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There’s absolutely no doubt about it. The Asus VivoBook 15 is among the best budget laptops we’ve reviewed. The trend among notebooks in recent years has been moving towards the premise of less is more, with ultraportables getting insanely smaller, thinner and lighter. And, the VivoBook 15 (F512JA-AS34) from Asus takes that direction at a very reasonable price.
In addition to the good design, it also satisfies a few other needs, like a cool big screen to play with, for instance. Whether you need some for working from home or a laptop for number-crunching spreadsheets at the office, or just watching Money Heist on Netflix, the Asus VivoBook 15 is a great partner with its large, bright 15.6-inch display.
Combine that with a fairly slim design that we can say is quite portable and solid 10th Gen processor performance, and you have an ace in your hand without having to spend too much.
The VivoBook F512JA-AS34 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 Asus 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 3.75 pounds, the VivoBook 15 is relatively compact for a 15.6-inch laptop.
The VivoBook F512JA-AS34 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 Asus F512JA-AS34’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 Asus VivoBook 15 (F512JA-AS34) as configured, is on the beefy side for a sub-$500 notebook, that offers better performance than competing Chromebooks, like last year’s HP Chromebook 14. The 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1005G1 is a new mobile chip that offers strong performance matched with efficiency, and the 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage gives it a serious boost over similar machines with traditional rotating hard drives. For graphics, you have Intel UHD graphics card that is quite usable for basic tasks that utilize an integrated card, though itself is definitely not enough to power AAA gaming.
On day-to-day use, the VivoBook 15 will easily keep up with your demands. Four cores of computing power is plenty for most tasks, and with headroom to boots clock speeds to 3.6GHz, it can burst as needed. This keeps the laptop feeling snappy, with the SSD launching programs quickly, and some simple tasks, like basic photo editing, working fast.
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 Asus TUF FX505DT-AH51 is an excellent pick.
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 strikes a nice balance between its large display, good design, whilst also delivering strong all-round performance and good connectivity at a very competitive price. The battery life doesn’t break any records, but it’s still respectable for a budget 15-inch laptop.
Overall, the Asus VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS34 still provides good value for money for anyone that’s shopping for a large-screen laptop for home, college or the office.
ASUS VivoBook 15 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6” FHD, Intel Core i3-8145U CPU, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Windows 10 in S Mode, F512FA-AB34, Slate Gray
$340.77 in stock
6 used from $279.00