Asus VivoBook Pro 15

£1,054.49 | $1,619 www.asus.com Noth­ing but panel, ports and power

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The Asus VivoBook line of lap­tops spans the en­tire spec­trum of users. From the slim and af­ford­able VivoBook S to the VivoBook Flip that’s even smaller and built for all sorts of con­tor­tions and use cases, to the VivoBook Pro, de­signed to com­bine porta­bil­ity with power.

De­spite the ‘Pro’ name tag, Asus has man­aged to build a ro­bust lap­top (al­beit on the heavy side of porta­bil­ity) and price it some­where more in line with what most users pay for a 2-in-1 lap­top. Oh, and did we men­tion it has Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics in­side? Just in case, you know, you want to dis­tract your­self from work with a few matches of Play­erUn­known’s Bat­tle­grounds (PUBG).

Price and avail­abil­ity

The VivoBook Pro 15 is cur­rently priced at $1,169 on Ama­zon, mir­ror­ing the spec­i­fi­ca­tions of the de­vice we re­ceived for re­view. In the UK things are a bit more com­pli­cated – the com­pany’s UK web­site cur­rently only lists a 1080p Full HD model (N580VD) with a com­bi­na­tion 128GB SSD and 1TB hard drive, in­stead of the 512GB SSD found in our test unit. It’s cur­rently priced at £1,054.49.

In the US, the Asus web­site only lists the spe­cific model we tested, while on Ama­zon the VivoBook Pro gets a 4K up­grade with a smaller SSD and a bonus 1TB hard drive for a cou­ple of hun­dred dol­lars more.

At this price, the VivoBook Pro 15 is com­fort­ably be­low the Dell XPS 15 and Ap­ple’s MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Sur­pris­ingly, a com­pa­ra­ble 13-inch MacBook Pro isn’t on the high end of the pric­ing spec­trum at £1,749 ($1,799), but it lacks a ded­i­cated graphics card. Whereas a sim­i­larly-specced 15-inch model goes for £2,699 ($2,799). As far as the Dell XPS 15 is con­cerned, you’re look­ing at £1,814 ($2,174) for com­pa­ra­ble specs.

De­sign

The VivoBook Pro 15’s light gold fin­ish is eas­ily recog­nis­able and hard to miss. With a 15.6-inch dis­play, the over­all foot­print of the VivoBook Pro 15 is a bit on the large side. Mea­sur­ing 380x256x19.2mm and with a com­bi­na­tion metal and plas­tic hous­ing, this lap­top dances the line of trade­offs for porta­bil­ity over dura­bil­ity, weigh­ing 2.29kg.

The VivoBook 15 Pro is on the cusp of be­ing too large for easy porta­bil­ity. You’ll un­doubt­edly no­tice a dif­fer­ence be­tween the 15-inch MacBook Pro (1.83kg) and VivoBook Pro 15 in your back­pack when walk­ing around.

As a lap­top for pro users, the VivoBook Pro 15 doesn’t dis­ap­point when it comes to ports. On the left edge you’ll find the charg­ing port, an RJ45 Eth­er­net port, USB 3.1, HDMI and a USB-C 3.1 port. The op­po­site edge is home to two USB 2.0 ports, an SDXC card reader, and a 3.5mm combo au­dio jack.

With more than enough ports to con­nect ex­ter­nal dis­plays, ei­ther through HDMI or the USB-C port, along with Eth­er­net and USB ports for things like ex­ter­nal stor­age drives and ac­ces­sories you should be more than cov­ered what­ever kind of setup you have.

A nearly full-sized key­board with chi­clet keys is found just be­low the 1,920x1,080 pixel Full HD dis­play. The keys have a slim pro­file and are re­spon­sive. A rel­a­tively small num­ber pad is present, but the keys are too thin for fast key-punch­ing. Em­bed­ded near the top right cor­ner of the touch­pad is a fin­ger­print sen­sor used to un­lock the lap­top. We’ve com­plained about touch­pads with fin­ger­print sen­sors in­side them be­fore, and we’d be re­miss if we didn’t men­tion them again.

Break­ing up the flow of the touch­pad is frus­trat­ing and not a de­cent trade-off for the added bio­met­ric fea­ture. The sen­sor gets in the way, for ex­am­ple, when drag­ging text or a file across the dis­play – there has to be a bet­ter way. Let’s ad­dress an­other is­sue we have with it: there’s not a clear-cut area that’s ded­i­cated to right-clicks. We’d re­peat­edly find our­selves us­ing the touch­pad and click­ing our way around a web­site or app, only to un­in­ten­tion­ally, and ran­domly, right-click on some­thing.

To be fair, Asus has a small line on the bot­tom of the touch­pad that splits the left and right side of the touch­pad. But that isn’t a de­fin­i­tive guide, with a touch or click in the top-right quar­ter of the touch­pad reg­is­ter­ing as a left-click most of the time. It’s the other ran­dom in­stances of er­rant right-clicks that lead to frus­tra­tion.

With Nvidia’s GTX 1050 and an In­tel Core i7 pro­ces­sor pow­er­ing it, the VivoBook Pro 15 is built for more than spread­sheet cre­ation and the oc­ca­sional video edit.

In our bench­marks and re­al­world use, the VivoBook Pro 15 proves it can han­dle any­thing you care to throw at it – it may not be the fastest ma­chine on the mar­ket when us­ing Ul­tra set­tings, but it’s more than ca­pa­ble, es­pe­cially when you con­sider the price.

An­other thing worth con­sid­er­ing is the amount of stor­age space. The 512GB solid-state drive (SSD), while fast, may not be enough, es­pe­cially if you want to load up your lap­top with large video files or games, or just want to make the VivoBook Pro 15 more fu­ture-proof, in which case we’d rec­om­mend that you plump for the ver­sion with the 128GB SSD/ 1TB HDD stor­age combo in­stead.

Bat­tery life

With the added per­for­mance gains of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, bat­tery life takes a hit on the VivoBook Pro 15, last­ing just three hours and 57 min­utes in our movie test – just enough to make it through the av­er­age movie with a lit­tle wrig­gle room to spare.

The PCMark 8 bat­tery test re­vealed even lower bat­tery life, with a measly two hours and 32 min­utes of use. For ref­er­ence, the Dell XPS 15 ran for five hours and 54 min­utes in our movie test, and three hours and 38 min­utes in the PCMark 8 test.

Sum­mary

The VivoBook Pro 15 is a re­li­able all-around lap­top. It’s pow­er­ful enough for se­ri­ous use – as well as gam­ing – and yet isn’t go­ing to drain your bank ac­count.

How­ever, the VivoBook Pro 15’s touch­pad is both finicky and con­fus­ing, thanks in part to the pres­ence of that in­te­grated fin­ger­print sen­sor, and a lack of clear de­mar­ca­tion be­tween the touch­pad’s left and right sides – in our view, touch­pads should be straight­for­ward with next to zero learn­ing curve. Af­ter a week, we are still try­ing to learn how to use it.

If you’re look­ing for a lap­top that’s priced right and pow­er­ful, the VivoBook Pro 15 is wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion. Just make sure to buy your­self a mouse. An af­ford­able lap­top that packs a punch, but with a quirk (or two) that may drive you crazy.

“As a lap­top for pro users, the VivoBook Pro 15 doesn’t dis­ap­point when it comes to ports”

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