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Closer Look at the Asus Vivobook S15 S532F – Is It Worth Your Money?

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Closer Look at the Asus Vivobook S15 (S532F) - Is It Worth Your Money

The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F proves that less is more in a variety of ways. This computer has many good features, such as being lightweight and thin yet powerful enough for photo editing. It does not need to be expensive either.

The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F is a computer with a large screen and good CPU performance. It can compete against other computers because it can be small.

Is the Asus Vivobook S15 S532F one of the best computers? Yes, it is. It is a high-quality computer. You can have this Asus computer no matter your budget because it’s good for you if you want a smaller, lighter laptop.

Asus caught us off guard with the unique and unusual ScreenPad on its premium 2018 laptops, the ZenBook Pro 14 and ZenBook Pro 15. The firm effectively replaced traditional trackpads with entirely interactive touchscreens on these laptops. 

The objective was to keep all of a standard trackpad’s capabilities while also opening up new ways to use a laptop. We had many ideas about how it should be used, but not all were positive. Asus has failed to find the balance between usefulness and innovation.

Asus may sell more laptops because it has the second generation of ScreenPad. It is improved and refined. The idea of the ScreenPad is also now democratized – meaning you can find it in cheaper laptops too, not just expensive ones. This could be good for Asus because it might help them stand out in a crowded market, but this could also confuse customers and make everything harder.

Asus Vivobook S15 S532F is a laptop with many benefits. It is a stylish laptop that has DisplayPad 2.0 as its primary selling point. However, there are still many other good things about this device. This article will tell you how it all fits together and what the benefits of this computer are, so you can decide whether you want to buy it or not!

Asus Vivobook S15 S532F SPEC

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U CPU
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphics
  • RAM: 12GB RAM
  • Screen: 15.6-inch, HD (1920×1080)
  • Storage: 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.1, 1x USB-C, 1 x 3.5mm audio, 1x micro-SD, 1 x HDMI
  • Connectivity: WiFi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0
  • Camera: 1920×1080 webcam with microphone
  • Weight: 3.97 pounds (1.8kg)
  • Size: 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches (35.7x23x1.8cm)

Pros

  • ScreenPad is a unique, attention-grabbing feature
  • Relatively portable
  • Up-to-date specifications
  • Good all-round performance

Cons

  • Underwhelming display and speakers
  • Not enough high-speed USB ports
  • ScreenPad could use some further refinement

Price and availability

The Vivobook S range has a lot of different models. There are two screen sizes, 14 inches, and 15 inches, and there is either an i5 or an i7 processor.

For business users, there are Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro versions available. Unfortunately, Asus complicates matters a little, as most of these models aren’t available from its website, so you’ll have to seek the VivoBook elsewhere on Amazon and other internet sites – with the i7 model we evaluate here primarily available through Amazon in the United States.

However, the VivoBook series is competitively priced. The 15-inch versions begin at $700 and include:

  • An Intel i5-8265U processor clocked at 1.6GHz.
  • 8 GB of memory.
  • A 256GB solid-state drive.

We tested the top-of-the-range configuration with a quad-core i7-8565U CPU at 1.8GHz (up to 4.6GHz with Turboost) and a high capacity SSD and Intel’s high-speed Optane memory. This configuration costs $1,200, but it improves performance without increasing the price.

Both laptops have a 15.6-inch HD display (1920×1080). Still, the i7 type reviewed here also comes with Asus’ ScreenPad 2.0, a somewhat unusual trackpad design that doubles as a small touchscreen for managing the VivoBook and other applications.

Asus Vivobook S15 S532F design

The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F is marketed as a light and thin laptop. It’s still a 15-inch device, though, which means it isn’t as easy to travel with as today’s more popular 13-inch and 14-inch models. It weighs 1.8kg and is 18mm thick, too.

The Asus VivoBook S series is all about style, as the name implies. The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F comes in three appealing hues: Moss Green, Punk Pink, and Transparent Silver. The two brighter metallic lid choices will catch attention with their bright, flashy lids and contrasting trim edges around the lids. Still, the silver selection is for those who prefer a more subdued look.

We have the Punk Pink model on hand for testing, and it would certainly stand out in the crowd. But, of course, the color is a matter of personal preference. Still, the overall design with the off-centered Asus VivoBook logo on the lid is exquisite and appealing.

The computer’s body is a light pink, offset by silver keyboard keys (and, of course, the enormous ScreenPad, which is either lit up as a screen or completely black when switched off). Unfortunately, the low contrast between the colors makes it difficult to see the markings on the keyboard buttons. So unless you’re in a dimly lit room with the backlight on, you might have difficulties.

