Pros: This was a tough one to review. I feel I understand the goal of ASUS with this laptop and if I am right, it’s absolutely perfect for what it is. Anyone who wants to skip ahead to benchmarks and a simple re-cap – shoot down to the “OTHER” section where I will post brief findings to hopefully help you.
This laptop is spectacularly lightweight, portable, and “powerful enough.” It’s snappy, smooth and just good enough to deserve the price tag. The 45w charge block is a simple small wall adapter that completes everything this laptop is going for. No more giant bricks with multiple plugs to accompany unnecessarily bulkier laptops of ‘just a few years ago.’ The entire thing is so light I have had to check my backpack on multiple occasions to make sure I actually put it in there.
It doesn’t stop there. I expect something so light to feel somewhat cheaply made. While there may be some minor issues, the whole laptop is very well constructed. The lid is a very thin brushed aluminum (gold) and is relatively fingerprint resistant. It gives a very quality heavy duty feel to such a light laptop.
Under the lid is a well laid out non-backlit ten-keyless keyboard featuring the same design as the lid. The only difference is it is a brushed plastic design meant to represent the continuation of the outside brushed aluminum lid. The super thin display is surrounded by an incredibly thin bezel - listed as ASUS’s “NanoEdge” design. The trackpad is centered below the keyboard and emulates the screen perfectly on mine. This makes using it extremely easy. All gesture controls I use work perfectly.
The keyboard is a slightly raised chiclet style keyboard. The caps feel like a light-weight thin plastic. While different from the more standard rubbery-ABS material caps, they feel fine and I enjoy typing on them. There is a light flexing on the keyboard that is noticeable while typing.
On the right side of the laptop are two USB 2.0 inputs. While I would have expected to not see any 2.0 inputs, here they are, existing. Next to these 2.0 inputs are a 3.5mm input, and an SD card reader. The SD card reader is only ‘middle of the line’ transferring at an average of 30 MB/s.
On the left side of the laptop is where the muscle is. There is an expected ethernet port, HDMI (1.4), USB 3.0 and USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 (also called USB 3.0) inputs. I’m always a fan of USB-C personally, no matter what standard it is.
The speakers on the laptop are decent and get fairly loud. The speakers also provide some mild base that can be detected. A downside is they are down firing, so it ultimately ends up sounding a little muffled despite having a large volume range.
The Ryzen 5 2500U is a great mobile quadcore processor, it is low power and powerful all in one. The battery life will really depend on what you do with the laptop. If you are like most people and browse the internet with Chrome, you may encounter battery drains more frequently than someone using FireFox or Edge. Six hours may turn to three-four hours for instance. The three-cell lithium ion battery can be quickly taxed depending on the task. Average usage just shopping online or watching YouTube generally gets me about five hours. Not bad for the lightweight low capacity battery.
The laptop is near silent, while I can hear it during benchmark testing, playing a game, or testing export from premier – it is quiet. It also does not get very warm while having the hardware taxed for resources. This is largely in part to the not demanding, low TDP hardware itself.
This got me at first. The general hardware choice is interesting. There are 8GB of DDR4 2400Mhz soldered to the PCB. I have seen this before (Xiaomi Notebook Pro) and was never really a fan of this, BUT, there is also a single slot for expansion (and to go dual channel). This feels weird to me, but I assume this is a proponent of the stock light-weight design.
The GPU used is the Vega 8 – I assume this choice falls in line with everything this laptop is, and not what it isn’t – meaning this choice was based on 'better than having nothing at all'…it runs cool, does not require much, but also does not deliver much. The Vega 8 is ‘okay’ and just ‘okay.’ You can do light low res – low graphics gaming, and use intensive software such as Photoshop, Premier After effects – but expect non-perfect and sometimes problematic results. I’d recommend small projects.
