We tested and compared the Vivobook S14 versus the Vivobook S15 in terms of Display Quality, Performance, Price, Portability, Battery Life and more.
Above you can see the Ranking with our results and below you can find the in-depth tests of the two Asus Laptops.
Ranking First: Asus Vivobook S15
- Good utilization of the CPU potential
- Improved battery life compared to the predecessor
- Full HD IPS display with good contrast
- Unpleasant fan noise
Greehorn. The most important feature of the Asus VivoBook S15 S530UN: Its green case color. That doesn’t have to mean that it is a bad multimedia laptop, though. We tested it in order to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of this Asus laptop.
The ZenBooks are the upper class devices of the PC manufacturer Asus. VivoBook, on the other hand, is the brand name for the somewhat cheaper private customer laptops.
Asus introduced a few new models at Computex 2018, including the VivoBook S15 S530UN, our current test device. It is the successor of the VivoBook S15 S510UQ.
Our specific test model includes the Intel Core i7-8550U, the Nvidia GeForce MX150, a 15.6 inch Full HD display (1920 x 1080) as well as a 256 GB SSD plus 1 TB HDD and 16 GB RAM. With this equipment and a price of about $800, Asus places the Vivobook S15 S530UN in the classic middle class multimedia category.
There are a lot of competitors in this area of the laptop market. As direct comparison devices to the Asus Vivobook S15 S530UN, we choose the Acer Aspire 5 A515-52G, the Lenovo IdeaPad 530s-15IKB and the Medion Akoya S6625.
Keyboard & Touchpad
In opposition to the predecessor, the VivoBook S15 S510UQ, Asus has changed the design considerably. Apparently, they wanted to give the predecessor’s somewhat boring design a bit more pep, which is why they have, for example, introduced various new color options.
Our test device is completely in a green tone, whereby the sides are light green and the rest of the case’s surfaces are dark green.
Asus has made another big change in the hinge design, as the display of the VivoBook S15 S530UN now slightly jacks up the device, similar to the Asuspro B9440UA, for example.
The case is mostly made of plastic, only the display lid is made of brushed aluminum on the outside. Asus has made savings on the case because haptically, there are many devices in the price range around 1,000 Dollars that do the same.
Moreover, the stability isn’t good, especially in the keyboard area; the case yields noticeably here. The display lid can also be pressed in easily in the middle and also passes the pressure on to the LCD panel quite quickly.
At least the hinges are well adjusted and Asus has fortunately taken over the dimensions, including the small display edges, from the predecessor model. The competitors don’t give themselves much credit in this respect.
In order to service the VivoBook, you have to remove the entire lower case plate. You have to loosen ten screws and numerous clips for this, but the screws don’t stay in the cover.
Inside, you can clean the fan or replace the battery – the VivoBook S15 can also be upgraded, as it has two RAM slots and two mass storage slots (1x 2.5-inch HDD, 1x M.2-2280-SSD). All expansion slots are already occupied ex works.
Asus exchanges a slow SD card slot for an equally slow microSD card slot in the ports in comparison to the predecessor – in return, the competitors still have a full-size SD card slot.
It should also be noted that Asus has built in USB-C, but the existing port can’t handle Thunderbolt or DisplayPort – the Asus notebook can’t be charged via USB-C either. It’s also unpleasant that the USB-A ports on the left only support the USB 2.0 standard.
Asus’ VivoBook S15 S530UN laptop always has a matt IPS display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 (Full HD). Asus gives a brightness value of 250 cd/m² for this LC display, which we can confirm with our measurements: On average, the display achieved a brightness value of 256 cd/m².
The competitors all score quite similarly, the brightness rates are only slightly higher on models like the Acer Aspire 5 A515 or the Lenovo IdeaPad 530S-15IKB.
PWM wasn’t measurable on this display and the brightness distribution was also very good at 90%. We couldn’t determine backlight bleeding.
Subjectively, the display’s quality is not bad at first glance. This can probably be mainly attributed to the high contrast of 1.248:1 and the low black value (0.21 cd/m²), the competitors can’t reach these values. In the end, this is a good display.
There are many different model variants of the VivoBook S15 S530, which is mainly due to the different colour options.