The Asus “ergo lift” hinge design has arrived in this laptop category. The back of the lid rests on your table when it is open, and the laptop’s base is raised at an angle. This is supposed to make typing more ergonomic. Still, we didn’t notice a significant difference in comfort, although it may aid cooling via airflow.

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The screen’s sides are pretty narrow for a contemporary appearance. On the other hand, the top border is still thick enough for a webcam, which is acceptable. The lid flexed significantly, but we didn’t observe any screen warping as a result. Asus has decided to use a matte rather than a glossy screen.

The ScreenPad is a hybrid between a trackpad and a touchscreen, but it requires some learning.

The keyboard layout turned out to be adequate; there’s a number pad, which many people will appreciate, and the arrow keys are spaced apart, making it easier to manage. In addition, there’s a handy shortcut on the top row that switches between Fn lock functionality and fast system shortcuts (but common shortcuts such as Alt+F4 function in either case, which is very convenient). We also enjoy the hard power button because it is challenging to press unintentionally.

Although the ScreenPad is extensive, your hands will rest on it when typing. It’s recessed farther than usual trackpads and has a smooth, slippery feel to it. Despite being a fully functional device in its own right, the entire assembly is clickable, much like a regular trackpad. Design-wise, all of this takes some getting used to – as we’ll see, for actual usefulness.

There are numerous ports on this laptop, which is unusual. The DC power inlet, HDMI output, USB 3.1 Gen1 (5Gbps) Type-A and Type-C ports, a 3.5mm headset jack, and a microSD card slot can be found on the right side of the laptop.

On the left side are two USB 2.0 Type-A ports and an indicator light for charging status. We would have liked a real SD card slot instead of just a miniSD one; however, the main problem is that there aren’t enough quick USB connections – all of them should have been at least USB 3.0 to begin with.

Asus Vivobook S15 S532F specifications and software

The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F with ScreenPad 2.0 is available in two variants: a 10th Gen Core i7-10510U processor and a Core i5-1021U. They retail for approximately $899 and $999, respectively, even though their stated MRPs are higher. These are new versions of the 8th Gen CPUs announced at Computex 2019. 

The Intel Core i5-8259U and the AMD Ryzen 5 3600H are high-performance processors based on Intel’s 14nm Comet Lake architecture, not the more recent 10nm Ice Lake. In addition, the Core i7-1015U is included in our test unit. This quad-core 15W CPU with HyperThreading operates at 1.8GHz and has a maximum speed of 4.9GHz (4 cores, eight threads).

Asus has no storage, RAM, or other features to choose from. No matter which CPU you pick, you’ll get 8GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. There’s one extra M.2 slot for a second SSD, but there isn’t a 2.5-inch bay for a high-capacity hard drive to replace the half that is soldered down. To upgrade the system, you’ll need to remove the whole base of the laptop.

The discreet Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU is an interesting touch. This basic version isn’t nearly as powerful as the main GeForce GTX or RTX variants, so don’t expect to play high-end games. It’s still superior to integrated graphics for casual gaming and creative work, though.

The screen has a standard 1920×1080 resolution and a non-reflective finish, as previously said. Furthermore, you get stereo speakers and microphones and an HD webcam with infrared for biometric sign-in. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 are also included.

The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F’s battery is 42Wh, and according to Asus, you can charge it up to 60% in less than 50 minutes. Unfortunately, the supplied 45W charger is relatively tiny. As a result, the Asus Vivobook S15 S532F won’t charge via its Type-C connection, which is a shame.

The test model we received was running Windows 10 Home and came with some preinstalled applications. However, McAfee LiveSafe continuously and aggressively pinged us with intrusive pop-ups asking us to purchase a subscription. My Asus is a comprehensive device that incorporates hardware settings, diagnosis capabilities, warranty information, and even an app market.

There are several promotional discounts available, but the ScreenPad optimized apps part is what interests me most. Asus also includes a few additional audio and display adjustments utilities as bonuses.

Multiple screens

The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F’s large screen is the main argument for purchasing it. Even though the display has a standard HD (1920×1080) resolution, it is a fair trade-off for a laptop at this price range.

We also appreciated the display’s brightness and vivid colors, which resulted in a clear, sharp image showing video and photos. We were also impressed by its viewing angles, which meant that the screen remained visible for nearly 180 degrees when viewed from almost any angle, making it an excellent alternative for sharing photographs and videos with friends or impromptu presentations if you’re on business travel.

