Pros: Smooth touch pad due to the fact its also a screen pad
Relatively thin and for 15.6" light however if you are looking more into ultra portables I would get something with a smaller screen
Windows Hello facial recognition with a serviceable webcam not amazing but better then some of the built in webcams I was seeing during video conferencing
Has a Numpad
No bloatware pre-installed
Screenpad more useful if you are using an external mouse.
Cons: Screen pad Kept turning back on when I would use the 3 finger tap to disable it, so I ended up turning it off completely with the Fn hot keys it kept getting frustrating, maybe I need some more time with it but it feels like an attempt to make something to compete with the Apple Touchbar.
Non touch screen.
Keyboard back lighting is uneven, the top rows of keys get the most back light while the bottom rows are significantly dimmer.
No Ethernet jack, these can be fit on thin and lights.
No Type-C charging
Windows can behave a bit weird as it seems the touchpad as a separate screen instead of another input sort of device, when you disable it with the Fn keys Windows acts as if a device was unplugged which is fine.
Overall Review: The 512GB Version does not have dedicated graphics, if you want to do some light-medium gaming get the MX250 version.
The 512GB SSD is a QLC Intel 660p SSD
ScreenPad has two different resolution and refresh rates, it defaulted to a lower resolution and @ 50Hz.
The left side's USB 2.0 ports may seem unusual but they serve a good purpose, the USB 3.0 signaling rates actually interfere with 2.4Ghz wireless traffic, so if for example you have a wireless dongle for a keyboard or mouse, plug it it on the left side, you will have much more stable experience using a wireless keyboard/mouse, and you can use them from further away.
Battery life is around 4-5 hours
Pros: + Lightweight and Thin.
+ Fast and responsive when booting windows and starting apps.
+ Decent screen quality for videos.
Cons: - ASUS software is terrible.
- Disappointing audio quality.
- ScreenPad 2.0 and trackpad randomly switching became annoying.
Overall Review: Would I recommend this laptop? This is a fantastic laptop for anyone looking for a light, thin and productivity friendly machine. If your only purpose is to use it for workflow and productivity it’s a decent laptop even with its shortcomings. The hardware configuration is solid and the battery while not being the best does what it can for it’s capacity. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone with entertainment or gaming in mind. If you’re interested in more details read on.
The SSD made Windows 10 boot up very quickly and launched applications extremely fast. I opened up the laptop to see if I could expand storage and found out you can install an additional M.2 SSD if the initial 512 GB wasn’t enough. The 4 core 8 thread CPU is strong enough to run my office/productivity software without a hiccup, unfortunately I didn’t have any heavy CPU usage software onhand to challenge it. I also didn’t have any applications that required more than 8 GB usage of ram but from opening the laptop before I could replace the current ram stick with a larger capacity stick. The webcam was terrible as every laptop camera is so don’t expect anything amazing.
While watching videos (example: Youtube, Xfinity Stream) the screen did an OK job for a midrange priced laptop displaying decent colors only when brightness is turned up to maximum. The audio leaves much to be desired. The speakers didn’t really do so well as expected so I hoped that plugging in headphones would be a different experience with my Sennheiser HD598. The audio with headphones wasn't any better with the lack of mid to high range, disappointing. Gaming on this computer was a slideshow (5-15 frames per second) for the fast paced games I usually play.
**I WOULD NOT PURCHASE THIS LAPTOP FOR ENTERTAINMENT OR GAMING PURPOSES**
The myASUS software will check if your currently installed drivers need to be updated but won’t install any missing software or drivers. The drivers & bios tab is disappointing because you have to download the software manually to your hard drive through the myASUS app and then unzip and THEN install the drivers using administrator level command prompt or power shell with unique inputs.
