- Fast processor
- Hybrid hard disk
- Mediocre keyboard
- Disappointing viewing angles
Asus supplies laptops in all shapes and sizes; even within the category of affordable 14″ laptops, there is still choice. We already wrote a short review about the 14″ VivoBook S400 , but Asus has not let the S400 stop us from offering another 14″ laptop, with to quote a comparable price.
Although the Asus R453 resembles the S400, there are also differences. For example, a touchscreen has been omitted on this newer model, while the old-fashioned DVD burner is back. Asus seems to be going back in time with the R453. We have tested whether that is really the case.
Appearance, keyboard and touchpad
The R453 has a screen diagonal of 14″ and is therefore quite compact. As with many other Asus laptops, the exterior of the R453 is made of brushed aluminum, while the bottom plate is made of plastic. The weight is almost two kilograms for a 14 “laptop is not particularly low, although we are of course not dealing with an ultrabook here.
The fact that it is not a thousand-euro laptop is apparent from the finish, among other things. The lid of the DVD player hangs a bit crooked and the lid of the laptop gives easily under pressure. Unfortunately, the keyboard of the R453 did not appeal to us either. The keys give a somewhat weak feedback, but it turned out to be even more annoying that the buttons can be pressed under the top edge of the housing. That stands in the way of fast tapping, because your finger has to press the key deeply and then have to come up a bit so as not to bump into the edge around the key.
The touchpad works satisfactorily. The surface is placed at the same height as the palm rests and has a clear click feeling. However, the touchpad doesn’t seem to sit quite straight in the case, sticking up at the top right corner. Oddly enough, we’ve seen this before with Asus laptops, such as the N550 .
Screen, battery life and speed
The screen of the R453 is a major disappointment for this laptop of almost six hundred euros. The screen resolution is low at 1366×768 pixels, but unfortunately that is still common for this price range. So we don’t lift too much on the low resolution, but we do on the poor viewing angles. Asus seems to have mounted the same tn panel as in the VivoBook S400, which results in the colors inverting at sharp viewing angles. In addition, the color reproduction is quite poor. It is only noticeable when a second monitor is used next to the R453, but the color temperature is on the high side and therefore everything looks a bit ‘bluish’.
So there are many similarities with the VivoBook S400, but there are also differences. The processor is an Intel Core i5-4200U, from Intel’s Haswell generation, which is more economical than the previous Ivy Bridge generation. The battery life is therefore decent at five and a half hours during browsing. The laptop also lasts quite a long time on a battery charge when watching a 1080p movie: just over five hours.
Thanks to the Core i5 processor, the R453 is quite fast, although you shouldn’t want to do heavy video editing on the laptop. During daily use, the speed of the hard drive mainly determines how fast the laptop feels. Asus has mounted a hybrid hard drive from Seagate, which automatically copies frequently used files to the built-in fast flash memory. As a result, the laptop feels fast when starting Windows and frequently used programs.
The Asus R453 is compact, quite fast and, thanks to the hybrid hard disk, frequently used programs can also be started quickly. Thanks to the Haswell processor, the battery life is not bad either. The keyboard and screen are points of criticism. The keys can be pressed to below the edge of the housing, while the screen is disappointing in terms of brightness and viewing angles. The presence of a DVD burner is obvious, because optical drives are increasingly omitted on new laptops.