Asus VivoBook F515JA-AH31 Review
The Asus VivoBook F515JA-AH31 is a nice-looking laptop that is affordable, and offer decent all-round battery life, but you’ll have to live with meager battery life and a dim display
- Premium design
- Minimal screen bezels
- Solid port selection
- Sub-par battery life
- Dim and dull display
- Weak audio
The ASUS VivoBook 15 F515 is quite affordable and, like some other budget options from Asus, manages to deliver a premium look befitting a laptop twice the price. For the price, the overall size and weight of the VivoBook F515JA-AH31, a notebook with a 15.6-inch screen, is a boon for office users and students, looking for an affordable, portable machine for daily computing needs.
Unfortunately, even with these niceties, it still has drawbacks that are also present in the Asus F512JA-AS34 including: a dim and dull display, and battery life that is short even for a laptop in this price range. Performance holds up Ok for basic computing, but anything more taxing is going to strain the Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor.
The Asus F515JA-AH31 gets some nice touches, and if you need a capable laptop at this price point, there are certainly worse options out there. If you want the best, you should consider taking a look at our best laptops under $500, includes both Windows laptops and Chromebooks.
The VivoBook F512JA-AH31 is a well-crafted laptop with a slick design and exciting color schemes. Finally, Asus is breaking away from the silver aluminum motif, something that they experimented with the ZenBook 3, and it happens that we’re getting what we’ve always asked for: unique color options in a budget laptop. We got to see the slate gray and blue, with the other finishes being coral crush, grey and transparent silver. The slate gray is definitely the showstopper.
This particular machine has a gray brushed-aluminum lid and a shiny, gray deck wit barely visible crosshatching. The model we’re reviewing has its own flair, sporting a Chrome logo on the lid and a faux-aluminum deck. But design isn’t the only reason to get excited about the Asus VivoBook 15.
Asus introduced the ErgoLift on the ZenBook UX333FA, an innovative hinge that raises the keyboard for a comfortable typing experience, and we’re happy it’s making a pleasant return. This time round, the rear of the keyboard tilts upward at a 3.5-degree angle, thereby, delivering a better typing experience and improves audio and heat management. At 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches and weighing 3.75 pounds, the VivoBook 15 is relatively compact for a 15.6-inch laptop.
The VivoBook F515JA has a decent collection of ports for a laptop that’s only 0.7-inches thick, but I wish it had Thunderbolt 3 input. On the left side, there are two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD card slot and LED indicators for charging and battery status.
On the right side, there’s a DC jack, a USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, a USB Type-C port alongside a headphone/mic combo jack.
With such a premium design, we only wish Asus used an equally vibrant display. The Asus VivoBook 15 F515 comes with a 15.6-inch 1080p display, that is sharp and bright, but fails to deliver perfect colors. The screen can only reproduce 68 percent of the sRGB color spectrum, which is lower than competing laptops: Lenovo Ideapad 530s (72 percent) and the Acer Aspire 5 (74 percent) – two laptops with notable dull display.
All of them score below the 89 percent mainstream laptop average. However, it manages to top the mainstream laptop average (242 nits) with an impressive 257 nits, meaning it should be visible outdoors, even on a sunny day.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The VivoBook F515JA-AH31’s island-style keyboard offers a very comfortable typing experience, made possible by tactile keys and an innovative ErgoLift elevated hinge, that makes up for faults like shallow key travel. The keyboard has 1 millimeter of travel, but gets rather shallow keys for a 15-inch laptop. We always prefer key travel of at least 1.5 mm, but the keyboard has a lot going in its favor.
Its Individual keys are well spaced, are generously spaced, apart from a slightly undersized number of pad and low travel, but pleasant springiness of keys. Below the keyboard is a 4.1 x 2.8-inch touchpad, that’s spacious, quick and responsive to Windows 10 gestures.
The Asus VivoBook 15 F515 as configured, is on the beefy side for a sub-$500 notebook, that offers better performance than competing Chromebooks, like last year’s HP Chromebook 14. The 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 is a new mobile chip that offers strong performance matched with efficiency, and the 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD storage gives it a serious boost over similar machines with traditional rotating hard drives.
For graphics, you have Intel UHD graphics card that is quite usable for basic tasks that utilize an integrated card, though itself is definitely not enough to power AAA gaming.
On day-to-day use, the VivoBook 15 will easily keep up with your demands. Four cores of computing power is plenty for most tasks, and with headroom to boots clock speeds to 3.6GHz, it can burst as needed. This keeps the laptop feeling snappy, with the SSD launching programs quickly, and some simple tasks, like basic photo editing, working fast.
The Asus VivoBook 15 uses an energy efficient CPU, which adds to good, but not great battery life. The notebook lasts 5 hours 24 minutes, way lower than the IdeaPad 530s’ 7 hours 43 minutes, but still behind the Aspire 5 that last 9 hours 27 minutes on single charge. The mainstream-laptop average of 7:28 is about an hour longer than the VivoBook 15’s runtime.
The Asus VivoBook 15 is a good-looking laptop for the price, but the performance and overall feature set don’t match the promise of its design. The display looks fine, with minimal bezel experience, but that only lasts until you power it one because the screen turns out dim and dull.
There are certain aspects of the keyboard that are great, including the ErgoLift hinge that does a nice job of angling the keyboard slightly and key spacing is quite good, but it’s held back by the sponginess of the keys.
And while the size and weight of the VivoBook 15 makes it a relatively nice option for those in need to haul their laptop around, the middling battery life makes it tough to recommend for that purpose. While there are always going to be a few tradeoffs on a sub-$400 laptop, there should be some highlights.
That said, while we recommend the Asus VivoBook F515JA-AH31 for good design, comfortable keyboard and good price, it’s still hard to recommend it as the best overall. If you’re shopping on a flexible budget, you can consider our Editor’s Choice for general use laptops, the HP 15-dy2021nr.
In addition to a sleek lightweight design, the HP 15 laptop features an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage and Windows 10 Home, which is a better version over the Windows 10 S pre-installed in the Asus VivoBook F515JA-AH31. But if you’re on a tight budget, you can opt for the Asus F512JA-AS34, at least it gives you 8GB RAM, double the 4GB RAM on our review unit.
ASUS VivoBook 15 F515 Thin and Light Laptop, 15.6” FHD Display, Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor, 4GB DDR4 RAM, 128GB PCIe SSD, Fingerprint Reader, Windows 10 Home in S Mode, Slate Grey, F515JA-AH31
2 used from $449.66