The all-new ASUS Vivobook 15 F512FA-AB34 laptop is a 15.6-inch model which comes packed with features. While it’s not necessarily an all-star, this affordable notebook could be the right choice for many casual users. It manages to tick many boxes, from portability to design and, most importantly, value for money. So, if you are on the lookout for a well-priced and above average performance, you may want to take the new Vivobook 15 into account.
Although the people at ASUS have specifically made the Vivobook 15 F512FA-AB34 so feature-rich, its design theme is understated and quiet all-around. You get a classic slate gray finish and a brand new hinge design called “ErgoLift”. This hinge slightly angles the whole notebook (by just 2 degrees) when you open up the lid. The intended effect is to make typing a more pleasurable experience, and I think it really works well.
Also, they’ve introduced something named “NanoEdge” display. This is a fancy way of saying the ASUS has a thinner screen bezel on all edges. In turn, the gray laptop boasts reduced dimensions, further improving portability. Other features include a full-sized, backlit keyboard and a surprisingly light chassis.
New generation Intel processors have the advantage of being considerably more powerful than their predecessors, while apps and programs for daily tasks haven’t increased their performance requirements as much. Thus, the Intel Core i3-8145U that comes with the ASUS Vivobook 15 F512FA-AB34 is fully equipped to tackle said apps. Things like multitasking, browsing the Internet, streaming online content or managing your emails won’t make the i3 struggle at all. It has two cores, four threads, a base frequency of 2.1 GHz, a maximum frequency of 3.9 GHz, and a thermal design power of 15 Watts. Rather standard for a budget laptop, but more powerful that its name would suggest. Benchmark tests rate this CPU with a score of 5400 points, which is great considering this number would have been attributed to an i5 only 2-3 years ago!
Standard memory size is also adequate for today’s needs. A total of 8 gigabytes of DDR4 SDRAM are available to the user, making all the apps I mentioned in the previous paragraph run smooth. Photo and video editing will work as intended, as well as serious multitasking (running multiple apps and programs at once).
Storage space isn’t quite in tune with the rest of hardware options. The ASUS Vivobook 15 F512FA-AB34 has a 128-gigabyte M.2 Solid State Drive. While having an SSD is fantastic for your device’s overall performance, the somewhat limited storage capacity means you’ll have to rely on either an external hard drive or the cloud if you have an extensive media or file library. If, however, you’ll only use the notebook for online multimedia streaming and other daily tasks that don’t involve storing large files, you’ll be absolutely fine.
Graphics and display
As you probably already know, gaming on a sub $450 device is prohibitive, to say the least. This ASUS Vivobook 15 model comes with an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 video card. Activities like editing photos won’t be affected by the lack of a dedicated graphics card, yet modern games will likely be unplayable from a quality standpoint. You’ll be able to squeeze decent framerates from games like Minecraft, LoL, browser games and some indie releases, but for the wide majority of big names (think GTA, recent FIFA installments, latest FPS games) this notebook just won’t cut it.
Display quality is great, considering cost. The ASUS Vivobook 15 F512FA-AB34 has a 15.6″ screen with Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) LED-Backlit display. Note that you won’t get any IPS technology with this model, so viewing angles won’t be as great as in other, more expensive laptops. However, the FHD resolution is a perfect match for the display size. Furthermore, as stated at the beginning of this review, a thinner bezel means you’ll get a less congested, less boxy experience while working.
When it comes to interface options, I’m happy to say the Vivobook is also on par with today’s standards. You’ll get a mix of new generation USB ports alongside older 2.0 protocol, perfect for charging your newer devices and using peripherals at the same time. Below you’ll find a list of available ports:
- 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
- 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x microSD card reader
- 1 x combo audio jack
If you want to be connected to a landline via Ethernet cable, then I’m afraid this notebook isn’t for you. It doesn’t have an RJ-45 port, but does come with 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, so your only option is to access the Internet via wireless router.
- 802.11 ac Wi-Fi 5
- Bluetooth 4.1
Portability and battery life
As for portability, I’m glad to praise the ASUS for making an affordable notebook so lightweight, without marketing it as a ultrabook. For a 15.6-inch device, the Vivobook 15 F512FA-AB34 is as easy to carry around as it gets. Weighing just 3.5 pounds, commuting, carrying it over at university or simply moving around house with it won’t be a chore for users. Its dimensions are also considerably slimmer thanks to its NanoEdge display. It measures just 14.1″ x 9.1″ x 0.75″, meaning it will fit in a backpack or a messenger bag easier than traditional 15-inchers.
Battery life isn’t mentioned anywhere, but we can safely assume that a full charge of its 2-Cell, 37 WHr battery pack will last at least 8 to 10 hours, judging from previous models. Not spectacular, but certainly not a bad result either. Getting a full day’s worth of work from one of the most affordable notebooks out there is an achievement in itself.
All in all, I personally believe the new ASUS Vivobook 15 F512FA-AB34 to be one of 2019’s best releases in terms of bang for your buck. While it’s true that you can get a more powerful notebook, the superior F512DA-EB51 model for about $100 more, this budget laptop is a serious option to consider for folks who don’t actually need that much processing power and hardcore specs. It’s a device most suited for a home office, or to use it as an unpretentious home entertainment center. It works great as an aid for non-STEM, non-picky students, or just as well as an office laptop that’s light enough to carry around your workplace if you need to move around.