ASUS Vivobook S15 OLED laptop review: attention to detail
In most laptops, manufacturers often ignore some details that are very rare in Windows laptops in general. For example, try to think of three laptop models that have light sensors (Apple models don’t count). Some may miss biometrics, some have weak displays, some have problems with battery life… But there are really well-balanced samples in which the manufacturer has taken into account many small (and not only) points. In today’s review, we will get acquainted with the ASUS Vivobook S15 OLED, which will offer more than it might seem at first glance.
ASUS Vivobook S15 OLED (K5504VN-L1026WS) specifications
|ASUS Vivobook S15 OLED (K5504VN-L1026WS)
|OLED, 15,6”, resolution 1920×1080, 16:9 aspect ratio, 60 Hz frequency
|Intel Core i9-13900H
|16 GB LPDDR5
|Intel Arc A350M (4 GB)
|HDMI 1.4, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, USB-A 2.0, 3,5 mm combined connector, Thunderbolt 4
|Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.2
|Speaker system with 2 speakers and microphone
|Island keys with white backlighting
|Battery and power supply
|70 W-h, 90 W power supply
Despite the good features of the laptop itself, the package is quite standard: a laptop, a charger, and a set of stickers. All of this is wrapped in an environmentally friendly package (which is a great approach in today’s realities), where one of the internal parts can be folded into a small stand if it is more convenient for someone to use the laptop that way.
Given the class of the device, it is unlikely that it will require many additional items. Most of the necessary ports are in place, so buyers are unlikely to have to spend money on hubs, and the size won’t require replacing a backpack or bag. Of course, if necessary, the manufacturer has various accessories, but nothing specially designed for this model is offered yet.
Design and usability
Despite the fact that the Vivobook line is not a flagship, the new models still have an interesting design. First, it is the choice of colors, which in Ukraine consists of Solar Blue, Midnight Black, Cool Silver, and Cream White. Secondly, almost all of them have interesting small orange accents on all sides of the case.
Personally, I associate them with the McLaren Formula 1 team, which has a similar color on its cars and merchandise. The editorial office received a laptop in white with accents and a black keyboard. They really shape the overall look of the device quite well. It would seem that these are very small details, but they still complement the mood well. It is because of such details that this laptop can attract a little more attention, and in general it looks more modern (at the same time, models without such accents look simpler). Perhaps this is subjective, but for me such additions are really a nice “plus”.
Among the case materials you can find both metal (top cover) and plastic (everything else). Given that this is not a ZenBook, the amount of the latter can be forgiven. But it’s the ASUS Antimicrobial Guard coating that’s more interesting. The company claims that it should “inhibit bacterial growth by 99% for at least three years.” After the COVID-19 epidemic, it’s also a great addition to a device that is most often used on a daily basis. Of course, if this coating does work, which we unfortunately have no way of verifying. But the fact that it is matte and practical is for sure.
For a 15-inch laptop, the Vivobook S15 also has relatively good dimensions: 359.3×229.4×17.9 mm, with a weight of 1.7 kg. It is easy to move around the city or over longer distances. The laptop is well assembled, but the hinge does not lock well when closed (perhaps a flaw of the test model), but it holds all other positions properly. At the same time, the manufacturer claims compliance with the MIL-STD-810H standard, so theoretically the laptop should be quite durable.
The bottom has cooling slots and four rubber feet. The design of the feet is also more creative than usual, so they all have different shapes, and one of them has the aforementioned color accent. Although the feet are relatively small, they can do their job perfectly, holding the laptop confidently on the work surface.
However, in most cases, a laptop attracts attention primarily with its color and accents. In our version, it looks fresher and more interesting than the standard versions. And if you don’t pay attention to this, you still get a nice device that is quite pleasant to use and easy to move around with. However, this model is a significant development for the Vivobook line. I’m almost certain that the company’s experience with Zenbook and Expertbook was also taken into account during the design process.
There are no extravagant solutions with the rejection of popular interfaces for connecting external devices, so for the most part, Vivobook will not create problems for the user. Thus, under the right hand there is a combined headset jack, Thunderbolt 4, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI 1.4 and a charging port, and under the left hand there is another USB-A, only of a simpler generation (2.0).
Considering that this is not a gaming model, this port layout is quite satisfactory. The other thing is that users who often need a wired connection to the network or a memory card reader will still have to spend extra money on accessories.
The ASUS Vivobook S line has several display sizes. In our case, we have a standard screen size of 15.6 inches. This model was not intended to impress the buyer with ultra-thin bezels, but it has other interesting features. Along with the usual Full HD options, there are also more modern options – 2880×1620 pixels. In both cases, the aspect ratio remains 16:9. In “older” models, you can see even higher resolutions and even 3D options.
