score tell?

It tells the performance of the laptop. The higher the score, the higher the performance. Here, you have to consider the multi-core score. Look, Geekbench doesn’t put an excessive load on the CPU like Cinebench R20. And, Geekbench considers mainly productivity tasks like emailing, browsing, multitasking, etc to evaluate the hardware.

And, such ways cannot give you an idea about the cooling solution. Because tiny tasks don’t make much weight on the CPU. Hence, If the laptop has a higher Geekbench multi-core score means its capability for productivity is much better. But, at the same time, information about thermal throttling and the cooling solution will remain unanswered by this tool.

Hence, for gamers and programmers, Geekbench isn’t a tool to evaluate the laptop. It’s better to consider Cinebench here. And, for normal users or office users, this one seems to be getting the job done.

Average CPU Clock Speed

Average CPU clock speeds of this laptop measured during stress test and CPU undervolting.

To check the CPU clock speeds, I have used AIDA64 tool.

In a stress test at an auto fan without a cooling pad, the CPU clock speed was 2685MHz. The same test with a cooling pad has shown zero change. So, no noticeable improvement has been observed. It clearly indicates that the use of a cooling pad for this laptop is useless. Hence, only buy it if you’re about to waste your money. And, with 0.15v CPU undervolting, the clock speed was raised to 2979MHz - A pretty high.

As Intel UHD Graphics is integrated within the same silicon board and not much powerful as dedicated GPUs, it’s worthless to measure its speed. Because it won’t make any noticeable change.

Furthermore, as this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop is neither a gaming laptop not it has even MX series NVIDIA GPU, it’s void to conduct the CPU and GPU TDP test. Hence, for a non-gaming laptop like this one, I have skipped such a test.

Video Editing Performance

The video editing performance of this laptop was tested by two ways.

  • Average of the video export time
  • Multitasking during video export

Average of the video export time

In this test, I have exported the 16 minutes and 13 seconds long video on YouTube 4K H.264 preset using Adobe Premier CC. And I have repeated the same test 4 times further to show you the average result.

Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA video benchmarks measured using Adobe Premier CC.

So, during my test of video export in 4K preset, the VivoBook S14 S403JA has ended up in on average 29 minutes and 23 seconds. That’s too much.

Multitasking during video export

The motive to conduct this test wasn’t other than to rate the smoothness of this laptop when the CPU is busy with intense work. I have checked the following during the video export, the touchpad, keyboard, and laptop’s response time.

So, During this test, I found this laptop almost laggy. As it has no dedicated NVIDIA graphics, not even of the MX series, the expectation of good performance is useless. Overall, I found it below an average for video editing when compared to Mi Notebook 14 Horizon edition.

Thermal Performance

Average CPU temperature

This test was performed to tell you whether the cooling pad is efficient in temperature reduction with stable or increased performance. For the stress test, I have used the AIDA64 tool. So, the results are in the below image.

Average CPU temperature of this laptop measured during idle, stress test with/without a cooling pad and 0.15v CPU undervolting.

At idle at an auto fan, the CPU temperature was 46 degrees C. In the stress test at an auto fan, it has raised to 79. With the use of a cooling pad, I found the same result. And with 0.15v CPU undervolting, it has further reduced to 73.8 degrees C. So, the use of a cooling pad has shown no change in CPU temperature. Here, for CPU temperature reduction, the CPU undervolting is found an impactful approach.

Laptop’s Exterior Temperature

At idle at an auto fan, both the palm rest and a keyboard found pretty cool.

During the stress test at the auto fan, the palm rest was found cool to touch. The middle of the keyboard was at mid 45 degrees C. The sides of the middle of the keyboard were found less hot compared to it. The exterior above the function keys was a bit hotter to touch. Furthermore, there was no difference between the QWERTY part and other keys in terms of temperature.

During the same test with a cooling pad, I found nearly similar results that I have got without it.

Fans Noise Emission

Fans noise emission of this laptop during idle state and stress test at an auto fan.

At idle, the fan of this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop has emitted 32.9dB of noise which is not even heard. During the stress test at an auto fan, the level was increased to 48.5dB.

In addition to that, the gaming laptops like Lenovo Legion 7i, Dell Alienware m15 R2, MSI GS65 Stealth-004, and like have more noisy fans than this one. the noise level during gaming at performance mode increases to 60dB. And, that’s become equal to the noise emitted by a washing machine, hairdryer, and electric toothbrush. But, such scenario is not the case with this laptop.