The AU Optronics display somewhat surprised me. On my black crush test I can identify every box. I did not expect this. The panel states it only covers 45% NTSC – I anticipated a poor experience testing both LG and Sony’s demos…I ended up satisfied with what I saw. Viewing angles are great, and watching side by side with other monitors I see mild differences in temperature, but overall, I was not displeased.
The SSD is an M.2 SATA III – Solid, snappy, quick enough. No need for anything more, and glad it’s nothing less (see the results in OTHER).
Cons: The bad about this laptop are MOSTLY understandable “bads”. In order to keep this laptop as light weight and comfortable as possible things need to be excluded, and hardware selected carefully. Take SOME of these gripes with a grain of salt.
-Non backlit keyboard – I like a backlit keyboard personally.
-Flexing on the keyboard when typing – It is mild but unfortunate. This makes the keyboard feel weak/cheap.
-Weak GPU – I understand the reason for the Vega 8. I get it, but it leaves me wanting more. More would surely require more than one fan cooling, additional heat pipes, this would cause it to be notably heavier.
The (non 2.0) USB is listed as 3.1 Gen 1. USB 3.1 Gen 1 IS USB 3.0. USB 3.1 Gen 2 is true USB 3.1. I just found it odd to list any USB as 3.1 Gen 1, instead of just USB 3.0 as it is commonly known, while listing the other USB as 3.0 (also known as 3.1 Gen 1). Did I confuse you? It’s the same thing (3.0 and 3.1 Gen 1). Maybe a simple oversight, I doubt it was intended to mislead. Just odd.
There are some laptops that are easy to open and work in. ASUS allows for expansion by including an un-populated 2.5” drive bay, and an un-populated DDR4 SO-DIMM slot. This is great! But getting to it is a pain, maybe the biggest pain of any laptop I have ever opened.
The webcam is nothing spectacular, but in well-lit spaces is where it works best.
Firstly on mine, three of the removable screws were over tightened (and stripped). I had to use a rubber band to create friction and remove them. Once I had all screws removed I took a plastic card and gently popped the chassis loose. Despite gently doing this, the thin plastic (that makes it so great) now shows signs of mild pressure damage. Once the chassis is popped loose you learn the ASUS-X505ZA Rev. 2 Mobo is designed to face down. SO…in order to access the SO-DIMM slot to add additional RAM, you need to detach all ribbons, and connectors, as well as some more screws (and the speakers). Once you have done this you can lift the mobo out with some gentle pulling and populate that RAM slot.
This is not an impossible process, this is not beyond anyone to do. This is also not something a vast majority of consumers is going to want to do. It’s a taxing, overly complicated process that has earned ASUS my ‘Most Irritating Laptop to Upgrade' award. What a pain. They took ‘over-complicated’ and raised the bar to ‘They must be trolling us complicated.’
I'm not going to knock it for this, but be aware of the pains of going inside.
Overall Review: There are things I am left wishing were included. There are things I am left wishing it could do a little better than it can. Despite what I wish, this is still one of the better laptops I have ever had. No…It doesn’t check every box for me, but it comes close. Everything ASUS did here has clear indications of their intention to deliver one of the best all-around laptops within a reasonable price range. They nailed it. Shortcomings are easily overlookable in my opinion.
Here are a sample of the benchmarks I have collected for anyone interested:
Unigine Super Position: 720P Low settings – 3032
Unigine Super Position: 1080P Low settings – 2086
Unigine Valley: 720P High settins – 882 (MinFPS 11.6/MaxFPS 43.3)
CrystalDiskMark: Seq Read – 460.1 Seq Write – 421.3
Geekbench CPU Single Core: 3600
Geekbench CPU Multi Core: 9522
Geekbench GPU Vega 8: OpenCL Score – 26164
SD Reader Transfer rate: Avg: 30MB/s
HDMI 1.4 Max Resolution: 2160p @ 30Hz
The monitor is an AU Optronics B156HAN02 IPS Panel.
