We are at that moment of the year when we begin to think about the resumption of school and work activities but, as we all know, in this nefarious 2020 the return to "normality" could be very different from usual for many. Among pupils who will attend classes only on alternate days and workers who will continue in their remote working, many will probably be looking for a notebook to allow their children to follow lessons or to be able to work from home with the same efficiency as in office.
Here, the new Asus VivoBook S15 arrived in Italy this summer is one of those notebooks that lends itself to meet the needs of both categories and does so while maintaining an acceptable price point in relation to performances that are certainly superior to those of your old one. home desktop that still mounts Windows 7! Do you want some more details? Read on and you will be satisfied.
ASUS Vivobook S15 REVIEW, lots of autonomy and good performance 317
Hardware 28 Nov
How to choose a laptop: what to look for before buying a 377 notebook
Windows 21 Aug
DESIGN AND MATERIALS
HARDWARE AND PERFORMANCE
Asus' VivoBook series has traditionally featured products that focus primarily on substance. Precisely for this reason we certainly cannot expect extreme designs in terms of size and weight or the futuristic stylistic solutions that we find on ZenBooks and ROG gaming laptops. These notebooks are much more sober and have a style that we could define quite classic.
Despite this we are still faced with a well-made product. The body is beautifully rigid, entirely made of metal with the only exception being the display frames, which are made of plastic but are still sufficiently contained in terms of size. Also thanks to this expedient, in addition to a series of very particular colors of the rear panel, the design is – as mentioned above – sober but certainly contemporary.
The 15.6-inch panel leads to a footprint that measures 35.98cm wide by 23.38cm deep. The thickness is rather small: we are talking about 1.6 cm which is in line or slightly below the average of the solutions in this category. We close with the weight, 1.8 Kg, which are well distributed and actually seem less.
Among the features I liked is definitely the keyboard which is complete and includes the numeric keypad. Particular fluorescent yellow accent on the Enter key, you may like it or not, personally it doesn't drive me crazy but it is certainly a differentiating detail. The keys are backlit and the feedback when pressed is good. We are obviously not at the levels of the best solutions from this point of view but I was not disappointed; I would have perhaps just preferred a little more resistance to pressure.
Aligned with the space bar, inserted as always in the palm rest, we find the touchpad. It's not huge, on the contrary, Asus could certainly have enlarged it more given all the space available. It is however a touchpad with which you can work quite comfortably: the fingers slide well, the response is precise and you can take advantage of the system gestures thanks to a correct recognition of the multi-touch.
My configuration does not include a fingerprint reader or even infrared for face recognition. We are talking about a mid-range solution and by now I would say that I expect to find at least one of the two quick access methods also in this market segment.
That said, let's talk about expansion ports that are certainly not lacking on this VivoBook S15. On the left side we have the proprietary connector for charging, a standard HDMI, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 and the combo audio jack. The opposite side houses a microSD reader and two other USB-A, this time only 2.0. An undoubtedly good endowment but for which I must report the impossibility of recharging the notebook via USB-C.
The speakers are placed on the bottom of the notebook and have a good yield, especially if we consider the placement of the product within the Asus lineup and what the competition offers in the same range. As always, given the size, a bit of bass is missing but overall it remains a discrete and satisfying audio.
As I said in the introduction, this is a notebook that I see well as a replacement for the home desktop and that at an overall correct price offers enough computing power to meet the needs of all family members and to support the possible use of an external monitor, even 4K, to improve the performance in multitasking.
Inside the VivoBook S15 (M533IA-BQ097T) we find a latest generation AMD Ryzen processor, to be precise a Ryzen 7 4700U, accompanied by 16 GB of DDR4 3200 MHz RAM and a 512 GB PCIe SSD. It is a not very fast drive, about 1000 MB / s in reading and a little less in writing, but still upgradeable in a fairly simple way thanks to a second free M.2 slot. The RAM is instead soldered on the motherboard but I assure you that 16 GB are more than enough for the vast majority of the operations you can do with a notebook of this type.
ASUS VIVOBOOK S15 DATASHEET:
- Display: 15.6 inch LCD LED, FHD 1920×1080 pixels
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
- GPU: AMD Radeon Vega RX 7
- RAM: 16GB DDR4 3200MHz
- Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- Connectivity: Dual Band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
- Ports: USB Type A 3.2 Gen1, USB C 3.2 Gen1, Micro SD, HDMI, Headphone-Mic Jack, 2 USB Type A 2.0
- Battery: 50 Wh
- Dimensions: 35.98 x 23.38 x 1.6 cm
- Weight: 1.8 Kg
Finally, there is an AMD Radeon RX Vega 7 graphics card that improves the performance of the previous generation Radeon Vega but still does not allow to equalize a discrete graphics card, even at low-end. Light and not too pretentious games from a graphic point of view like Overwatch or Fortnite run absolutely without problems and you can get a good fluidity even in FHD with medium or low detail.
