Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) With ScreenPad 2.0 Review


Asus took us fairly without warning when it launched the quirky and distinctive ScreenPad on its flagship 2018 laptops, the ZenBook Pro 14 and ZenBook Pro 15. The firm successfully changed the usual trackpads on these laptops with totally interactive touchscreens. The concept was to retain all of the performance of a typical trackpad but in addition open up utterly new methods to make use of a laptop computer. We had loads of ideas concerning the idea and execution of the ScreenPad concept – not all optimistic. While there was loads of potential, it appeared as if Asus had did not strike the proper steadiness between usability and innovation.

We now have some new laptops with the second-gen ScreenPad, which Asus says has been refined and targeted. The idea has additionally been democratised, and may now be discovered on mainstream VivoBook in addition to premium ZenBook laptops. This may very well be an excellent factor, giving Asus a singular and enticing promoting level within the crowded market – but it surely might additionally backfire, complicated customers and making the whole lot harder.

To settle that query, we’re reviewing the brand new Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F), a trendy laptop computer with the brand new ScreenPad 2.0 as its principal promoting level however many different options to boast of as nicely. Of course we need to know the way this hybrid trackpad has improved compared to the first generation, and whether or not it helps or hurts the laptop computer. Read on to learn how all of it comes collectively.

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The Punk Pink choice is vibrant and crowd pleasing, however will not be to everybody’s style

 

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) design

The VivoBook S15 is billed as an ultraportable thin-and-light laptop computer, but it surely’s nonetheless a 15-inch unit which suggests it is not as handy to hold round as immediately’s extra frequent 13-inch and 14-inch fashions. It weighs 1.8kg and is 18mm thick. 

Asus is emphasising model with the present VivoBook S collection. The VivoBook S15 is obtainable in three placing colors – Moss Green, Punk Pink, and Transparent Silver. While the previous two are certain to seize consideration with their vibrant, metallic lids and contrasting trims across the edges of the lids, the silver choice is for individuals who choose an understated look. We have the Punk Pink model for assessment, and it will definitely stand out in a crowd. Although the color is a matter of subjective style, the look total with the off-centre Asus VivoBook emblem on the lid may be very trendy and crowd pleasing.

The base of the laptop computer is a lightweight pink, and is offset by silver keyboard keys (and naturally the big ScreenPad, which is both lit up as a display or utterly black when turned off). One difficulty with the color decisions is that it is very exhausting to see the markings on the keyboard keys due to low distinction. Unless you are in a darkish room with the backlight on, you would possibly wrestle a little bit.

Asus has introduced its “ergolift” hinge design to this laptop computer phase. When open, the again of the lid rests in your desk, and the bottom of the laptop computer is raised at an angle. This is alleged to make typing extra ergonomic. We did not really feel that it made an enormous distinction to consolation, although it would assist with airflow for cooling.

The borders to the edges of the display are very slim, for a contemporary look. The prime border remains to be thick sufficient for a webcam, which we’re okay with. The lid does flex fairly a bit however we did not see any display warping in consequence. Interestingly, Asus has gone with a matte non-reflective display fairly than a shiny one.

asus vivobook s15 screenpad keyboard ndtv asus

The ScreenPad replaces a standard trackpad and takes some getting used to

 

We discovered the keyboard structure to be first rate – there is a quantity pad, which lots of people will admire, and the arrow keys are spaced out which helps cope with the truth that they’re compressed. There’s a handy shortcut to toggle the Fn lock for the highest row so you’ll be able to select between the usual Fn key behaviour and fast system shortcuts (however frequent shortcuts equivalent to Alt+F4 work both approach, which may be very handy). We additionally just like the stiff energy button which is troublesome to press by accident. 

The ScreenPad is so extensive that your palms will relaxation on it whereas typing. It’s recessed greater than trackpads normally are, and likewise has a really clean, slick texture. Despite being a completely functioning gadget in its personal proper, your complete meeting is clickable, similar to a typical trackpad. Design-wise, all this takes some getting used to – as for precise usability, we’ll get to that in a bit.

Unusually, a lot of the ports are on the proper facet of this laptop computer – you’ve gotten the DC energy 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 cost standing LED are on the left. We would have appreciated a full-sized SD card slot, however the principle difficulty right here is the relative lack of quick USB ports – all of them ought to have been at the least USB 3.0.

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Most of the ports are on the proper (beneath), with solely two USB 2.0 ports on the left (above)

 

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) specs and software program

The VivoBook S15 with ScreenPad 2.0 has been launched in India in two variations, one with a 10th Gen Core i7-10510U processor and the opposite with a Core i5-1021U. They promote on-line for round Rs. 65,990 and Rs. 75,990 respectively, although their official MRPs are greater. These are updates to the variations with 8th Gen CPUs first unveiled at Computex 2019.

Both of those processors are based mostly on Intel’s 14nm Comet Lake structure, not the extra fashionable 10nm Ice Lake. Our assessment unit has the Core i7-1015U. This is a quad-core 15W CPU with HyperThreading, and runs at a base pace of 1.8GHz with a lift pace of 4.9GHz.