For the internal hardware, you have the choice between the Intel Core i5-8250U or the Core i7-8550U. This is flanked by 8 GB or 16 GB DDR4-2400 RAM (two SO-DIMM slots, both occupied in the test device) as well as a 256 GB SSD, whereby this is optionally supplemented by a 1 TB HDD.
You have even more choice when it comes to the graphics chip, as you can order the Asus VivoBook with the Intel UHD Graphics 620, the Nvidia GeForce MX130 or the Nvidia GeForce MX150.
The Intel Core i7-8550U is a quad-core processor of the 8th generation of Core i CPUs. The four CPU cores of the power-saving Kaby Lake refresh processor clock with 1.8 to 4 GHz. Comparisons with other processors are possible with our CPU benchmark list.
The performance of ultra-low voltage processors such as the i7-8550U is mainly dependent on cooling. In the VivoBook S15 S530UN, the processor is allowed to consume 35 watts and can thus achieve a clock rate of 3.3 GHz. However, this is only the case for a short time.
The clock rate already drops to about 2.9 GHz in the second iteration of the Cinebench R15 loop test, whereby the consumption is then at 25 watts.
In the further course of the half-hour test, the clock rate drops a bit more with each run until it finally arrives at 2.4 GHz, whereby the consumption is only about 15 watts. The reason for this: Asus has set the firmware so that the temperatures are kept at a level of almost 75°C.
Overall, the VivoBook’s CPU performance is pretty good for a device in this price range. The direct competitors can clearly be declassed, both in short-term performance and under continuous load.
Unfortunately, the CPU performance in battery mode is limited. Instead of just over 700, the VivoBook only achieved about 540 points in the Cinebench R15 multicore test without a power supply unit.
There’s nothing to complain about in terms of system performance – the VivoBook S15 S530UN always ran smoothly and without noticeable pauses for thought. It also achieved good results in the system performance benchmarks of the “PCMark” brand.
Asus installs both a 1 TB HDD (Toshiba MQ04ABF100) and a 256 GB SSD. This is the main storage medium because the operating system is installed on the SSD. The flash memory with a capacity of 256 GB comes from the manufacturer SanDisk.
It is a comparatively slow SSD because it is connected via the old SATA III standard. In everyday life, this doesn’t represent a major restriction, but it would be nice if Asus wouldn’t let itself get carried away with a device for $800. Other manufacturers aren’t so stingy, the Lenovo IdeaPad 530s-15IKB for example contains a faster PCIe-NVMe SSD.
The Nvidia GeForce MX150 is a low-end GPU, which is based on the now obsolete Pascal architecture. It is typically used in smaller and cheaper laptops and offers a considerable performance gain compared to Intel iGPUs.
Compared to GeForce GTX chips like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, it is worlds slower. A more detailed comparison is possible with our GPU benchmark table.
An interesting aspect of the MX150 is that it is on the market in two different versions: Once as an unofficial “Max-Q” version with a maximum consumption of 10 watts and once as a normal version with a TDP of 25 watts. It’s not clear which version is used before buying a laptop.
In the case of the VivoBook, it’s the 25 watt version of the GeForce MX150, which is about 27% faster than the 10 watt MX150, and the Intel UHD Graphics 620 is even 66% slower.
The GPU performance is throttled in battery mode, but only 3,993 points are achieved in 3DMark11.
The GeForce MX150 gives the VivoBook S15 a basic gaming suitability, but big leaps are not possible even with the stronger 25 W version.
Current games are quite feasible with low details and partly reduced resolution, but you just have to accept these limitations. The GeForce MX150 isn’t a true gaming chip. Nevertheless: The GPU could keep its performance stable in the Witcher 3 loop.
Temperature & noise levels
The fan is mostly idle. But when it starts up, it quickly becomes annoying. This is not necessarily due to the volume itself, but rather to the type of fan noise: The fan of our test device unfortunately roared a bit.
This was of course all the more evident under load. Possibly it is a defect, which can’t be proven beyond a doubt due to the lack of a second test sample.
Apart from the fan, the mechanical hard disk can also be a possible noise source. Because it remained completely empty in our test device, it practically never ran in the test. However, if you use the hard disk, you have to be prepared for a quiet continuous noise.
In addition to these noise sources, we could also determine an electronic noise. However, this was only audible when you put your ear directly to the keyboard.
The outside temperatures reach a maximum of 50°C on the underside, which is still in the green range for a relatively thin notebook with dedicated graphics.