**THERE ARE NO SETUP EXECUTABLE FILES WHICH WILL CAUSE ANYONE WHO ISN'T KNOWLEDGEABLE TO HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME DOWNLOADING AND INSTALLING DRIVERS**
I had a very poor experience with the ScreenPad 2.0 and Trackpad since both would switch out unexpectedly during use causing a lot of false inputs while moving the cursor. To switch between the two you need to tape the pad with three fingers. I could see it being very useful for anyone looking to switch between desktop applications very quickly but the fact that the ScreenPad 2.0 and Trackpad had trouble figuring out who would be in use was extremely frustrating. You can lock it to either of them in the ScreenPad 2.0 settings but that defeats the purpose of having a three finger tap gesture feature to switch between the two on the fly. The apps all launch applications fairly quickly but I haven’t found a use for the handwriting app and the number key app seems a little redundant when you have a number pad on the keyboard.
+ Light and thin profile
+ Keyboard has great feel
+ ScreenPad 2.0 is neat
+ Facial recognition works well
+ Good overall performance for price
+ Screen has even backlighting and solid color reproduction
- ScreenPad 2.0 can be a pain sometimes
- Keyboard Backlight not all that effective unless at brightest setting
- Only 8GB ram in this configuration
- 2 of the USB ports are USB 2.0
- Speakers are a bit weak
Overall Review: Having been a regular consumer of some pretty great Asus products through the years, I was very interested in checking out the VivoBook S15 S532. On paper it looked like a solid all around affordable laptop. After spending the last week with it, I have appreciated most of what it had to offer. Here are my initial impressions.
First of all, it is a pretty attractive laptop. It is nice and thin and is not heavy at all. The construction is solid and not flexy. The ScreenPad 2.0 grabs your attention straight away as it is a very unique feature. The ability to use it for quick launch icons, handwriting or even as a second micro monitor could prove useful to many people. Overall, I liked it, but I did have some issues when using it taking focus when using it as a mousepad. It is easy to switch the focus back to use it as a mousepad again, but it did prove annoying at times. Mostly I just turned off the screen and used it as a normal pad.
The S532 has a good selection of connections. HDMI, MicroSD, USB-C, USB 3.1 and two USB 2.0. Not sure why all the USB interfaces were not 3.0, but that is only a minor niggle. The WiFi worked well in my home, but I have a Orbi Mesh system with 2 satellites, so my coverage is better than most. File transfers at test locations in the house were in the 30MB/sec range which is decent and comparable to other WiFi devices in the home.
The keyboard overall has a great feel. The keys have a solid response when pushing into them and were pleasant to type away on. There are plenty of helpful shortcut keys. The backlight on the keys is not all that effective. The characters get washed out even with the screen brightness when displaying a white background. Only using max keyboard brightness remedied this. Also, I am not sure if the number pad is required for this type of laptop. I'd rather have seen it removed and the speakers become forward facing utilizing that space. As it stands, the volume from the down firing speakers is not all that impressive. The sound quality is satisfactory and not overly tinny, but they are no where near as good as my MacBook Pro.
Component wise, the older quad core i7-8565U is a solid offering. For day to day performance it is great and offers plenty of oomph. The 256GB NVMe drive is snappy and offers quick boot up and file transfers. The 8GB of RAM is a slight bummer, as I prefer to see 16GB now days. However for most users the 8GB will be fine and can be upgraded if required.
The Geforce MX250 was a nice addition, but do not be fooled, it is not all that powerful. It can certainly do some light gaming, but most modern titles will NOT run at any decent framerate that is beyond a slide show. Old stuff like Portal and Rayman Legends however, does run well. Also, when loaded up and playing games, the fan does start to spin up, but it is not loud or overbearing at all.
The 15.6" IPS screen is a pretty decent one. It has decent color reproduction and offers solid brightness. Pixels are crisp and images are well represented. The viewing angles are solid and I did not notice any uniformity issues. It is not the most vivid with mediocre contrast, but for a cheaper laptop display, it does a respectable job.
Battery life was okay. The S532 offers a 42WHrs 3 cell battery. Par for the course in this price segment. With battery saver on, expect about 7-8 hours of life doing light work, surfing and watching videos which honestly is not bad. A bit less if you use more aggressive power profiles.