The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F’s speakers, however, aren’t as high-fidelity as those found in higher-end laptops. While the Harmon Kardon stereo speakers aren’t Hi-Fi quality, they prevent the tinny sound that many laptops produce.

The ScreenPad, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. It may be used as a conventional trackpad. Nonetheless, it may also function as a tiny touchscreen and provide access to additional functions such as a Handwriting app that converts finger scribbles into text and a Quick Key app that allows you to automate tasks like Cut/Copy/Paste by writing simple sentences instead of specific commands.

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The ScreenPad, on the other hand, was simple enough to use that even after only a few days, we never felt like it was intuitive. – It appears to be an answer in search of a question, much like the Touch Bar on Apple’s MacBook Pro.

Asus Vivobook S15 S532F ScreenPad 2.0 usability

Since we first saw it on the ZenBook Pro UX580GE, the ScreenPad has expanded and received a significant software upgrade. Anyone who purchased Asus’ 2018 flagship may install the updated 2.0 version of the ScreenPad for free. Asus believes that its concept has been successful enough to be applied to additional products, at the very least giving Asus something new to display off.

We criticized the original ScreenPad for being complicated and inconvenient, and it’s worth reading our review to see why. There is still a learning curve, but there have been improvements.

The ScreenPad’s initial appearance is similar to that of a smartphone. The ScreenPad can execute programs such as a number pad, a handwriting input panel, and a “Quick Key” panel, which allows you to combine keyboard sequences into one-click shortcuts. There are also support apps for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint that offer formatting and contextual tools.

The ScreenPad 2.0 is now included in Windows 7, 8, and 10 as a second monitor. However, it isn’t used as a distinct mode. Instead, you may drag any active program on the main screen over to the Display Pad. In addition, Asus has developed an intelligent Windows add-on, which displays two targets onscreen when you start dragging a window about. If you drop the window onto one of these spots, it will either be sent away and resized to fill the whole ScreenPad or pinned to the home screen where you can launch it right away.

The usefulness of such a tiny screen is limited, and it’s even more so when you need to utilize the trackpad. Asus now allows users to change the resolution of the ScreenPad between native 2160×1080 and more practical (though considerably less sharp) 1000×500 pixels. It would have been helpful to be able on the fly to change resolutions or scale as needed; however, you can thankfully use applications just like any other touchscreen – tap, swipe, and scroll. That eliminates one of our major complaints about the original implementation.

The ScreenPad offers a second screen that’s just as convenient and, in some cases, more functional than your regular laptop display. You can still have your cursor on the ScreenPad since it is, after all, a second monitor; there’s nothing for you to click on there. Also, switching to normal trackpad mode will cause all of your windows to move to the primary display, and you won’t be able to retrieve them later.

The three-finger tap now gives you a trackpad overlay for times when the ScreenPad is showing something else instead of a trackpad. This overlay, however, goes away too swiftly after inactivity, and there’s no way to make it stick. We’d rather have things the other way around – keeping the trackpad mode on by default and switching to apps or second screens with a gesture.

The ScreenPad can be switched off entirely and used as a trackpad when you want to utilize it. If you wish for both, a swipe upwards exposes a toolbar, from which you may turn on the same trackpad overlay that was active before – which then remains in place.

Occasionally, the ScreenPad would freeze for a few seconds during our week with the Asus Vivobook S15 S532F. We also had difficulty getting used to gestures and remembering their range of abilities, which aren’t covered in the tutorial that starts automatically on first use.

All of this convinced us that it would be better to run apps like these on our phone, which we frequently have next to us on the table than try multitasking with the ScreenPad. However, suppose you’re using a big laptop like this with an external mouse. In that case, the ScreenPad will most likely be more beneficial.

Asus is still working out some kinks, but the ScreenPad experience has dramatically improved. We appreciate that this wasn’t simply a one-time thing. We hope to see further improvements and third-party software support in the future.

Performance

BENCHMARKS

  • 3DMark Sky Diver: 4,899;
  • Fire Strike: 1,189;
  • Time Spy: 477
  • Cinebench CPU: 744 points;
  • Graphics: 56.5 fps
  • GeekBench 4: 5,297 (single-core); 16,358 (multi-core)
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 3,535 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 4 hours and 30 minutes
  • Battery Life (movie test): 7 hours and 45 minutes

Despite being more significant than most ultrabooks, the Asus Vivobook S15 S532F is quite portable. You won’t have any trouble carrying it or using it on your lap, and the matte screen is always nice. We also appreciated how quietly the laptop ran during our rigorous testing.

