For buyers looking for a dependable notebook that can snuggle comfortably into a small backpack without weighing them down, Asus’ VivoBook and Dell’s Latitude series have always made more sense. These notebooks always feel a lot more premium sporting lush metal exterior, attractive colour combinations and slim and light form-factor.
Asus VivoBook 14 X403F
The Asus VivoBook 14 X403F has an all-aluminium exterior with a shade of silver and blue, which makes it stand out. At 1.3 kg, it’s quite light but all has the basic slots and connectors that matter like SD card reader, high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI), USB 3.0, USB Type C and headphone jack.
The keyboard area has been well-spaced with enough room between the keys to type away comfortably for long hours. It is also backlit, which makes it easy to use in dark rooms or outdoors at night.
The screen is on a par with competition and has a healthy resolution of 1,920x1,080p. It’s not glossy, so you don’t get much light reflection, making it easy to read when outdoors.
It runs on Intel’s 8th gen Core i5-8265U processor with 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD. It uses Intel integrated HD Graphics 620, so don’t expect to run any graphic intensive games, video editing or 3D modelling. However, it is quite capable of handling day-to-day chores, and the battery backup is outstanding—lasting up to 15 hours, depending on your usage.
- Slim and lightweight
- Long battery life
- Unlocks quickly with fingerprint sensor
- Limited on-board storage
- Available in a single colour
- Doesn’t have a LAN port
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1
At its core, the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 from Dell is just like any modern ultrabook, but it signals a new philosophy for the Latitude line. The 7400 is business like yet sleek and stylish. It reminds us of the HP EliteBook Folio from a few years ago, which is a great thing.
It weighs just over 1 kg and though it’s not the thinnest laptop out there, it’s thin enough to fit into any bag. The 14-inch form factor is compact enough that some mistook it to be a netbook when we used it in the wild. A slightly brighter display would have been better, but it works fine indoors.
However, the Latitude’s true use-case seems to be for those considering a Qualcomm-powered laptop. It achieves over 10-hour battery life easy, which is a must for business-class ultrabooks. And it does that without using an ARM (Advanced RISC Machines ) processor, instead delivering considerably higher performance through an 8th gen Intel Whiskey Lake chip.
These notebooks are not meant for gaming, graphics or video-editing activities. Instead, they are for business class users and will handle things like web browsing, Excel, Google Sheets and more without a hitch. It will last you long enough to pass a work day without the charger too.
The fact that it’s a 2-in-1 is an added benefit. The screen can be turned a full 360 degrees, making it useful in different use cases. Windows is not very well suited for touch input, but if you have to, you can tilt the screen all the way around and use it like a tablet.
Similarly, you can put it in the tent mode when watching a movie, which allows you to focus only on the screen with the keyboard out of view.
It has a new presence detection system that wakes up the laptop when you’re in front of it. That’s a neat addition and makes the laptop stand out from more affordably priced devices. Dell also sells a bunch of accessories for this, including a stylus called the Dell Premium Active Stylus.
Of course, the real consideration is whether the starting price of ₹1,35,000 is within your reach or not. The Latitude is meant to be a premium ultrabook and it plays the part well. It’s not the best ultrabook in the market, but one you should certainly consider.
■ Modern, sleek design
■ Presence detection works well
■ Good battery life
■ Not the loudest in terms of audio
■ Needs a brighter display