ASUS S510UN-EH76 Review
It’s no secret we’re fans of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501VI-XS74, having named it our Editors’ Choice for high-end portable gaming laptops. But the build we reviewed will set you back almost $2500. What if you have not even half as much to spend on a gaming laptop? Well, the Asus S510UN-EH76 has a humble starter configuration with an 8th Gen. Core i7 processor, 256GB solid state drive, and 1TB hard drive.
The Asus VivoBook S has a similar narrow-bezel as what you see on the Dell XPS 15 (Dell calls it Infinity Edge, Asus calls it Nano Edge), a design that packs a 15.6-inch screen into an almost 14-inch form factor.
Even with that, we acknowledge a few shortcomings, including lack of Thunderbolt 3, but bargain hunters will find the VivoBook an appealing choice, champagne gold candidate.
The champagne gold finish of the VivoBook S is easily discernible and easy on the eyes. It has a 15.6-inch display, with an overall footprint that’s on the large side of ultraportables. Measuring 0.7 by 14.2 by 9.6 inches (HWD), the S510 is in the same ballpark as the XPS 15’s 0.66 by 14.1 by 9.3 inches and fairly trimmer than most 15.6-inch laptops.
Our Editors’ Choice budget desktop-replacement laptop, the Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM), for example, measures 1.2 by 15 by 10.2 inches, which is pretty standard for the category.
The Asus S510UN-EH76 weighs just 3.7 pounds, noticeably lighter than the XPS 15’s 4 pounds and the HP Notebook 15’s 4.7 pounds. It has a nicely brushed-aluminum lid with a chrome Asus logo at the center, while the plastic keyboard deck, sides and bottom sport the same gold shade.
If you need a laptop that you can tote around on daily commute, this one is in the cusp of being almost large for easy portability. You’ll definitely feel it in your backpack than you’d do with a MacBook Pro, but is a little less heavy than notebooks, with some little flex if you grasp the screen corners or press the middle of the keyboard. It isn’t flimsy, though. It can easily be carried on one hand, but it will take two hands to open.
For a laptop labeled for pro users, the VivoBook S510 does offer excellent connectivity. On the left edge, there are two USB 2.0 ports, alongside an SD card slot. On the right edge. You’ll find one USB 3.0 port, a USB-C (USB 3.1 Gen 1) port, a single HDMI video output and an audio jack. We’re not sure why they didn’t trade the USB 2.0 ports for USB 3.0, but it’s still OK.
As I mentioned earlier, a Thunderbolt 3 would make the VivoBook more versatile, but the main causality would be the pricing. As is, there are more than enough ports to connect to up to two external displays, either through HDMI or the USB-C port, and the USB ports are sufficient for accessories and other peripherals, you should be covered no matter the setup.
On the S510 is a backlit chiclet-style keyboard, that does nothing to impress. It has a shallow, flat typing feel, and the plastic keys have a stiff feedback, which derails from an otherwise awesome layout. That’s for perfection typers, the rest of us will find the keyboard just fine and can get going after an hour’s practice. For excel and spreadsheet jockeys, the lack of a numeric keypad is painful enough, just like on the XPS 15.
Beneath the keyboard is a buttonless touchpad that responds smoothly to taps, although I prefer simply tapping the pad’s surface to left-click instead of pressing deeply into the lower left corner. There’s a fingerprint reader in the upper right corner that works well with Windows Hello gestures.
To that, there are two bottom mounted speakers that are good enough for daily use and a not-so-good built-in webcam. Even in broad daylight, shots taken at 640-by-480 are excessively grainy, smudged and pixelated.
An IPS full HD (1,920-by-1,080) non-touch screen is perhaps the VivoBook’s best features yet. It has spot-on brightness, colors aren’t saturated, rather look full and rich especially if you decide to adjust them via the supplied Splendid utility which lets you choose from various modes: normal, vivid, blue-light reduction or manually choose the color temperature. The FHD display shows sharp detail at Windows’ default 125-percent zoom out-of-the-box.
The Core i7-8550U is a 1.8GHz (4.0GHz turbo) quad-core CPU with Hyper-Threading and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics. Matched with 8GB of memory, a 256GB solid-state drive, and a 1TB hard drive, the Asus gets spirited performance with snappy system startup and app launches and lag-free multitasking.
This is a system that’s suited for both work and play. By play, we’re naturally referring to gaming. The Pascal-based GeForce MX150 is the long-anticipated successor to the popular GeForce 940MX (now outdated) that was mostly used in multimedia laptops.
The new chip has standard storage of 2GB GDDR5-VRAM at a clock speed of 6000MHz, making it a better choice for casual games though it won’t deliver high frames per second (FPS) on modern games.
If you need better playability on modern titles, you can get a laptop with a Pascal-based GTX 1050 or GTX 1050 Ti, like the ASUS M580VD-EB54 or Dell i5577-7359BLK-PUS, for around the same price. However, if you won’t need mind-blowing speeds, the S510 is hard to pass by.
Nevertheless, the VivoBook S510 is capable of handling pretty much anything thrown its way. It may not be the fastest machine in the market, but it has muscle and is more than capable on both work and play, especially when you factor in the price.
On battery life tests, the VivoBook S510UN-EH76 does struggle a little against the Dell XPS, managing just over 3 hours 14 minutes, while the Dell XPS 13 hits 4 hours and 7 minutes. On movie tests, the VivoBook S registers 5 hours 43 minutes, which is almost a day of use. With this, the battery if enough for a movie over a short flight, it might struggle to keep awake on a cross-country flight.
If you’re looking for a laptop around the $900 mark, with main priorities on storage and screen size, the Asus VivoBook S510UN-EH76 checks all those boxes. Backed by a hybrid SSD and HDD storage setup, an 8th Gen i7, and 8GB of RAM, performance will never be an issue.
The biggest tradeoff comes down to battery life, and even then, it isn’t that horrible. It would, however, be nice if it kept the tradition of all day battery life that has been kept by previous iterations of the VivoBook. All said, you’re looking at a near-perfect Windows laptop for the average user that is worth serious consideration for both work and play.