The m.2 SATA III SSD is a Micron MTFDDAV256TBN
This laptop is not for the intensive creative professional, and it’s not for the demanding gamer – but it can give you a little taste of both for the casual of either.
This laptop is perfect for the everyday user. The lightweight portability, and the simple design make this laptop not only extremely comfortable and usable, it also makes it very easy to recommend. I don’t think I have ever been quite so pleased with such a simple well-rounded laptop.
Pros: The good stuff...
+ Good performance
+ Great looking screen at 1920x1080
+ Strong and thin case
+ Touchpad has a good feel
+ Textured keys
+ Battery life
+ Asus Battery Health Charging software
+ Small wall adapter
The Ryzen 5 2500U is a mid-range CPU from 2017 with an integrated Radeon Vega 8 graphics. PassMark's average for this CPU is 7,358. My tests returned a slightly higher CPU mark at 7,472. This VivoBook won't win any awards for graphics performance, but the screen does look very nice and it doesn't have any issues with productivity software, pictures or movies. See benchmarks in other thoughts.
The screen is really nice looking. Its vibrant with an anti-glare coating. The screen actually being 1080p is a big deal in my opinion, opposed to 1920 x 800 or something like that. Quite a few laptops have screens less than 1080p. So kudos on the screen. Pictures look great and movies in both full screen or windowed mode look great too.
The VivoBook is pretty thin and lightweight. It's made of plastic with aluminum plating on top of the lid and on the top of the body. The texture has a nice brushed metal feel and does not have an issue with fingerprints. The gold is a subtle hue. It can look gunmetal in some light and gold-ish in other light.
I really like the touchpad feel and sensitivity. I use the two-finger slide for scrolling and it only takes a light touch for it to recognize my finger movement. The light tap for a left-click works well. My personal preference is to turn off the Windows feature of the "lower right corner is the right-click" and I use the two-finger click as the right-click. Settings -> Devices -> Touchpad -> uncheck "Press the lower right corner of the touchpad to right-click".
The keys on the keyboard have a texture that feels nice and repels fingerprints.
The VivoBook battery life performance during the writing of this review went as expected. Writing this review in Google Docs and light browsing for 2 hours reduced the battery from 100% to 78%. It could be better, but I have definitely seen worse. Miles will vary based on tasks and temperature.
The "Asus Battery Health Charging" software was a welcome surprise in the added software. It provides three modes on how the battery charging should be managed: full capacity, balanced, and maximum lifespan. The full capacity (100%) mode is for those running on battery frequently, but the battery lifespan is shortened. The maximum lifespan mode is for those that are able to charge the laptop frequently which, as it states, extends the battery life by only charging up to 60%. The balanced mode charges up to 80%. If you do decide to do a Windows "Fresh Start" or otherwise reinstall, the "Asus Battery Health Charging" utility does appear to be available for download from Asus at the time of this review.
The wall adapter is about the size of a tablet's and not the typical laptop brick.
Cons: Issues during my experience...
- Keyboard is not backlit
- Camera is low quality
- Usual bloatware
- Speakers on the bottom
The keyboard is not backlit which can make it difficult to see in dim lighting, but the light from the screen should be enough for most settings.
I'm not surprised that the camera is grainy. You're not going to get stunning pictures from a laptop lid camera. It will pass for video chat, but the video does look a tad blurry.
It has the usual bloatware that ends up taking up space. The Windows "Fresh Start" feature to reset Windows to a "near" fresh Windows install, if you're unsatisfied with uninstalling the software. I did a fresh start on a VivoBook Pro and it worked well with the exception for one Asus software that remained. A few of the software you may want to consider if you intend on doing a Windows "Fresh Start" or reinstall are "Asus Battery Health Charging" for charging style, "Asus Splendid Technology" for screen configuration, "Asus Sync" to connect your phone, and "Asus Smart Audio" for your speakers. These should be downloadable from the Asus support page.
