Asus VivoBook 15 (2020) review

A solid, affordable performer

Asus VivoBook 15 (2020) review
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

Asus' VivoBook 15 is an affordable, reliable workhorse for casual users but a few notable shortcomings hold it back.


  • +

    Handsome design

  • +

    Good display

  • +

    Great audio

  • +

    Comfortable keyboard

  • +

    Runs cool


  • -

    Subpar battery life

  • -

    Dim, dull display

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Asus VivoBook 15 X512D specs

Price: $599 (as reviewed $739)
CPU: 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 7 3700U
GPU: AMD Radeon RX Vega 10
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Display: 1080p 
Battery: 5:31
Size:  14.1 x 9.1 x 0.8
Weight: 3.8 pounds

In our current climate of remote learning, the Asus VivoBook 15 X512D ($599 starting, $739 reviewed) is an affordable, reliable workhorse. It’s also a strong choice for casual use and light productivity.

The notebook’s relatively lightweight chassis is handsome and easy to carry around. But below-average battery life and a lackluster display keep the notebook from reaching affordable greatness.

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D pricing and configurations

The Asus VivoBook 15 X512D I reviewed ($99 starting, $499 reviewed) has a 2.3-GHz AMD Ryzen 7 3700U processor, 12GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe SSD, an AMD Radeon RX Vega 10 GPU, and a 15-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel display. 

The base model costs $599 and drops you down to an AMD 4-Core Ryzen 5-3500U , 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD + 500GB HDD, a Radeon Vega 8 GPU, and a 128GB PCIe SSD.

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D design

The thin, slate-gray VivoBook 15 is nothing fancy. In the fashion world, it would be the Old Navy of laptops. This is solid everyday fashion, good for work, but no one is going to stop and compliment you on its appearance. But don’t sleep on it, every now and then Old Navy surprises you with some nice elements and so does the VivoBook 15.  

With its lightweight, solid construction, the laptop reminds me of a long-lasting pair of work jeans that can be dressed up for a night on the town with a good blazer. 

Measuring 14.1 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches and weighing 3.8 pounds, the VivoBook 15 is the heaviest of its comparison group. The Acer Swift 3 AMD is the lightest and thinnest, coming in at 2.7 pounds and 12.7 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches followed by the Lenovo Yoga C740, which rounds out the group at 3 pounds, 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches.

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D 17 ports

The Asus VivoBook15 comes with a nice amount of ports. On the right side, there is a microSD reader slot, a 3.5mm audio input, a HDMI port, a USB Type-C port, a USB 3.1 connection, and a power jack. 

Asus VivoBook 15

(Image credit: Future)

On the left side are two USB 2.0 Type-A ports.  

Asus VivoBook 15

(Image credit: Future)

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D display

The 15-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel display does a nice job reproducing images and video. The anti-glare touch panel captures color very nicely when you take into consideration the price point.

When I watched the No Time to Die trailer, the Asus VivoBook 15 did a really good job of showing vivid colors and the panel was plenty bright.  The explosions were rich and I could watch movies on the unit without any issues; overall, it’s a solid viewing experience.

Asus VivoBook 15

(Image credit: Future)

When we measured the screen's color reproduction capabilities, the VivoBook 15 scored poorly with 45.4% on our DCI-P3 color gamut test, falling way below the mainstream laptop average of 80.6%. The Yoga C740 led our group, scoring  78.7%, followed by the Swift 3, which scored an even worse 44.2%. 

The Asus VivoBook 15 scored an average brightness of 268 nits, which is below the mainstream laptop average of 350 nits. However, it was enough to beat the Swift 3’s 251 nits and the Lenovo's 250 nits.

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D audio 

Here is where the Asus VivoBook stands out. Featuring Asus’ Sound Master driver technology, the audio produced by the two bottom-mounted speakers is good, especially at this price point. 

When listening to Lizzo’s “Good As Hell,” the bassline kicked in nicely with rich depth without overwhelming the treble. The speakers were loud enough to fill my tiny studio apartment and groove along with whilst chair dancing. Yes, chair dancing is a thing.

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D keyboard and touchpad 

Upon opening the Asus VivoBook 15, you're met by a large full-sized, island-style keyboard.  The deck is a decent size with the touchpad positioned to the left of the center underneath the spacebar. 

