The vivobook S410 is a sleek, premium-looking 18.8-mm thick machine weighing 1.4 kg. Asus has managed to incorporate a bigger non-touch 14-inch screen with a 178-degree viewing angle.
The screen is complemented with a well spaced, chiclet keyboard (without the number pad), which is comfortable to type on. Using the shortcut on the keyboard, I was able to get the keys back lit which made typing in the dark easier. The big downside was integrating the power button on the extreme right near the delete key. Instead of hitting the delete key - which is the second last key in the row - I ended up pressing the power key, putting the system to sleep every now and then.
The downward facing side speakers aren't impressive. Our review unit was a top-of-the-line variant, with Windows 10 Home, running Intel 8th generation i7 processor with 8 GB RAM and 1 TB of storage. For fast booting, it has a separate 256 GB SSD that stores programme files; it booted in 10 seconds.
Along with the regular Windows programme and apps, Asus has added some bloatware, including Asus Battery Health charging and Asus Giftbox, which can be uninstalled. The Asus S410 houses the charging port along with a USB, HDMI, Type-C and audio port on the left, and two USB ports along with a card reader and LED indicator for charging on the right.
It has a three-cell battery that lasts close to seven hours on full charge.
Kent Alps+ Air Purifier
After making a mark in the water purifier segment, Kent has launched a portable air purifier Kent Alps+. This rectangular air purifier comes with a real-time air purity monitor, and the PM 2.5 level is displayed (using colours and numbers) on the digital screen added to the front cover. The controls, such as power button, timer settings (two, four and eight hours), fan speed (auto, slow, medium and high) and ionizer, have been placed on top. The Alps+ comes with three layers of filters - the primary filter removes large particles, the specially treated carbon filter removes odour and the third antibacterial HEPA filter removes bacteria and PM 2.5 pollutants. On high speed, the purifier worked well in a room size of 40 sq. ft. - the PM 2.5 level went from 200 to 40 in just 15 minutes. The air purifier performance is impressive; but the lack of a remote or app for controlling it from a distance is a let-down.
Toshiba's new wireless earphones give music lovers and fitness buffs much to love. Whether it is Bryan Adams' Summer of '69 or Coldplay's Something Just Like This, the earphones render clear vocals with balanced mids and deep bass across genres. But at high volume, clarity takes a hit. The soft ear tips are comfortable to wear and don't fall out during brisk walking or running; the snug fit also keeps out noise. The earpieces have built-in magnets that keep them locked together when not in use or when hanging around the neck by a sturdy cable that doesn't get tangled easily. One can power the earphones on or off by tapping the rear of the earpieces together. The in-line remote placed on the cable connecting the earpieces has volume and call controls (very handy) along with the charging port and microphone. The earphones can be charged fully in less than two hours and offers a battery back-up of almost four hours.