Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) With ScreenPad 2.0 Review

16 min read

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) With ScreenPad 2.0 Review

Asus took us fairly abruptly when it launched the quirky and distinctive ScreenPad on its flagship 2018 laptops, the ZenBook Professional 14 and ZenBook Professional 15. The corporate successfully changed the usual trackpads on these laptops with totally interactive touchscreens. The thought was to retain all of the performance of a normal trackpad but additionally open up fully new methods to make use of a laptop computer. We had lots of ideas concerning the idea and execution of the ScreenPad thought – not all optimistic. Whereas there was lots of potential, it appeared as if Asus had didn’t strike the proper stability between usability and innovation.

We now have some new laptops with the second-gen ScreenPad, which Asus says has been refined and centered. The idea has additionally been democratised, and might now be discovered on mainstream VivoBook in addition to premium ZenBook laptops. This might be a great factor, giving Asus a novel and engaging promoting level within the crowded market – nevertheless it might additionally backfire, complicated customers and making all the things harder.

To settle that query, we’re reviewing the brand new Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F), a classy laptop computer with the brand new ScreenPad 2.Zero as its most important promoting level however many different options to boast of as nicely. In fact we need to know the way this hybrid trackpad has improved compared to the first generation, and whether or not it helps or hurts the laptop computer. Learn on to learn how all of it comes collectively.

The Punk Pink possibility is brilliant and crowd pleasing, however will not be to everybody’s style

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) design

The VivoBook S15 is billed as an ultraportable thin-and-light laptop computer, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a 15-inch unit which implies it is not as handy to hold round as immediately’s extra frequent 13-inch and 14-inch fashions. It weighs 1.8kg and is 18mm thick.

Asus is emphasising fashion with the present VivoBook S sequence. The VivoBook S15 is accessible in three placing colors – Moss Inexperienced, Punk Pink, and Clear Silver. Whereas the previous two are positive to seize consideration with their brilliant, metallic lids and contrasting trims across the edges of the lids, the silver possibility is for individuals who favor an understated look. We now have the Punk Pink model for overview, and it could definitely stand out in a crowd. Though the color is a matter of subjective style, the look total with the off-centre Asus VivoBook brand on the lid could be very fashionable and crowd pleasing.

The bottom of the laptop computer is a light-weight pink, and is offset by silver keyboard keys (and naturally the massive ScreenPad, which is both lit up as a display screen or fully black when turned off). One challenge with the color selections is that it’s extremely onerous to see the markings on the keyboard keys due to low distinction. Until you are in a darkish room with the backlight on, you would possibly wrestle slightly.

Asus has introduced its “ergolift” hinge design to this laptop computer section. When open, the again of the lid rests in your desk, and the bottom of the laptop computer is raised at an angle. That is mentioned to make typing extra ergonomic. We did not really feel that it made an enormous distinction to consolation, although it would assist with airflow for cooling.

The borders to the edges of the display screen are very slim, for a contemporary look. The highest border remains to be thick sufficient for a webcam, which we’re okay with. The lid does flex fairly a bit however we did not see any display screen warping because of this. Apparently, Asus has gone with a matte non-reflective display screen somewhat than a shiny one.

The ScreenPad replaces a conventional trackpad and takes some getting used to

We discovered the keyboard format to be first rate – there is a quantity pad, which lots of people will respect, and the arrow keys are spaced out which helps cope with the truth that they’re compressed. There is a handy shortcut to toggle the Fn lock for the highest row so you may select between the usual Fn key behaviour and fast system shortcuts (however frequent shortcuts corresponding to Alt+F4 work both means, which could be very handy). We additionally just like the stiff energy button which is tough to press by accident.

The ScreenPad is so huge that your palms will relaxation on it whereas typing. It is recessed greater than trackpads normally are, and in addition has a really easy, slick texture. Regardless of being a completely functioning system in its personal proper, your complete meeting is clickable, identical to a normal trackpad. Design-wise, all this takes some getting used to – as for precise usability, we’ll get to that in a bit.

Unusually, many of the ports are on the proper aspect of this laptop computer – you’ve gotten the DC energy inlet, an HDMI output, USB 3.1 Gen1 (5Gbps) Kind-A and Kind-C ports, a 3.5mm combo audio socket, and a microSD card slot. Two USB 2.Zero Kind-A ports and a cost standing LED are on the left. We might have favored a full-sized SD card slot, however the principle challenge right here is the relative lack of quick USB ports – all of them ought to have been at the very least USB 3.0.

A lot of the ports are on the proper (under), with solely two USB 2.Zero ports on the left (above)

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) specs and software program

The VivoBook S15 with ScreenPad 2.Zero has been launched in India in two variations, one with a 10th Gen Core i7-10510U processor and the opposite with a Core i5-1021U. They promote on-line for round Rs. 65,990 and Rs. 75,990 respectively, although their official MRPs are larger. These are updates to the variations with 8th Gen CPUs first unveiled at Computex 2019.

Each of those processors are primarily based on Intel’s 14nm Comet Lake structure, not the extra trendy 10nm Ice Lake. Our overview unit has the Core i7-1015U. This can be a quad-core 15W CPU with HyperThreading, and runs at a base velocity of 1.8GHz with a lift velocity of 4.9GHz.