But let's get to our stress test which involves all CPU cores being loaded to 100% for a minimum of 10 minutes. As you can see from the graphs above, the behavior of the Ryzen 7 installed inside the VivoBook is certainly good, even with a setup that remains quite conservative. After a quick initial peak, the frequencies of the 8 cores stabilize for a few minutes around 3 GHz and then drop definitively and settle at 2.5 for the rest of the test. However, we must certainly also note the trend in temperatures that never go beyond 75 degrees, with an average that is even slightly lower.
The margins to push this processor further would be there but Asus, considering also the intended use of this type of notebook, preferred to maintain a safety margin that would allow it to have a system that is always stable and above all fresh even outside. On the keyboard you travel on average around 30-32 degrees and even the rustle of the fans is never annoying. The maximum rotation peak of the latter is 2600 RPM but even when stressed, it is difficult to exceed 1,000 rpm and the rustle is barely mentioned.
So what can we use this Vivobook S15 for? Basically I told you about it a little while ago. We are facing an excellent product for the vast majority of users but personally I see it very well as a replacement for an old desktop PC used to navigate, manage emails, run Office suite programs, carry out research for school and watch streaming videos. Here, for all this Vivobook S15 is enough and advances, especially if you associate an external monitor when you are not using it on the go.
You can also go further, photo editing programs like Photoshop run well, especially for basic use. Instead, I would avoid software that heavily engages the GPU such as the various Blender, Maya 3D and the like, especially if you work on very heavy projects.
On board this Asus VivoBook S15 we find a classic 15.6-inch diagonal panel with FHD resolution and a fairly effective matte finish. It is not the best display I have ever seen on board a notebook, indeed, I do not know if it is due to this very invasive matte finish or the general quality of the panel but the colors always seem a little washed out and the viewing angle it is not optimal.
Even the maximum brightness is only sufficient, we are talking about about 250nit which are fine indoors but put a little in trouble under the sunlight. As a natural consequence, the contrast ratio is certainly not the strong point of this display, which to tell the truth is only sufficient in all its characteristics.
As the analysis with the Xrite colormietro and Calman software reveals, in fact, the coverage of the sRGB standard is less than 70% and in general we have Delta E, both for grays and colors, which go beyond what is considered the value indicating tolerance. This is not a huge mistake but it is still to be considered because it excludes a series of uses that could be easily supported in terms of computing power.
It is certainly a small consolation, but even with its limitations this panel remains a decisive step forward compared to the models of a couple of years ago that still had HD displays and could only be used if perfectly aligned to the face. However, the fact remains that if I had to give Asus a tip to improve this product I would start right from the display.
And we have come to the moment to say a few words about autonomy. Inside the VivoBook S15 we have a 50Wh module: certainly not a surprising figure, within this category of products there are now solutions with much higher capacity batteries. Despite this, the autonomy that is obtained remains very good and it will be difficult to remain "on foot".
Considering a work use made mainly of word processing and web browsing, 8 and a half hours can be reached without too many problems, which drop by a few minutes if we watch streaming videos with the Netflix app. At full load, however, the battery is completely discharged in just under two hours.
|Daily Internet work in Wi-Fi *||-11.6%||8.6 hours|
|Netflix HD on Metro app *||-12.3%||8.1 hours|
|Rendering Premiere Pro / Games||-52%||1.9 hours|
|Draining in standby (Connected Standby On)||-0.1%||49 days|
* 50% screen brightness, 50% audio. "Improved Battery" energy mode.
The 45W charger pack is very small and charges the notebook from zero to 100% in just over 90 minutes thanks also to a fast charging system that allows you to recharge 60% of the battery in about 45 minutes. As already mentioned, this solution with its proprietary connector is the only way to charge the VivoBook S15: the USB-C does not support this type of use.
In conclusion, therefore, VivoBook S15 is a notebook with a fairly modern design, made for the most part in aluminum and sufficiently cared for in the assembly, even considering the price range. The dimensions are not very small but it remains a portable solution which, at the same time, offers the possibility of working comfortably even sitting at the desk or on the living room table thanks to a panel of good size.
We are talking about a mainstream product that is positioned in the average of the solutions in its category from all points of view. Good performance and battery life, good port equipment, but certainly the display needs to be improved; as I would have used a slightly faster SSD. It costs 799 euros, which in my opinion is a fair price that puts it in an excellent position in case of any offers, not so rare, which could soon bring it under 700 euros.
Good performanceDiscrete autonomyEquipped with doors16 GB of RAM at 3200 MHz Display to be reviewedSSD not super fast