ASUS VivoBook 15 X512U review: a versatile medium for content

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Laptops such as the ASUS VivoBook 15 X512U are called multimedia. And if, when choosing a gaming laptop, we first of all look at the performance of the device in our favorite applications, as well as parameters such as the possibility of self-upgrading or the efficiency of the cooling system, then when choosing a mobile computer for everyday communication in social networks, watching videos and listening to music, these parameters go out of the way. Here we pay attention to the usability of the device, its functionality and, of course, its cost.


  ASUS VivoBook 15

⇡#Specifications, equipment and software

I’ll immediately note that ASUS laptops, in the name of which there is the word VivoBook, are sold in the dark. Because there is VivoBook Pro, VivoBook S, VivoBook Flip and, finally, just VivoBook — the model in question belongs to the last subspecies. The difference between these mobile computers is described in detail on the ASUS website, but in short we can say the following: VivoBook Pro — These are very productive multimedia laptops; VivoBook S — very thin and stylish models; VivoBook Flip are equipped with a screen transformation mechanism, and you are getting acquainted with just VivoBook right now.

The table below lists all possible configurations for the VivoBook 15 X512U.

ASUS VivoBook 15 X512U
Display 15.6″, 1920 × 1080, IPS, matte
15.6″, 1920 × 1080, TN, matte
15.6″, 1366 × 768, TN, matte
CPU Intel Core i5-8250U, 4/8 cores/threads, 1.6 (3.4) GHz, 15W
Intel Core i7-8550U, 4/8 cores/threads, 1.8 (4.0) GHz, 15W
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 620
NVIDIA GeForce MX130 2 GB
RAM 4 GB DDR4-2400 built-in
SO-DIMM slot
SSD 128 or 256 GB SATA 6 Gb/s
500 GB or 1 TB HDD, SATA 6 Gb/s

Interface

1 x HDMI
1 × USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A
2 x USB 2.0 Type-A
1 × 3.5 mm mini-jack speaker / microphone
1 x microSD
Built-in battery 32 Wh
External power supply 65 W
Dimensions 357×230×20 mm
Weight 1.75 kg
Operating system Windows 10 x64 Home
Windows 10 x64 Pro
Guarantee 1 year
Price in Russia From 520$

Far from the most sophisticated version of the VivoBook 15 arrived in our test lab. So, the X512U model is equipped with a 4-core Kaby Lake Refresh generation Core i5-8250U processor, 8 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM, a 128 GB solid state drive and a hard drive 1 TB in size. This Vivobook also uses NVIDIA GeForce MX130 graphics. At the time of writing, the VivoBook 15 X512U with a similar set of components, but with a 256 GB SSD, starts at $520.

The wireless network in the device is implemented using the Intel Wireless-AC 8265 controller, which supports IEEE 802.11b / g / n / ac standards with a frequency of 2.4 and 5 GHz and a maximum bandwidth of up to 867 Mbps and Bluetooth 4.2.

Complete with ASUS VivoBook 15, which is nice, is a compact power supply with a capacity of 65 W and weighing about 200 grams. And they also put a USB ↔ RJ-45 adapter in the box. I know that some versions of this laptop are equipped with a 45-watt PSU — apparently these are models without NVIDIA graphics.

⇡# Appearance and input devices

Any Vivobook is aimed at a wide range of users, however, in my opinion, the main focus is on young people. I got a gray model in my hands, but it is very likely that on sale you will find modifications of silver, red and blue colors.

The body of the device itself is made of plastic, the matte surface of which actually turned out to be very practical — they categorically do not want to stick to grease and fingerprints.

The lid of the laptop cannot be opened with one hand — rather tight hinges are used in the design, which clearly position the screen. The maximum opening angle is approximately 145 degrees.

The thickness of the device is 20 mm, and its weight does not exceed 1.75 kg. It turns out that we can safely say that we have a rather compact «tag» in front of us. ASUS VivoBook 15 X512U is not an ultrabook, of course, but the device does not claim such laurels.

Let’s actually talk about the main, probably entertaining feature of the VivoBook 15 — the 15-inch NanoEdge screen. The display diagonal is 15.6 inches, and its resolution corresponds to the Full HD standard. The screen occupies 88% of the laptop’s lid area. The thickness of the upper frame of the display reaches 8.8 mm, the side ones — 5.7 mm, the lower frame has a thickness of 11.4 mm. As a result, the «five hundred and twelfth» has become more compact than the previous generation model (VivoBook 15 X510) by almost 8%.

Please note that when the lid is opened, the base of the laptop rises slightly — the angle of inclination is 2 degrees. This design move allows the device’s cooling system to work more efficiently.

