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ASUS adds a dash of color to its upgraded midrange VivoBooks

There's a nice Intel boost too.
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ASUS' midrange VivoBooks may not be as sexy as its ZenBooks, but they're still pretty solid laptops in their own right. This year's crop continues to provide meaty features at an affordable price, with the latest refresh of the VivoBook Flip 14, a 14-inch convertible laptop with 360-degree hinge, as well as the newest iterations of the VivoBook S15 and S14, two slightly more traditional laptops that come in not-so-traditional color block designs. Plus, there's a new VivoBook S13.

Gallery: ASUS VivoBook S13, S14 and S15 hands-on at Computex 2018 | 38 Photos

Let's start with the VivoBook S15, S14 and S13, which are being marketed as "laptops designed for the young and the young at heart" for one simple reason: the design. As mentioned, they come in color block styles that pair bright and bold colors together. They're available in Firmament Green, Star Grey, Silver Blue, Gun Metal and Icicle Gold, and some even have different-textured finishes. The Firmament Green, for example, has a woven finish while the Icicle Gold has more of a brushed look.

Another standout feature of the new VivoBooks is that they're the first in the line to have ASUS' new three-sided NanoEdge design that promises even narrower bezels than before. According to ASUS, this means the S15 will have an 86 percent screen-to-body ratio, the S14 will have a 84 percent screen-to-body ratio and the S13 will have an 89 percent screen-to-body ratio, which is pretty impressive given the VivoBook's midrange price. As for overall size, the S15 and S14 have about the same dimensions as their predecessors, with a skinny profile of 18mm and a weight of 1.8kg for the S15 and 1.4kg for the S14. The S13 is the lightest of the lot at 1.2kg.

Gallery: ASUS VivoBook S14 / S15 press shots | 6 Photos

Like some other ASUS laptops, both the S15 and the S14 are equipped with an ErgoLift hinge, which essentially lifts the rear end of the keyboard about 3.5 inches so it slopes forward. This theoretically creates a more comfortable, ergonomically friendly angle for typing and has the bonus of exposing more ventilation space for increased airflow to keep the laptop cool. The keys themselves are backlit and boast a 1.4mm key travel for extra comfort. For extra security, there's also the option of a fingerprint sensor built into the touchpad.

I tried out an early demo of the new VivoBook S lineup at ASUS' press event at Computex 2018, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed by the hue and finish of these laptops. I'm particularly taken by the woven texture on the Firmament Green models, if only because it's so different from all the other smooth finishes out there. The FHD displays that I saw looked just as vibrant as the VivoBook's exterior as well.

ASUS

But the highlight of the VivoBook S laptops has to be the keyboard. The travel of the keys is super comfortable, and the tactile clicky feel of the keys makes it an absolute joy to type on. Even the S13's keyboard, which doesn't have the benefit of the ErgoLift hinge, felt super comfortable to use. And if you want it, the S15 has the bonus number keypad on the right. I would trade any of these keyboards for the one on my MacBook Pro.

The S15, S14 and S13 will ship with up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB of RAM and optional NVIDIA GeForce MX150 discrete graphics. That's not quite as beefy as one of ASUS' ZenBook setups, but it's more than enough for casual gaming. The S15 can also be configured with a 512GB SSD and a 2TB HDD. ASUS promises "all-day" battery for both laptops but also offers fast-charge tech that lets you get to 60 percent in less than 50 minutes.

Gallery: ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 hands-on at Computex 2018 | 17 Photos

ASUS also unveiled a new generation of the Flip 14 convertible. This year's model is mostly a refresh, getting the new 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processors with 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB SSD, but it's worth running through the rest of the Flip 14's features anyway.

Thanks to its 360-degree stepless hinge, you can use the Flip 14 in laptop, stand, tent or tablet modes. Like the company's other notebooks, it boasts a NanoEdge display that promises super-thin bezels that take up the tops and the sides, promising a screen that looks like it floats in air. The one on the Flip has a 6.15mm bezel that apparently has a 82 percent screen-to-body ratio, which means you're getting a whole lot of screen compared to the overall size of the laptop.

Gallery: ASUS VivoBook Flip 14 press shots | 5 Photos

The screen has a FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution, beautifully bold colors and a crisp contrast that looks good no matter what mode the Flip 14 is in. ASUS says the viewing angles are as wide as 178 degrees too.

Since the Flip 14 can be used in tablet mode, it only makes sense that the display is also a touchscreen. As you might expect, it's compatible with the ASUS Pen active stylus for your drawing and handwriting needs. Of course, if you get tired of that, you can always just flip the device back into laptop mode, where you'll be greeted with a full-size keyboard complete with backlit keys and ambient light control, which is handy for typing in the gloom and the dark.

The Flip is clad in a slim 17.6mm-thin aluminum chassis that weighs in at just 1.5kg, which is definitely light enough to carry around in your purse or backpack. It's pretty stylish to boot and comes in either a classy Star Grey or a lovely Galaxy Blue. For that extra bit of security, there's also an optional fingerprint sensor that can be mounted onto the touchpad.

Of course, the reason for getting the Flip 14 in the first place is that it, you know, flips. And thankfully it has a 360-degree metal hinge to do that work. ASUS said it tested the Flip by opening and closing it 20,000 times, and it apparently passed with flying colors. I tried rotating it several times, and the hinge does feel pretty durable, requiring some effort to flip the display around.

The Flip 14's sound is enhanced with the company's' SonicMaster audio tech, and it has far-field microphone technology, so you can shout at Cortana to tell you your day's appointments from up to four meters away.

There's no word on pricing or availability just yet on these models, but we'll be sure to update you when we get that information.

Click here to catch up on all the latest news from Computex 2018!

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