CNET First Look
Budget-hunter special: Asus VivoBook S500CAA touch-screen Windows 8 ultrabook for under $700 turns out to be a pretty good deal, but this 15-incher's not a light load.
Hi. I'm Scott Stein and if you're interested in a budget laptop that also happens to be big, and has a touchscreen, and doesn't cost too much money, then you maybe interested in this: the Asus Vivabook S500CA, which is $699 and less, depending on where you buy it. What's nice about this laptop is it's reasonably attractive; it's pretty well-packed with specs. And again, it has that nice capacitive touchscreen. But, you're getting up a few things in this package. One, it's got not that big of difference in specs from what you'd get on an Ultrabook, some sort of thin 13-inch laptop. This is thinner, but it's not ultraportable. This is 4.8 pounds, and this thing is big. In a 14-inch laptop, you, kind of, expect maybe a DVD drive, or [unk] graphics, something like that. There isn't any of that. There's a quarified processor, 6G of RAM, 500G hard drive. It's a hybrid hard drive. Those aren't bad specs, but you do see them on thinner laptops. Two, the screen on this is 1366x768 on a 15.6-inch screen. That's low-res for this screen size. It's fine if you want to do any basic application work or even watching videos, looks pretty good; for pictures, for photos, for texts, you can see the pixels, you can definitely do better. It's not bad. And three, the battery life on this, not so great, 4 and a half hours, which is not horrible, it's not fantastic, it's certainly not fantastic. So, it's enough to get you through a good chunk of the day, but if you have time asking me those questions, and when you need to plug it in, well, there are laptops that last longer; also, the fact that there is no backlight keyboard here. Do I sound a little ambivalent about this laptop? Sure, because this probably isn't the laptop that I want to buy. But there are people who do like the idea of just a sheer-ly large screen, resolution not withstanding. You saw those things being sold a while ago, laptops and the budget-end that are big bone and don't really have specs that are that exciting. But hey, you got a big laptop. The speakers on this do sound much better than average. So, if you like good sound, there is that. And if you want to get sign in the $600 range, again, that has touch, you can always get something in that price. Consider this but no, there maybe better solutions on the horizon. I'm Scott Stein, and that's a look at the Asus Vivabook S500CA.