Asus would not provide any choices in relation to storage, RAM, or different specs. Irrespective of which CPU you select, you will get 8GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. There’s one extra M.2 slot for a second SSD, however notice that there is no 2.5-inch bay for a high-capacity onerous drive. Half the RAM is soldered down so you may solely swap out the one 4GB module. You may must pop your complete base off this laptop computer to carry out an improve.

One attention-grabbing contact is the discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. That is an especially fundamental mannequin and much much less highly effective than the mainstream GeForce GTX or RTX fashions, so do not anticipate high-end gaming. It is nonetheless higher than built-in graphics for fundamental video games and a few inventive work, although.

The 15.6-inch IPS LCD display screen has a normal 1920×1080 decision, and as we acknowledged earlier, has a non-reflective end. You get stereo audio system and microphones, and an HD webcam with infrared for face authentication. There’s additionally Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.

The battery capability is 42Wh and Asus claims that you may cost as much as 60 p.c in slightly below 50 minutes, which ought to turn out to be useful. You get a reasonably compact 45W charger within the field, and nothing else is included. The VivoBook S15 cannot be charged by means of its Kind-C port, which is a pity.

Our overview unit got here with Home windows 10 Residence and a few preloaded software program. McAfee LiveSafe bugged us with common and invasive pop-ups asking us to purchase a subscription. MyAsus is a reasonably all-encompassing software with {hardware} settings and diagnostics, guarantee and buyer assist data, and even an app retailer. There are some promotional affords, however what’s most attention-grabbing is the part for ScreenPad optimised apps. Asus additionally throws in just a few different little utilities for audio and show tweaking.


You possibly can run apps or any Home windows program full-screen on the ScreenPad

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) ScreenPad 2.Zero usability

The ScreenPad has grown in dimension and acquired a serious software program replace since we first noticed it on the ZenBook Professional UX580GE. The truth is, anybody who purchased Asus’ 2018 flagship can replace to the ScreenPad 2.Zero software program at no cost. Clearly, Asus thinks that its idea has been profitable sufficient to roll out on extra fashions, and it does on the very least give the corporate one thing distinctive to point out off.

We complained fairly a bit concerning the complicated and awkward implementation of the unique ScreenPad . Issues have positively improved however there’s nonetheless a studying curve.

What you see at first appears to be like very like a smartphone homescreen. The apps that you may run on the ScreenPad embody a quantity pad, a handwriting enter panel, and a ‘Fast Key’ panel which mainly permits you to flip keyboard combos into one-tap shortcuts. There are additionally helper apps for Phrase, Excel, and PowerPoint, which present formatting and contextual instruments.

Home windows can nonetheless recognise the ScreenPad 2.Zero as a second monitor, although that is not a separate mode anymore. You possibly can drag and drop any app that is working on the principle display screen onto the ScreenPad. Asus has developed a intelligent Home windows add-on, so whenever you begin dragging a window, two targets seem on display screen. Dropping onto these will both ship the window and resize it to fill the ScreenPad, or pin its icon to the homescreen so you may launch it there immediately.

The utility of such a small display screen is restricted, moreso when it’s worthwhile to use the trackpad. Asus now permits customers to alter the decision of the ScreenPad between the native 2160×1080, and a extra sensible (although far much less crisp) 1000×500. It might have been good to have this swap or use scaling on the fly as wanted. It’s also possible to fortunately use apps identical to you’ll on some other touchscreen – simply faucet, swipe, and scroll  – somewhat than making an attempt to control a cursor by contact on the identical floor. That fixes one of many largest and most maddening gripes that we had with the unique implementation.

You possibly can nonetheless wind up along with your cursor on the ScreenPad since it’s in spite of everything a second monitor, however then there’s nothing for it to click on on there. Additionally switching to regular trackpad mode will make all of your home windows leap to the first monitor and you may’t get your preparations again later.

For occasions whenever you simply want a trackpad and the ScreenPad is displaying one thing as an alternative, there’s now a fast three-finger faucet that immediately offers you a trackpad overlay. Nevertheless this overlay disappears too shortly after a second of inactivity, and we could not discover a method to make it stick. We might somewhat have issues the opposite means round – maintaining the trackpad mode on by default and leaping to the apps or second-screen with a gesture.

If you need to use the ScreenPad as a trackpad, you may merely swap it off totally and use it as regular. If you would like each, a swipe upwards reveals a toolbar, and from there you may activate the identical trackpad overlay – which then stays in place.

A few times throughout our week with the VivoBook S15, the ScreenPad simply froze for just a few seconds. We additionally had slightly bother getting used to the gestures and remembering its vary of capabilities, all of which aren’t defined within the tutorial that kicks off routinely on first use.

All this made us really feel as if it could be easier to only run apps like these on our cellphone, which is normally mendacity on the desk subsequent to us, than attempt to multitask with the ScreenPad.When you’re utilizing a big laptop computer like this with an exterior mouse, the ScreenPad will in all probability be extra helpful.

