16 February 2019
Asus had recently announced VivoBook 15 laptops in India. These laptops are powered by AMD’s Ryzen processors coupled with Vega 8 graphics processor. This could be called as AMD’s best attempt to break into the heavily cluttered laptop market which is dominated by Intel-powered laptops.
The pricing of these laptops from Asus starts at Rs. 30,000 which makes them ideal for students and working professionals likewise. I got a chance to use this laptop extensively for almost three weeks and here is the detailed review of Asus VivoBook 15 X505ZA AMD Ryzen 5 powered laptop.
- 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) NanoEdge display
- AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Processor, 2.0 GHz (2 M Cache, up to 3.6 GHz)
- AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
- Up to 16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM
- 1TB 5400RPM HDD
- 2 x stereo speakers with ASUS SonicMaster technology
- Windows 10 Home
- Dual Band 2X2 MIMO
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi,
- Bluetooth 4.2
- 3-cell 42Whrs Lithium-polymer battery
The Asus VivoBook X505 is strikingly light-weight for a laptop housing a 15-inch display, the credit for this goes to the ABS plastic body which keeps the weight in check and the laptop weighs around 1.69Kgs in all. This plastic body comes with a brushed metal finish which adds to the premium look and feel of the laptop overall.
The lid is very thin and since the display size is huge, it needs to be opened with two hands else there is noticeable flex in the lid. The rear again has a plastic build which feels rugged though nor very pleasing to the eyes. You have two speakers placed at the front bottom where the plastic frame curves upwards.
The bezels on the display are bare minimum offering near bezel-less immersive experience. These are thinner on the sides compared to the top and bottom offering almost 81% screen-to-body ratio. The ports on the laptop have been aligned on either side with two USB ports, a micro SD card slot and a headphone jack are placed on the right while the RJ45 Ethernet port, an HDMI 1.4 port, a USB 3.0 port, and a USB type-C port are located on the left side. For some odd reason, Asus decided to place the charge port on the left and charging indicator LED on the right side, this tough is a minor thing but is quite irritating at times. The palm rest is also made of textured plastic and feels premium.
This laptop comes with a big display and measures15.6-inches diagonally. This panel offers a resolution of 1920*1080 pixels and has a refresh rate of 60Hz and considering the fact that is a mid-range laptop these numbers are pretty decent. The narrow bezels, glossy finish and a high screen to body ratio make is a desirable laptop.
This panel doesn’t produce sharpest of the colors and working in extremely bright conditions is a tricky thing. However, considering the fact that my maximum usage was indoors I didn’t face any problems.
The keys are normal chiclet-styled keys and are well spaced out which means that there is no dedicated number pad. The missing keypad could be a downer for many however that’s the price you pay for comfortable layout. With continued usage, the keys did feel a bit wobbly and the plastic body encasing the keyboard appeared to have some flex as well. The keyboard is not a backlit one which is what you’d expect from a gaming laptop especially if you’re going for the Ryzen 5 variant. Yet another small but irritating thing is the missing LED indicators for caps lock.
The touchpad on the laptop is a decently sized one and is a single button touchpad with left and right clickable corners. It is made of plastic, however, it feels rigid and has good tactile feedback. Asus has included swipe gestures to make the experience a lot better. Though I inadvertently clicked on the right button instead of the left button that is because there is no physical demarcation of the buttons, this would be nitpicking.
If there is any weak link in this laptop, it is the 3-cell 42WHr Lithium-ion battery. With normal usage at full brightness I got around 4 hours of backup at max, so if you’re playing games or using the laptop for some heavy work or multimedia consumption, it may give you at max 3 hours backup. The good part is that the laptop does come with fast charging which will up almost 60% of the battery in just less than an hour though it takes approximately 2.30 hours to tank up the battery to its full capacity. Asus has supplied a Battery monitoring software which lets you select between 3 charging modes Full Capacity, Balance, Maximum lifespan, which help to prolong the battery life.
The laptop we got for review, was powered by AMD’s Ryzen 5 2005U processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM expandable up to 16GB max and 1TB of onboard storage with a 5400rpm speed. A Radeon Vega 8 with 1GB of VRAM is responsible for graphics. The laptop as we know comes with some limitations, however, is a decent package. Though there are some early jitters when you’re starting the day, once on a roll the performance is pretty smooth. As for a casual user, I’ve used the laptop with almost 10-12 Chrome tabs, few on Firefox, light Photoshop work, created articles using long MS-Word documents, streaming music in the background all at the same time and the laptop delivered a pleasant experience without any lag or jitters whatsoever.
Talking about gaming performance, I tried playing games like Fortnite and PUBG with emulators. I played Fortnite for a couple of hours at 44fps without any hiccups. Even though I’m not very fond of PUBG, however, I did give it a try using Tencent Gaming buddy and the laptop fared very well on the same too. You can enjoy extended gaming sessions with your friends, just make sure you have a charging port nearby.
The Laptop did get considerably warm after extended usage and that may be because of the only fan module present at the bottom for heat dissipation. Asus claims that the laptop comes with IceCool technology to keep the temperatures in control and it seems to work as my old Lenovo laptop is barely usable after the same amount of time I spent on it, while the heat from Asus’ laptop was barely noticeable.
Another thing that disappointed me was the camera present on the laptop, while there are so many good things to talk about this laptop, it is better to just ignore the 0.3mp VGA camera. I guess it is the time that manufacturers realize that laptops, apart from all these features bundled in, needs at least a decent camera, after all, who uses external webcams in 2019!
Even though the laptop comes with SonicMaster audio capabilities, I found that the audio to be OK. You can watch movies in a silent place, however, in a slightly noisy background, it is a challenge. The speakers are placed at the front bottom of the laptops and are designed in a way that if you place the laptop on a table, the audio gets amplified, however, it’s a challenge when using it without a table.
Overall, the Asus X505 ZA has some chinks in the armor, however, it is still a worthy laptop and to sum it up, it has a huge display, extremely portable, ample connectivity ports, capable processing power. Though the display, build quality and battery performance could've been better. If you’re tight on the budget and OK with the limitations, this is a must buy laptop going around Rs. 36,000 on all major e-commerce platform and yes it comes with a licensed Windows 10.