The speakers are in the front bottom of the laptop. The sound bounces off of the surface the laptop is sitting on, so it can affect the sound. They are basic speakers, so I wasn't expecting fantastic sound. I think the sound would have sounded better if the speakers were above the keyboard.
At the end of the day, nothing to crack an egg over since the price at the time of this review was less than $500.
Overall Review: If someone asked for a recommendation for a $500 productivity laptop, this would be my choice. I think it performs well, its durable, and it looks nice. I do not think it will do well for gaming. It would perform well enough for Minecraft, Hearthstone or something similar, but not so much for heavy graphics or first person games, but I did not test any games on this VivoBook. That is just my gut feeling.
PassMark Rating: 2732 59th Percentile
CPU Mark: 7472
2D Mark: 511
3D Mark: 1151
Memory Mark: 1506
Disk Mark: 3869
CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2 x64 (C) 2007-2018 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : https://crystalmark.info/
* MB/s = 1,000,000 bytes/s [SATA/600 = 600,000,000 bytes/s]
* KB = 1000 bytes, KiB = 1024 bytes
Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 455.554 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 438.320 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 8,T= 8) : 236.569 MB/s [ 57756.1 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 8,T= 8) : 198.182 MB/s [ 48384.3 IOPS]
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 234.943 MB/s [ 57359.1 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 206.086 MB/s [ 50314.0 IOPS]
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 22.228 MB/s [ 5426.8 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 69.827 MB/s [ 17047.6 IOPS]
Test : 1024 MiB [C: 15.6% (37.0/237.4 GiB)] (x5) [Interval=5 sec]
Date : 2019/08/10 11:54:45
OS : Windows 10 [10.0 Build 17134] (x64)
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Pros: + Good bang for the buck.
+ Integrated graphics that are better than Intel
+ Pretty thin laptop with adequate connectivity
+ A real workhorse for the average user.
+ Good battery life
Let’s get to it shall we. With all the choices for entry level laptops out there why would you want to pick this one? One simple reason, for the price you really are getting a great value for the money. The Ryzen 5 2500 U is the first generation of Zen, the Ryzen 3500u is Zen+ and since the mobile processors were last to the released there was quite a bit of lead time for the manufactures to get these laptops out. AMD is also moving much faster at releases than Intel is. Now, if you need a bit better graphics power get the step-up version of this one with the Vega 11.
Since it is “Back to school” time, I highly recommend this laptop for that purpose, it is perfect to take some abuse, but it isn’t a huge investment, even if highly abused by teenagers and it only lasted 2 years. I mean most phones are more expensive than this laptop. But don’t be fooled its construction is very good for a $500 laptop. The screen is obviously the weakest point of any laptop. And it is able to be tweaked around a but maintains its rigidity.
This laptop can do just about everything the average person would want to do, but one thing that it can do that most other laptops in this price range cannot do as well, is light gaming. You can play older and web-based games with ease. Many newer games will play at lower settings, but do not expect to play the new Tomb Raider.
I have owned four different gaming laptops over the years and the one thing that they fail at, is being a laptop! In other words, they are far too hot to use on your lap. I have been writing this review with this laptop on my lap and cool enough to be comfortable in my lap.
The laptop screens of today are far superior to the ones I have dealt with in the years past and this one has a great field of view and sure is adequate enough for the average use case. One of the biggest keys that laptop manufactures FINALLY figured out was that for a 15 or even a 17-inch screen there is no need for more than 1080p. Which brings me to USBc is a wonderful connector for laptops. It is superior to HDMI and is now widely available on most monitors.
For connectivity; There are 3 USB 3.1 ports which is adequate, a RJ45 1GB LAN, HDMI and SD card reader. Definitely everything needed for most people. The one thing that really impressed me is the WiFi it is very fast for a laptop; I suspect this is what used to be used in only in gaming laptops. I have a 120Gb/s connection from my ISP, and I was able to update the computer very quickly and max out the WiFi 150 – 200 Mb/s connection, this is the equivalent of transferring 1 GB in under 30 seconds, wirelessly!
