The Asus VivoBook L203MA: A Great Value and Budget Laptop Option
Thanks to its featherweight design, affordable piece tag, and long battery life, the Asus VivoBook L203MA-DS04 is a great value laptop. It easily fits as a great everyday laptop that is essentially also a budget laptop for college students. Users will also benefit from the HD display, stylish design, and strong port selection which includes a USB-C port.
• Simple easily portable design
• Budget price
• Strong port selection including USB Type-C port
• Snappy performance
• Narrow viewing angles
• VGA webcam
Not everyone is on a budget, but most people want to save a buck wherever they can. If you fall into that list and need a budget laptop, then we feel the Asus VivoBook L203MA-DS04 is a great choice. The VivoBook ticks all the right boxes as an everyday laptop and as a college student laptop. It should help you save as much as possible while you can pay off student loans.
If you desire a stronger everyday laptop, which delivers better performance at almost a similar price tag, the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-43-R19L) is a slightly better option. It’s our Editor’s Choice for everyday laptops because of a few more advantages. I’m talking about a 15.6-inch full HD (1920 x 1080) screen, more storage, and a backlit keyboard.
But don’t get confused just yet. They two are both great choices and it all boils down to preferences and use.
Design and Features: Asus VivoBook L203MA-DS04 Review
The first thing you’ll notice about the Asus VivoBook L203MA-DS04 is its striking grey color, a theme Asus has held for its general-use lower budget laptops. The honeycomb lid comes with a silver ‘Asus’ logo etched right in the middle. The build quality is great as the plastic enclosure enshrouding the laptop gives off a prime appealing high tech look.
At 0.7 by 11.3 by 7.6 inches (HWD) and 3.2 pounds, the L203MA is compact not forgetting lightweight. Asus describes it as a featherweight, which isn’t so far from the truth.
The 11-inch screen offers a 1366-by-768 (HD) resolution, which isn’t new for this budget-priced laptop category. For this size display, however, the image is still sharp and affords a fairly roomy workspace – nothing like the larger 14 to 15-inch 1080p displays but great nonetheless.
If anything at this size, the display consumes less battery power than on a larger display with higher resolution such as 4K. As a result, the VivoBook L203MA delivers decent battery life.
Just like the rest of the Asus VivoBook series, the port system is pretty decent. There’s a good selection of ports to go around and for the price, I feel the VivoBook should solve all basic connectivity problems.
The right section houses a power connector, an HDMI port, a headset jack, a USB 3.0 port, an SD card reader and a USB-C port.
Meanwhile, the left section holds a single USB 3.0 port and headphone jack. The USB port is well situated for plugging in your mouse.
Some of the other connectivity options available include the Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5. This is a good combination found on most budget laptops which should come in handy next time you want to use public Wi-Fi while taking your coffee.
Keyboard and trackpad
When you’re looking for a laptop, the keyboard and trackpad might not be the most immediate things you might look for. For most people, price and performance come first.
While the Asus VivoBook’s keyboard isn’t the highlight, it’s chiclet design is still a great layout for everyday use. The L203MA is neither backlit nor including numeric but the ergonomic keyboard is nonetheless comfortable to type on. The keys come with 1.6mm key travel which ensures supreme typing comfort.
The trackpad seats right below the keyboard. We loved its size which makes it quite easy to use and pretty responsive too.
Performance: Is the Asus VivoBook L203MA any good?
Is the Asus VivoBook any good? Is the Asus VivoBook worth it?
Well, it all depends on the context. If you’re looking for an everyday laptop and are not looking to spend a bucket load of cash then this Asus VivoBook is definitely worth it. And I’ll explain why.
Thanks to an Intel Celeron N4000 processor (with Intel HD Graphics), the VivoBook L203MA can handle most run-to-the-mill everyday tasks. Obviously, this does not include heavy video editing, photoshop, or gaming.
In real-world usage, the processor enables the laptop to handle a bunch of tasks simultaneously. You can run 5 Google Chrome tabs with 2 playing 1080p YouTube videos without breaking a sweat. Performance-wise, that’s pretty decent.
If you need slightly better performance, our Editor’s Choice Acer Aspire 5 is a better and more powerful foe at very little to none price difference. The Aspire 5 rocks a more powerful processor (AMD Ryzen 3 3200U CPU) making it a bit more of a power hub.
As far as storage goes, there is 6GB memory soldered to the motherboard. You also get 64GB of eMMC flash storage. That doesn’t sound like plenty but compared to the competitors such as a Chromebook, it’s more than the 32GB flash storage offered. In addition, the drive is fast and enables the computer to boot in seconds.
The storage might not be enough if you plan on storing pictures, videos, and other heavy files. But if you invest in a 128GB mini SD card or flash drive, you should be fine.
What is eMMC flash memory you might ask? EMMC flash memory is a slower form of memory (just like SD cards) than SSD. eMMC still retrieves data faster than traditional hard disk storage and as a result, is preferred over hard disks (HDDs) for inexpensive laptops.
Asus VivoBook L203MA battery life
As a laptop built to achieve everyday use and low price tag, the battery is definitely a plus. The VivoBook should allow you at least 5 hours 23 minutes of work on a single charge. This is not a full day of work charge as the Acer Aspire 5 (7: 29) or the 10 hours average of most Chromebooks provide, but all in all, in terms of price, it is a good deal.
The Asus VivoBook L203MA-DS04 has what it takes to be a recommendable everyday laptop.
It ticks all the right boxes – decent battery charge, stylish design, good port selection, and reasonable speedy performance. What’s more is it does all this without breaking the bank and without any major downsides, earning our Editor’s choice for top budget everyday laptop. As a result, we highly recommend it as a great option for home use as a great college student laptop.
Is there a better alternative?
So far, the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-43-R19L) is still the go-to laptop owing to it’s better set of features. It promises better performance thanks to more storage, vibrant HD screen, backlit keyboard, and a you-guessed-it, lower price. If the price-performance combo is what you’re looking for, you’ll find the Aspire 5 a great choice.
The second option goes to users who don’t mind switching from a Windows to Chrome OS option. The Acer Chromebook 514 is a great long battery life laptop with reasonable price tag snappy performance. It’s rightly priced for students and budget users.
Should you buy it?
Yes. If portability, low price point, and decent performance is what you’re in the market for, then you should go for it.