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The Asus VivoBook S15's 4.1 x 2.8-inch touchpad is spacious, and it was quick and responsive when I performed complicated Windows 10 gestures. I had no problem scrolling through web pages and swiping to switch between open windows. A fingerprint reader is embedded in the touchpad for faster, safer login authentication.The VivoBook S15's speakers can fill only a medium-size room. Those aren't the loudest speakers you'll find, but they still sound very good, especially on a laptop this thin. When I listened to Lana Del Rey's "Mariners Apartment Complex," the vocals sounded clear, and the drum beats had a nice weight to them.
The S15 did equally well when I listened to Thrice's "My Soul," a more instrumentally complex rock song. Electric guitars shimmered in the upper frequencies atop Dustin Kensrue's husky voice. I do wish the bass went deeper, but there was some nice punch to it.Equipped with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU and 8GB of RAM, the VivoBook S15 breezed through my typical stress test, swiftly loading 20 Google Chrome tabs. The laptop didn't lag or freeze, even when I simultaneously played three 1080p YouTube videos and two full-HD Twitch streams.
The S15 also did well on our lab tests. Its score of 12,163 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test edged out the mark from the Lenovo Ideapad 530s (Core i5-8250U, 11,966),and crushed the score from the Acer Aspire E 15 (Core i5-8250U, 9,278) and the mainstream-laptop average (8,930).
The Asus laptop rebounded on the Excel Macro Test, matching 65,000 names with their corresponding addresses in 1 minute and 4 seconds and beating the Ideapad 530s (1:24), the Aspire E 15 (1:30) and the mainstream-laptop average (2:05).The VivoBook S15 needed only 25 minutes and 38 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution using the HandBrake app, comfortably beating the 28:39 mainstream-laptop average. The Aspire E 15 (25:15) took about the same amount of time, but the Ideapad 530s (21:05) smoked the competition.
Armed with an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, the VivoBook S15 can play less-demanding games at low to medium graphics settings. The VivoBook S15 scored 65,313 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics test, falling short of the Ideapad 530s (UHD 620 GPU, 69,450) and the mainstream-laptop average (68,579). The Aspire E 15 (122,144), with its dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU, blew away the competition.
Still, the VivoBook S15 outperformed its competitors in real-world testing. The laptop ran the racing game Dirt 3 at 59 frames per second, beating the Ideapad 530s (49 fps), the Aspire E 15 (33 fps) and the mainstream-laptop average (44 fps) -- all of which topped our 30-fps threshold.
The Asus VivoBook S15's webcam is decent. In a selfie, the 720p lens accurately captured my burnt-orange shirt, and I could see the stubble of my freshly shaved beard. Unlike the images from other webcams I've tested, the VivoBook's picture was well-exposed, even with sun streaking in from a window behind me. Best of all, the webcam is placed above the screen, despite the laptop's razor-thin bezels.
Still, a smartphone camera produces better selfies than the VivoBook S15. While the lens is sharp, there was a lot of visual noise in the image I took under our dim office lights -- so much that I couldn't read the small Sony logo on my headphones.A claimed benefit of the ErgoLift hinge is improved heat management from increased airflow. While that wasn't the case with the ZenBook S, the VivoBook S15 remained remarkably cool in our testing. After we played a 15-minute YouTube video, the center of the keyboard heated to just 86 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The touchpad, at 82 degrees, and the underside, at 86 degrees, were even cooler.
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