ASUS’ VivoBook laptops provide the closest possible experience to a ZenBook device, being significantly cheaper. Here we have the VivoBook S13 S330, which we tested together with the ZenBook 13 UX333. Either of the devices is aimed at students, daily users, and fashion stars. …okay we might have made the last one up, but it is clearly a good choice for people on the go. By the way, the similarity in their names is no coincidence. VivoBook S13 S330 looks pretty much like what it is – a cheaper alternative to the ZenBook 13 UX333 – both on the outside and on the inside.
ASUS is very proud of the thin bezels of this device. They claim it translates in 89% screen to body ratio. But at what price, you ask? Well, you know how some manufacturers, like Huawei, hide their cameras in one of the keys. Other put the camera beneath the screen, so the people you are talking to can see your nose contains. And finally, there is ASUS, who just erases the camera from the laptop in general. Yep, you read that right, VivoBook S13 S330 doesn’t have a camera. In a world, where phone manufacturers are coming to ingenious solutions like motorized pop-up cameras, notches, punch-holes, dual screen iterations and so on, ASUS has just ditched the camera on this laptop. Be prepared to be judged, ASUS. Not by us, however, since we don’t really care about the camera of a laptop in general.
What we are more interested in is the fact that you can get this notebook in a configuration with either a Coffee Lake or Whiskey Lake – regionally dependent. Also, it offers an IPS display, SATA M.2 SSD and GeForce MX150 option. So, when it comes to price and hardware it falls in the category of Acer Swift 3 (SF314-56G).
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-vivobook-s13-s330/
ASUS VivoBook S13 S330 technical specifications table
What’s in the box?
VivoBook S13 S330 comes in an unattractive box, that contains nothing more than the device itself, a couple of manuals and instructions and a 45W charging brick.
Design and construction
ASUS has implemented a plastic, aluminum combo of build materials in the VivoBook S13 S330. Design-wise it follows some trends set by the ZenBook line-up – mostly recognizable with the slight angle provided by hinge system, which uses the lid as a lever. This results in a 2.5-degree positive angle, aimed at providing an ergonomic typing position and better cooling. Similarly to the ZenBook 13 UX333, we didn’t feel blessed with the enhanced ergonomy when typing, so we hope that the cooling is having a little bit easier time. It measures at 17.9 mm and weighs just 1.2 kg. We have to say that, while 17.9 mm still falls in the “thin” laptops range, the laptop feels a little bulky compared to other 13-inchers.
As we already mentioned, VivoBook S13 S330 is not equipped with a camera module, so it is able to push for such thin bezels around its screen. Although, we can give some ideas to ASUS if they allow us, of course. Personally, we see three perfect potential spots for a camera placement on this laptop.
We were happy to see that the VivoBook S13 S330 has a pretty similar keyboard to the ZenBook 13 UX333. In fact, it has the exact same key travel – 1.4 mm (according to ASUS) and also has a backlight – in contrast to the Swift 3 (SF314-56). In addition to that, there is the touchpad, which is accurate and has all the features and gestures.
Its bottom plate houses the speaker drills, as well as the ventilation for the cooling. Heat, on the other side, is blown at the hinge cover.
|ASUS VivoBook S13 S330||306 mm (12.1″)||196 mm (8.3″)||17.9 mm (0.5″)||1.20 kg (2.43 lbs)|
|Lenovo Ideapad 730S||307 mm (12.1″)||210 mm (8.3″)||11.9 mm (0.5″) (-34%)||1.1 kg (2.43 lbs) (-8%)|
|ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333||302 mm (11.89″)||189 mm (7.44″)||16.9 mm (0.67″) (-6%)||1.09 kg (2.4 lbs) (-9%)|
The I/O comprises of a barrel plug, HDMI connector, USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) and USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports on the left side, while the right is populated with a single USB Type-A 2.0 port, an audio jack, and a MicroSD card reader – not too much, not too little.
Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance
This laptop’s bottom plate is held in place with 11 Phillips head screws. Now, after you unscrew them you have to brace yourself. Hard time unprying the plate is in front of you. Be patient, and don’t be scared to force it. Just be careful, of course, if you don’t want to use the bottom plate as a food tray.
Honestly, it continues to remind us of the ZenBook 13 UX333, as the inside looks almost like a copy – paste situation. Thank God the VivoBook has a green PCB.
ASUS VivoBook S13 S330 / ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333
Even the cooling solution is the same – a single heat pipe going from the CPU, over the supposed place for a GPU and finally – to the heatsink.
Sadly, the RAM chips here are soldered, so no way to upgrade this department after purchase. On the storage side, however, there is a single SATA M.2 port available.
Traditionally, we keep the battery for the end of this stage of the review. In this case, it is a 3-cell unit with 42Wh capacity – marginally smaller than the one found on Swift 3 (SF314-56) and roughly the same one found inside the Lenovo Ideapad 730S.
ASUS VivoBook S13 S330’s display has a Full HD IPS panel, BOE NV133FHM-N46. Its diagonal is 13.3-inch (33.78 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 166 ppi, their pitch – 0.153 х 0.153 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 53 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).
Viewing angles are comfortable. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.
The maximum measured brightness is 276 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 269 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 17% (in the bottom left corner) – a little more than it should be. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6740K – just slightly colder than the 6500K temperature for sRGB. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 6600K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 72% Brightness (White level = 143 cd/m2, Black level = 0.10 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is excellent – 1370:1 (1230:1 after profiling).
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The yellow dotted line shows ASUS VivoBook S13 S330’s color gamut coverage.
Its display covers 53% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976, which is a prerequisite for a punchy image.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
Below you can compare the scores of ASUS VivoBook S13 S330 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.
