The Schenker VIA 14 notebook wants to impress as a device for the office and for image processing. The highlights of the laptop assembled in Germany include the light magnesium housing and the large battery, in the test we checked whether the Schenker is suitable as a MacBook alternative.
Schenker VIA 14 Review
At first glance, the Schenker VIA 14 laptop is reminiscent of the MacBook 13. Check: gray metal housing, black keys, large trackpad. You have to do without the touch display of the Apple device called the Touch Bar above the keyboard. The Schenker notebook offers sensors for face unlocking via Windows Hello, which works quickly and conveniently and is safe technology on top of that.
The housing is made of magnesium, which allows a low weight of only 1.1 kilograms. Not bad for a 14-inch notebook. Nevertheless, the laptop is very sturdy, even if not quite on the Panzer level of the Apple device. The somewhat flexible display in particular stands in the way of this. The hinge basically holds the lid firmly in place, but it wobbles a bit when shaken. That could easily be annoying on the train, but it’s not a serious problem.
The frame around the screen is thin except for the lower frame. Above the display there is an inverted notch with the webcam and Windows Hello sensors. Since these don’t take up that much space, the notch would apparently not have been necessary. The back of the lid is gray with a white Schenker logo in the middle.
The Schenker VIA 14 design looks interchangeable, but the laptop is stable and lightweight, lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Schenker VIA 14 Keyboard & Trackpad: Suitable for frequent writers
The input devices are particularly important for an office laptop. The keys of the Schenker keyboard can be pressed deep enough and give clear feedback. Thanks to the slightly rough surface, fingers won’t slip off the keys. In bad light, you can look forward to the two-stage LED lighting. If you use the arrow and “picture” buttons more often, this could be a bit frustrating in the long run, because the two buttons are very small.
The trackpad is about the size of the MacBook and works accurately and reliably thanks to Microsoft Precision drivers. There are no buttons, the entire surface can be pressed in, whereby the clicking noise sounds a bit loud. Working on the large plastic surface is very pleasant, I didn’t miss a mouse.
The Schenker VIA 14 input devices are very good, like the MacBook.
Schenker VIA 14 Display: Equipped for image editing too
An IPS display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels serves as the screen. There is an image with stable viewing angles, subjectively depicts colors well and offers decent contrast. The screen is bright enough for outdoor use in the shade.
According to the measurements by Notebookcheck, the display completely covers the sRGB color space and is therefore also suitable for photo editing. In any case, the display did not disappoint when used with Gimp. The display of the MacBook Pro 13 is even brighter, sharper and covers the wider DCI-P3 color space.
The Schenker VIA 14 display is bright enough and suitable for image editing. The MacBook offers an even better screen for special requirements such as video editing.
Schenker VIA 14 Equipment & performance: high performance and well connected
The Schenker VIA 14 is available in various configurations, and a new model with Tiger Lake processors and Thunderbolt 4 will appear at the end of September. Our test model is equipped with an Intel Core i5-10210U, 16 GB of RAM and a 500 GB SSD. This is easily enough for tasks such as text and image editing and surfing with several tabs. In any case, the laptop worked very quickly in the test. Those who edit videos professionally might prefer a model with an Intel Core i7.
The 13-inch MacBook Pro is currently available with energy-saving Intel Core chips of the eighth and tenth generation, and an Intel Core i7 is also available as an option. The MacBook processor performance is therefore comparable to that of the German notebook, although only the MacBooks have Intel Iris Plus chips for a slightly stronger graphics performance.
The Schenker notebook has a power supply port, an HDMI 1.4 port, USB-A 3.1 and USB-C 3.1 ports on the left. The laptop can be charged with the included power supply, but also via USB-C. On the right side there is a Kensington security connector, a USB 3.0 port, a headset connector and a microSD card slot. The power button can also be found on this side. Schenker has not spared wireless connections, the modern ax WLAN (Wi-Fi 6) and Bluetooth 5.1 are pleasing.
The MacBook Pro 13, on the other hand, is known for its economical connectivity; in addition to the headset port, there are only Thunderbolt 3 ports. Especially those are missing from the giver. Everyone has to know for themselves whether Thunderbolt 3 is necessary. Otherwise, the German laptop is ahead in terms of connections, and most users will not need any annoying adapters.
If you want to upgrade the hardware, you can remove eleven Phillips screws on the underside. Then the RAM and SSD can be exchanged. There are two M.2-2280 ports for the storage, but an 8 GB RAM bar cannot be removed, so there is only one memory slot for more RAM. MacBooks cannot be upgraded by buyers.
The Schenker VIA 14 performance, connectivity and upgradeability know how to convince overall. Unfortunately, the Schenker does without Thunderbolt 3 (although a new model with Thunderbolt 4 will be available soon), while the MacBook Pro 13 has almost all other ports, and it doesn’t offer Wi-Fi 6 and cannot be upgraded.
Schenker VIA 14 Running time & speakers: Lasts longer and longer
A generous 73 watt hour battery is built into the Schenker. Manufacturers usually use 50 to 60 watt hours for 14-inch laptops. In practice, I didn’t have to worry about the running time, the laptop lasted beyond the working day. The runtime of the MacBook is also considered good.
I can muster less enthusiasm for the speakers, they sound thin and don’t get too loud. For a laptop in this price range, it could have been better speakers, such as those found in the MacBook. Unfortunately, with the Schenker VIA 14, a headset is almost a requirement.
The Schenker VIA 14 battery life is great, unfortunately the speakers disappoint. With the MacBook Pro 13, both are true.
Schenker VIA 14 Conclusion: Enough MacBook for many users
The MacBook Pro 13 and the Schenker VIA 14 both score with high processor performance, long runtime, stable construction and good display. The Schenker laptop is lighter, upgradeable and has more connections. The MacBook has the higher graphics performance, Thunderbolt 3 and better speakers. The MacBook Pro is particularly suitable for video editing, also because of the coverage of the DCI-P3 color space.
The much higher prices speak against Apple. For the various MacBook models, they are a few hundred euros above those of the comparable models of the VIA 14. The Schenker notebook is available with Windows from around 1,250 euros and is therefore the better choice for most normal mortal users. The current model we tested should also fall in price.
The new model of the Schenker VIA 14, already appear at the end of September 2020, offers faster Tiger Lake chips with better graphics performance and Thunderbolt 4 and then the arguments for Apple will slowly run out.
Schenker VIA 14 Pros:
- + Processing
- + Performance
- + Display
- + Connection equipment
Schenker VIA 14 Cons:
- – Speaker
- – No Thunderbolt 3