Asus VivoBook S15 With ScreenPad 2.0 Review
Asus took us quite all of sudden when it introduced the quirky and unique ScreenPad on its flagship 2018 laptops, the ZenBook Pro 14 and ZenBook Pro 15. the corporate effectively replaced the quality trackpads on these laptops with fully interactive touchscreens. the thought was to retain all the functionality of a typical trackpad but also open up completely new ways to use a laptop. We had tons of thoughts about the concept and execution of the ScreenPad idea – not all positive. While there was tons of potential, it seemed as if Asus had did not strike the proper balance between usability and innovation.
We now have some new laptops with the second-gen ScreenPad, which Asus says has been refined and focused. The concept has also been democratised, and may now be found on mainstream VivoBook also as premium ZenBook laptops. this might be an honest thing, giving Asus a singular and attractive point within the crowded market – but it could also backfire, confusing users and making everything harder.
To settle that question, we’re reviewing the new Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F), a trendy laptop with the new ScreenPad 2.0 as its main point but many other features to boast of also . in fact we would like to understand how this hybrid trackpad has improved compared to the primary generation, and whether it helps or hurts the laptop. Read on to seek out out how it all comes together.
Asus VivoBook S15 design
The VivoBook S15 is billed as an ultraportable thin-and-light laptop, but it’s still a 15-inch unit which suggests it is not as convenient to hold around as today’s more common 13-inch and 14-inch models. It weighs 1.8kg and is 18mm thick.
Asus is emphasising style with the present VivoBook S series. The VivoBook S15 is out there in three striking colours – mosstone , Punk Pink, and Transparent Silver. While the previous two are bound to grab attention with their bright, metallic lids and contrasting trims round the edges of the lids, the silver option is for those that prefer an understated look. we’ve the Punk Pink version for review, and it might certainly stand call at a crowd. Although the color may be a matter of subjective taste, the design overall with the off-centre Asus VivoBook logo on the lid is extremely stylish and crowd pleasing .
The base of the laptop may be a light pink, and is offset by silver keyboard keys (and in fact the massive ScreenPad, which is either lit up as a screen or completely black when turned off). One issue with the color choices is that it’s extremely hard to ascertain the markings on the keyboard keys due to low contrast. Unless you’re during a dark room with the backlight on, you would possibly struggle a touch .
Asus has brought its “ergolift” hinge design to the present laptop segment. When open, the rear of the lid rests on your table, and therefore the base of the laptop is raised at an angle. this is often said to form typing more ergonomic. We didn’t feel that it made an enormous difference to comfort, though it’d help with airflow for cooling.
The borders to the edges of the screen are very slim, for a contemporary look. the highest border remains thick enough for a webcam, which we’re okay with. The lid does flex quite bit but we didn’t see any screen warping as a result. Interestingly, Asus has gone with a matte non-reflective screen instead of a glossy one.
We found the keyboard layout to be decent – there is a number pad, which tons of individuals will appreciate, and therefore the arrow keys are spaced out which helps affect the very fact that they are compressed. there is a convenient shortcut to toggle the Fn lock for the highest row so you’ll choose from the quality Fn key behaviour and quick system shortcuts (but common shortcuts like Alt+F4 work either way, which is extremely convenient). We also just like the stiff power button which is difficult to press accidentally.
The ScreenPad is so wide that your palms will rest thereon while typing. It’s recessed quite trackpads usually are, and also features a very smooth, slick texture. Despite being a totally functioning device in its title , the whole assembly is clickable, a bit like a typical trackpad. Design-wise, all this takes some getting wont to – as for actual usability, we’ll get thereto during a bit.
Unusually, most of the ports are on the proper side of this laptop – you’ve got the DC power inlet, an HDMI output, USB 3.1 Gen1 (5Gbps) Type-A and Type-C ports, a 3.5mm combo audio socket, and a microSD card slot. Two USB 2.0 Type-A ports and a charge status LED are on the left. we might have liked a full-sized SD card slot, but the most issue here is that the relative lack of fast USB ports – all of them should are a minimum of USB 3.0.