Asus does not provide any choices in terms of storage, RAM, or different specs. No matter which CPU you select, you will get 8GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. There’s one further M.2 slot for a second SSD, however be aware that there isn’t any 2.5-inch bay for a high-capacity exhausting drive. Half the RAM is soldered down so you’ll be able to solely swap out the one 4GB module. You’ll have to pop your complete base off this laptop computer to carry out an improve.

One fascinating contact is the discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. This is a particularly primary mannequin and much much less highly effective than the mainstream GeForce GTX or RTX fashions, so do not count on high-end gaming. It’s nonetheless higher than built-in graphics for primary video games and a few inventive work, although.

The 15.6-inch IPS LCD display has a typical 1920×1080 decision, and as we acknowledged earlier, has a non-reflective end. You get stereo audio system and microphones, and an HD webcam with infrared for face authentication. There’s additionally Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.

The battery capability is 42Wh and Asus claims that you would be able to cost as much as 60 % in slightly below 50 minutes, which ought to turn out to be useful. You get a fairly compact 45W charger within the field, and nothing else is included. The VivoBook S15 cannot be charged by way of its Type-C port, which is a pity.

Our assessment unit got here with Windows 10 Home and a few preloaded software program. McAfee LiveSafe bugged us with common and invasive pop-ups asking us to purchase a subscription. MyAsus is a fairly all-encompassing device with {hardware} settings and diagnostics, guarantee and buyer assist info, and even an app retailer. There are some promotional gives, however what’s most fascinating is the part for ScreenPad optimised apps. Asus additionally throws in a number of different little utilities for audio and show tweaking.

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You can run apps or any Windows program full-screen on the ScreenPad

 

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) ScreenPad 2.0 usability

The ScreenPad has grown in measurement and acquired a serious software program replace since we first noticed it on the ZenBook Pro UX580GE. In reality, anybody who purchased Asus’ 2018 flagship can replace to the ScreenPad 2.0 software program without cost. Obviously, Asus thinks that its idea has been profitable sufficient to roll out on extra fashions, and it does on the very least give the corporate one thing distinctive to point out off.

We complained fairly a bit concerning the complicated and awkward implementation of the unique ScreenPad and it is value reading our review of it to understand why. Things have positively improved however there’s nonetheless a studying curve.

What you see at first seems to be very similar to a smartphone homescreen. The apps that you would be able to run on the ScreenPad embrace a quantity pad, a handwriting enter panel, and a ‘Quick Key’ panel which mainly permits you to flip keyboard combos into one-tap shortcuts. There are additionally helper apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which present formatting and contextual instruments.

Windows can nonetheless recognise the ScreenPad 2.0 as a second monitor, although that is not a separate mode anymore. You can drag and drop any app that is working on the principle display onto the ScreenPad. Asus has developed a intelligent Windows add-on, so whenever you begin dragging a window, two targets seem on display. Dropping onto these will both ship the window and resize it to fill the ScreenPad, or pin its icon to the homescreen so you’ll be able to launch it there instantly.

The utility of such a small display is proscribed, moreso when that you must use the trackpad. Asus now permits customers to alter the decision of the ScreenPad between the native 2160×1080, and a extra sensible (although far much less crisp) 1000×500. It would have been good to have this swap or use scaling on the fly as wanted. You can even fortunately use apps similar to you’ll on another touchscreen – simply faucet, swipe, and scroll  – fairly than making an attempt to control a cursor by contact on the identical floor. That fixes one of many greatest and most maddening gripes that we had with the unique implementation.

You can nonetheless wind up along with your cursor on the ScreenPad since it’s in any case a second monitor, however then there’s nothing for it to click on on there. Also switching to regular trackpad mode will make all of your home windows bounce to the first monitor and you’ll’t get your preparations again later.

For instances whenever you simply want a trackpad and the ScreenPad is displaying one thing as a substitute, there’s now a fast three-finger faucet that immediately provides you a trackpad overlay. However this overlay disappears too rapidly after a second of inactivity, and we could not discover a technique to make it stick. We’d fairly have issues the opposite approach round – retaining the trackpad mode on by default and leaping to the apps or second-screen with a gesture.

When you need to use the ScreenPad as a trackpad, you’ll be able to merely swap it off fully and use it as regular. If you need each, a swipe upwards reveals a toolbar, and from there you’ll be able to activate the identical trackpad overlay – which then stays in place.

Once or twice throughout our week with the VivoBook S15, the ScreenPad simply froze for a number of seconds. We additionally had a little bit bother getting used to the gestures and remembering its vary of capabilities, all of which aren’t defined within the tutorial that kicks off routinely on first use.

All this made us really feel as if it will be less complicated to only run apps like these on our telephone, which is normally mendacity on the desk subsequent to us, than attempt to multitask with the ScreenPad.If you are utilizing a big laptop computer like this with an exterior mouse, the ScreenPad will in all probability be extra helpful.

Clearly, Asus nonetheless has some edges to smoothen out, however the ScreenPad expertise is a complete lot higher than it was. We like the truth that this wasn’t only a one-time experiment, and we hope to see continued refinements plus extra third-party software program assist. 