On the left side of the VivoBook 15 X512U, there are only two USB 2.0 A-type ports. The remaining connectors, and this is a slot for connecting a power supply, USB 3.1 Gen1 A-type, USB 3.1 Gen1 C-type, HDMI output, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a microSD card reader, are located on the right.

The dimensions of the laptop made it possible to place a full-fledged digital block on the right. The keyboard of the VivoBook 15 X512U closely resembles the HID of the recently reviewed ZenBook 15 UX533FD ultrabook. Even the key sizes are the same.

In general, the keyboard is comfortable to use. It has a three-level white backlight, and on a gray background, the characters are clearly visible at any time of the day. The key travel is 1.4 mm. Shifts, Enter, Backspace — everything is large and comfortable. I would only make the power button of the device more visible and position it away from the digital block. Once, while working blindly on a calculator, I accidentally turned off my laptop.

I had no complaints about the touchpad — it is not as small as in 13- and 14-inch ultrabooks. Fingers glide well on the touchpad, gestures are recognized normally, pressing is accompanied by a distinct and loud click.

As for the webcam, the VivoBook 15 X512U uses a standard 720p 30Hz sensor, with all that it implies. A good quality image can only be obtained in bright sunny weather, in all other cases the picture turns out to be nondescript and very noisy.

⇡ # Internal device and upgrade options

The laptop is quite easy to understand. To remove the bottom, you will need a regular Phillips screwdriver: unscrew 10 screws — and carefully remove the plastic cover.

The cooling system of the VivoBook 15 X512U has a fairly simple design. Two copper soles are attached to the CPU and GPU and are connected to each other using a copper heat pipe. Interestingly, the only fan is located far from the radiators and does not come into contact with them in any way. It turns out that it simply creates an air flow, which gradually gets to all this metal structure. To dissipate heat more efficiently, one of the heatsinks is equipped with four rows of aluminum fins. Let’s see how effective such CO will be.

Four gigabytes of DDR4-2400 RAM are soldered directly to the motherboard. Another 4 GB are installed in the SO-DIMM slot — the Samsung M471A5244CB0-CRC module is used, which operates at an effective frequency of 2400 MHz with a set of timings 17-17-17-39. If desired, this board can be changed to an analog with a capacity of, say, 16 GB.

The M.2 slot has a SanDisk SD99SN8W128G1102 SSD — from the name of the device you can see that the nominal size of the solid state drive is 128 GB. The second ROM in the Vivobook is the TOSHIBA MQ04ABF100 hard drive. Over time, both drives can be replaced with something more capacious and faster.

⇡ # Testing methodology


Since the laptop has a GeForce MX130 installed, it makes no sense to test the device in modern AAA projects using high graphics quality settings. Nevertheless, the VivoBook 15 X512U is playable, and to evaluate its performance in Full HD resolution, we ran the following games:

  • World of Tanks 1.0. Built-in benchmark. Ultra. TSSAA.
  • World of Tanks 1.0. Built-in benchmark. Medium quality. AA off
  • Dota 2. Match recording. Quality mode. DirectX 11.
  • Dota 2. Match recording. «Speed» mode. DirectX 11.
  • GTA V. Last benchmark scene. Low quality. AA off Advanced quality settings off DirectX 11.

Gaming performance was measured using the well-known FRAPS program. With it, we get the rendering time of each frame. Then, using the FRAFS Bench Viewer utility, not only the average FPS is calculated, but also the 99th percentile. The use of the 99th percentile instead of the minimum frames per second is due to the desire to clean up the results from random bursts of performance that were provoked by reasons not directly related to the operation of the main components of the platform.

CPU and memory performance was measured using the following software:

  • Corona 1.3. Testing rendering speed using the renderer of the same name. Measures the build speed of the standard BTR scene used to measure performance.
  • WinRAR 5.40. Archiving a folder of 11 GB with various data in RAR5 format and with the maximum degree of compression.
  • Blender 2.79. Determination of the final rendering speed in one of the popular free packages for creating three-dimensional graphics. The duration of building the final model from Blender Cycles Benchmark rev4 is measured.
  • x265 HD Benchmark. Testing the speed of video transcoding to the promising H.265/HEVC format. The table shows the arithmetic mean after four runs.
  • CINEBENCH R15. Performance measurement of photorealistic 3D rendering in CINEMA 4D animation package, CPU test. The table shows the arithmetic mean after 10 runs.

The display was tested using the X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter and the HCFR app.

