ASUS VivoBook S (15.6”, Full HD) Laptop Review

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We are living in the middle of mobile era where computers are created to serve our busy lives, our needs on the go. A choice for many is an ultrabook – a small and fast laptop – which usually costs more than average notebook for home and productivity use. However, there are exceptions, such as ASUS VivoBook S – a cheaper ultrabook released in the summer of 2017 with an array of impressive components, starting with Core i7 processor and ending up in Full HD display. Read my thoughts and recommendations about the computer below!

Display as Expected, Integrated Graphics Problem for Gaming

Ultrabooks in this price range often sport around 13.3-inch screen. In the case of ASUS VivoBook S, however, the display has 15.6-inch diagonal. The bezels around the display are so thin that the actual display area takes almost all space on the upper part, thus the total dimensions are not that different from a 13 incher. The image quality itself and colors should be decent at least thanks to 1080p resolution and IPS panel. Unfortunately to some, the display has no touch support.

In this affordable laptop it would be hard to get everything right. Indeed, the ASUS does not have great gaming capabilities. Graphics are taken care by the integrated Intel HD 620 chip which, as you might guess, only runs older games fluently. The case with League of Legends and Minecraft is good, frame rates are smooth even on higher settings – however if you throw something like GTA 5 you’re bound to get choppy 20-30FPS and that would be on low settings! There’s no way to add dedicated graphics card on this machine so it’s definitely not a hardcore gamer’s choice.

VivoBook S Delivers Software Performance

Even though gaming is not where the new ASUS ultrabook excels at, it’s still a very good pick for all software-related use. A big part of this is the Intel Core i7-7500U processor which is a dual-core chip of 2.7GHz clock speed and 3.5GHz turbo boost. Being an i7 (Intel’s high-end series) and 7th generation (the latest set of processors), a laptop equipped with i7-7500U is definitely faster than your average notebook. It would be enough for editing photos on Lightroom or on the more demanding Photoshop, easily.

The storage department is modern with two distinctive drives. One is a hard drive, offering 1TB storage and 5400RPM spindle speed. The second is 128GB SATA3 solid-state drive hooked to M.2 slot. As it is a smart way to do, ASUS has pre-loaded the operating system (Windows 10 Home) on the SSD. Both of the drives can be upgraded if you know what you are doing. For memory, there is 8GB DDR4 installed – but don’t worry, one slot is free so you can easily put another stick to max out at 16 gigabytes!

Video Introduction

Full-Sized Ports for Full-Sized Connectivity

The VivoBook S is a 15-inches laptop so there’s sufficient space for ports on the sides. Comparing to the smaller ZenBook, this VivoBook comes with rather similar options: two USB 2.0, one USB 3.0, one USB Type-C and the regular HDMI for video output. You can either choose to use the HDMI or USB-C with an adapter if you want to hook up an external monitor to this laptop.

It’s not hard to guess an ultrabook does not have an optical drive in 2017. True, the time for disc media has passed, almost everything worthy of getting can be downloaded from Internet. That being said, nothing is stopping you from getting an external DVD burner if you really need discs. Anyway, the laptop has a multi-format card reader (SD, SDXC, SDHC) for your convenience.

Another thing you might notice “missing” is the LAN port for network cable. This, also, can be fixed with external device, a USB to RJ-45 dongle. Yet, I believe you will be more than happy with the wireless capabilities: offered is 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi adapter with built-in Bluetooth 4.1 support.

Few Other Benefits About the VivoBook

The laptop’s lithium polymer battery is not that heavyweight with only 3 cells and 42 watt-hour energy. However, the components inside shouldn’t be that hungry for power either, and the Full HD display is quite energy-saver compared to notebooks with Quad HD screens. ASUS cleverly doesn’t talk about the battery life itself, just how long the battery will last with the notebook (three times longer lifespan compared to Li-ion batteries). It’s also quick to recharge, taking around 50 minutes to 60 percent. However, what actually interests people is the battery life, and I would estimate at least six hours day in, day out software use.

The laptop’s shell material is aluminum which contributes to light 4.4 lbs weight. Moreover, the laptop has a very slim profile with just 0.7 inches thickness. The keyboard has backlight function.

Affordable price - Despite the laptop being fast, having a decent display and good looks, it's not pricey at all. Most ultrabook seekers will have the financial means to afford it.

Solid performance - There's not much Core i7 processor and SSD can't do for power users. And if you are not content with the 8GB memory you can always install more.

Not for gaming - ASUS VivoBook S, with the integrated graphics card, does not offer much for gamers. However, the limitation mostly applies to newer games; old titles - or those without fancy graphics - will run smoothly.

ASUS VivoBook S is a welcomed newcomer to the ultrabook market where both light weight and high performance are essential. As far as I can see, the new ASUS laptop excels in both arenas: it has a 15.6-inch screen yet weighs only 4.4 pounds, and the performance is propelled by the Intel Core i7 processor with Windows installed on a fast solid-state drive. This kind of notebook is great for productivity use since I don’t think any kind of software would really lag on it; however, gaming would be different beast because of the integrated graphics card. All in all, if you want a full-blown, sleek ultrabook without paying an arm and leg, this new VivoBook could be for you.

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