The Asus L402WA-EH21 is a 14-inch budget laptop that’s more than just a nice price. This notebook features an array of useful ports, a comfortable keyboard and gets you connected easily. It is even ideal for the enterprise user, although the student is really this laptop’s target market.
PROS: Lighter than it looks. Work friendly keyboard. Inexpensive.
CONS: 32GB storage is quite lean.
Describing the 14-inch Asus L402WA-EH21 couldn’t get any easier. It’s a budget notebook that has all the things you want –that’s if you’re a student, all the things you need for basic home/office use, and doesn’t have all the things you wanted if you’re a pro-user out to make a kill.
That may not be all, so here are some specifics: The EH21 has a quad-core processor, a USB 3.1 (Type-C) and HDMI ports, 32GB flash storage, 4GB RAM and AMD Radeon R2 graphics processor. It doesn’t have a numpad keyboard, VGA port and optical drive. Compared to today’s Chromebooks, it’s perfectly fine to go with this system if Windows is a must-have in your list.
In all seriousness, the L402WA-EH21 is a fine laptop. Better than fine actually, especially considering how much you’re paying for it. This laptop offers you full Windows S, connects with everything and, yes it really does look nice. It’s a budget device that can do it all – just don’t expect to run games and encode media on the highest settings.
The Asus L402WA-EH21 is a budget laptop, surprisingly it looks and feels a little premium than most of its competitors. The dark gray lid and blue keyboard deck are easy on the eyes, better than the dull, black boxers we’re used to when buying budget laptops. Still, the case is entirely made of plastic, which is expected at this price range, though, the build quality is still very convincing as it doesn’t have gaps or sharp edges on the exterior.
It weighs 3.6 pounds and measures 0.9 inches thick, which is slightly lighter than competitors. For instance, the Asus VivoBook F510UA-AH51 weighs 3.7 pounds and is 0.8 inches thick, while the Acer Aspire E 15 is heavier and thicker at 5.27 pounds and 1.19 inches, respectively.
Even with the thin profile, this netbook manages to offer good connectivity. There is a USB Type C port, a USB 3.1 port, a HDMI and an Ethernet port. Others include Headphone/microphone combo jack and a microSD card reader. It utilizes a Wi-Fi chip that supports the fast 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1 protocols.
When buying a budget laptop, there are features that you’ll have to compromise to do with and, display is always the culprit. That’s not exceptional here. The VivoBook’s 14-inch display has a max resolution of 1366-by-768, which is dim and dull. When watching the trailer for Black Panther, scenes from the Wakandans’ vibranium are barely visible, as it flies over the kingdom, all you see is a blue-dark moving object.
This display covers just 45 percent of the sRGB color gamut, lower than the Lenovo Ideapad 120S (64 percent), with the HP Stream (82 percent) being more vivid. Still, all of them fall below the standard average for budget laptops (91 percent). Also, there’s a front facing camera, which is only usable for casual Skype chats and nothing much.
Keyboard and Touchpad
On the Asus L402WA-EH21 is a surprisingly deep keyboard, with 1.7 millimeters of travel that require only 68 grams to press the keys. While that’s impressive, the keys are cut out of cheap plastic and the 14-inch body does leave enough room to rest both your hands. If you’re a pro-typer, you can easily hit 112 words per minute, of course with a few errors in between.
The touchpad measures 4.1 by 2.4 inches and seamlessly accommodates Windows 10 S gestures that comes pre-installed with the system. It lets you swipe apps with three fingers, tap four fingers to open the Action Center, though it feels a little cheap and flimsy. More importantly, it gets the job done.
When buying the Asus L402WA-EH21, you must be aware that you aren’t buying the most powerful netbook around. Powering it is a passively cooled quad-core AMD E2-Series processor with a base speed of 1.5GHz, and integrated AMD Radeon R2 graphics processor. This processor alongside 4GB of RAM, 32GB of flash memory are only sufficient for college work, simple office and web applications.
It is one of those systems that can run smoothly for as long as you keep your tasks simple. You can possibly have 5-6 Google Chrome tabs open, with one streaming a 1080p clip, but will lag once you push the open tabs to, maybe eight. Data transfers are also on the slower side, at 26.9MBps, against the budget-notebook average of 40.9 MBps, with the Lenovo Ideapad being the best in the category at 38.7 MBps.
While the 32GB of eMMC doesn’t offer much in terms of storage, it’s in the same ballpark with most competitors, plus it can be complemented via an external hard drive on an SD card. Out-of-the-box, around 8.7GB is available to the user, but after uninstalling the included software, free space rises to 16.9GB since the included Windows 10 S requires around 10GB to store regular updates.
If your laptop requirements are in a way that you need to be powered throughout the day, maybe a day in school or work, remember to carry along the charger. This Asus EH21 won’t last all day on a single charge. The much you’re getting is around 6 hours 27 minutes (running Windows 10 S) which is the much I got with continuous browsing the web and watching videos at full brightness.
With Windows 10 Pro installed, you might be lucky with few more minutes. Either way, it’s below the category average of 7 hours 18 minutes; of which the HP Stream (7: 09) and Lenovo IdeaPad 120S (8:40) are among the best performers.
The 14-inch Asus L402WA-EH21, of course, isn’t destined for coffee-house tables or desks of television newscasters. No one is buying this system for any kind of gaming, you shouldn’t too. The Asus EH21 is a no-nonsense, performance laptop that you can choose over a similarly priced Chromebook.
And, non-nonsense, performance-first laptops are ideal for offices and schools. For the price, this notebook is a shoo-in for any budget, with enough features to justify it. Its stature and weight may not be an issue for guys who need a device that can be carried around on daily commute, and as we’ve stated, it feels lighter and slim enough to fit into a backpack.
All told, for those in the market for a portable, reliable, nice-looking laptop that won’t cost much should give the Asus L402WA-EH21 a serious consideration.