In the stress test with Prime95 and FurMark, the processor can initially operate at 2.7 GHz znd 25 watts for a short time, but after about 30 seconds the clock rate is limited to 1.2 GHz, whereby the CPU power consumption is then only 7 watts.
The GPU is also affected by temperature-related throttling, its clock rate is only about 1,000 instead of 1,500 MHz.
Directly after the stress test, we carried out a 3DMark11 test as usual. The Asus VivoBook only achieved a total of 4.313 points in this test – a bit less than normal. The cooling system’s limitation can certainly have an impact in everyday life, although it is still comparatively low.
Asus installs stereo loudspeakers that are located on the bottom of the VivoBook. They are rather too quiet and lack the bass completely, typical for many laptop speakers.
Overall, the loudspeakers are otherwise okay in terms of quality, even if they can’t keep up with external speakers, of course. These can be connected via the perfectly functioning headphone jack.
The Asus VivoBook S15 S530UN’s energy consumption is comparatively low, especially in idle. Some competitors are less wasteful with energy under load, but they are also weaker equipped.
The 65 watt power supply has just the right size for the VivoBook’s maximum consumption. This is 62.7 watts under load.
Together with its predecessor model, the VivoBook S15 S530UN has the smallest battery in the test field; the capacity of the internal battery is only 42 watt hours.
This is quite little for a 15.6 inch laptop, but the achieved battery life of 6.5 hours isn’t underground. This is mainly due to the good consumption rates, because the predecessor model, Asus VivoBook S15 S510UQ, runs out of breath much earlier.
With a mid-range multimedia laptop, it is always exciting to see where the manufacturer has put the savings pen to. You should not have any illusions that this will be used in any case.
Of course, a cheaper multimedia laptop can also have its good sides. For example, the VivoBook S15 S530UN is quite compact for a 15.6 inch laptop, thanks to the small display bezels.
The CPU performance is higher than all direct competitors because the VivoBook makes better use of the processor’s potential. The battery life is greatly improved in comparison to the predecessor (despite the small battery) and it is also commendable that Asus has included the Nvidia GeForce MX150 in the more powerful version.
Moreover, the Asus VivoBook S15 S530UN is very well upgradeable. The display’s quality can generally be listed as the last positive point: Its contrast value isn’t really bad for its price range and it doesn’t show any other noticeable weaknesses like PWM or backlight bleeding.
However, the display’s poor color space coverage has to be criticized in any case. We expect more in this respect in a multimedia device that costs $800 in the current configuration.
The list of negative points can be continued with various savings measures from Asus: These include, for example, not only the renouncement of a PCIe-NVMe-SSD, but also the fact that Asus uses a somewhat strange keyboard with a QWERTY ANSI layout – very unusual for a laptop on the German market.
The two USB-A ports on the left only handle USB 2.0 and the USB-C port on the right no Thunderbolt 3. The latter can be seen as a luxury problem, but unfortunately it also lacks DisplayPort functionality. Furthermore, Asus only uses a MicroSD card slot and a slow one as well.
The competitors also have slow card slots, but at least real SD card slots. There were qualitative problems in the VivoBook, especially in the keyboard’s stability, which yielded too much, and the fan, which unfortunately roared unpleasantly loudly.
It’s also a pity that the performance is limited in battery mode and that Asus’ laptop also throttles the performance considerably in the stress test.
Many disadvantages due to savings measures, but basically not completely wrong: the Asus VivoBook S15 S530UN.
No laptop in this class is perfect, so the Asus VivoBook S15 S530UN can definitely be worth buying if it fits into your own requirement profile and won the comparison versus the Asus Vivobook S14.
Ranking Second: Asus Vivobook S14
- Outstanding battery life
- Stylish Design
- Large SSD storage
- Display with pale colors
- Display not bright enough
The 14 inch Asus VivoBook S14 X403FAC-EB311T (90NB0LP2-M05290) offers the longest battery life measured in the CHIP test center so far (as of April 2020) and thus chooses itself as the king – or even emperor.
If we were previously familiar with the extra long battery life of devices like the Acer TravelMate B1, this was always accompanied by very reserved performance and economical features at a reasonable price.
Of course, there is also the other side: expensive devices with extra economical and yet powerful hardware. Most recently, especially the HP Elite Dragonfly (8MK79EA#ABD) with long runtimes and yet high performance made its debut in the test – for around $800 in a noble guise.
