December 21, 2019 6:16:23 pm
Asus offers a wide portfolio when it comes to laptops in the market. While ZenBooks are at the top in terms of features and stylish design, the VivoBook Series come with top-class performance, but at a more reasonable, mid-range price. For gamers, there is of course, the Asus ROG laptops are the way to go. In the Indian market, Asus appears to have seen some recent success, as well as numbers from research firm IDC, showed it was able to capture 5.3 per cent of the market registering double digit growth of 43 per cent.
The Asus VivoBook S15 comes with a unique feature called the ‘ScreenPad 2.0’ which is a second screen, but part of the touchpad. The ScreenPad 2.0 is supposed to ‘enhance productivity’ and give a smartphone-like experience for managing tasks, letting one take handwritten notes, etc. The VivoBook S15 also comes with the latest Intel 10th generation Core i7 processor. Here’s our review for the Asus VivoBook S15.
Asus VivoBook S15 specifications: 15.6-inch full HD display | Intel Core i5-10210U/Core i7-10510U | 8GB DDR4 RAM | 512GB PCIe SSD | Windows 10 Home 64 bit | 3 cell 42Wh battery | 65W fast charging support | Nvidia GeForce MX250 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM | ScreenPad 2.0
Asus VivoBook S15 price in India: starting at Rs 65,990
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Asus VivoBook S15: What’s good?
The review unit we got for Asus VivoBook S15 came in the Moss Green colour, which has a metallic finish and looks quite stylish. The laptop’s colour certainly stands out compared to the usual greys and blacks. The Asus VivoBook S15 has a metallic chassis and looks very premium. This one sports a 15.6-inch display, and will appeal to those who prefer their big screen laptops.
The 15.6-inch display has a 1920 x 1080 (Full HD) panel with 16:9 aspect ratio. Asus calls this as a ‘frameless four-sided NanoEdge display’ with 88 per cent screen-to-body ratio. There’s no doubt the display is impressive. The bezels on the side are barely visible and it makes for an impressive screen, especially when you are watching videos on Netflix.
This is quite a bright display as I found out during my usage. I would say you can keep the brightness levels to a minimum when using it indoors and it will suffice. I had cranked up the brightness to full as I wanted to test out the battery while playing some videos on loop.
The laptop comes with a number of ports for connectivity options, though it still has a dedicated charger and does not rely on Type-C USB charging. The list of ports includes, one USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 2.0 ports, one Type-A USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, a combo audio jack and a microSD card reader. It also supports Bluetooth 5.0 and the latest generation WiFi 6 with Gig+, which is supposed to offer higher data rates and comes with increased capacity as well.
Our review unit came with the Intel Core i7 processor 10th generation with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage. There is an option for higher RAM at 16GB, according to the specifications sheet that Asus shared with us. In terms of regular day-to-day performance, the laptop should suffice. I used it for browsing online, typing out some of my articles on Word, and streaming videos on Chrome, all of which didn’t cause any stutters.
The laptop is designed for those who need a device for daily needs, one which will work without too many hassles and it delivers well on that premise. However, it would not be the ideal laptop for intense gaming sessions, nor it is claiming to be one.
The other aspect of the Asus VivoBook 15 that I enjoyed immensely was the keyboard, which has good travel and is backlit. The full size keyboard with its dedicated numeric pad works smoothly and I had no trouble typing on this.
The battery life on this laptop is also impressive and will last a full workday. With standby mode, you can go without charging for a few days and the battery does not drain out. After playing videos on loop with maximum brightness and volume, the laptop lasted around six hours or so, which is impressive. The other good thing is that the charger will get it to 60 per cent in under an hour.
Asus VivoBook S15: What’s not so good?
The ScreenPad 2.0 is supposed to be the standout feature and when you first setup the laptop it does look exciting. But after using this, I felt it was a gimmick I could have done without. The ScreenPad 2.0 will you take handwritten notes, get quick control of common functions when you’re editing PowerPoint, Excel or Word, etc. There are also some AppDeals, which I never bothered using. It is basically a second screen over which the trackpad is present. I’m not sure users really these features and the ScreenPad does make it harder to use the trackpad.
You can switch to the trackpad by clicking the symbol at the bottom left corner. Except there is a problem. So when the trackpad mode is on, the entire ScreenPad goes black, except that in the top right corner there is a cross symbol. You touch the cross symbol and the trackpad disappears and the ScreenPad comes back. Here’s where the main issue lies. While using the trackpad many times I would accidentally touch the cross and suddenly found I could no longer browse. At times the cursor on the screen would disappear or become responsive, even when the trackpad was still on.
There’s no doubt the ScreenPad 2.0 looks really cool and unique. But I doubt too many users will enjoy using this.
The other disappointing aspect of this laptop was the audio quality. When I sat down to binge-watch a series on Netflix, I had increased the volume to a maximum and I still had trouble hearing the audio clearly. I kept tinkering with the volume settings, but I just did not think it was loud enough. I expected more on the audio front from a laptop at this price.
Another issue with this laptop in my view would be the size and weight. At 1.8 kgs this is not exactly light, and I heavy. My preference is for lighter laptops given those are easier to transport and carry on one’s back.
The laptop also comes with features like Windows Hello for unlocking, which relies on facial recognition. It worked accurately in most instances, though at times it would not recognise my face, and then take a while to unlock, which was frustrating.
Asus VivoBook S15: Verdict
Asus VivoBook S15 is no doubt a stylish laptop, with the promise of a high-end processor at a price that is not too high. Its display, performance and battery life make it an appealing choice. What is a let down is the audio and the trackpad. The ScreenPad 2.0 while an interesting idea needs more improvement in my view. If you want a laptop with the latest Intel processor and don’t want to pay more than Rs 70,000, this is one of the options to consider.
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