The Asus Vivobook 13 Slate OLED puts a lovely OLED screen in a versatile and flexible Windows 2-in-1 convertible. And at $1,199 for an all-inclusive bundle with a keyboard and stylus, it arguably offers better value than rivals like the Microsoft Surface Go 3. However, this Vivobook is, like the Surface Go, fairly underpowered compared with a similarly-priced Windows notebook. Still, it's perfect for consuming media, web browsing and emails.
- 13.3-inch (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) OLED touchscreen
- Intel Pentium Silver N6000 with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD
- 785g (tablet), 335g (keyboard), 270g (cover stand)
- 50 watt-hour battery
It's unusual to find an OLED screen in a Windows laptop in this price range. Especially one with this quality, with a peak brightness of 550 nits, VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certification, and support for Dolby Vision. It was certainly a pleasure to watch Dolby Vision shows like Netflix's Bridgerton, which shows off the OLED screen's lush colours in a variety of lighting conditions. The Vivobook also sounds good with quad speakers that support Dolby Atmos, albeit there isn't much bass to speak of. The only improvement I can think of is the Full-HD screen resolution. It is merely adequate for its size, but upping it will likely increase the price significantly.
The Vivobook is not the easiest to hold as a tablet. It's wide due to its 16:9 form factor and feels hefty at 785g. When using it in tablet mode, I would always use the included cover stand, which attaches magnetically to the back, adds another 270g, but has a built-in kickstand to rest on the lap. However, the lapability of the Vivobook in its laptop mode is not as good as a clamshell notebook. It feels wobbly and takes up a larger footprint due to its 13.3-inch size and the kickstand. The keyboard cover offers good key travel, but flexes quite a bit and lacks a backlight. The power button meanwhile doubles as a fingerprint reader. Asus also bundles an active stylus pen that's comfortable to hold and responsive with very little lag. However, there's no built-in holder to stow it.
The biggest downside of the Vivobook is its middling Intel Pentium Silver processor. It's a chip that you'd expect to find on a cheap Chromebook. But I guess Asus was going for a low-power CPU for battery life. Microsoft, too, opted for a similar processor for its Surface Go 3. The Vivobook did perform slightly better than the Surface Go 3 in PCMark 10, scoring around 2,700 compared to 2,208 for the Surface. While the Vivobook feels sluggish when editing documents and photos, it's acceptable for less demanding tasks such as emails and web browsing. But I still wouldn't recommend opening too many tabs at the same time.
Battery life, though, is good enough at around 7 hours. I tested it in laptop mode and at the maximum screen brightness. I think you can probably find a faster and more responsive clamshell notebook for S$1,199. But you're unlikely to get a similar high-quality OLED screen, especially in a Windows convertible at this price. There are certainly trade-offs with the Asus Vivobook 13 Slate OLED. And it appears to be the screen (and media consumption) over everything else. If you're willing to spend close to S$2,000, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the new Surface Pro 8 are definitely better. But if not, the Vivobook (available on the Asus Store, Lazada and Shopee) is a decent, more affordable alternative.
Note: Review unit provided by Asus.
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