ASUS' last VivoBook S was a premium looking mid-range laptop that was ultimately let down in a big way by a disappointing display. The latest attempt, the S510 follows a similar path to its predecessor, by squeezing a ton of power into an affordable package.
It's not perfect, but it's still a strong laptop for under $900.
Bottom line: A mid-range laptop with plenty to love, if only the battery life was better.
- Premium style.
- Solid build quality for a plastic laptop.
- Plenty of ports including USB-C.
- Quad-core i7 CPU.
- Dedicated NVIDIA graphics.
- Display isn't bright enough.
- Battery life isn't too hot.
- Slow write speed on SSD.
What you'll like about the ASUS VivoBook S510
Whether it's the highest-end, entry-level or anywhere in between, ASUS makes a good looking laptop. The VivoBook S isn't metal, but it looks like it could be, with a brushed pattern on the lid and a premium gold paint job throughout. Visually it's identical to its predecessor, right down to the skinny bezels around the display.
And despite being plastic, it's still incredibly well made. It feels sturdy, there's virtually no flex in the keyboard area or on the lid
What's also worth pointing out is the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello. There are still plenty of laptops more expensive than this one that don't include Hello support, and ASUS gets extra credit for adding it to a mid-ranger.
|CPU||Quad-core Intel Core i7-8550U, eight threads|
|SSD||256GB SATA3 and 1TB HDD|
|Display||15.6-inch IPS, 1920 x 1080|
|Graphics||NVIDIA MX150 2GB|
|Ports||HDMI, USB-C, USB 3.0, micro SD card, and 3.5mm headset jack|
The VivoBook S510 sees an upgrade in its dedicated NVIDIA graphics, too, over its predecessor. The 2GB MX150 is what you'll get, and in this larger laptop, it's the 25W version, the more powerful variant of the MX150. Paired with 8GB of RAM and an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U quad-core processor, and the VivoBook S510 has power beyond its price.
The VivoBook S510 combines SSD and HDD storage options, so you get the benefit of large amounts of mass storage and a faster drive to boot Windows and essential apps from. The S510 has a SATA SSD, so we're not getting blistering speeds, but when it comes to read speeds at least it's up there with the best.
Geekbench 4.0 benchmarks (higher is better)
|Device||CPU||Single core||Multi core|
|Surface Book 2 15||i7-8650U||5,036||14,237|
|Surface Book 2 13||i7-8650U||4,862||14,694|
|XPS 15 (9560)||i7-7700HQ||4,503||13,587|
|Razer Blade 2017||i7-7700HQ||4,277||13,597|
|Surface Laptop i7||i7-7660U||4,714||9,535|
|Surface Pro 2017||i7-7660U||4,513||9,346|
CrystalDiskMark (higher is better)
|VivoBook S510||541 MB/s||225 MB/s|
|ZenBook UX331||509 MB/s||433 MB/s|
|Surface Book 2 1TB||1,411 MB/s||1,202 MB/s|
|Surface Laptop i7||486 MB/s||244 MB/s|
|Surface Pro 2017||1,284 MB/s||963 MB/s|
|Surface Book 1TB||1,018 MB/s||967 MB/s|
|Surface Laptop i5||423 MB/s||237 MB/s|
GPU performance is surprisingly good once again from the MX150, and that continues to be the theme with this mobile GPU. It scores 49,210 in Geekbench 4's CUDA test.... It's not a gaming laptop, but for creatives, it's a lot to get in such an affordable package.
It will play some games if you need it to, and the popular esports titles like CS:GO and League of Legends can certainly be enjoyed on the S510, likewise you'll be able to get some mileage from titles like Fortnite and Overwatch. Running the For Honor benchmark on medium graphics settings at 900p resolution yields an easily playable 43FPS average, which is pretty remarkable.
It's not for gamers, but you can certainly enjoy a little downtime when you're done working.
What you'll dislike about the ASUS VivoBook S510
While the display is certainly an improvement on last year's VivoBook S, it's not perfect. As with several recent ASUS laptops we've looked at, overall quality is much better, but the brightness still suffers. Even using this laptop in a well-lit room leads to issues seeing the display clearly at times.
It's not a glossy finish, at least, but unless you can shade the display from direct light then you might be a little disappointed.
One half of the SSD performance is a little lackluster as well. It's still faster than an HDD and the read speeds are great for a SATA drive, but the write is around half that of Samsung's 860 Evo, something we'd consider the benchmark for a SATA SSD.
The biggest issue the VivoBook S510 has, though, is the battery life. The battery just isn't physically big enough, and 5 hours or so is about all you can expect. Push it with anything that involves the GPU in particular and that'll drop further still. It's a little disappointing that ASUS has smaller laptops with bigger batteries than this.
Should you buy the ASUS VivoBook S510?
The VivoBook S510 is a really good mid-range laptop. It looks fantastic, has amazing specs for the price, all the ports you could want and is just an all-around nice laptop to use.
The big reason to think twice would be the battery life. If you're frequently away from a power outlet for extended periods then you can certainly do better. But on balance, this is a great buy, with a quad-core CPU and dedicated graphics for under $900.
If you're looking for this kind of performance and price but a little more from the battery, the ASUS ZenBook UX331 is worth consideration.
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