Overall, even though I have a few niggles, I was actually pleased with the Asus VivoBook S15 S532 laptop. Coming it at under $800 it is a good affordable offering. It is thin and light, offers snappy day to day performance, has a great feeling keyboard and has the unique ScreenPad 2.0 and decent battery life. Sure, the speakers are a bit of a let down and there are some cost considerations with the 8GB ram and smaller 256GB SSD, but in this segment at this price point it is a very compelling offering.
Pros: Lightweight, this is not heavy to use on the lap for long periods of time. Include the fact that it is a slim laptop it is very easy to toss into a laptop bag.
All aluminum body is comfortable when using for long periods of time. There is no real hot spots on this laptop per say.
The display on this laptop is incredible for the money. It rivals that of my gaming laptop. 1920x1080 resolution.
The touch-pad is very neat to have one touch access to certain applications. I'm sure in due time and with more development these apps will continue to improve. It is an interesting idea to control things like a audio streaming service directly from the touch pad without having to change screens.
Laptop charges quickly, it took approx 75 minutes to charge from 20% to full with basic use / screen on and internet browsing.
The battery life is pretty good. Through normal use for example just light internet browsing and typing a paper, the initial battery life is listed around 8 hours of run time in windows. I'm finding it to be a little bit less of actual use maybe 5-6 without power save options kicking in.
Overall, the speed of this laptop is pretty phenomenal considering it is a "u" series processor. These are designed to operate on ultra low power for battery conservation.
Cons: The number pad on the side is a mini number pad. I have relatively large hands and it is a bit cumbersome to use. Almost so much that I have to single press each button while looking at the key. If you do a lot of clerical entry type stuff, might suggest a USB number pad.
In order to provide the touch-pad, this is an extended monitor so windows recognizes it as 1-2. In doing such, it makes going to the task bar a little awkward at times by default. when you go down to the quick launch bar, you may go down to the touch pad screen. You can move this monitor around if that becomes too much and make it to the very top or side for example.
The touch-pad hand writing is not as smooth as I would anticipate. After using several android and other applications, this works OK, but not very fluent. The windows options for the touch pad are basically not really effective. If you want to operate this in a normal touch screen mode use your Function buttons(f6).
Overall Review: My initial impressions using this laptop were a bit of frustration, until I got more familiar with this touch-pad. This took a few days of use and practice to learn all of the functions with it. The first day I got an internet browser stuck on the touch pad and took a few minutes to figure it out.
If you use the device with a mouse you can easily disregard any of this. But to the point of a con, as this is an extended monitor it doesn't feel as comfortable using a mouse and having the pointer go to the touch-pad.
The back-lit keys are actually in fact difficult to see the letters over the brightness of the screen. The under-light for the keys is fine and works well. However if you need to look at the key to identify it might be difficult.
I do think that the touch pad interaction demo could be more of a video to show all of the capabilities by default before sending you loose to getting things stuck in the display.
The touch-screen / touch-pad can be disabled/normal touch-pad functionality through the function buttons on the laptop.
Good overall Laptop, the quirks are not anything the product does not deliver as advertised. just personal experience with the devices.
Pros: Has a second screen that has touch support, and doubles up as a trackpad.
Can be used for anything that a typical 2nd monitor could.
Awesome keyboard layout - easy to type on accurately. In my opinion, even better than my MBP! Way better than my gaming laptop, too!
Brand name components (Kingston SSD, Samsung memory) - means ASUS didn't try to cut any corners. Always a welcome sight.
Solid design - I didn't experience any chassis flex.
Comes with m.2 SSD by default.
Has a 2nd m.2 slot, for an additional SSD.
Decent gaming performance
Customers can easily physically access SSD, and at least 1 memory slot for upgrades.
Utility and usability of the trackpad screen is surprisingly better than expected
Amazing main screen quality, especially for watching movies.