This time we got the base matrix, which also has a 60 Hz refresh rate. But there are also faster displays with 120 Hz among the options. The response time is 0.2 ms. And although these are not gaming laptops, it is nice to have such characteristics even for normal use. In our case, even with the slower refresh rate, the screen still didn’t leave us disappointed (although 120 Hz would have been nicer).
Another important detail is also another item in the specifications – OLED manufactured by Samsung. Moreover, the user is given a choice with different color profiles and full sRGB and DCI-P3 coverage, which is not so common among laptops “for studying” (yes, this is the category in which Vivobook is located in the ASUS catalog). In total, there is a set of four image options: Native, sRGB, DCI-P3 and Display P3. All of them are quite good, so the user can easily choose the image he or she needs. To my surprise, the viewing angles of this matrix are also quite good.
Measurements of the sRGB profile:
Measurements of the DCI-P3 profile:
With each profile, you can find additional settings. These are Normal, Vivid, Manual (allows you to adjust the image temperature), and Eye Care (reduces blue tones for working in the evening). According to the measurements, leaving Normal will be the best option, because Vivid has a bad effect on the gamut. Not everyone will need temperature correction – the initial calibration is very close to the standard in most cases. And Eye Care can be replaced with the standard Windows Night Light, which does its job just as well.
At the same time, the display provides a good level of backlighting. Our measurements showed from 4.2 to 404 cd/m². When playing HDR content, the peak brightness is recorded at 600 cd/m². The display protection is glossy and seems to attract fine dust. Therefore, you will still need to have a microfiber on hand.
Often, even flagship laptops cannot boast of automatic screen brightness correction, which ASUS Vivobook S has not forgotten to “put in”. Such a sensor allows you to worry less about the settings and adjusts the backlight level relatively well. This is a surprisingly nice addition for such a laptop, and I really like this functionality.
And along with automatic backlight correction, you can find the Adaptive Colors item in the settings, which can adjust the image depending on the lighting. This adds even more comfort to your work. It’s a pity that not many laptops can offer such things to the user.
It’s also worth noting that such displays have a tendency to flicker, which can be seen at low backlight levels (depending on personal characteristics, people react differently to this effect). Therefore, the manufacturer has taken care of the OLED Flicker-Free Dimming function, which should help in such cases. My eyes don’t notice flicker much, so I didn’t have to go to the settings very often.
Another detail that is still not standard for most laptops is biometric sensors. ASUS does not shy away from such details, so you can find face and fingerprint scanners in different models. The ASUS Vivobook S has only the latter, which is built into the power button, so there are no questions about the location.
Just like before it worked. It may not be the fastest scanner I’ve seen, but it’s still faster and more convenient than entering passwords or PINs. From time to time, it may take an extra second to respond, which is more or less similar to optical sensors compared to such scanners in smartphones. However, once you get used to this feature, it becomes less noticeable.
Manipulatives and multimedia
I think it will be hard to find a laptop with a bad keyboard anymore. However, some little things can still add to the experience. For example, keys that have no backlash in their place, a pleasant sound of the mechanism, backlighting, etc. And here, too, Vivobook should not disappoint. It has a standard island keyboard, where the main unit retains its usual dimensions (which makes it quite possible to enter text while keeping your eyes on the display), and the NUM pad is slightly reduced to save space. In general, ASUS still has, subjectively, one of the most pleasant keyboards, which, like the Vivobook, only continues to improve.
The trackpad, located under the keyboard with an offset to the left of the center of the topcase, also did not disappoint. Its size of 130×85 mm is enough for comfortable work without an external manipulator, if the current tasks do not require one. Therefore, unpretentious work can be performed even without the need for additional settings. There were no problems with the accuracy of cursor movement or gesture support.
The speakers were a pleasant surprise. The new Vivobook has two speakers, which are usually located at the bottom of the topcase. And they play unexpectedly well. Not to mention simple tasks, they can handle music playback quite well. They have enough power for a small room, the speakers play quite detailed and clear, they can even “bass”. This is the rare case when such a laptop can be praised for its sound (not yet at the level of modern MacBooks, but much better than the vast majority of Windows laptops).
The webcam also has a lot of additions. For starters, it has a 2.1-megapixel sensor that provides Full HD resolution with good quality in different lighting conditions. The camera has a separate “curtain” for greater privacy. Along with this, ASUS’ proprietary add-ons also have a set of functions that will optimize lighting, blur the background, improve skin appearance, and more. There’s even a Motion Tracking mode, which is somewhat reminiscent of Center Stage in Apple devices.