When running intense tests and games, the center and right of the keyboard became heated, but this was not an issue with regular usage. The ScreenPad didn’t get hot except near the very left edge, which is where our palm had to rest while typing.

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Even though the screen is an IPS LCD panel, it isn’t the finest for color purity and viewing angles. As a result, colors aren’t vibrant, and videos appear drab, indicating that this laptop’s entertainment and content creation abilities are limited. Because we preferred a brighter display, we had to raise the brightness level above usual. However, working with text, surfing the Web, and performing basic productivity tasks was no problem.

The speakers are on the bottom, and the maximum volume was relatively modest. The sound is clear, and voices in songs and video clips could be heard (when we were close enough), but there’s no bass. To get the most out of this laptop, you’ll want a decent set of headphones.

The keys on this laptop are a little squishy, but there is enough travel and space, so typing isn’t an issue. The most significant usability problem with this computer is, of course, acclimating to the ScreenPad for all of the reasons we’ve outlined. We eventually just turned it off whenever we were done using it.

We also ran several synthetic tests and real-world activities to determine how the laptop performs in general. PCMark 10 produced scores of 3,919 and 3,630 in its primary and extended runs, respectively. Cinebench R20 gave us single-core results of 441 and 1,673 for multi-core performance. These are decent marks, but we’ve seen better from similarly priced gaming laptops that are thicker and heavier.

The Crucial BX300 SSD delivered good overall performance, with sequential reads and writes of 1,858.8MBps and 972.9MBps, respectively, according to CrystalDiskMark 6. Simultaneous random speeds were also intense at 340.4MBps and 877.8MBps, respectively. We’re pleased to see an SSD replace a hard drive at this price; nevertheless, we would have liked one of each.

The GeForce MX250 GPU can run basic games at low settings if the resolution and quality level are lowered. For example, we tried playing the most recent Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1920×080 with the Low graphics setting and all effects disabled. We achieved a decent 25fps average, but the minimum dropped as low as 19fps, resulting in choppy real-world performance. Similarly, we tested Far Cry 5’s built-in benchmark using the exact resolution and settings. Again, we obtained an average of 26fps with a minimum of 20fps.

In 3DMark Time Spy, we outscored the RTX 2080 by a long margin (1,201) and bested the RTX 2080 Ti (1,637). Our findings reveal that while casual games will benefit from this modest GPU, you can only run old ones or drastically decrease the resolution and quality settings if you want to play current ones.

Battery life

The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F’s battery life isn’t as long as its competitors, but it is still decent. The i7 CPU and the need to power a 15.6-inch screen like this necessitate a shorter duration (it’s also evident that ASUS neglects any specific claims about battery longevity on its website).

The battery lasted for less than four hours when running the intensive PCMark 8 Home test on a loop. Still, it did last longer while playing our video test file, which lasted for seven hours and 45 minutes.

The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F’s battery life is slightly less than flawless. However, it will keep you going for the majority of the day, if not all day. And after all, on a trek across the country, you’re not likely to carry around this big and heavy laptop. The VivoBook S15 will undoubtedly pay for itself at home or work by allowing you to top it up now and then quickly.

Conclusion

Asus is attempting to promote one of its main features into more affordable devices. The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F’s ScreenPad certainly makes it stand out in the premium laptop category. It’s much better than the original version, but there are still issues. There isn’t anything outstanding about it; there aren’t any situations that require it. Nonetheless, it’s pretty nice. It has a futuristic feel yet is far less disruptive than the massive second screen on the ZenBook Duo (UX481).

There is no ScreenPad on this laptop, so it isn’t for folks who don’t like technology and dislike when things are new. However, suppose you enjoy everything else about this laptop. In that case, the smaller VivoBook S14 (S431), a sibling to this model, omits the ScreenPad, allowing it to be an exciting alternative.

Aside from that, we weren’t too impressed with the lower number of rapid USB ports and the ordinary-looking display. The Asus Vivobook S15 S532F, on the other hand, comes with packing style, essential features, and portability.

Assume you’re prepared to spend roughly $1,600 on a laptop. There are many alternatives in that case; for example, you could get a gaming model with more powerful hardware, but it would be larger and heavier. A slick ultraportable or 2-in-1 may be chosen instead, but it wouldn’t have the same balance of portability and capabilities. This modern laptop will best suit primary home usage, work, or schoolwork with some fun thrown in there.

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