Accurate, bassy speakers, though could be louder.
Generous I/O, especially for a portable laptop by today's standards.
Cons: Only 8GB of RAM. Nvidia 250MX can use system memory when it runs out of the dedicated 2GB of VRAM. 8GB is a bit low for a modern system. Luckily memory can be upgraded in about 5 minutes.
I recommend at least 16GB (2x8GB) dual channel kit. Even putting 1x8GB or 1x16GB stick in the easily accessible slot will improve overal system multitasking capacity significantly.
Note: Only one memory slot is visible upon removal of back cover. I’m assuming that 2nd RAM slot is under the keyboard, which may or may not be tricky to get to. Based on visible stick capacity (4GB) we can infer that this laptop has two RAM slots, as system memory is 8GB, which is a good thing.
Despite being amazing at face unlock, webcam quality is abysmal. It looks like 0.3mp IR camera on my P4 – low bitrate, and heavily pixelated. This won’t be an issue to most people, as this laptop comes with a loaded I/O assortment, which allows us to use a high quality USB webcam.
Comes with McAfee bloatware trial – recommend to uninstall first thing.
Mine came months out of date. Not sure this qualifies as a con, but I had to spend about two hours updating Windows before no further updates were available.
Comes with Windows 10 Home, which lacks some power user features, such as connecting via RDP. This can be upgraded by the user down the road.
Overall Review: Despite both, CPU AND GPU being relatively low power consumption, they appear to reach performance that’s close to mid-tier gaming laptops.
U-series Intel CPUs generally consume little power in most use cases. They can, however, can self-overclock (Turbo) for short bursts, or single core Turbo for extended sessions when there is a demand, such as gaming, encoding video, streaming, and so on.
Nvidia 250MX cranks out 60-100 FPS on mid to high settings in most meta games, such as Fortnite, LoL, CS: Go, DOTA 2, etc.
I absolutely love Windows Hello. As a Pixel 4 phone user, I’m used to face unlock, and now actually prefer it to the fingerprint/password method.
Accuracy and speed on this laptop camera completely blew me away. It’s actually on par with Pixel 4 – wow.
Crisp and sharp 1080p@60hz. Based on characteristics, I’m betting it’s an LG IPS panel. Thin modern bezels. Netflix via Edge looks amazing at 1080p. Not quite OLED levels of of dynamic range, but definitely top tier by IPS standards.
This display has higher resolution than the main display, and is actually a genuine second “monitor.”
You can do anything with it that you would do with a second monitor. Image quality and screen brightness are awesome.
This has been one of the best performing trackpads I’ve experienced on a Windows laptop. It’s on par with my MBP, which is saying a lot. Palm rejection has been flawless when typing, and accuracy is better than trackpad in my much more expensive gaming laptop that uses Windows precision driver.
While not the loudest speakers I’ve experienced on a laptop, Harman Kardon module has amazing sound reproduction accuracy. In a quiet room, you can feel each drum hit, and hear individual instruments. This is certainly much better than loud, low quality speakers. Most people using this laptop will be using headphones, since it comes with a 3.5mm jack, standard.
This laptop has awesome thermal and ergonomic design. When you open the screen, the hinge causes the rear to lift, dramatically improving the cooling performance. I wish my GTX 1060 gaming laptop had that, as it gets pretty toasty/loud.
Pretty decent PassMark scores across the board.
Keep in mind that these numbers, and peak performance/power target can likely be tweaked by ASUS down the road via BIOS updates.
Laptop came with a surprisingly low amount of bloatware – a huge plus.
Bizarre choice to only include micro-SD card reader, as opposed to industry standard SDXC/MMC slot. Not a huge issue, as you can still connect your fancy USB card reader.
Touchpad should default to touchpad mode out of the box, and every time laptop is awakened, or turned on. Now, it defaults to 2nd display. Not a huge deal, more of a minor annoyance since it’s actually an amazing touchpad, which makes getting a mouse for this laptop not a requirement, but an option.
