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[Review] Asus L406MA-WH02: You either Love it or Hate it

  • Affordable Price Point
  • Great Battery Life
  • Lightweight design (2.1 pounds).
  • 1-Year Office 365 subscription.
  • Fanless design
  • 64 GB of Storage (upgradeable through microSD card slot).
  • No USB Type C port.
Not everyone has the same computational needs. Some people use their laptop a couple of times a week, others use it several hours a day. Some people use their laptops for heavy-duty tasks such as gaming whilst others buy a 1500 dollar laptop just to browse the web and send a couple of emails.

Here at 9to5gadgets we're not fans of overpaying and if you're reading this review then there's a pretty fat chance you're not either.

Today we want to take you through the Asus Vivobook L406MA-WH02, a modest laptop that finds its ideal audience amongst those looking for portability above all else.

This laptop - or better yet; netbook - is not suitable for the hardcore user but for the casual laptop user this is just about the best option currently available at this price point. Without further ado, let's get cracking!

  1. Let's talk design and keyboard
  2. What's the performance like?
  3. Who is this laptop for?
  4. Battery life & Extras
  5. Closing arguments 

Lightweight design and an ok display

Let's get one thing out of the way: Asus is not looking to re-invent the wheel when it comes to design here.

The Asus L406MA-WH02 packs a minimalist yet appealing design that doesn't really surprise you in any way -neither good nor bad-. It's lightweight of just 2.1 pounds and thin body of just 0.7 inches make this device extremely portable, definitely one of its most compelling virtues.

In terms of the display we've got a 14 inch IPS screen with nano-edge technology - basically reduces the bezels- and an HD resolution (1366 by 768 pixels).

This resolution is OK for the casual user. However, if you're searching for a higher resolution display and you can afford to stretch your budget just a tiny bit more then you should know that you can get a laptop such as the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L which packs a Full HD display as well as a lot of other virtues worth considering.

Getting back to our review, the keyboard is quite nice and offers a pleasant experience when typing. However, we don't have any extras like you can find on more expensive devices such as a fingerprint reader or a backlight for low light situations.

A curiosity of this particular model is that all I/O ports are located on the right side of the laptop. Specifically, we've got a couple of USB ports, an HDMI port, microSD card reader, audio jack and a power input.

What's performance like? What should I expect?

As you might've guessed considering the low price point on this laptop performance is not its strong suit. Specifically, a quick rundown over the key specs will show us an Intel Celeron N4000 processor that clocks in at a maximum 2.1 GHz, 4 GB of onboard RAM -not upgradeable -  as well as 64 GB of eMMC storage.

For those of you who have never had a device with eMMC storage you should know that it has a speed that's somewhere in between a traditional hard drive and an SSD.

Overall, this specific model along with this CPU promises to deliver a very quick performance whereby you can turn the laptop on and ready to surf the web in under 20 seconds.

Also, while 64 GB can seem like a significant constraint, it's worth noting that you can easily increase the storage by using a microSD card and configuring Windows to save new applications, videos and images onto that card - extremely easy-.

Considering the fact that you can purchase a brand name 128 GB microSD card for roughly $20, it's a pretty good deal all in all.

So, who is this perfect for?

Overall, this laptop is best suited for casual users.

School kids who need their first laptop to get their homework done, people who like surfing the web on a bigger screen than their phones but don't really like typing on a tablet.

People who need a comfortable device where they can easily edit their documents and above all people who want a device that's portable.

You can use this laptop to surf the web, watch movies in HD -remember the resolution-, edit documents or listen to music. However, that's about all that you can do on this laptop without it presenting any lag in performance

Who should not buy this laptop?

If you were planning to use this laptop for gaming, image or video editing, working on virtual machines, or basically any task that would be deemed "demanding" on the CPU or the RAM then you're going to be quickly disappointed and you should look elsewhere.

What about battery life? Any extras I should be aware of?

Battery life is always a tricky subject since we all get very different results while using the same device.

In this regard, even though Asus claims this laptop can deliver up to 12 hours of battery life we all know that we should manage our expectations and chances are you will definitely get a solid 6-8 hours of moderate to intensive use (videos and web surfing) as many clients have already attested to, which is still pretty great.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that the Asus Vivobook L406MA-WH02 comes with a one-year subscription to the Office 365 suite as well as the fact that it packs an attractive WiFi 5 connectivity.

What this means is that - assuming you have a compatible router - you'll be able to get up to three times better download/upload speeds than with the previous -and most common - standard 802.11 b/g/n.

Oh, and by the way, you can also update to Windows 10 Home from the Windows 10 S edition this laptop comes from completely free and in just a few minutes.

Conclusion: Should you buy it?

As always the answer is: depends. If you really need a great display, you want a laptop to edit videos or images or you're one of those people who "need" to have 10 tabs open at a time while streaming music and uploading videos then this laptop will fall short very very quickly.

On the contrary, if you're a casual user who's looking for a laptop to keep up with the news, send emails, update social media accounts, and stream movies without having to concern yourself with battery life then it's pretty much a no brainer at this price point.