The battery laptop life is very good, about 5 hours, and the power adapter is small and convenient and will recharge your laptop in 60% 45 minutes, that is awesome! I wish my gaming laptop would do that. I have also enjoyed typing on the keyboard, they keys have a good tactile feel. The only complaint that I have is the Power button is not separated away from the keyboard and you may hit it by mistake when hitting the delete button. There is also some expandability in the form of adding in another 8gb of memory and another M.2 which brings me to the cons.
Since my colleagues put a bunch of benchmarks out there, but did not include 3D Mark
I took the liberty of doing that benchmark with the NIGHT RAID benchmark, it is specifically for integrated graphics. It scored an admirable 4507 in comparison my Asus gaming laptop with a Nvidia Gtx 1060 scored 23000 points. Remember benchmarks are not real-world performance, they are nothing more than a relative indicator of how it performs when compared to other systems. In mobile platforms power usage and heat are ALWAYS a limiting factor to the performance. I am sure this laptop can handle most online style games and most older games like CS GO. During my monitoring it is worth mentioning that the 4 CPU cores did reach a maximum of 3600 MHz. Just keep your expectations in check for what it can do with games and you will be fine.
Cons: - 256gb M.2 SSD @ GB/ps
- Screen could be better
- Speakers are weak
- I do not like the power button placement.
-Track pad is mediocre
M.2 is now the standard for laptops as it should be, but there is one issue. M.2 drive cloning is very difficult as because of hardware issues. I really wish that laptop manufactures would just make 500GB the minimum because it is what the average person needs. This laptop does use the older, but more power efficient Sata standard of 6Gb/s and it is perfectly suited for this laptop and the normal user. It is not slow because that is still 40x faster than a 7200-rpm hard drive. I would recommend getting another larger drive, like another 1Tb when you buy this laptop. 8Gb of memory is really plenty for this laptop and I would not go higher.
First off, every laptop I have ever owned except my Alienware laptop has had weak speakers and tinny sound. I think it is pretty much what anyone should expect and is why most people use headphones. However, the sound is adequate and has good enough sound projection to watch a movie without them. I had zero issues with streaming any movies off my Plex server wirelessly to this laptop at full resolution.
@ASUS WHY would you put a power button right next to the delete key? if cost and keyboard placement cannot be changed, then at least make it so you have to hit the FUNCTION and POWER to turn off the laptop!
That however brings me to my final con, and that this is an older display, but it is crisp and sharp. However, the RGB reproduction really is not up to my liking as it is not as vivid as newer higher end displays. But what do you expect for a $500 laptop? You really won’t find good displays until you enter at least the $1200 price range and great displays at $2000.
Overall Review: Since my eggxpert colleagues already put a bunch of benchmarks out there, but did not include 3D Mark
I took the liberty adding the NIGHT RAID benchmark that is specifically designed for integrated graphics. It scored an admirable 4507 in comparison my Asus gaming laptop with a Nvidia Gtx 1060 scored 23000 points. Remember benchmarks are not real-world performance, they are nothing more than a relative indicator of how it performs when compared to other systems. In mobile platforms power usage and heat are ALWAYS a limiting factor to the performance. I am sure this laptop can handle most online style games and most older games like CS GO. During my monitoring it is worth mentioning that the 4 CPU cores did reach a maximum of 3600 MHz. Just keep your expectations in check for what it can do with games and you will be fine.
Here is who I would recommend this laptop for. A student that needs to focus on studies, not heavy gaming. For your employees that need a good laptop when traveling. At $500 a piece you can replace them easily when needed like every 3 years. If they are lost or stolen it is no huge loss. Just always encrypt the drives. Laptops have really come a long way in the past 3 years and prices are at all time lows for the price to performance. Thank you, AMD! This is the lowest priced laptop with this much power, the nearest Intel is $100 more. Sure, some of the technology in this laptop is a bit older, but you cannot get cutting edge tech for $500 in a laptop. A normal user will love this laptop, without breaking the bank.
