The mainstream laptop segment is saturated with a number of options. And getting the right one with powerful hardware and a premium design that doesn’t cost a lot is difficult. Asus is trying to bridge that gap with its new VivoBook S15 laptop that it recently launched in India. Priced from Rs 59,990, the Asus VivoBook S15 (S510) comes with top-of-the-line hardware and a premium design that raises the bar for a mainstream laptop.
For its price, the laptop is powered by Intel’s latest 8th gen processor, comes with a dedicated GPU and Windows 10 Home OS (Creators Update). Asus is also promising 8-hour battery life on single charge, and Sonic Master audio technology for immersive audio experience. After using the Asus VivoBook S15 (S510) for the past one week as my primary laptop, here’s my review.
Design and Build
The VivoBook S15 (S510) comes with a premium design, which comprises of metal lid drenched in champagne color with a brushed metal finish. Open the lid and you have thin bezels on the sides, something that Asus calls a nano-edge display. The bezels are not as thin as you would typically expect from a top-end product, but are relatively thinner than most laptops out there. ALSO READ: HP Omen 17 Review: The laptop for gaming on-the-go
At first look, the laptop may look all metal, but it’s only the lid that is made from metal. The rest of the chassis is made from hard plastic, with metallic paint on it. And if Asus managed to trick you in thinking it is all metal, then no doubt, the company has done a good job at it.
Keyboard and Trackpad
You get a full-size keyboard which is backlit, making it easier to type even at night. The keys have good travel distance, making it easier to type even for longer hours. This is especially true for people who type a lot through the day, be it making presentations, writing articles or emails.
Just below the keyboard, you have a large trackpad with support for multiple gestures. It has a smooth surface, and touch response is quick. In terms of gesture support, three-finger scroll up lets you switch between programs, three-finger swipe down reveals the desktop, whereas three-finger swipe left or right switches desktops. Similarly, three-finger tap executes Cortana, and four-finger tap brings up the notifications panel. ALSO READ: Asus ROG Strix GL553V Review: Packs style and power, but…
My personal laptop is a MacBook Air and I’m used to gesture controls. I never though gesture controls on Windows laptop could be so smooth, but the Asus VivoBook S15 does the job quite well. However, my only complaint with the trackpad is the erratic behavior at times, especially while performing drag and drop gestures.
On the top righter corner of the trackpad, you have a fingerprint scanner for biometric authentication. It works with Windows ‘Hello’ security login feature, and it unlocks the laptop quickly enough. ALSO READ: Lenovo Ideapad 520S Review: Reliable, no-nonsense mid-range laptop
Talking about connectivity ports, you have two USB 2.0 ports and an SD Card reader on the left, whereas the right side houses a power input jack, USB 3.0 port, a full size HDMI 1.4 port, a USB Type-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
One of the key highlights of the laptop is the 15.6-inch nano-edge display. The bezels are thin at 7.8mm offering an immersive viewing experience. Running at full HD (1080p) resolution, the panel has a matte finish to avoid reflections. However, my problem is with the brightness, which is too low, even at the highest level. ALSO READ: Lenovo Ideapad 710S Review: Slim and productive
Color reproduction is more on the natural side, without looking too over saturated. Asus has also bundled Splendid technology that lets you tweak things further. You can adjust the temperature from cold to warm depending on your preference. There is also a Bluelight filter mode which adds a yellow tint on the screen to reduce strain on your eyes and avoid fatigue.
The VivoBook S15 (S510) is loaded with powerful hardware, and our review unit came with the Intel 8th-gen Core i7-8550U processor, which the company claims is 60 percent more powerful than the previous generation. Our unit also came with 16GB DDR4 RAM, the NVidia GeForce MX 150, 1TB HDD and a 128GB SSD. It’s important to note that the base price of Rs 59,990 is for the base specification, and this spec will cost quite a bit more. Here, the SSD has Windows 10 OS installed on it, allowing it to not only boot quickly in under 10 seconds, but also ensures that the OS performs faster. Performance is smooth, and I did not face any issues during my usage.
I had the Chrome browser open with about 17 tabs open, one playing 4K video on YouTube, and others with a few sites open. Even with Microsoft Word running in background and music playing on Groove Music, there was no visible stutter or lag.
Asus has bundled a fast charger with the laptop that takes about an hour-and-a-half to charge the battery from 0-100 percent. With brightness set at 70 percent, Wi-Fi connected all the time, and using applications like Chrome and Microsoft Word, the battery lasted for close to six hours. It is not quite the eight hours that Asus claims, but it isn’t bad either for a laptop powered by the Core i7 processor.
With heavier usage and brightness at full level to play games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne and watch videos over YouTube and Hotstar, the battery just cut short at 4 hours. I won’t say the battery is excellent, but it is above average for a full-size laptop.
With the VivoBook S15 (S510), Asus has a very good laptop on its hands. It comes with top-of-the-line hardware for its price, features a premium design, has a thin profile and doesn’t weigh much at just 1.7Kg. The overall performance of the laptop is pretty good and having top-end hardware allows it to run heavy apps without any hiccups. My only wish is that the brightness could have been better, and the same goes with the battery life too.
If you want to give macOS a try, you can go for the MacBook Air (2017) which is priced above Rs 70,000, but you can buy one for around Rs 50,000 on the e-commerce portals. There are also laptops from Dell, HP and Lenovo in the same price range, but most of them are powered by last year’s 7th gen Core i5 or Core i7 processors, which is what gives the Asus Vivobook S15 a big advantage over the competition.