Asus VivoBook 15

(Image credit: Future)

The keyboard is laid out nicely and the keys are clicky, making typing a comfortable experience. I scored a solid 75 words per minute with an 80% accuracy on the 10fastfingers test. My normal average is between 70% and 85% with about 65 wpm. There were no key travel issues and the keyboard is very responsive and comfortable, making it easy to work on for long periods. 

The 2.9 x 4.1-inch touchpad on the VivoBook 15 did a great job executing Windows 10 gestures, like three or four-fingered swipes and simple finger taps. The bottom corners of the touchpad are clicky and super responsive. 

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D performance 

Sporting a 2.3-GHz AMD Ryzen 7 3700U processor, 12GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD, our test unit is a solid performer. It held up well when I had 15 to 25 Google Chrome tabs open, with a few of them running videos while I also edited documents. 

Moving to our benchmark tests, the Asus VivoBook 15 scored 3,046 during our Geekbench 5.1 overall performance test. It performed way below the 4,961 mainstream laptop average. The Swift 3 led our group ( AMD Ryzen 7 4700U CPU) with 4,985 while the Yoga C740 (Intel Core i5-10210U CPU) rounded things outscoring 3,915. 

The Asus VivoBook 15 took 20 minutes and 39 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p using the Handbrake app, missing the mainstream laptop average (14:41). The Acer Swift 3  led our group, finishing at 11 minutes flat, followed by the Yoga C740 at 20 minutes and 42 seconds.  

During our File Transfer test, the VivoBook 15 averaged 440.7 megabytes per second while transferring 5GB of mixed media. The Swift 3 scored 462.7 MBps while the Yoga C740 led our group with a score of 848.2 MBps, being the only unit in the group to test above the mainstream average of 784.7 MBps.

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D graphics 

The Asus VivoBook 15 comes with an integrated AMD Radeon RX Vega 10 GPU, which performs solidly but isn't meant for serious gaming or resource-devouring graphic work or video editing.  

Playing Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Gathering Storm in 1080p, our unit scored an average of 15 frames per second, which is below its category laptop average (37 fps). The Swift 3 scored 27 fps to lead our group, which is below our 30-fps playability threshold, but it’s still better than the VivoBook 15 and the Yoga C740’s 8 fps.

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D battery life 

The VivoBook 15  lasted for only  5 hours and 31 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. That time is above the mainstream laptop average of 6 hours and 52 minutes. The Acer Swift 3 led the group at 11:09 followed by the Lenovo Yoga C740 at 10:18. 

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D heat 

The Asus VivoBook 15 does a nice job of staying cool.  During the video heat test (15 minutes of playing a fullscreen HD video), the touchpad measured 72 degrees Fahrenheit, while the keyboard registered at 79 degrees, with the undercarriage coming in at 84 degrees. 

These  temperatures fall beneath our 95-degree comfort threshold, meaning you can have this unit in your lap all day without any heat-related discomfort.

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D webcam

The 720p HD webcam on the Asus VivoBook 15 is par for the course when it comes to integrated shooters. Like most webcams, you should make sure the lighting is optimal to get the best results. Once you do, the lens should yield rich, saturated color.  In darker conditions, remarkably, the VivoBook 15 performed better than most laptops, retaining its color quality. Overall, the webcam is solid for what it is, but if you want to put your best foot forward on Zoom meetings, invest in an external webcam.

Asus VivoBook 15 X512D software and warranty 

The Asus VivoBook 15 comes with Windows 10 Home, which means there’s a fair amount of bloatware onboard, including Skype, the  Xbox Console companion, Microsoft Solitaire and Xbox Game bar. 

Bottom line 

The Asus VivoBook 15 X512D is a solid, consistent performer that stays cool under every circumstance. It’s a really good beginner laptop for younger children, students, or casual users. The VivoBook 15 can handle day-to-day light productivity tasks well and is decent for consuming media although the display is a letdown. 

However, if you’re looking for a laptop with a brighter, more vivid display, better performance and longer battery life, you need to check out the $649 Acer Swift 3. That said, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly laptop that’s good for light productivity and multimedia tasks, the Asus VivoBook 15 X512D is a solid choice

Mark Anthony Ramirez

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.