The battery life of the laptop was tested in three modes. The first load option — web surfing — involves alternately opening and closing the tabs of the 3DNews.ru, Computeruniverse.ru and Unsplash.com sites with an interval of 30 seconds. This test uses the Google Chrome browser with the «Block data and cookies from third-party sites» and «Do not allow sites to save data» options enabled. In the second mode, x265 (HEVC) video is played in a standard Windows 10 player with the repeat function activated. In all cases, the same display brightness was set to 200 cd / m2.

In games and other applications, the results of the following laptops are presented:

Test participants
Model Screen CPU RAM Graphics Storage device Battery
HUAWEI MateBook X Pro 13.9″, 3000×2000, LTPS Intel Core i5-8250U, 4/8 cores/threads, 1.6 (3.4) GHz, 15W 8 GB DDR3-2133 dual channel HD 620 + GeForce MX150 SSD, 256 GB, PCI Express x4 3.0 57.4 Wh
MSI PS42 8RB 14″, 1920×1080, IPS Intel Core i7-8550U, 4/8 cores/threads, 1.8 (4.0) GHz, 15W 16GB DDR3-2133 single channel HD 620 + GeForce MX150 SSD, 512 GB, PCI Express x4 3.0 50 Wh
ASUS ZenBook 14 UX433FN 14″, 1920×1080, IPS Intel Core i7-8565U, 4/8 cores/threads, 1.8 (4.6) GHz, 15W 16GB DDR3-2133 single channel HD 620 + GeForce MX150 SSD, 512 GB, PCI Express x2 3.0 50 Wh
ASUS ZenBook 15 UX533FD 15.6″, 1920×1080, IPS Intel Core i7-8565U, 4/8 cores/threads, 1.8 (4.6) GHz, 15W 16GB DDR3-2400 HD 620 + GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q SSD, 512 GB, PCI Express x2 3.0 73 Wh
ASUS VivoBook 15 X512U 15.6″, 1920×1080, IPS Intel Core i5-8250U, 4/8 cores/threads, 1.6 (3.4) GHz, 15W 8 GB DDR4-2400 dual channel HD 620 + GeForce MX130 SSD, 128 GB, SATA 6 Gb/s
HDD, 1TB, SATA 6Gb/s
32 Wh

⇡ # Display and sound

According to the official website of ASUS, VivoBook 15 X512U can be equipped with three types of displays based on TN and IPS matrices. All of them have a color gamut of 45% of the NTSC standard. The test sample is equipped with a Full HD-panel AUO AUO21ED, equipped with an anti-reflective coating.

VivoBook 15 X512U white screen minimum luminance is 13 cd/m2and the maximum brightness is 237 cd / m2. The indicators are not record-breaking, but using the device, for example, on a bright sunny day is very convenient. At the same time, the matrix contrast is 1334:1, which means that when watching movies, the picture will seem more saturated and deep.

  Gamma
  Color gamut

Color gamut

  Colorful temperature

Colorful temperature

Calibration of the device is made at a fairly average level. So, the color temperature of the screen is kept slightly above the standard indicator of 6500 K, the display pulls in the direction of cold shades. The gamma is seriously overestimated — 2.57 against the standard 2.2. All these characteristics affected the work of the matrix with shades of gray: the average deviation is 3.62 with a maximum value of 10.12. In the ColorCheker test, which uses 24 color patterns, the average error was 5.53. For normal use, such matrix parameters are not critical, but I will not advise VivoBook 15 X512U to designers and artists. Plus (taking into account errors) the color gamut is much less than the sRGB standard.

As in the case of other IPS matrices, you can’t get away from the Glow effect: it is clearly visible on a black field, but you practically don’t notice it on color images. But there is no PWM — or its frequency is too high for the human eye to notice it. So the LED backlight used can be classified as a Flicker-Free solution in the entire operating range. The declared viewing angles — 178 degrees vertically and horizontally — correspond to reality.

The sound in the VivoBook 15 X512U is quite voluminous — this is largely ensured by a good (for thin laptops) bass, which, however, sounds somehow … plastic. But the upper and middle frequencies sag. The volume level of the speakers is decent. In general, I am sure that for many this sound quality will be enough to enjoy watching movies and TV shows. It’s better to listen to music with headphones, in my opinion.

⇡ # Temperature, frequencies and noise

In the «Laptops and PCs» section of our site, you can get acquainted with a large number of reviews of laptops equipped with Kaby Lake Refresh and Whiskey Lake quad-core processors. As you understand, the potential of these chips is well known. Since we are dealing with low-voltage 15-watt crystals, their level of performance is highly dependent on the cooling system used in the laptop.