Who this laptop is not for? Power users, gamers and media professionals.
For those of you who might wonder or have doubts about AMD Ryzen processors, you can remove all your fears. In fact, AMD is making far greater strides and advancements lately than Intel. You can trust what I say because I am A+ and Net+ certified along with many electronics certs..
When you buy this laptop make sure you fully charge and start the windows updates.
Then go to ASUS and manually download the updates. Bios included. Download the bios to a USB root directory, then restart the computer. Hit F2 and that will get you into the bios. You will need to look at advanced options, there you will find the bios updater. Run it with the USB plugged in and point the update to the newest bios.
Then, I would reboot and run windows updater again. Here is some advice for ASUS Fix your windows auto updater, not once did your program pick up ANY of the proper updates for this laptop. I know it is a low priority to get fixed, but please do so. ASUS please do not respond to my review, because I may update the review later.
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Pros: Features are very good for the price; 2500u, 8gb ram, 256gb ssd, full hd display
Battery is enough for school day, can be used for some light gaming
Cons: only one typeA USB 3.1 port
windows came with a lot of bloatware
Overall Review: bloatware can be removed by "fresh restart" feature in windows
Pros: A hard drive can be added easily, I added a 2.5” SSD SATA drive. You just have to remove the screws at the bottom and lift the upper (keyboard) case.
I have seen similar models and I think there’s an additional memory slot, but you have to remove the motherboard to access it.
Cons: Initially I didn’t like the color (champagne gold), but other people seems to like it.
Pros: This is my second asus laptop in two years, only due to my stupidity frying the first one. Needless to say, i love asus laptops and would highly recommend them to anyone. Very little bloatware! Super fast start up / restarts on this particular model. Great venting IMO, has multiple decently sized vents (my previous also had great cooling) I do love the screen! It looks great, Battery life is meh...its a laptop but the software ASUS implemented so it doesn't hurt the batter is nice as of now, we will see how it does in the future! It also has a similar keyboard as my previous. I really like the gold metal look / feel, gives it a premium touch. The speakers are not horrible, 7/10 - they improve once you use the sound software provided. Overall the laptop is quite light! I never use laptop touch pads so i cant comment too much on that, besides the fact it works like its suppose to! The screen is nice however i always keep the night light on to avoid the blue light, regardless, great screen. Everything is crisp and clear, especially when comparing to 720p laptops. The quad core AMD does really well with its 8gb and SSD, overall great performance. Just dont buy this for a gaming laptop, obviously, the on-board graphics are what they are.
I got this on a daily deal so it was an EXCELLENT buy at the cost i got it at however i would recommend this laptop to anyone looking for one, just look at the specs before you buy it instead of complaining about the specs when you receive it!! *facepalm*
Cons: Will update when if i run into something...
NO cons so far!
Overall Review: 100% recommend this laptop & would buy again
Pros: Very light and very fast couldn't ask for more.
Cons: No cons
Overall Review: You cant go wrong with ASUS.
Pros: Bought this to use as an IT training/school laptop.
Large storage capacities are mostly unnecessary these days with the existence of the cloud, so the SSD makes this machine lightning fast and light as a feather. I installed Ubuntu and am able to reboot and switch between Linux or WIndows in under a minute. Both Windows 10 and Ubuntu run like a dream on here.
This is not advertised as a gaming machine but I was surprised by how powerful it actually is. You're not going to be running the latest AAA titles in 4k but this laptop can handle some mid-range gaming.
SSD, DDR4 RAM, 802.11ac wifi adapter, and AMD Ryzen 5 Quad-core CPU makes this laptop future proof for years to come IMO
Cons: - Battery life is lacking, though that's a fair trade off for the light weight.
- Would be nice to have a touchscreen but that's not what I bought it for
Overall Review: Would highly recommend. Product is as advertised and worth the price