As true computing power becomes ever more available to all, we’re finding some of the most innovative things that are entering the world are coming from young creators. According to ASUS, this one’s for them.
That’s not to say, of course, that their Vivobook Pro 15 OLED laptop won’t appeal to people of all ages, as there are many reasons why it should be on the look-at list for anybody who’s hunting for a keenly-priced machine with some impressively top-line specs.
Even if they won’t readily admit it, looks matter to most people – and this extends to the devices that we choose to keep company with. No matter which Vivobook Pro 15 that you may opt for – and there are plenty of options, which we’ll get to – you get a slick piece of minimalist design that is also impressively lightweight (just ~1.7kg), and all without feeling or looking cheap.
Open it up and you get to revel in one of the Vivobook 15 Pro’s most brilliant features – its 15.6-inch, 16:9 ratio, Full-HD OLED screen. While out of the box it was set to full stun mode, once adjusting the brightness downwards we stared in wonder – now this is what a laptop screen should look like! Using OLED technology means incredibly vivid colours and, joy of joys, perfect blacks – there’s no backlighting as every single pixel has the ability to be on or off, depending upon need. It’s stunning, and with the added benefit of HDR to improve the range of blacks through whites, things just get better. Efforts have been made to limit blue light emission, too, which is a welcome feature.
Popping under the bonnet of our review machine – figuratively, as we didn’t dare pull this well-assembled puppy to bits – sits an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor (running at 3.2-4.4GHz), coupled with a beefy Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics processor. That’s plenty of power to burn, whether you’re looking at content creation or getting into the odd bit of downtime gaming fun. Various options are available at varying cost, ranging from Ryzen 5 power up to the bonkers-fast Ryzen 9, with or without the added graphical oomph of the dedicated graphics chip.
Our review unit included a 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD drive, which is pretty standard across the range. What isn’t is the amount of installed DDR4 RAM – there’s a choice of 8GB and 16GB and, although it’s naturally pricier, we always recommend to go big where you can, especially as it isn’t upgradeable in this instance. Meanwhile, Windows 11 comes standard as the operating system of choice.
“As far as we’re concerned, all laptops should have backlighting, and the Vivobook 15 Pro delivers…”
Also inside is a 63Wh battery. It’s hard to give accurate life expectancies, as it completely depends upon what you’re doing with your Vivobook Pro 15. If you’re just getting office stuff done then you can likely go for up to around ten hours, but if you’re running an all bells and whistles game then expect to have a lot less time juiced up. If you’re terrified of hitting zero then we’d suggest bringing the very civilised size-wise power pack with you and using it wherever it’s convenient.
In use, the first thing that’s patently obvious is the keyboard. Flat, rounded square keys are the order of the day, and they have a decently solid, non-bendy feel to them. They also have a rather stylish font in play, which will be important to some. As far as we’re concerned, all laptops should have backlighting, and the Vivobook 15 Pro delivers, plus there is a cool strip of easily-spottable white diagonals on the enter key (a mirror of the minimalist design on the outer case) that looks like it was plucked straight from the Haçienda design handbook. If that means nothing to you, learn more here.
The other important part of the interfacing experience is, of course, the trackpad. There are no separate buttons on this plastic example – you press the entire thing down at left or right for the relevant functionality – but the entire pad is pleasingly large, which will be especially good news to those encumbered with fat fingers. While it’s all fairly compressed, joy of joys it includes the numeric keypad that most laptops ignore and decent cursor up/down/left and right keys. Big points to ASUS there.
The other critical feature of a laptop is connectivity. While you have to connect to the internetty world wirelessly (the latest Wi-Fi 6 is standard), there are three USB-A ports, one USB-C (data only though), a full-size HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack and a Micro SD card reader. Bluetooth v5.0 is also built-in, as is an HD webcam with a very welcome physical privacy shutter. Audio-wise, there’s a pair of stereo speakers that won’t totally rock your world to its foundations, but they do perform pretty well for a laptop of this size and price range.
The Vivobook Pro 15 OLED really is a capable little machine that delivers some very desirable bells and whistles, and it doesn’t cost stupid dollars to get on board with. While ASUS may have aimed for the younger creative market here – as evidenced by an envelope full of stickers that’s included in the box – we reckon this unit will find itself in many other age groups’ computing arsenals.
The ASUS Vivobook Pro 15 OLED is available now.