The Asus VivoBook X403FAC-EB311T now tops off the already strong runtimes of the aforementioned devices once again: It shines in our measurements with sufficiently modest technology, a huge battery of 73 watt hours and still low weight and dimensions: It lasts for over 1,000 minutes in pure video playback – 17 hours and 14 minutes to be exact.
So far only the HP Spectre Folio 13-ak0020ng brown (5KR37EA#ABD), not mentioned at the beginning, has penetrated into similar spheres: It broke the 1,000 minute mark with 16 hours and 45 minutes with an economical, but expensive and only briefly powerful processor.
Nobly wrapped in leather, the series costs $800.
When it comes to preserves, the wheat is separated from the chaff – or here: in everyday, demanding use. The Asus VivoBook runs for 9:12 hours in the PC Mark 8 work benchmark, while the HP Spectre Folio calls for the power outlet after 6 hours with the higher load.
Instead, the HP Elite Dragonfly can keep up with just under 9 hours, but is far from the VivoBook’s 1,034 minutes with 888 minutes of video enjoyment.
The battery is charged from 5 to 27 percent in 30 minutes – not necessarily a great value, but it’s still enough for 2 to 4 hours of use. And at 0.34 lbs, the power pack is also easy to transport.
The VivoBook thus manages – for just $800 – to outperform all others in terms of battery life. And the performance does not even fall by the wayside.
No extra economical, passively cooled processor is used in the Asus VivoBook S14, but a current Intel Core i5-10210U (tenth Core i generation). With 1.6 to 4.2 gigahertz and 8 logical cores, the processor always works to our complete satisfaction and is absolutely suitable for everyday use.
There is 8 gigabytes of RAM available for program closing muffle or browser tab collectors, and the 512 gigabyte SSD also has enough room for photo and film material. With this configuration, it doesn’t have to hide from the two to three times more expensive premium bestseller.
Of course, the premium charm is missing a bit – but you don’t have a only plastic device in your hands. Instead, the entire case (except for the narrow display frames) is made of aluminum.
Design, Display & Ports
The aluminium housing weighs only 2.86 lbs including the large battery – and that with a 14-inch display. This resolves in Full HD, offers a very good chessboard contrast and a viewing angle stable IPS panel.
Color fidelity (66 percent sRGB color space coverage) and maximum brightness fall by the wayside – and there you notice the price. As much as the large battery calls for mobile use, the display is unfortunately a bit too dark with 220 cd/m² – at least in outdoor use.
Drop of bitterness: The display is matt and thus doesn’t disturb with annoying reflections.
The keyboard offers a short but sufficient stroke distance and is pleasantly crisp. It could be safely operated right away. Good: the keyboard’s 3-stage, white backlighting.
But it should stay off during the day, because a white illumination with silver keys only gives an idea of the keystrokes. The clickpad offers a good surface and just as safe operation. A fingerprint sensor is integrated in the right corner.
The processor offers performance – and a pleasant fan. Even under full load, the noise remains subtle but audible. Annoying, or even high-frequency sounds are foreign to it.
The case is stable and can hardly be twisted, but unfortunately the display can’t be opened with one hand. In return, the hinge is nice and stable and the opening angle is a good 144 degrees.
The case only takes up a bit more space than a DIN A4 sheet and is about 16 millimeters thick. If the rubber feet are counted in, it is a maximum of 20 millimeters.
The Asus VivoBook’s connectivity satisfies us quite well: Full-size HDMI, one USB 2.0 type-A, one USB 3.0 type-A, one USB 3.0 type-C, full-size SD card reader and a webcam. What we are missing? A wired network connection and a Kensington socket – and maybe another fast USB connection. But apart from that it’s mostly enough.
The Asus VivoBook S14 X403FAC-EB311T (90NB0LP2-M05290) presents itself as a runtime wonder. The device manages the perfect balancing act with outstandingly long battery runtimes and still very good performance.
The fact that the handling and the equipment are also right in the end is pleasing. A bit was saved on the display: A 14 inch, stable viewing angle panel is built in, but it is quite dark and the color reproduction appears pale, which is why the Asus Vivobook S14 is ranking second behind versus Vivobook S15.
However, it’s still a good Laptop and a good tip for the current price of around $800.