Not a huge battery, but components included consume fairly little power. Based on rate of decay while watching Netflix for 10 minutes, I expect the battery to last around 4 hours under medium load, but I personally mostly used it while plugged in.
I may revise, and update this review in the future as I continue to familiarize with, and use this laptop.
Pros: This is a solidly built unit. I upgraded the RAM right out of the gate and even after removing all of the chassis screws the bottom panel was held securely in place with very many points of contact.
The screen is brilliant and I really enjoy the matte finish on laptop screens to reduce glare and allow me to use the device in a more varied selection of locations and conditions. I would complain about the resolution being 1080p but honestly it's not a problem for the size screen on a 15" laptop. The minimal bezel around the outside edge of the screen is nice as well to give you a large amount of room to do whatever you want. Also, when you open the screen, it acts as a built in lift for the body of the unit allowing for better airflow under the unit than if it just sat on the surface.
Having 3 USB ports as well as HDMI, USB-C and the MicroSD card reader means that you have plenty of connectivity with this unit.
After getting used to it and tweaking some of the settings, the new screenpad touchpad that is integrated into this unit is quite brilliant. The screenpad allows for some window groupings ans well as having quick touch shortcuts at your fingertips for favorite apps. You can also actually drag any window to the screenpad as a second tiny monitor. There is also a calculator, handwriting recognition, and various other functions.
The keyboard is relatively nice, having a full number pad and allowing you to set an fn lock like you might expect there are also some other standard keys that you might not find on other laptops as dedicated keys such as print screen/insert/etc. It does have some issues noted below however.
The unit has a dedicated nVidia GeForce MX250 which has performed just fine for games like Kingdom Come: Deliverance and Rocket League. I would imagine that it would also be able to handle blowing up your Kerbals if that's your thing.
Cons: So, with this being a mid-range machine bordering on budget-friendly, I won't be too harsh on the negatives but some of them are definitely more important than others. I will start with most annoying and progress to minor inconveniences.
Network connectivity. For all of the other larger-format ports this machine has (usb, hdmi), I really wish they would have been able to shove in a dedicated ethernet port. It's not a huge loss, but this is exacerbated by the poor wifi performance I've been experiencing. I haven't taken the unit apart to find where the wifi adapter is located within the unit, but if I had to guess it is somewhere under the palm rest area of the device. I am consistently getting 1-2 bars less wifi signal than other windows devices from within the same locations. If you have decent wifi coverage in your home/office or are using the device in places where signal strength isn't a huge issue, this probably won't be a big deal. If it becomes one you can always get a usb ethernet adapter or a usb wifi adapter to gain better performance, but really, it's 2020 and that shouldn't be necessary with current wireless tech.
So, for how nice the keyboard is to type on as well as the available keys that I don't have to use an fn combination for the same operation, its LED backlighting leaves a lot to be desired. I like to leave my LED backlighting on full blast on my machines as usually it helps in all situations. On this particular unit however, the LED backlighting actually makes the keys hard to read in daylight situations. As it approaches evening, it's not so bad and at night it's not a problem at all. It is especially noticeable on the fn keys. If the keys were a different color instead of the same silver as the body, maybe this wouldn't be as much of an issue, but the glare off of the keys in brighter light causes the LEDs to just cause visibility issues.
RAM is meh for 2020. If I were going to buy this unit, I would definitely consider getting a unit with 16GB of RAM out of the gate. 8GB is pretty low, but again, this is a more budget-friendly unit, so it's not a huge issue and it is able to be upgraded replacing the 4GB so-dimm with a 16GB so-dimm if you so choose.
Overall Review: Overall, I'm impressed. It's been a long time since I've looked at PC laptops but Asus has always been a brand I've trusted. While there are some things that are undesirable, I'd actually recommend this machine to anyone looking for something as a decent unit for mid-range computing. If you're looking for a business machine, or something that can handle some games from time to time, you wouldn't go wrong looking at this unit. Though, I would suggest upgrading the installed RAM from a 4GB stick to a 16GB stick (there is 4GB built directly into the motherboard hence 8GB out of the box).