Response time (Gaming capabilities)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 35 ms.
Health impact – PWM / Blue Light
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
With this panel, ASUS VivoBook S13 S330 is safe for long periods of use, since the screen doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness.
Blue light emissions
Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
VivoBook S13 S330’s BOE NV133FHM-N46 panel is a well-balanced budget solution. It has good contrast, comfortable viewing angles, and adequate default settings. Thankfully, it doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness levels. Despite that, it had to have a disadvantage and it came in the form of limited color coverage.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for ASUS VivoBook S13 S330 configurations with 13.3″ BOE NV133FHM-N46 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS panel.
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
ASUS VivoBook S13 S330 produces realtively good sound. In addition to that its low, mid and high frequencies are clear.
You can download all of the drivers and utilities for the ASUS VivoBook S13 S330 here: https://www.asus.com/us/Laptops/ASUS-VivoBook-S13-S330UN/HelpDesk_Download/
Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. VivoBook S13 S330’s 42Wh battery doesn’t sound particularly impressive. However, testing results proved us wrong.
We laptop was able to last through 11 hours and 20 minutes of web browsing and 9 hours and a half of video playback. Not bad, given the price range.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
VivoBook S13 S330 is offered with Core i3, i5 and i7 CPUs. However, it depends on the region you live in, whether it is going to be a Coffee Lake or a Whiskey Lake processor. Either way, the difference should be negligible, since it only lays in the boost clock speeds, so you don’t need to worry if they sell the yesteryear chip in your country.
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
You have a pretty narrow GPU choice with the VivoBook S13 S330. Either it’s going to be the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM, or the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620.
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
It’s impressive how the Intel Core i3-8145U keeps up very well with its bigger brothers when it comes to gaming performance – not that the UHD 620 is a gaming GPU, though.
|CS:GO||HD 1080p, Low (Check settings)||HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings)||HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||56 fps||33 fps||16 fps|
|DOTA 2||HD 1080p, Low (Check settings)||HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings)||HD 1080p, High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||66 fps||36 fps||17 fps|
|Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)||HD 768p, Normal (Check settings)||HD 768p, High (Check settings)||HD 768p, Very High (Check settings)|
|Average FPS||37 fps||– fps||– fps|
Temperatures and comfort
Max CPU load
In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.
Average core temperature (base frequency + X); CPU temp.
|Intel Core i3-8145U (15W TDP)||0:02 – 0:10 sec||0:15 – 0:30 sec||10:00 – 15:00 min|
|ASUS VivoBook S13 S330||3.58 GHz (B+70%)@ 68°C||3.51 GHz (B+67%)@ 79°C||2.77 GHz (B+32%)@ 72°C|
Intel Core i3-8145U is the lowest tier of the 15W CPUs Whiskey Lake has to offer. It comprises of two cores and four threads, which means the VivoBook S13 S330U shouldn’t have any problems at all, dealing with its temperatures. And yet it proved to be true since the maximal temperature never exceeded 79C. Since it is the first laptop with this processor we’ve tested we don’t really have an objective view on its temperatures and frequencies. We can only tell that it performs really well, maintaining high-end clock speeds with a very little amount of noise from the fans.
In the case of the VivoBook S13 S330, the battery ensures cool palm rest area even during heavy load scenarios. As we mentioned, the laptop didn’t get loud at all, and the hottest spot (right above the “W” key) measured at 41.6C – warm, but definitely not hot.
From heels to the top, this device feels like it is on the budget side of laptops spectrum. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since this brings the joy of having a laptop for coffee shops, and at the same time having some spare change to buy a coffee. Let’s do the simple math here – if you opt for the VivoBook S13 S330 instead of the ZenBook 13 UX333 (for example), you end up having around $200 more. If an average latte costs around 4 bucks, there you go – you will have enough money for 50 coffees. Anyhow, there are some well-priced products in this category – the Acer Swift 3 (SF314-56) and the not-so-fancy-looking HP ProBook 440 G6.
Expectedly, this laptop has some disadvantages. Most of them are buried in the design features – the device just feels cheap. From the outer chassis, down to the plastic keyboard and finally – the color of the motherboard – it looks like a 20-year old ASRock mo-bo (nothing personal ASRock). In addition to that, you are certainly going to miss a RAM slot if you get the 8GB version.
Of course, there are upsides as well. One of them is the Full HD IPS panel, which is fairly bright, has a very good contrast ratio and doesn’t use PWM for brightness adjustment. Its main downside lays in the poor color coverage (just 53% of sRGB). In addition to the good, budget IPS display, there is the great battery life – around 11 hours and a half of web browsing and 9 hours and 30 minutes of video playback. Definitely, manufacturers are giving their best to bring battery life up to a standard these days.
If you like non-intrusive laptops, with almost inaudible fans – this is the device for you. Even at full load we barely noticed they were spinning. Another possible reason to buy this laptop is the input devices – they offer a pleasant experience, with tactile feedback from the backlit keyboard and accurate and responsive touchpad. Moreover, it has a fingerprint reader. Of course, you can add such a feature without thinking about the budget, given you’ve taken away the camera…
Anyways, tell us in the comments below, would you buy a laptop without a camera? Do you actually need a camera on your laptop if you don’t do online meetings since you can always plug a 3rd party one?
- Impressive battery life
- Thin and light bezel-less design
- Very high contrast and decent brightness (BOE NV133FHM-N46)
- It doesn’t use PWM to adjust screen brightness (BOE NV133FHM-N46)
- Quiet under heavy load
- Limited upgradability
- Cheap feeling build
- Narrow color coverage – 53% of sRGB (BOE NV133FHM-N46)
- Lacks a camera
You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-vivobook-s13-s330/