ASUS VivoBook Pro N580V

BUSI­NESS ON THE OUT­SIDE, GAM­ING ON THE IN­SIDE.

TechLife Australia - - CONTENTS -

WITH ITS SIGHTS set on the pro­fes­sional mar­ket, ASUS’s new VivoBook Pro has man­aged to dodge the price-up/per­for­mance­down rut that many of its alu­minium-clad coun­ter­parts get stuck in. Im­pres­sively, ASUS has de­liv­ered a sleek ma­chine that runs as fast (and hot) as some gam­ing sys­tems.

The VivoBook Pro sports a very fa­mil­iar MacBook-es­que aes­thetic (al­beit one from sev­eral years ago) com­bin­ing a brushed alu­minium shell with premium and wellspaced keys and sen­si­bly stylish curves. With sub­stan­tial bezels, a 19mm-thick chas­sis and a weight just shy of 2kg, this 15.6-inch unit doesn’t fol­low in the foot­steps of the slim-and­com­pact ul­tra­books that cur­rently rule the roost, but the bonus room al­lows it to pack in some sur­pris­ing power and shave off some dol­lars in­stead. Most no­tably, the in­clu­sion of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (4GB VRAM) GPU (rather than re­ly­ing on its in­te­grated one) and a quad-core In­tel Core i7-7700HQ pro­ces­sor puts it on par with gam­ing lap­tops that typ­i­cally run closer to $2,000. When com­pared to ASUS’s own RoG Strix GL553VE gam­ing lap­top ($1,999), the VivoBook Pro was only marginally bested in ev­ery gam­ing bench­mark we ran (nine in to­tal — in­clud­ing GRID 2, Ghost Re­con Wild­lands, Metro: Last Light and more). We were also im­pressed by the rel­a­tively in­of­fen­sive level of fan-noise dur­ing gam­ing, and while the in­ter­nal tem­per­a­tures reached a slightly toasty 96°C and 80°C (for the CPU and GPU, re­spec­tively), the shell never grew un­com­fort­ably hot.

The big­gest trade off with the VivoBook Pro is that the bat­tery life is com­par­a­tively a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing, en­dur­ing less than three hours of me­dia play­back at 50% screen bright­ness and beaten out in PCMark 8’s bat­tery tests by units with more power-hun­gry GPUs. Com­pared with most gam­ing lap­tops, this ASUS lap­top has man­aged to re­main rather com­pact, though, and that means it has a slim­mer (read: lower ca­pac­ity) bat­tery. The model we tested (N580VD-DM264T) comes with a 1TB HDD, which didn’t quite read or write at an­tic­i­pated speeds, and 8GB of DDR4 RAM. This more price-con­scious con­fig­u­ra­tion’s main short­com­ing is its TN dis­play — it’s a bud­get panel, mean­ing the colours are a lit­tle flat (es­pe­cially when weighed up against the vivid con­trasts and clar­ity of, say, the lat­est MacBook Pro) and the view­ing an­gles are also a tad lim­ited. De­spite that, the 1080p screen is still ser­vice­able for gam­ing, ev­ery­day use and me­dia con­sump­tion, and the Har­man Kar­don-de­signed speak­ers are about as good as you’ll get on a lap­top. If that TN screen’s not good enough for you, for an ex­tra $450 or so, you can get the next model up (N580VDFI263T), which boasts a 4K IPS panel that’ll im­prove both view­ing an­gles and colours, an ad­di­tional 256GB SSD and 16GB RAM, al­though those up­grades will likely neg­a­tively af­fect bat­tery-life, con­sid­er­ing that both mod­els share the same ca­pac­ity. The spec-bump on of­fer from the higher model would be wel­come if you’re a cre­ative look­ing to work with video, ren­der­ing or other de­sign-based soft­ware, but may not trans­late as favourably to gam­ing. Run­ning the lat­est ti­tles at 4K will prove too tax­ing on that GTX 1050 GPU and the SSD won’t do much beyond de­creas­ing load times, so if you’re look­ing to up­grade for the sake of gam­ing, we’d start look­ing for a $2,500 ded­i­cated gam­ing lap­top in­stead.

With that said, the fact that the VivoBook per­forms well with low-level gam­ing is a rather im­pres­sive cherry on the top of an oth­er­wise ex­cep­tion­ally com­pe­tent pro­duc­tiv­ity-fo­cused cake. Any­one look­ing for a day-to-day ma­chine to oc­ca­sion­ally game on will en­joy this feast — as long as you don’t stray too far from a pow­erpoint.

[ HARRY DOMANSKI ]

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