The Asus Vivobook 15 X515JA is a budget laptop that checks most boxes for an affordable, yet capable machine. Many cheap laptops, as you might already know, look tempting on paper but few deliver on their promised features and performance. And with the increased demand for remote learning and working, many laptop brands have been quick to respond with increasing value for the buck.
Asus is one of the popular brands that often deliver capable budget laptops, and while they still offer top-tier machines in their ZenBook line, they also have some of the best gaming laptops around including the ASUS ROG Strix G16 (2023); but the Vivobook line remains the most popular among folks looking for reliable office, business and college laptops at very reasonable prices.
The Asus Vivobook 15 X515JA is one such machine. This 15.6-inch laptop packs an Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB PCIe storage into a sleek, portable chassis. Granted it’s not the most powerful laptop around, neither will it rival some of the latest 13th-Gen laptops, but it still offers incredible bang for the buck for anyone looking for a value laptop. But often, when you’re paying less, you’re getting less, too.
In the case of the Vivobook 15 X515JA, you’re paying for less performance, less battery life, and a less stellar display. In return, you’re getting decent connectivity, a thin chassis, and a nearly edge-to-edge widescreen display, but this review will show how the result is merely a reminder of the corners one has to make to save money.
Design and Features
The VivoBook 15’s plastic body is surprisingly thin for a 15-inch laptop, weighing around 1.8 kg slightly heavier than both the Acer Aspire 5 and the HP Pavilion 15 (2.6kg and 1.75kg, respectively). It may not be the thinnest around, but it’s hard to complain at this price range. The lid and base are both sturdy, and it doesn’t look or feel as cheap as some other budget laptops. Its styling is simple and elegant, and its Transparent Silver color helps to hide any smudges.
The VivoBook 15 has a decent collection of ports for a laptop that’s quite slim, but I wish it had Thunderbolt 3 input. On the left side, there are two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD card slot, and LED indicators for charging and battery status.
On the right side, there’s a DC jack, a USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, and a USB Type-C port alongside a headphone/mic combo jack.
The Vivobook 15 X515JA has a 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 NanoEdge display that has a little bezel on either side, but with a bit more at the top to accommodate the webcam. But beyond the widescreen display, the display’s dim color profile and unsettling viewing angles make it an underwhelming device for consuming online videos.
While you can get through YouTube videos without recognizing the display’s middling color quality, it becomes apparent once you switch displays. The viewing angles on this laptop are a bit odd, too. You have to look at the VivoBook 15 at an exact angle – about 100 degrees – to see the contents on the screen without a sheen.
The issue is more prevalent in dark colors, specifically blacks, and grays, and if you rely on dark mode with most apps, it’s just hard to ignore. That makes the laptop hard to use with Windows 11 at night because of the sheen issue.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The inside of the Asus VivoBook 15 holds a keyboard fitted to the rest of the laptop body; the same design available on Asus’ premium model. Also, the trackpad is flush on the wrist rest without being an eyesore, and it also gets a fingerprint scanner for locking up the system.
The keys offer a decent amount of travel and tactile feedback, resulting in accurate and responsive typing. The inclusion of a numeric keypad is a welcome addition for those who require it for data entry or calculations. The touchpad is smooth and responsive, supporting multi-touch gestures and providing accurate cursor control.
- Great performance meets long battery life with the Intel Core i5-1135G7 Processor - up to...
- 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS Widescreen LED-backlit Display | Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- 8GB DDR4 Memory (Expandable to 20GB) and 256GB NVMe SSD
The Asus VivoBook 15 as configured, is on the beefy side for a mid-priced laptop, that offers better performance than competing notebooks, like last year’s Lenovo IdeaPad 3. The 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 is a 10th-generation mobile chip that offers strong performance matched with efficiency, and the 18GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage give it a serious boost over similar machines with the 10th generation processors.
For graphics, you have an Intel UHD graphics card that is quite usable for basic tasks that utilize an integrated card, though it is not enough to power AAA gaming.
The VivoBook 15 will easily keep up with your demands on day-to-day use. Four cores of computing power are plenty for most tasks, and with headroom-to-boot clock speeds of 3.6GHz, it can burst as needed. This keeps the laptop feeling snappy, with the SSD launching programs quickly, and some simple tasks, like basic photo editing, working fast.
Most budget laptops can last well over six hours on a single charge, but the VivoBook 15 struggles to hit this mark. It only lasts five hours and 24 minutes through continuous surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness.
While it beats out other 15-inch laptops like the Acer Aspire 5 (5:16) and the HP 15 laptop (4:58) in the same tests, it’s still at the tail end of the spectrum compared to a couple of other budget laptops (6:42).
How is the competition?
I recently reviewed the Asus VivoBook 15 X515EA, a refreshed upgrade of the model we’re reviewing, and found it to be a better alternative, for around the same price. While it still maintains the same 8GB RAM and 256GB storage as its predecessor, it now offers a more powerful 11th-generation Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, and battery life is considerably better.
There’s also the Acer Aspire 5 in the same price range. It features an 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and Intel Iris Xe graphics. In addition to better performance and class-leading battery life, it also has a backlit keyboard, which isn’t available on the ASUS. Between the Acer and the ASUS, I’d go for the better display and slightly better battery life, over a beautiful design.
You can’t expect a laptop that costs almost £300/$380 to be perfect. That’s not why the VivoBook 15 exists. Buying laptops that cost less than $500 comes down to weighing the pros and cons and finding the right device for your needs. In that frame, the VivoBook is fairly well-rounded in terms of features and features; however, its latest upgrade, the ASUS VivoBook 15 X515EA is money better spent.
The screen is thankfully 1920 x 1080 for a far clearer picture than HD, though it lacks the same vibrancy of its ZenBook siblings, and maxes at 200 nits. The screen is perfectly usable when paired with the Core i3 CPU, and you’ll have no issues with word processing, emails, heavy web browsing, and streaming.
Overall, the Asus Vivobook 15 X515JA stands out among other budget laptops I’ve reviewed at this price point. It’s not a flawless laptop by any stretch, but it is one that I’d suggest for anyone who needs a cheap, do-it-all PC at home.
Asus Vivobook 15 X515JA
The Asus Vivobook 15 X515JA is an affordable laptop that does it better than many other budget notebooks out there. It has a beautiful design, an FHD display, and tons of ports with USB-C.
- Decent performance from Core i3
- Lots of ports
- Lightweight build
- Fingerprint reader
- Display isn't overly colorful
- Battery life doesn't impress
Last update on 2024-02-22 at 10:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API