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Describing Asus’ 15.6-inch VivoBook 15 laptop wouldn’t be easier. It has most of the thing you want, all the things you don’t want, and some of the things you thought were only available in the premium Asus ZenBook 3. That may be a little vague, so here are some clear details: the Asus F512DA-NH77 has a numpad keyboard, ErgoLift hinges and a fingerprint scanner on the touchpad.
For most part, the VivoBook 15 line has fine laptops. Our review model is better than fine, actually. This laptop plays casual games, it multitasks, it connects with everything, and yes, it really does feel light to carry around. It’s a budget laptop that will see you through all your daily duties – provided you’re not looking at playing the Witcher 3 on its highest settings.
It’s quite a large laptop, 15.6-inch to be precise – which it needs to be to fit all of those features in. For most of us, a 3.5-pound device is quite portable that doesn’t need much deliberation before committing the dollars, and if you’re on a budget, you really should consider the VivoBook F512DA-NH77.
The VivoBook F512DA-NH77 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 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.8 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 & 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.
The VivoBook 15 isn’t a rattling jalopy (and it doesn’t look it); this laptop is a solid performer capable of a few surprises. Despite its rather pedestrian 8GB of RAM, the F512DA-NH77 is an able multitasker, thanks to a peppy AMD R7-3700U CPU, 512GB SSD and AMD Radeon Vega 10 graphics. The quad-core R7-3700U CPU is AMD’s response to Intel’s Core i7-8550U processor that you find in more high-end laptops including the Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 and Dell Inspiron 7573, only that it gets even better processing speeds and enhanced energy efficiency.
As configured, our review model handles daily productivity tasks in a breeze. You’ll swiftly load 30 Google Chrome tabs, and simultaneously load three 1080p YouTube videos without lagging or freezing. The speedy performance is enhanced by the 512GB 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-NH77 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 GL65 Leopard 10SFK-062 is an excellent pick, and is part of our Top Pick for 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 isn’t destined for coffee house tables or the desks of television newscasters. Again, no one’s buying it for its frame and paint job. If that’s what you’re looking for, Asus offers ultrabooks like the ZenBook 3, with svelte profiles and beautiful constructions. As for the VivoBook 15, this is a no-nonsense, performance-first laptop that’s easy to upgrade and ready to hook up.
And, non-nonsense, performance-first laptops are perfect for offices and schools. At its price, the F512DA-NH77 is easy to fit into any given budget and packs enough features to justify the price. Its weight and design may be an issue for folks who need a petite device for presentations, but as we’ve stated, it feels lighter that it is, and is slim enough to slide into a backpack.
All said, for those looking to nab a portable, reliable, Swiss-Army knife of a laptop should give the Asus VivoBook 15 F512DA-NH77 strong consideration.
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ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin & Light Laptop, 15.6” FHD Display, AMD Quad Core R7-3700U CPU, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, AMD Radeon Vega 10 Graphics, Fingerprint, Windows 10 Home, Slate Gray, F512DA-NH77
9 used from $341.20