The built-in microphones did not disappoint either. Without proprietary improvements, they, like most similar ones, will hear everything around them. But with noise cancellation systems enabled (not without AI, of course), they are able to leave only the user in the conversation, and not all their actions (keystrokes, mouse, fingers on the table, etc.) during the call. And it works really well. So, work calls, distance learning, communication with loved ones, etc. can be significantly improved by this laptop.
Performance and software
ASUS Vivobook S has a lot of configurations. Not to mention the size, some models have options with different 13th-generation Intel processors (i5-i9), as well as optional Intel Arc A350M discrete graphics cards. Unfortunately, such a model can have only 16 GB of RAM, because in this case it is soldered on the motherboard. But with the drive (M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0), everything is simpler – it can be replaced.
All models are connected via dual-band Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2 is available for wireless accessories. An Ethernet adapter is not provided, so you will have to purchase one separately if necessary.
For the review, we received a package with Intel Core i9-13900H (6 productive cores up to 5.4 GHz, 8 energy-saving cores up to 4.1 GHz, 20 threads, 24 MB cache, 35-115 W), Intel Arc A350M (4 GB GDDR6, up to 1150 MHz, up to 35 W), 16 GB LPDDR5 and 1 TB of storage. That is, we have an almost top-of-the-line version of this model (except for the display and battery).
The system does not offer many performance options, as is the case with the company’s gaming models. However, there are three cooling options: Performance, Standard, and Whisper. In operation, it is difficult to notice a difference in performance, while the cooler itself does change its behavior more noticeably. At the same time, even Standard tried to keep the speed at a minimum during the preparation of this review, which increased the comfort of working with the laptop.
Performance testing with Performance mode still showed more or less competitive results for a laptop of this class. Although, when it comes to graphics, Intel’s solution is significantly inferior to current alternatives from NVIDIA. However, you can still play on such a system. Yes, we’re not talking about maximum graphics settings at all, but in FPS-sensitive games you can choose closer to average settings. Not without periodic jerks, but you can still play. It’s unlikely that performance-demanding players will appreciate this, but for everyone else, as a mobile platform for work and basic entertainment, Vivobook may be suitable. (FPS was recorded at closer to average settings for CS:GO and PUBG, and at minimum settings for GTA V and The Division 2; in all cases, Full HD).
When it comes to battery life, the system traditionally reduces performance. However, nothing unusual for Windows laptops happened with ASUS Vivobook S15. In the usual routine, the difference between battery operation and with the power connected is completely imperceptible.
|3DMark (CPU Profile, max threads)
|CineBench R23 (single/multi core)
|1 833/13 638
I also liked the stability of the system. Even with a single cooler, the laptop is able to operate under load for a long time without undercutting the processor and graphics accelerator. However, in this case, the temperature will rise above 90°C. This will be felt on the topcase, but without dramatic discomfort. With simpler tasks, working in Performance mode, you can see the temperature at 50°C, and in Whisper it is 10-15 degrees higher. That is, the cooling is not the best, but it still fulfills its task.
The laptop uses slots in the bottom, on the left side of the topcase, and additional slots hidden in the hinge to move air. Of course, you can feel the heat escaping from the left (and heating up objects next to the laptop). But there is no “crime” in this, because this is a very small and acceptable “payment” for the good performance of a relatively compact system.
As for the additional software that ASUS installs on its laptops, there are not many new titles: MyASUS, ScreenXpert (quick actions like taking screenshots via overlay), and GlideX (image mirroring from smartphones to laptops). It’s worth noting that MyASUS has a lot of useful settings here. These include battery behavior, display options, useful functions for speakers and camera, Target Mode (reduces background lighting while leaving the active window brighter), and other settings.
The ASUS Vivobook S15 model lineup has two battery capacities: 70 and 75 Wh. The test model was equipped with the former. And even so, the Vivobook has become one of the most durable laptops we’ve ever tested. The office work test lasted an impressive 11 hours and 42 minutes, video – almost 10, and gaming – two hours. In practice, with automatic brightness settings, the battery consumed 10-15% per hour of work, and a two-hour movie consumed 17% of the charge.
With a small 90W power supply and a weight of 335 grams, the laptop’s mobility is not compromised. What’s more, a separate charging port doesn’t take up Thunderbolt/USB-C, although the latter can also serve as such. It takes two and a quarter hours to fully charge the battery.