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(Clockwise from prime left) Microsoft Edge working on the ScreenPad; Microsoft Word shortcuts panel; handwriting recognition panel; window administration view

 

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) efficiency and battery life

The VivoBook S15 is comparatively moveable regardless of being bigger than most ultrabooks, and you will not have an excessive amount of bother carrying it round and even utilizing it in your lap. We at all times like matte screens, which do not continually need to be adjusted to keep away from reflections. We have been additionally comfortable to notice that the laptop computer by no means obtained noisy, even when working heavy exams. The center and proper of the keyboard did get heat when working heavy exams and video games however this wasn’t an issue with day-to-day use. The ScreenPad did not get heat, besides on the very left edge, which is sadly the place our palm needed to relaxation whereas typing.

The display that Asus has used isn’t the very best in terms of color copy and viewing angles regardless that it is an IPS LCD panel. Colours do not actually pop and movies really feel a bit boring, which implies that leisure and content material creation aren’t actually strengths for this laptop computer. We additionally needed to have the brightness degree greater than regular to really feel comfy. On the opposite hand, we had no issues working with textual content, searching the Web, and utilizing frequent productiveness instruments.

The audio system are on the underside, and the utmost quantity was surprisingly low. The sound is clear and voices in music and video clips have been audible (once we have been shut sufficient) however there isn’t any bass in any respect. You’ll positively need a good pair of headphones to make use of with this laptop computer. 

The keyboard keys are a little bit mushy, however there’s sufficient journey and spacing, so typing is not a difficulty. The greatest usability problem with this laptop computer is in fact getting used to the ScreenPad, for all the explanations we’ve described. We wound up simply turning it off pretty typically.

Coming to total efficiency, we in fact ran a wide range of artificial benchmarks and real-world duties. PCMark 10 gave us scores of three,919 and three,630 in its normal and prolonged runs respectively. Cinebench R20 managed 441 in its single-core take a look at and 1,673 in its multi-core take a look at. These are good scores however we’ve seen higher from equally priced gaming laptops that are in fact thicker and heavier.

SSD efficiency was additionally moderately good – CrystalDiskMark 6 measured sequential reads and writes at 1,858.8MBps and 972.9MBps respectively, whereas the equal random speeds have been 340.4MBps and 877.8MBps respectively. We’re comfortable to see an SSD rather than a tough drive although we’d have appreciated one in every of every at this value.

The GeForce MX250 GPU is nice sufficient for primary video games and also you would possibly be capable to take pleasure in some high-end titles when you drop the decision and high quality degree. We tried working the current Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1920×080 utilizing the Low graphics preset with all results turned off. It really gave us an honest 25fps common however the minimal dropped as little as 19fps and the real-world expertise was uneven. Similarly, we ran Far Cry 5’s built-in benchmark utilizing the identical decision and circumstances, and obtained a mean of 26fps with a minimal of 20fps.

We additionally obtained scores of 1,201 within the 3DMark Time Spy take a look at and 1,637 within the Fire Strike Extreme take a look at. Our experiences present that whereas informal video games will profit from this comparatively weak GPU, you’ll be able to solely run older video games or cut back the decision and high quality settings drastically if you wish to run fashionable ones.

The battery obtained us by way of an 8-hour workday throughout which we did not do something too irritating. The ScreenPad was on for many of that point. We additionally ran the intensive Battery Eater Pro benchmark with the ScreenPad disabled, and the VivoBook S15 lasted an honest 1 hour, 55 minutes.

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The “Ergolift” hinge raises the rear of the bottom of the laptop computer for typing consolation and airflow

 

Verdict

Asus is making an attempt to push one in every of its flagship options into extra accessible fashions, and the ScreenPad definitely makes the VivoBook S15 stand out within the premium laptop computer phase. It’s a lot improved in comparison with the first-gen model, however nonetheless has some quirks. It does not actually have any killer app both – there are not any conditions that vastly profit from having it. Still, it is very cool and it feels futuristic whereas being a lot much less disruptive than the large ScreenPad+ second screen on the ZenBook Duo (UX481).

There is not any model of this laptop computer with out the ScreenPad, so it will not work for individuals who aren’t very comfy with expertise and do not like when issues are unfamiliar. The smaller VivoBook S14 (S431), which is a sibling to this mannequin, doesn’t function the ScreenPad so it may very well be an fascinating alternative when you like the whole lot else about this laptop computer.

ScreenPad apart, we weren’t too proud of the relative lack of quick USB ports and the average-looking show. However, the VivoBook S15 does have model, core specs, and portability going for it.

If you are keen to spend round Rs. 76,000 on a laptop computer, there are loads of choices – you possibly can get a gaming mannequin with rather more highly effective {hardware}, although it will be larger and heavier. You might get a slick ultraportable or 2-in-1 mannequin, but it surely would not have the identical steadiness of portability and options. This is a really mainstream laptop computer and can work finest for primary house, workplace, and pupil work, with a little bit of leisure on the facet.



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