Asus VivoBook S15 specifications and software
The VivoBook S15 with ScreenPad 2.0 has been launched in India in two versions, one with a tenth Gen Core i7-10510U processor and therefore the other with a Core i5-1021U. They sell online for around Rs. 65,990 and Rs. 75,990 respectively, though their official MRPs are higher. These are updates to the versions with 8th Gen CPUs first unveiled at Computex 2019.
Both of those processors are supported Intel’s 14nm Comet Lake architecture, not the more modern 10nm Ice Lake. Our review unit has the Core i7-1015U. this is often a quad-core 15W CPU with HyperThreading, and runs at a base speed of 1.8GHz with a lift speed of 4.9GHz.
Asus doesn’t offer any options when it involves storage, RAM, or other specifications. regardless of which CPU you select , you will get 8GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. There’s one additional M.2 slot for a second SSD, but note that there is no 2.5-inch bay for a high-capacity disk drive . Half the RAM is soldered down so you’ll only swap out the one 4GB module. you will need to pop the whole base off this laptop to perform an upgrade.
One interesting touch is that the discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. this is often a particularly basic model and much less powerful than the mainstream GeForce GTX or RTX models, so don’t expect high-end gaming. It’s still better than integrated graphics for basic games and a few creative work, though.
The 15.6-inch IPS LCD screen features a standard 1920×1080 resolution, and as we stated earlier, features a non-reflective finish. You get stereo speakers and microphones, and an HD webcam with infrared for face authentication. There’s also Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.
The battery capacity is 42Wh and Asus claims that you simply can agitate to 60 percent in only under 50 minutes, which should are available handy. You get a reasonably compact 45W charger within the box, and zip else is included. The VivoBook S15 cannot be charged through its Type-C port, which may be a pity.
Asus VivoBook S15 ScreenPad 2.0 usability
The ScreenPad has grown in size and received a serious software update since we first saw it on the ZenBook Pro UX580GE. In fact, anyone who bought Asus’ 2018 flagship can update to the ScreenPad 2.0 software for free of charge . Obviously, Asus thinks that its concept has been successful enough to roll out on more models, and it does at the very least give the corporate something unique to point out off.
We complained quite bit about the confusing and awkward implementation of the first ScreenPad and it’s worth reading our review of it to know why. Things have definitely improved but there’s still a learning curve.
What you see initially looks very similar to a smartphone homescreen. The apps that you simply can run on the ScreenPad include variety pad, a handwriting input panel, and a ‘Quick Key’ panel which basically allows you to turn keyboard combinations into one-tap shortcuts. There also are helper apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which show formatting and contextual tools.
Windows can still recognise the ScreenPad 2.0 as a second monitor, though that may not a separate mode anymore. you’ll drag and drop any app that’s running on the most screen onto the ScreenPad. Asus has developed an ingenious Windows add-on, so once you start dragging a window, two targets appear on screen. Dropping onto these will either send the window and resize it to fill the ScreenPad, or pin its icon to the homescreen so you’ll launch it there directly.
The utility of such alittle screen is restricted , moreso once you got to use the trackpad. Asus now allows users to vary the resolution of the ScreenPad between the native 2160×1080, and a more practical (though far less crisp) 1000×500. it might are nice to possess this switch or use scaling on the fly as required . you’ll also thankfully use apps a bit like you’d on the other touchscreen – just tap, swipe, and scroll – instead of trying to control a cursor by touch on an equivalent surface. That fixes one among the most important and most maddening gripes that we had with the first implementation.
You can still finish up together with your cursor on the ScreenPad since it’s in any case a second monitor, on the other hand there’s nothing for it to click on there. Also switching to normal trackpad mode will make all of your windows jump to the first monitor and you cannot get your arrangements back later.
For times once you just need a trackpad and therefore the ScreenPad is displaying something instead, there’s now a fast three-finger tap that instantly gives you a trackpad overlay. However this overlay disappears too quickly after a flash of inactivity, and that we couldn’t find how to form it stick. We’d rather have things the opposite way around – keeping the trackpad mode on by default and jumping to the apps or second-screen with a gesture.
When you want to use the ScreenPad as a trackpad, you’ll simply switch it off entirely and use it as normal. If you would like both, a swipe upwards reveals a toolbar, and from there you’ll activate an equivalent trackpad overlay – which then stays in situ .
