With Black Friday around the corner, students looking for 2021’s next laptop should consider the Asus VivoBook E410 – an affordable computer that is built strong to last a student throughout a degree, while maintaining sleek and stylish design. It is also ideal for office work.
On the lid, the laptop features an evenly spaced glyph design with the Asus logo in the middle – a unique design Asus has pulled off. We expect this design pattern to remain a standard on the VivoBook devices.
The body is made of sturdy plastic, so it won’t be susceptible to dings, as with metal build laptops. That said, this laptop is not impervious to breaking, so the plastic may crack under excessive force. The screen’s hinges are firm and you can pick the laptop up while open without the screen tilt changing. This makes it ideal for someone keeping their laptop open while they run from venue to venue. At 1.3kg, the unit is one of the lighter budget laptops on the market.
The keyboard is compact but not cramped, with good key travel and a mildly cushioned landing. This makes it comfortable to type both gently and sharply. The centre of the keyboard bends slightly with a heavier hand, but is otherwise rigid and feels solidly built.
While the traditional Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys are included at the right end of the keyboard, similar functionality can be had by holding the Fn key and pressing one of the arrow keys. This dual accommodation allows for both styles of editing, that programmers and writers alike will appreciate.
The touchpad is a bit small but not so small that you’ll find yourself having to repeat a motion to move the cursor from one end of the screen to the other. Asus made the most of a laptop’s small form factor and has placed a number pad overlay on the touchpad. By switching to numpad mode, you can enter numbers and quickly perform some simple arithmetic.
The 14-inch LED panel is sufficiently bright for outdoor use and displays colours boldly enough for ordinary tasks like web browsing. However, with only 45% of the NTSC colour gamut covered, this is definitely not a screen for graphic, photo, or video editing, where colour accuracy is needed.
While budget segment laptops aren’t particularly known for having spectacular sound, it was surprising to find the built-in sound is pretty good. The speakers are provided by Asus’ own SonicMaster brand, which aims to deliver higher performance. Sound is noticeably crisp and clean but lacks low frequencies altogether. In other words, speech is sharp and easy to hear and you could watch a movie or TV show with the laptop.
On paper, the specs are hardly impressive, but it would be a mistake to dismiss them if what you do with a computer mainly involves general tasks. Having several browser tabs open at once while using Microsoft Office Apps was completely within the scope of what this laptop was able to do.
This is also complemented by a surprisingly long battery life of 11 hours, while doing office tasks with music playback via a Bluetooth speaker. When performing an HD video render test via Microsoft Edge, it clocked in 7 hours of HD playback time on a single charge, making it very suitable for distance learning while running on battery and, eventually, taking the computer along for lectures.
Asus includes a generous set of three USB ports, one of which is a Type-C port, as well as a full-size HDMI-port, an earphone/microphone combo jack, and a micro SD card reader. This means that you can attach pretty much any general accessory, use the laptop for presentations, and add more storage via the microSD card reader if you find yourself running out of space.
Overall, this laptop makes for an excellent workhorse for those wanting to have a document writer, a video content viewer, and an overall lecture companion. It is also a great option for the mobile office worker, thanks to its extremely long battery life.
The Asus E410 is available for R5,500 from Incredible Connection.