ASUS S15 S510 Review: Fairly Powerful Notebook For Not Much Money

by John Nieves  October 28, 2017

We review the ASUS VivoBook S15!

While there’s a lot of fairly powerful 15.6-inch notebooks in the market nowadays, finding one with a top-tier processor and discrete graphics that won’t completely empty your bank account is hard. That’s why ASUS’ VivoBook S15 is such an attractive option – at around Php 44,995 it won’t do a lot of damage to your bank account yet still offers a lot of bang for your buck. Before we begin this review, let’s take a look at the specs:

ASUS VivoBook S15 S510UQ specs

  • Intel Core i7 7500U/ Intel Core i5 7200U processor
  • 8GB of SDRAM
  • 15-inch LED backlit full HD 60Hz Anti-Glare Panel with 45% NTSC with 178 wide-viewing angle display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD (Core i7 variant)/256GB SSD (Core i5 variant)
  • 3 USB ports, 1 USB Type-C port, SD card reader, 3.5mm jack, full size HDMI
  • Bluetooth, WiFi
  • Intel Core i5 version Php 44995, Intel Core i7 version Php 54995

Design: Plastic body, but those skinny bezels are <3

ASUS likes to point out that the S15, despite having a 15-inch display, looks and feels smaller than other comparable devices offered by the competition. That’s because it sports thin, 7.8mm bezel on both sides, giving the notebook an 80% screen-to-body ratio.

The S15 uses an aluminum lid and a plastic body, though it doesn’t look or feel cheap. The mix of the two materials allow the S15 to look and feel premium without driving up the price. The lid itself is pretty sturdy, and has little to no flex when you press on the center where the ASUS logo is. Once you open the lid, you’ll see the mainly plastic chassis that approximates the look and feel of the lid. Unfortunately plastic flexes and moves when you apply enough force, and that’s true with the S15. Thankfully the flex isn’t so bad, and the overall build quality is pretty good for the materials that they used.

The keyboard is quite big and generous, and has excellent travel. This review is being written on the S15’s keyboard, and though we’ve been at it for quite a bit our hands and fingers don’t feel cramped or tired. The trackpad is responsive, though we almost always use a mouse with a notebook if it’s at all possible. There’s also a fingerprint scanner on the upper right side of the touchpad for faster and more secure Windows log-ins.

There’s more than enough ports scattered on the S15’s body, including three USB ports, a USB Type-C port (wihtout Thunderbolt 3), audio jack, card reader plus a full-sized HDMI port.

Display: Skinny bezels and matte screen

The 15-inch display is a full HD, 60Hz anti-glare panel with 45% NTSC coverage plus a 178 degree viewing angle. The thin side bezels aren’t as extreme as say Dell’s XPS notebooks, but for a device that’s priced the way the S15 is it’s pretty impressive. Color accuracy is good, though you’ll have to bear in mind that the display isn’t as color accurate as the one used in MacBooks, for example. Outdoor legibility is ok, with the display outputting around 250 nits of brightness.

Performance: More enough for daily use, plus a little light gaming

The S15 comes in two distinct flavors: an Intel Core i5 7200U version and a more powerful Intel Core i7 7500U variant. Our review unit was the latter, paired with 8GB of RAM, discrete NVIDIA 940MX graphics with 2GB of VRAM plus a 128GB SSD with a 1TB HDD.

We never had a problem with the more powerful variant of the S15, and its Core i7 processor plus 8GB of RAM was more than enough to tackle most tasks in Windows. The notebook never felt slow or sluggish in any way while we were using it, and the NVIDIA 940MX discrete graphics also gave Adobe Premier Pro plus Photoshop a bit of a boost in performance. You can also probably play a few light games like DoTA 2 on the S15, but keep in mind that the notebook isn’t a gaming machine – not by a long shot.

Battery: Mediocre endurance means you need to stay near a power adapter

For something that’s supposed to be portable, ASUS only put a small 42Whr battery in the S15. Our experience with the S15’s endurance was a little disappointing, with the notebook tapping out at around 4 hours of mixed use, which includes browsing, multimedia, video playback plus a bit of light video editing. ASUS adds fast charging to the mix as a consolation, as the notebook’s charger can charge 60% of the battery in just 49 minutes though we would have preferred a bigger battery.

Verdict: Relatively powerful and cost-efficient notebook for the regular Joe

ASUS’ new VivoBook S15 may not be as sexy looking as the Taiwanese company’s other notebooks, but it has power where it counts. A large screen, good performance and realistic price tag (Php 44995 for the Intel Core i5 version and Php 54995 for the Intel Core i7 version) plus discrete graphics make it a good choice for people looking for a notebook that covers the basics without ravaging their wallet.

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