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The ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 proves that a slick design and innovation isn’t limited to premium laptops. This exquisite piece of tech is truly one of a kind, inspired by Asus’ pricier ZenBook S, featuring the company’s new ErgoLift hinge that angles the keyboard to offer a comfortable typing experience. As if the premium design was not enough, the new VivoBook 15 is available in five striking colors, including a gorgeous transparent silver and coral crush.
Our review unit comes in Slate Gray and is skin deep. It tags along good performance, solid battery life and impressive heat management, making it a very good overall laptop. In fact, it’s one of the best Asus laptops you can get with less money.
The VivoBook F512DA-EB51 is a well-crafted laptop with a slick design and exciting color schemes. Finally, Asus is breaking away from the silver aluminum motif, something that they experimented with the ZenBook 3, and it happens that we’re getting what we’ve always asked for: unique color options in a budget laptop. We got to see the slate gray and blue, with the other finishes being coral crush, grey and transparent silver. The slate gray is definitely the showstopper.
This particular machine has a gray brushed-aluminum lid and a shiny, gray deck wit barely visible crosshatching. The model we’re reviewing has its own flair, sporting a Chrome logo on the lid and a faux-aluminum deck. But design isn’t the only reason to get excited about the Asus VivoBook 15.
Asus introduced the ErgoLift on the ZenBook S, an innovative hinge that raises the keyboard for a comfortable typing experience, and we’re happy it’s making a pleasant return. This time round, the rear of the keyboard tilts upward at a 3.5-degree angle, thereby, delivering a better typing experience and improves audio and heat management. At 14.2 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches and weighing 3.5 pounds, the VivoBook 15 is relatively compact for a 15.6-inch laptop.
The VivoBook F512DA has a decent collection of ports for a laptop that’s only 0.7-inches thick, but I wish it had Thunderbolt 3 input. On the left side, there are two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD card slot and LED indicators for charging and battery status.
On the right side, there’s a DC jack, a USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, a USB Type-C port alongside a headphone/mic combo jack.
With such a premium design, we only wish Asus used an equally vibrant display. The Asus VivoBook 15 comes with a 15.6-inch 1080p display, that is sharp and bright, but fails to deliver perfect colors. The screen can only reproduce 68 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, which is lower than competing laptops: Lenovo Ideapad 530s (72 percent) and the Acer Aspire 5 (74 percent) – two laptops with notable dull display.
All of them score below the 89 percent mainstream laptop average. However, it manages to top the mainstream laptop average (242 nits) with an impressive 257 nits, meaning it should be visible outdoors, even on a sunny day.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The VivoBook F512DA-EB55’s island-style keyboard offers a very comfortable typing experience, made possible by tactile keys and an innovative ErgoLift elevated hinge, that makes up for faults like shallow key travel. The keyboard has 1 millimeter of travel, but gets rather shallow keys for a 15-inch laptop. We always prefer key travel of at least 1.5 mm, but the keyboard has a lot going in its favor.
Its Individual keys are well spaced, are generously spaced, apart from a slightly undersized number of pad and low travel, but pleasant springiness of keys. Below the keyboard is a 4.1 x 2.8-inch touchpad, that’s spacious, quick and responsive to Windows 10 gestures.
Equipped with an AMD Quad Core R5-3500U CPU and 8GB of RAM, the VivoBook 15 executes daily productivity tasks in a breeze. You’ll swiftly load 20 Google Chrome tabs, and simultaneously load three 1080p YouTube videos without lagging or freezing. The speedy performance is enhanced by the 256GB SSD used here, offering better load speeds than traditional spinning hard drives.
Sporting four cores as well as on-chip AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics, this processor carries the VivoBook 15 from point A to point B without much delay for everyday tasks. It is a strong pick for online multitasking and productivity suites, and casual, Web-based gaming. The Asus F512DA-EB55 seamlessly handles everything from photo editing to video conversion hassle free.
The integrated graphics card won’t play the latest AAA games, but you can get away with less demanding games at low to medium graphics settings. It can run racing games like Dirt 3 at 58 frames per second, staying ahead of the IdeaPad 530s (47fps), the Acer Aspire 5 (35 FPS), and well over the mainstream-laptop average (44 fps). If you need a laptop for gaming on a budget, the MSI GV62 8RD-275 is an excellent pick, and our Editors’ Choice for budget gaming laptops.
The Asus VivoBook 15 uses an energy efficient CPU, which adds to good, but not great battery life. The notebook lasts 8 hours 24 minutes, over the IdeaPad 530s’ 7 hours 43 minutes, but still behind the Aspire 5 that last 9 hours 27 minutes on single charge. The mainstream-laptop average of 7:28 is about an hour shorter than the VivoBook 15’s runtime.
The ASUS VivoBook 15 is the company’s best attempt yet at cramming a whole bunch of power and premium design in a tiny, budget laptop. The bezels are as small as we’ve seen, the construction is beautiful, making this a very usable laptop with a great keyboard and touchpad and outstanding build quality. More importantly, there’s no performance compromise, although the display colors aren’t the best we’ve seen.
Is there a better alternative?
The most direct comparison is the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ, that offer an eighth-generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, a backlit keyboard and much better battery life. Then, there is the Asus VivoBook S15 (S512FA-DB71), with an 8th-Gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, which is also worth considering.
Should you buy it?
Yes. The ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 packs a lot of power into a beautiful chassis, and although it has compromises here and there, you won’t be disappointed by what you’re paying for.