ASUS Cloudbook E406SA Review
In a growing market dominated by super affordable Chromebooks, its satisfying to see a Windows device maker release a laptop created with portability and affordability in mind. The ASUS Cloudbook E406SA is a budget laptop that’s designed for those who don’t need a cutting-edge laptop.
For college students or basic home-office users, Asus are offering a Windows 10 laptop that looks like the best alternative to Chrome OS. It’s hard to envision an affordable Windows 10 laptop being all this impressive, while competing with fellow low-end Windows laptop in the Acer Swift 1, along with the premium Samsung Chromebook Pro.
- Need more budget laptop options? Check out our Best Laptops for College Students
The ASUS Cloudbook E406SA has a beautiful, plastic lid that looks like it belongs to a notebook that costs twice as much. The Iris blue theme extends to the keyboard deck, while the screen bezels have a silver color, while the base is made of black plastic with four rubber feet to hold the laptop off a table or desk.
Without any complicated cooling system, the Cloudbook E406SA-BV242TS is a measly 0.7 inches (1.7cm) thin and weighs just 2.8 pounds (1.3kg). It’s a laptop that’s light enough to carry around campus without breaking your back, but still boasts a 14-inch display in a casing that’s just over 13.3 inches wide.
Port selection is decent for a budget laptop, but we’ve seen better around the same price. All ports are on the right side, where you’ll find an SD card reader, a charging port, a full-size HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5mm audio jack.
This laptop comes with a full-sized, non-backlit keyboard with a touchpad that doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor tucked in to the top-right corner, something you find on high-end Asus laptops, especially the ZenBook line. Still, the keyboard’s white keys feel comfortable for basic but if you’re a pro-typer, you might have to look elsewhere in case you want the best typing experience ever.
Below the keyboard is a touchpad that responds well to clicks and swipes, but still offers a frustrating touchpad experience. The issues come from an oversensitive touch recognition, that that randomly replaces standard click when attempting to select an item with the option menu. That’s an issue we’ve had on the Asus VivoBook Pro 15 as well.
In other words, if you pick up a VivoBook or Cloudbook, it’s fine to buy a mouse, too.
Like most Chromebooks and budget notebooks, the ASUS Cloudbook E406SA comes with a 1366 x 768 resolution display that’s quite enough for media consumption and general use. A full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution would be better, but it’s understandable that hardware cuts need to be made to hit a price point.
Sure, while the display isn’t a deal breaker, it’s one area we’d be willing to pay a little more for a better screen. Additionally, even though this Cloudbook is an entry-level device, it would have been welcome to have a Full HD screen – especially considering the need to compete with Chromebooks.
As with many of Intel’s mobile processors, you can’t really set performance expectations too high for the Cloudbook E406SA-BV242TS.
Powered by 4GB of memory, a 1.1GHz intel Pentium N3000, and with 64GB of eMMC storage, this laptop stacks up well on paper and in performance with the Acer Swift 1. It’s clear from daily use and tests that this laptop isn’t going to cruise through video or photo edits, but it will do a good job for those who stick to browsing the web or in word processing.
Once again. Like other computers with eMMC storage, this Cloudbook is slow to copy files, requiring 2 minutes and 47 seconds to duplicate 4.98GB multimedia files, at a rate of 30.2 MBPs. That’s at par with a range of its competitors that average 27.98 t0 32.4 MBps, though equipped with 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drives.
Depending on where you look at specifications for the ASUS Cloudbook E406SA, you’ll either read it as 14 or 12-hour battery life. Either number is a gimmick and one you can’t achieve during use.
Indeed, battery tests return 10 hours 19 minutes on the PCMark 8, and 6 hours and 33 minutes in movie playback test. Neither result is something to shake your head at, as it’s more than enough to power through a cross-country flight or a day full of meetings or lectures.
The ASUS Cloudbook E406SA is a great budget laptop to carry around, it’s nice in hand and doesn’t take up much room whenever you need to use it. Asus did a remarkable job packing Windows 10 and enough power into a very small chassis, that easily passes for a Chromebook.
Unfortunately, the company still uses its oversensitive touchpad, which isn’t a deal-breaker but might take a few days to get used to. The Cloudbook E406SA has a very attractive aesthetic and tight design, and its svelte frame comes at no extra cost.
Is there a better alternative?
We’ve reviewed a couple of 14-inch laptops that compete with the Cloudbook E406SA, and one very relevant option is the Acer Swift 1 (SF114-32). Instead of the Asus E406SA’s plastic chassis, the Swift 1 packs an all-metal body that looks and feels premium, delivers just over 15 hours battery life on a single charge, has more storage and sports a sleek Full HD (1920 x 1080) res-screen.
Next up is the ASUS VivoBook X420 that packs more power in an Intel Core i3-7020U processor, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM and a Full HD 14-inch screen. If you run rather complex tasks and need a laptop for multitasking, which is still portable and offers a sleek, metallic design, the VivoBook X420 is right for you.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If you’re looking for an extremely small 14-inch laptop at a very nice price and long battery life, the ASUS Cloudbook E406SA is a great buy.
ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6" FHD, Intel Core i3-8145U CPU, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Windows 10 in S Mode, F512FA-AB34, Slate Gray
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