Once or twice during our week with the VivoBook S15, the ScreenPad just froze for a couple of seconds. We also had a touch trouble getting wont to the gestures and remembering its range of capabilities, all of which aren’t explained within the tutorial that kicks off automatically on first use.
All this made us feel as if it might be simpler to only run apps like these on our phone, which is typically lying on the table next to us, than attempt to multitask with the ScreenPad.If you’re employing a large laptop like this with an external mouse, the ScreenPad will probably be more useful.
Asus VivoBook S15 performance and battery life
The VivoBook S15 is comparatively portable despite being larger than most ultrabooks, and you will not have an excessive amount of trouble carrying it around or maybe using it on your lap. We always like matte screens, which don’t constantly need to be adjusted to avoid reflections. We were also happy to notice that the laptop never got noisy, even when running heavy tests. the center and right of the keyboard did get warm when running heavy tests and games but this wasn’t a drag with day-to-day use. The ScreenPad didn’t get warm, except at the very left edge, which is unfortunately where our palm had to rest while typing.
The screen that Asus has used isn’t the simplest when it involves colour reproduction and viewing angles albeit it’s an IPS LCD panel. Colours don’t really pop and videos feel a touch dull, which suggests that entertainment and content creation aren’t really strengths for this laptop. We also had to possess the luminosity above usual to feel comfortable. On the opposite hand, we had no problems working with text, browsing the online , and using common productivity tools.
The speakers are on rock bottom , and therefore the maximum volume was surprisingly low. The sound is clean and voices in music and video clips were audible (when we were close enough) but there is no bass in the least . You’ll definitely need a good pair of headphones to use with this laptop.
The keyboard keys are a touch mushy, but there’s adequate travel and spacing, so typing isn’t a problem . the most important usability challenge with this laptop is in fact getting wont to the ScreenPad, for all the explanations we’ve described. We aroused just turning it off fairly often.
Coming to overall performance, we in fact ran a spread of synthetic benchmarks and real-world tasks. PCMark 10 gave us many 3,919 and 3,630 in its standard and extended runs respectively. Cinebench R20 managed 441 in its single-core test and 1,673 in its multi-core test. These are good scores but we’ve seen better from similarly priced gaming laptops which are in fact thicker and heavier.
SSD performance was also reasonably good – CrystalDiskMark 6 measured sequential reads and writes at 1,858.8MBps and 972.9MBps respectively, while the equivalent random speeds were 340.4MBps and 877.8MBps respectively. We’re happy to ascertain an SSD in situ of a tough drive though we might have liked one among each at this price.
The GeForce MX250 GPU is sweet enough for basic games and you would possibly be ready to enjoy some high-end titles if you drop the resolution and quality level. We tried running the recent Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1920×080 using the Low graphics preset with all effects turned off. It actually gave us an honest 25fps average but the minimum dropped as low as 19fps and therefore the real-world experience was choppy. Similarly, we ran Far Cry 5’s built-in benchmark using an equivalent resolution and conditions, and got a mean of 26fps with a minimum of 20fps.
Asus is trying to push one among its flagship features into more accessible models, and therefore the ScreenPad certainly makes the VivoBook S15 stand call at the premium laptop segment. It’s much improved compared to the first-gen version, but still has some quirks. It doesn’t really have any killer app either – there are not any situations that hugely enjoy having it. Still, it’s extremely cool and it feels futuristic while being much less disruptive than the huge ScreenPad+ second screen on the ZenBook Duo (UX481).
There is no version of this laptop without the ScreenPad, so it won’t work for people that aren’t very comfortable with technology and do not like when things are unfamiliar. The smaller VivoBook S14 (S431), which may be a sibling to the present model, doesn’t feature the ScreenPad so it might be a stimulating choice if you wish everything else about this laptop.
ScreenPad aside, we weren’t too proud of the relative lack of fast USB ports and therefore the average-looking display. However, the VivoBook S15 does have style, core specifications, and portability going for it.
If you’re willing to spend around Rs. 76,000 on a laptop, there are tons of options – you’ll get a gaming model with far more powerful hardware, though it might be bigger and heavier. you’ll get a slick ultraportable or 2-in-1 model, but it wouldn’t have an equivalent balance of portability and features. this is often a really mainstream laptop and can work best for basic home, office, and student work, with a touch of entertainment on the side.