Asus unveiled their latest lineup of Laptop a while ago. Starting off with their Premium offering like the ZenBook and a interesting option for the money, like the VivoBook. This time, we got to play with VivoBook S15, a device which has been Out of Stock every single time. Thanks to the specification on paper that leaves an good initial impression. But is it really the best laptop for the price tag it’s being offered for? We have been using this laptop for a month and it’s time for us to give you our Full Review on the VivoBook S15.
Design and Build Quality
In terms of design, it has a very minimalist finish. On the front, we have a brushed aluminium finish that looks and feels amazing. Whereas the rest of the body, like the body is covered with a high Quality Plastic. On the bottom, it’s covered with one sheet of plastic feels a bit cheap but on a daily basis, it’s okay.
Once you open up the laptop, the first thing anybody would notice is how huge the display is. Asus jammed in a 15″ Screen into a 14″ screen frame. The moment you boot it up, you’ll go whoa for real. They call it the Nanoedge display. Less Bezel, More Screen. I’ll cover more about it in the display section. The hinge that hold the display and body is not the greatest. The display tends to wobble during the slightest movement, which can be pretty scary. It goes up to a maximum angle of 75 degrees.
The palm rests beside the trackpad is pretty vast and convenient to place. The body construction is solid and there’s not much of flexing under pressure, which is definitely an upside. There’s no holes or any opening on the bottom panel, it’s basically clean. Only thing that you’ll see is the Licensing stickers and the screws that holds the bottom panel with the body itself.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The Chiclet Keyboard has a LED Backlight which is an icing on the cake and the key travel is good. I like the layout of the keyboard because there’s no sacrifices made like cramming up the keys. It has a layout that’s close to a normal keyboard, which is great. In a matter of hours, you’ll get used to the key layout and the travel between every letter and number is even and just nice. Only thing that bothers me a lot is the fact that the arrow keys are smaller than usual. The LED Backlight is a complete win for me because it has three different levels of brightness. This gives me the chance to work in the dark or in a dim lit location like a cafe.
As of for the trackpad, it has a glass-like layer up top which gives a premium feel to it. Using Windows Gestures are amazing on this trackpad because of it’s huge space to move the cursor. It does not have a dedicated Left & Right Button. But in this case, the button is located right below the track pad. One flaw with the trackpad is that, the moment you press the left or the right button, the whole pad gets stuck quite often when I was using it. We told this to Asus Malaysia and they told us that, it can be fixed by sending it to their Authorized Service Centre for free of cost.
A good laptop comes with a decent amount of ports. With that being said, the VivoBook S15 has the essential ports. On the left side, we have 2 USB – A 2.0 Ports, an SD Card reader and the Power and Processing indicator. Whereas on the right side, we’ll find the charging port, followed by an USB A 3.0, USB Type C with 3.1 support, a HDMI port and last but not least, a Headphone Jack.
It could have been better if the number of ports for USB A 3.0 was the other way around. The inclusion of a USB C is a smart move, as this would give you the option to connect high speed storage. Some might want a Thunderbolt port but sadly this one does not support Thunderbolt.
The Display on the VivoBook S15 is a 15.7″ FHD Anti Glare LED backlit Panel in a 16:9 aspect ratio, also known as the Letterbox ratio. This 15.7″ display is in a 14″ frame, they call it the NanoEdge Display. This gives a thinner bezel and more screen estate to work and play on. At the first glance, these display looks great. With the Anti Glare coating, it makes it a lot easier to use it under bright light with no issues. But the VivoBook Display does not have the right color accuracy if you ask me. With 45% NTSC with 178˚ wide-viewing angle display, it still gives a pleasant viewing experience to the eye.
Using it under bright light is okay, thanks to the anti glare coating on the display itself. As it boasts a huge display, you have a lot of room to operate more than 2 applications at the same time with a split view at ease. In my case, it’s Word and my browser or Browser and Netflix. Also, watching movie content on this particular screen is a pleasure to the eye.
The VivoBook S15 features two side firing speaker on the laptop that’s located at the bottom of the laptop. It’s powered by ASUS SonicMaster audio technology. I have to say, it sure does sound decent. Especially considering the fact that the laptop has a thin profile. At a maxed out 100%, there’s no distortion mostly. But do take note that the listening experience will vary according to the quality of music you listen to.
It should be totally alright if you were you bring your VivoBook to your couch, binge something on Netflix and max out the volume.
Specification & Performance
The VivoBook S15 comes in two configuration. The configuration that I was reviewing has the following. It runs Intel Core i5-7200U with 4GB of DDR4 RAM. In terms of storage, it comes with 1TB Hard Drive and 128GB M.2 SATA3 SSD. It also comes with a dedicated Graphics card, which is a Nvidia GeForce 940MX with 2GB of VRAM. The only bummer is that the VivoBook comes with 4GB of RAM. 8GB of RAM would have been ideal for multitasking.
In terms of performance, the laptop handles pretty well. But it sure does have it’s limit. The VivoBook S15 boots up in less than 6 seconds, which is pretty fast, thanks to the SSD. Also, running Chrome with 10 tabs works fine. Editing videos and photos on Photoshop and Premiere Pro was pretty decent as well. But once in a blue moon, it tends to freeze. This could be due to the RAM. I had to force shut down and turn it back on in order to use the laptop again.
The laptop packs a Nvidia GeForce 940MX with 2GB VRAM. I played some of the older titles on the laptop. For instance, DMC: Definitive Edition, Need for Speed: The Run, Need for Speed: Most Wanted and The Crew. It handled it really well. There wasn’t any sort of screen tearing or lag for that matter. I can’t say the same if the laptop runs newer AAA Titles. It should run, but expect the frame rates to drop to an average of 25-30 fps.
Overall, I loved the VivoBook’s performance.
With the VivoBook S15, you don’t have to worry about entering your password because it comes with Windows Hello. Only thing is that, it has a fingerprint sensor to unlock the laptop and does not feature an iris scanner along with the camera.
Battery Life & Charging
The battery life is the key feature on the VivoBook. It packs a 42 Watt Hour 3-cell Lithium Ion batter under the hood. Under normal load of tasks which involves browsing, reading Word and Powerpoint documents, listening to music and sometimes run Lightroom, it can last for more than 4 and a half hour. With the battery saver mode on, it can last up to 5+ hours. It gets an B+ for good battery life.
When it comes to charging the laptop, it can finish charging the laptop in about an hour and half to two and half hours. It’s fast enough for today’s standards.
Despite the 4GB of DDR4 RAM, there’s an extra slot for adding one more RAM for better memory optimization. As the primary storage for Windows is on the SSD, you can always upgrade the 2.5″ SATA HDD by hot swapping it.
The location of the fans are pretty discreet. Its located behind the joints of the laptop. It’s hidden in a way that you can’t notice it right away. It handles the whole heat dissipation really well. Only thing is that it gets loud when it’s in idle state.
Asus VivoBook S15 is something that I’d label as Value for money. For a price tag of RM 3,299, it sure does come with no compromises. During my time using the VivoBook, I only loved using it more and more as day went by because it has a good keyboard, amazing display, great performance and superb battery life, in my opinion. Not only it checks out as an laptop with good performance to price, it also has a design and color that can turn people’s heads. Only thing that I’m bummed about is the RAM but Asus was smart enough to give an extra slot to add another RAM and not soldering onto the motherboard.
This laptop definitely deserves a recommendation for those who’s looking for good performance and doesn’t want to break the bank.