Asus VivoBook S500CA review: The big, budget touch-screen Windows 8 laptop

This laptop reminds me of those big-boned budget finds from several years ago, when laptop manufacturers would often stick the guts of a midlevel PC into a larger chassis, often with lower-than-expected battery life. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that equation, but when portability starts to go out the window on a laptop, you’ve got to wonder what you get in exchange. This VivoBook isn’t a powerhouse CPU-wise, nor does it have any Nvidia or AMD graphics, or even a DVD drive.

If you’re a budget Windows 8 laptop hunter, want a touch screen, and value a physically large screen more than better battery life or screen resolution, then the VivoBook S500CA’s worth a look. It’s also a pretty good cover-the-bases laptop for most people, especially if you’re keeping it on a desk most of the time. Just keep in mind that it’s larger, and bulkier, than the "ultrabook" moniker implies.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Avg watts (load test)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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System configurations:

Asus VivoBook S500C
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 500GB HD + 24GB SSD

HP Pavilion TouchSmart 15 Sleekbook
Windows 8 (64-bit) w/sp 1; 1.8GHz AMD A8-455M APU; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 512MB (Shared) AMD Radeon HD 7600G; 750GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Dell Inspiron 15z
Windows 8 (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Shared) Intel HD 4000; 500GB HD + 32GB SSD

Toshiba Satellite U845t-S4165
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i5-3337U; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Toshiba SSD

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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