Pros: The Screenpad (touchpad that is also a screen) is a great idea
Good performance for office apps, general computing, and media consumption
Good build quality
Pretty good battery life
Good screen for the price range
Cons: Webcam is pretty bad
Sound quality is just OK
Some issues with Screenpad
Overall Review: General computer stuff:
Honestly, I really like this laptop. Starting it up the first time, you go through the Windows setup. Overall, it was one of the fastest setups I have seen on a laptop. There was less bloatware than most, so I didn’t have to waste as much time uninstalling all of that. It is easy to start using and has a built in tutorial for the screenpad.
The SSD with the i7 work great together to give a snappy and responsive general computing experience. Video playback, web browsing, and using office apps (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint) are great. I would consider this an excellent work laptop and would recommend it to most people who need a good computer for work. I do wish it had a better webcam, as it would be a fantastic laptop for work/business, but generally those benefit from better webcams for online meetings/conferences.
Content creation on this laptop is hit-and-miss. I have used it for some screen recordings and making some online videos for my students. It did fine overall. The quality of the video was fine, and it is powerful enough where my audio stays in sync. Editing short videos (such as those from my screen recordings) was fine, but when it got time to put out my MP4, it was a bit longer than I am used to. So it works for simple creation, but nothing advanced and may not be the fastest option for this purpose.
Gaming performance is basically non-existent on this laptop. It has integrated graphics, so it do not expect it to do gaming. I tested out some Minecraft and other light-weight games and those were fine, but any AAA releases crawl at unusable framerates.
So the Screenpad is what separates this laptop from others, so I am giving a separate section to this.
Overall, the screenpad is great for a few different reasons:
You can use it as just a second screen. I generally use a mouse with my laptop, so I can just use it as a second small screen for having extra information showing while I work. This is my favorite thing about it.
It has some built in functionality/apps. Some are great, others are not. I tested the PowerPoint companion and it is useful, but nothing amazing. The build in number pad app… the laptop has a number pad, so why would I ever use the screenpad version? The handwriting seems to work well. You can use it to actually write your digital signature with things such as Adobe Sign, which is great.
The screenpad has some built in gestures that you can use. So far, I have had very little luck actually getting them to work. For the most part, I will use the function key on the keyboard to switch between a standard touchpad and the fully-featured screenpad. I am glad they put in that function key (with F6).
When you are using a mouse with the laptop, the screenpad is amazing! It is a small extra touchscreen and lets you have quick access to apps and media playback.
If you are not using a mouse, I consider it to be OK. You can do the same things with it, but you have to switch between trackpad and touchscreen mode, which is a bit clunky. You can also turn off the screen and just use it as a trackpad which is what I generally do when I am using it instead of a mouse. The main reason I do this, is when using the screenpad mode, it will let you move your cursor down to the screenpad; but when your hand is covering the screenpad you tend to lose track of where your cursor is.
Putting everything together, I consider this a very good laptop. You get pretty good hardware for the money and essentially get a second small screen built into it. The screenpad is a great idea and can be useful in several situation;s or it can be turned off when you decide you do not want to use it, then you essentially just have your normal touchpad. I would recommend this laptop a very good general-purpose or home office laptop. There is some room for improvement, but it is excellent for my uses while working from home.
Pros: The system setup was easy
It's system boot-up time is fast.
There is limited lag in software load time.
Visually pleasant, the back lit keyboard is nice.
The ErgoLift hinge is a nice feature as well.
Cons: Hard drive on the small side
The screen-pad is quirky, nice when using external mouse, but annoying if not. Thankfully it is easy to swap from traditional mouse pad, to turning it off, or back to screen-pad.
Overall Review: Definitely would recommend it, it was on the high-side of my budget for a general use computer, but worth the little bit extra I might have normally paid.