Asus has laptops across varied price ranges, catering to different audiences with the breadth of its offerings. The popular Vivobook series has laptops in the premium segment meant for ‘heavy everyday use’. The S15 laptop in this series was launched in September 2017 and is aimed towards the same target audience. It has the best of both worlds, cutting edge specifications and a premium build quality. We tried out the top variant of the Vivobook S15 (S510UN – i7 8th Gen / 1TB+128GB Fusion, 16GB RAM) for a few days and here’s our full review.
The Asus Vivobook S15 comes in a metal-clad body and there’s a brush finish on the exterior. This finish on top of the metal body makes the laptop look and feel quite premium. The Asus logo lies on the back with a mirror finish. The metal body also extends to the lower portion where the keyboard and touchpad are housed. Even the connecting hinge has the same texture. We reviewed the gold colour unit and it looks pretty good.
Asus has been fitting their ‘Nano-edge display’ in all of their latest laptops and this one is no exception. What this means is there are minimum bezels around the display. Except the bottom bezel where there’s an Asus logo, rest of the bezels are pretty thin and allow the display to occupy maximum space.
The keyboard is spacious enough but it lacks an additional number pad. However, there is ample space between the keys to allow you a comfortable typing experience. It is backlit and you can control the level of brightness in the keys, this is quite useful at times.
The touch-pad is medium-sized and has palm rejection technology. This rejects all the false touches that usually happen while you type. It also supports various gestures including the native Windows 10 ones. On the top right corner of the touchpad, there’s a fingerprint scanner that acts as a biometric authentication. It is fast and accurate most of the times.
The laptop isn’t bulky either, it weighs in at 1.7 kgs and is 17.9mm thick. In comparison, the Macbook Pro is 1.8 kgs and has a thickness of 15.5mm.
Display & Audio
The Vivobook S15 has a 15.6-inch display fitted into a 17.9mm chassis. This brings the screen-to-body ratio of the laptop to 80% which is appreciable. The display has a matte finish along with an ‘anti-glare’ coating. In most office conditions where the display is prone to direct light reflections, it helps you see the screen content without any distracting glares. Even while you work in outdoor conditions where there are chances of sunlight affecting your display visibility, this feature helps in avoiding that.
The display has a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels which makes the images look sharp and portray colours accurately. Viewing angle of the display is pretty good as well since the laptop supports an 178° wide viewing angle. The contrast ratio of the laptop is 700:1 which helps in showing deeper blacks. The brand also offers various tools to control the colour output of the display under the ‘Asus Splendid Display’ software. This might be useful for those who prefer in customizing their viewing experience, the default settings worked fine for me.
If you watch a lot of videos or movies, the display shall be good enough for such multimedia experiences.
Coming to the audio, the Vivobook S15 has two side-firing speakers tuned by Asus SonicMaster audio technology. The speakers are decent and can get sufficiently loud. However, when I plugged the earphones, the sound output wasn’t as loud. The same earphones gave a better output when plugged in my smartphone and other laptops. The sound bar was labelled ‘Conexant Smart Audio’ and I think this might have something to do with the inappropriate tuning. It might also be due to some misconfiguration in audio settings which I tried to tweak but couldn’t get it right. Similar to the tools provided for display configuration, the brand has also offered a tool for audio known as the ‘Asus AudioWizard’. Overall, the sound output from the speakers in the Vivobook S15 is satisfactory.
Performance and Storage
When it comes to core performance, the laptop has best-in-class specifications including the latest 8th generation Intel Core i7-8550 chipset. This is currently the best processor Intel makes in its ‘Core’ series. This is the KabyLake refresh of the i7 and Asus is surely looking to offer the best by providing this in the Vivobook S15. The laptop also has 16GB of DDR4 RAM which ensures that multi-tasking is a breeze with the machine. I didn’t face any issues on the performance front during my usage. My work usually involved heavy internet usage with several Chrome tabs running at once. This was coupled with watching videos and listening to music at times. Given the specifications, you should be able to run heavy applications without any issues as well.
There’s an Nvidia MX150 discrete graphic card fitted in the laptop. It enables smooth performance for graphic-intensive games. In comparison, most of the other machines in this price range come with the Nvidia 940MX card, which is around 30% slower than the MX150. So it has also got you covered when it comes to gaming. Although it is not a gaming laptop, you shall be able to run most games without facing any major hassles.
In terms of storage, the laptop has 1TB of HDD coupled with 128GB of SSD storage. The SSD helps in fast booting of the machine. The storage shall be enough for most people and if not, the laptop also lets you expand on them. You can expand the HDD up to 2TB and the SSD to 512GB. So this is great if you run out of the existing internal storage. This also gives Asus another edge against the Apple Macbook lineup which does not allow upgradation of storage space.
We tested the above configuration but the Vivobook S15 is also available in lower specifications. The other variant has core i5-8250U and 8GB of RAM.
Battery and Connectivity
Battery performance of the laptop is very impressive. Not only in terms of the backup capacity but also when it comes to the charging speed. On a normal day, it lasts somewhere between 5-6 hours. If you include a few hours of gaming or multimedia, the battery will run out comparatively faster. But it has fast charging and manages to charge from 0 to 60% of the laptop within an hour (~49 minutes). This is very useful while you travel around, just charge it for a few minutes and you are good for some hours.
Talking of connectivity, it has two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port and a Type-C USB 3.1 Gen1 port. There’s an audio combo jack where you can connect your headphone + microphone. You also get an HDMI port in the laptop.
The Vivobook S15 seems to have everything going for it. It bears a premium design, comes with superb internals and there is no major compromise on any front. Top all of it with a good battery that supports fast charging, both of which are essential features of the laptop. At a starting price of Rs. 59,990, the S15 can be a great choice for someone wanting to buy a powerful everyday use laptop.
The laptop most likely won’t disappoint even if you throw some heavy applications at it. The top variant costs Rs. 79,990 where you get the i7 chipset and a better GPU, rest of everything stays the same. Other competitors like the Acer Nitro 7 and Dell Inspiron 7560 offer low specifications and are priced comparatively higher. So, if you need a powerful and premium-looking laptop in this price range, the Vivobook S15 is highly recommended.
Images clicked by Sunny Sharma and Viraj Gawde