Clearly, Asus nonetheless has some edges to smoothen out, however the ScreenPad expertise is an entire lot higher than it was. We like the truth that this wasn’t only a one-time experiment, and we hope to see continued refinements plus extra third-party software program assist.


(Clockwise from prime left) Microsoft Edge working on the ScreenPad; Microsoft Phrase shortcuts panel; handwriting recognition panel; window administration view

Asus VivoBook S15 (S532F) efficiency and battery life

The VivoBook S15 is comparatively transportable regardless of being bigger than most ultrabooks, and you will not have an excessive amount of bother carrying it round and even utilizing it in your lap. We all the time like matte screens, which do not consistently need to be adjusted to keep away from reflections. We have been additionally joyful to notice that the laptop computer by no means received noisy, even when working heavy assessments. The center and proper of the keyboard did get heat when working heavy assessments and video games however this wasn’t an issue with day-to-day use. The ScreenPad did not get heat, besides on the very left edge, which is sadly the place our palm needed to relaxation whereas typing.

The display screen that Asus has used isn’t the most effective in relation to color replica and viewing angles though it is an IPS LCD panel. Colors do not actually pop and movies really feel a bit boring, which signifies that leisure and content material creation aren’t actually strengths for this laptop computer. We additionally needed to have the brightness degree larger than standard to really feel comfy. However, we had no issues working with textual content, shopping the Internet, and utilizing frequent productiveness instruments.

The audio system are on the underside, and the utmost quantity was surprisingly low. The sound is clear and voices in music and video clips have been audible (once we have been shut sufficient) however there is no bass in any respect. You may positively need a good pair of headphones to make use of with this laptop computer.

The keyboard keys are slightly mushy, however there’s sufficient journey and spacing, so typing is not a problem. The largest usability problem with this laptop computer is in fact getting used to the ScreenPad, for all the explanations we’ve described. We wound up simply turning it off pretty usually.

Coming to total efficiency, we in fact ran a wide range of artificial benchmarks and real-world duties. PCMark 10 gave us scores of three,919 and three,630 in its commonplace and prolonged runs respectively. Cinebench R20 managed 441 in its single-core check and 1,673 in its multi-core check. These are good scores however we’ve seen higher from equally priced gaming laptops that are in fact thicker and heavier.

SSD efficiency was additionally fairly good – CrystalDiskMark 6 measured sequential reads and writes at 1,858.8MBps and 972.9MBps respectively, whereas the equal random speeds have been 340.4MBps and 877.8MBps respectively. We’re joyful to see an SSD instead of a tough drive although we might have favored one in all every at this worth.

The GeForce MX250 GPU is sweet sufficient for fundamental video games and also you would possibly have the ability to take pleasure in some high-end titles in case you drop the decision and high quality degree. We tried working the current Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1920×080 utilizing the Low graphics preset with all results turned off. It really gave us a good 25fps common however the minimal dropped as little as 19fps and the real-world expertise was uneven. Equally, we ran Far Cry 5’s built-in benchmark utilizing the identical decision and circumstances, and received a median of 26fps with a minimal of 20fps.

We additionally received scores of 1,201 within the 3DMark Time Spy check and 1,637 within the Hearth Strike Excessive check. Our experiences present that whereas informal video games will profit from this comparatively weak GPU, you may solely run older video games or scale back the decision and high quality settings drastically if you wish to run trendy ones.

The battery received us by means of an 8-hour workday throughout which we did not do something too worrying. The ScreenPad was on for many of that point. We additionally ran the intensive Battery Eater Professional benchmark with the ScreenPad disabled, and the VivoBook S15 lasted a good 1 hour, 55 minutes.


The “Ergolift” hinge raises the rear of the bottom of the laptop computer for typing consolation and airflow


Asus is making an attempt to push one in all its flagship options into extra accessible fashions, and the ScreenPad definitely makes the VivoBook S15 stand out within the premium laptop computer section. It is a lot improved in comparison with the first-gen model, however nonetheless has some quirks. It would not actually have any killer app both – there are not any conditions that vastly profit from having it. Nonetheless, it’s extremely cool and it feels futuristic whereas being a lot much less disruptive than the large ScreenPad+ second screen on the ZenBook Duo (UX481).

There isn’t a model of this laptop computer with out the ScreenPad, so it will not work for individuals who aren’t very comfy with know-how and don’t love when issues are unfamiliar. The smaller VivoBook S14 (S431), which is a sibling to this mannequin, doesn’t function the ScreenPad so it might be an attention-grabbing alternative in case you like all the things else about this laptop computer.

ScreenPad apart, we weren’t too pleased with the relative lack of quick USB ports and the average-looking show. Nevertheless, the VivoBook S15 does have fashion, core specs, and portability going for it.

When you’re prepared to spend round Rs. 76,000 on a laptop computer, there are lots of choices – you would get a gaming mannequin with rather more highly effective {hardware}, although it could be greater and heavier. You possibly can get a slick ultraportable or 2-in-1 mannequin, nevertheless it would not have the identical stability of portability and options. This can be a very mainstream laptop computer and can work greatest for fundamental dwelling, workplace, and scholar work, with a little bit of leisure on the aspect.

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