Camera and Microphone

The 720p camera and a microphone are placed at the top bezel of this laptop.

The 720p web-camera and a microphone in this laptop are at the top bezel. When I've used it on the balcony of the 2nd floor, I found both of it average at capturing the sound and picture. In this laptop, the microphone is little better as I found it was capturing the sound very clearly compared to other laptops of ₹60,000 price range. This laptop is getting the job done for the video conference. Furthermore, it doesn't support Windows Hello.

I have rated the camera 5 out of 10, and the microphone 6 out of 10.

Speakers

The down-firing speaker of this laptop placed at the front corners of sides underneath the laptop.

The 2 down-firing speakers are placed at the front corner of both sides underneath the laptop. They are below-average loud. When tried for YouTube videos, the Digitech's sound level meter has measured the level of 74dB, which is not up to the mark. In addition to that, the speakers also feel a bit tiny. Although, I would appreciate one thing that the sound comes out from the speakers uniformly.

Overall, you need to have earbuds, headphones, or any other Bluetooth speakers to watch movies or videos.

Fingerprint Reader

Fingerprint reader in square shape, integrated on the touchpad at the top-right corner.

The fingerprint reader is placed on the top-right corner of the touchpad. It's of square shape and supports Windows Hello unlock. It allows you to log in to the device and other supported services very fast and secure.

Ports on the Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA Laptop

Ports on the left side of this laptop.
Ports on the left side of this laptop.
Ports on the right side of this laptop.
Ports on the right side of this laptop.

Left Side

  • 1 x Power input
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Type-A Gen-1
  • 1 x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3, Also support for Power/Display)

Right Side

  • 1 x 3.5mm Audio/combo jack
  • 1 x USB Type 2.0
  • 1 x Full-Size SD card reader

Backside

There’s nothing on the backside of this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA except air exhausts.

Air Intake Vents

No air intake vents on the back cover of this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop.

Unlike many laptops, There's no air intake vents on the back cover of this laptop. However, having an air intake vent doesn't make change in the CPU performance or temperature reduction. All of the cooling solutions of the laptop depends on the fans and the heat pipes. In addition to that, the CPU thermal paste also plays a major role in this case.

Battery

Battery life of the 72Wh battery of this laptop measured during YouTube watching and Stress test till end.

This Asus laptop has impressive battery life. The 72Wh battery has lasted just for 11 hours and 36 minutes on YouTube videos watching and 2 hours and 39 minutes on stress tests. Furthermore, the YouTube test was carried out at 50% of screen brightness, keyboard backlighting and other lightings off, and background apps disabled.

When compared to Mi Notebook 14 Horizon laptop, it’s pretty high. Because a 48Wh battery is powering the Mi Notebook and, it has lasted for 7 hours and 29 minutes. Overall, the battery is about above-average in life and quality.

Storage

This Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop has got 512GB of PCIe-based solid-state storage to provide a possible high performance. This laptop has no extra slot to add more SSD storage. Also, it has no slot for hard-disk. But, you can increase the storage by replacing the existing one with the higher capacity ones. Furthermore, I have used the CrystalDiskMark tool to test its speed. And the results are below.

512GB PCIe-based SSD storage speed test of this laptop.

So, the SSD storage is pretty faster. The reading speed is 1583MB/sec, and the writing speed is 1487MB/sec. Furthermore, as you can see in the image above, there are many technical terms by CrystalDiskMark. You read here their meaning in detail.

Furthermore, neither this laptop is capable of gaming nor, it has at least NVIDIA’s MX series GPU. So, I have skipped testing the gaming benchmarks.

Final Thoughts

After reviewing this awesome laptop, I found it capable of delivering the high performance and, for that, you should thank the Ice lake series Intel's Core i5 processor. It can't handle serious gaming due to the absence of a dedicated graphics, though, you can play lightweight ones like GTA Vice City, Project IGI, and etc. It just weighs 1.35 kg which makes this laptop perfect for the people who travels a lot while working. In addition to that, this laptop got 72Wh battery which is pretty outstanding. Travellers should buy this laptop, and this one is really a value for money for them. Furthermore, this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop has a tactile keyboard, despite 0.1mm less key-travel than we recommend at Thanalysis.