During testing, the frequency of the Core i5-8250U changes very aggressively — sometimes because of this, the VivoBook 15 fan becomes audible even in idle, when the laptop is not loaded with any benchmarks. In LinX, the frequency of this chip dropped down to 1.8 GHz, that is, there was no throttling, but Turbo Boost did not work as it should. Resetting the frequency is associated not only with exceeding the TDP limit, but also with the heating of the central processor — the maximum temperature of its hottest core reaches 98 degrees Celsius, but then drops to 87-89 degrees Celsius. In such conditions, the Vivobook’s noise level rises to 37.4 dBA when measured from a distance of about 30 cm from the laptop — this is a good result even against the background of ultrabooks.

Let’s not forget that programs like LinX and Prime95 are very CPU intensive. The usual applications that we use every day are not so harsh. Yet the test in LinX is being conducted to determine what the laptop’s cooling system is capable of under the most critical conditions. In particular, in other applications and benchmarks, the cooling of the hero of this review allows you to turn on Turbo Boost — during rendering and video encoding, when all four cores are loaded, the Core i5-8250U frequency is kept at around 2.6 GHz.

We found out that the CPU and GPU in the VivoBook 15 X512U have a common cooling system, and therefore it has a hard time in games, to put it mildly. So, the temperature of the GPU rises to 82 degrees Celsius, while its core frequency changes in the range of 915-1189 MHz. The hottest core of the Core i5-8250U heats up to 97 degrees Celsius. In such conditions, the laptop works a little noisier — from the same distance, the measuring device recorded 38 dBA. However, by the standards of gaming laptops, this is a quiet whisper, but VivoBook, of course, is not a gaming one.

⇡#Performance of the processor, RAM and disk subsystem

For more clarity, let’s compare the performance levels of the VivoBook 15 X512U and the recently tested ZenBook models. The hero of the article, as expected, loses to laptops based on Whiskey Lake chips, which, as you know, operate at higher frequencies.

Intel Core i5-8250U [HUAWEI MateBook X Pro] Intel Core i7-8565U [ASUS ZenBook 14 UX433FN] Intel Core i7-8565U [ASUS ZenBook 15 UX533FD] Intel Core i5-8250U [ASUS VivoBook 15 X512U] Increase/decrease in performance, % (relative to the HUAWEI MateBook X Pro model)
Corona 1.3, s (less is better) 435 373 294 368 15
WinRAR 5.40, s (less is better) 764 523 486 591 22
Blender 2.76, s (less is better) 353 340 271 351 0
x265 HD Benchmark, FPS (more is better) 9.9 10.96 14.4 11.4 15
CINEBENCH R15 points (more is better) 530 583 706 592 12

Leaves its mark and the choice of drive. In our case, a frankly slow SSD SanDisk SD99SN8W128G1102 is used. Not fast — because there are not very many really productive drives with a SATA 6 GB / s interface with a capacity of 128 GB on the market. Nevertheless, such an SSD is enough to quickly load the operating system and, for example, quickly open a browser. It’s not comparable to a hard drive.

  SSD performance

SSD performance

  HDD performance

HDD performance

⇡#Graphics performance

It’s hard to expect a high level of FPS from GeForce MX130 graphics even in undemanding games. For example, in the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, the laptop scored only 706 points, which is 33% less than the ASUS ZenBook 14, which also uses a far from fast GeForce MX150. And yet you will succeed in passing the evening in Tanks. Naturally, you will have to set the minimum graphics quality in Full HD resolution. Although I have a certain confidence that potential owners of the VivoBook 15 X512U are not very interested in computer games.

⇡#Offline work

The laptop has a lithium-polymer battery — four cells with a total capacity of 32 Wh. In web surfing mode at a fairly high screen brightness, the VivoBook 15 X512U lasted less than four hours. The indicator, what to hide, is not a record. And yet, such a laptop’s endurance will be enough to, for example, watch a movie on a trip. Or “hang out” on social networks in some cafe while you are waiting for friends who are always late.

But the laptop supports the fast charging function. From 0 to 60% the battery is filled in 49 minutes.

Battery life, 200 cd/m2
Web (opening tabs in Google Chrome) 3 h 58 min
Video viewing (x265, HEVC, 4K) 3 h 48 min

⇡#Conclusions

In my opinion, VivoBook 15 X512U fits into the concept of a multimedia laptop. Before you is a «fifteen» that easily copes with many everyday tasks: it is great for web surfing, for watching movies or for working in text editors — too. From the VivoBook 15 X512U and similar laptops, it makes no sense to demand more.

The advantages of the considered device include compactness, good build quality, low noise level, as well as good functionality. I also note the ability to independently replace storage devices or expand RAM. The disadvantages include far from the highest quality IPS display and average battery life.

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