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CNET First Look
New name, but otherwise this Vivobook's the sameThe new Asus Vivobook hits a good price for a 14-inch laptop with touch, but doesn't really rise above the competition.
Hi, I'm Scott Stein. Happy Holidays! You're looking for a Windows 8 laptop, what exactly do you buy? That's pretty confusing landscape with all these fliptops and the safest bet tends to be right now a standard laptop with the touchscreen. The price for a lot of these laptops has been centering around $700 as of late and the Asus Vivobook S400CA offers that package for $700, a pretty good deal when you realize that it's got a core i5 processor, 500-gigabyte hard drive, 4 gigs of RAM and most importantly, a 14-inch touchscreen with nice glass on edge to edge over here. Now, that sounds nice, but the battery life on these laptops are little lacking. It's not as good as you would find on a lot of other ultrabooks and this really is a big bone ultrabook. It's heavy. It's 4 pounds, which is more than you would expect for something that looks like this and it's a little thicker than you would expect. It's in that 14-inch ultrabook territory, lacking a DVD drive, which wouldn't be a deal breaker except for the fact that the Acer Aspire M5 just recently reviewed. It has a DVD drive at the same price with a backlit keyboard. This one does not have a backlit keyboard. And the overall feel is solid. It's a nice design, nice brass metal feel in the back, 2-tone, black and silver, but it feels like a couple of corners have been cut when you compare it to a super slim laptop like the Zenbook, Asus top of the line ultrabook category that came out over the past year. The Vivobook is a new class of laptop by name. This crazy Vivobook, what does exactly does that mean? Well, it's basically a regular laptop with a new name trying to emphasize the fact that there's a lot of touch involve here with the touchscreen and a very large pretty comfortable touchpad. Nothing like as good as a MacBook Air in my opinion, but it's pretty good than the Windows 8 universe. All in all, it's an okay laptop. It's a pretty good value. It's a somewhat forgettable final product that definitely covers all the basics that you're looking for, but I guarantee you're gonna find a lot of laptops like this out there at that price range and by this time next year that's going to seem like a lot of money for this, but even at the beginning of 2013, I think they're gonna be a lot of laptops coming out that gonna offer similar value, maybe even better. If you feel my enthusiasm flagging just a little bit for this laptop it's because we've seen a lot of this before. This touchscreen laptop that's your standard issue right in that $700-price range, the Vivobook doesn't really rise above the competition and provide anything the right home about, but it's not a terrible deal if you happen to buy one. I'd hold out. I'm Scott Stein and that's a look at the Asus Vivobook S400CA.