And, it got a smooth, responsive, and accurate touchpad of 4.1-inch in size. To give you a smoother experience, Asus has put a glass surface on it and, this touchpad is precision-enabled. So, for those who are in business, this laptop is perfectly meeting their goals. In addition to that, this laptop has 14-inch FHD wide viewing angles display, which is little below-average brighter than the value we recommend at Thanalysis, 300 Nits, that required to see the picture in direct sunlight without pain in eyes. And, due to the poor screen color gamut, this is laptop is definitely not made of professional photo and video editors.

Furthermore, to make this laptop more exciting, Asus has equipped a Thunderbolt 3 port which is rare nowadays in the laptops of ₹60,000 price range. And, that thunderbolt-3 port also supports Display port and power delivery, although, Acer won't pack a USB Type-C charger in the bag. Hence, you need to work with the traditional power input port. This Asus VivoBook is thin and perfectly fine for the students of commerce field. However, due to the absence of a dedicated GPU, mobile programmers cannot use it. Overall, my ratings for this S14 VivoBook ended up to 47.7 out of 10.

FAQs

Should I buy this laptop?

You should buy this if you're not going to do android programming, machine learning, or gaming on it. This laptop has no dedicated GPU, hence, its graphical performance is bounded. Furthermore, if you're a professional photo and video editor, then also you shouldn't purchase this laptop because of low screen color gamut of its 14-inch display. But, if you're a person who travels a lot during for business purposes, then this is definitely the machine you should go for, thanks to its 72Wh long-lasting battery and very low weight. In addition to that, if this machine is perfect for the students who are going to perform the lightweight tasks on it. This one also recommended for web and desktop programmers. In terms of performance, it can edit graphics also. For high-end graphics-intensive tasks like machine learning, video editing, and gaming, there are other laptops like Acer Swift 3 SF314-57GAspire 5 A514-52G, and Mi Notebook 14 Horizon can replace this one.

Is this laptop good?

This laptop is good for those who are going to deal with lightweight tasks like MS Office, web programming, web browsing, and like. In addition to that, it can also handle lightweight Games like GTA Vice City, Project IGI, and many more. But, it's not good for mobile apps development and any other tasks that require a dedicated GPU primarily. Furthermore, student of computer science cannot use this machine because their work involves programming which may involve GPU's presence like in the case of android programming where you need to have a device capable of running the emulators in parallel. So, for them, I have written a dedicated article. In addition to that, the students of chemical engineering cannot use this because their computer-based work involves AutoCAD, CFD, ANSYS, and much more chemical-engineering specific software which requires a device with a dedicated GPU. And, the same applies to mechanical and civil engineers.

Can I add HDD/SDD to this laptop?

No. This machine has the only slot for the solid-state drive and, that’s not extra even.

Is this laptop good for video editing?

This laptop is not good for video editing for two reasons. First, this laptop has no dedicated graphics installed, hence, you won’t be able to complete any graphics-intensive tasks, which is the key part of smooth video editing tasks. Second, the color gamut values of this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop’s display are too below-average that makes the color reproduction of the display poor. So, this laptop is neither fits in the performance nor in the color reproduction that required in the video editing.

Can I play Games on it?

You can only play light games like GTA Vice City, Project IGI, and like. You cannot play games that require high graphics to render. Hence, you cannot play games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3, CS:GO, and many. For gaming, the laptop must have at least of MX series of NVIDIA GPU. In addition to that, smooth gaming requires a different kind of internals the laptop to have, like heat pipes, proper ventilation, air exhausts placement, a well-placed thermal paste, and many more. The thin laptop like this one is designed to meet the gaming needs. For gaming laptops, you can read our dedicated article here.

Is this laptop upgradeable?

In this Asus VivoBook S14 S403JA laptop, you can only upgrade an SSD storage. And, the limit for SSD expansion is set to 2TB. Also, note that HP hasn’t given any extra for SSD storage. So, you need to replace the existing one before upgrading of either or both of it. It's bit awkward that Asus hasn't allowed upgrading the RAM in this machine.

Is Asus, the manufacturing company of this laptop, the best?

Yes, Asus is one of the best laptop manufacturing companies on this planet. It manufactures many outstanding products. But, the customer service is average satisfactory. In fact, Asus customer service got 65 scores out of 100.

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