Laptops

ASUS VivoBook S15 Review: Mixing style and function

Also a lesson about love and relationships

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Finding the right laptop is tricky if you want it to tailor to your preference and personality. If you want a laptop you can show-off that can also perform, the ASUS VivoBook S15 S531FL might be the one you’re looking for.

A bit of history: the new VivoBook S15 was launched earlier at Computex 2019. ASUS paraded a colorful lineup that would certainly grab anyone’s attention: Moss Green, Punk Pink, Cobalt Blue, Transparent Silver, and Gun Metal. Luckily, I was able to try this new laptop in Cobalt Blue. Not a lot of people would be enthralled with such bold and striking colors, but I beg to differ.

Made for the bold type

Growing up, I love being at the center of attention. Whether it was because of a new toy or the latest gadget, I love it when people gather around with amazement in their eyes, just because I brought something to the table. Their awe was enough of a reward for me; as if I did something extraordinary. The high from being validated was enough to keep the people around me excited and mesmerized.

That same feeling was what I felt when I used the VivoBook S15. While I was fixated on my screen, I felt everyone’s gaze as my laptop grabbed their attention. It’s a definite head-turner.

I mean, who wouldn’t be captivated by its looks? It stands out with its sleek, metal frame in vivid Cobalt Blue. It’s also adorned by Neon Red accents (which looks orange to me) giving it a sophisticated vibe even at a glance. Moreover, a blue and red combination — in its most striking hue — is alluring to people fascinated with futuristic style.

Touch that lingers

The VivoBook S15 doesn’t just look good, but it feels upscale, too. Both the lid and body are made of fine aluminum, with the former having a textured finish. The embossed name also gives a subtle touch of class.

The body, on the other hand, was painted with a transparent silver color which glosses when there’s a substantial light shining over.

Back then, I kept on caressing the laptop as if my fingertips were running through a Burberry trench coat (or even Marc Jacobs underwear). I felt awestruck, especially with its trackpad which is fairly on point on its touch sensitivity. It’s decent compared to the previous laptop I used.

The keyboard was comfortable to type on. Most of its keys are large and evenly spaced, except for the arrow keys which are a lot smaller. Additionally, it’s light, soft and has a backlit design to let you work even in the dark.

Unfortunately, its bottom was made of plastic. To compensate, the laptop exhibits similar cuts on the base and perforations to look and feel better, especially when you hold it in your hands. The mix of aluminum and plastic offer the right amount of weight, making this combination common in most laptops nowadays. Honestly, it’s the perfect choice for frail people looking for a portable yet sturdy laptop.

Not just for show

In case you’re wondering, this laptop isn’t just for show. Even though it’s flamboyant and stylish, function is still at the core of its design language. Evident is ASUS’ ErgoLift hinge, which tilts the laptop to have an inclined position. This makes working on this laptop more comfortable on the wrists.

Productivity is one of its focus, considering all the ports available on each side. On the right, you can find the power input, a standard HDMI port, two USB 3.1 ports; one Type-A and one Type-C, an audio jack, and a microSD card reader.

On the left side, you can find two USB 2.0 ports which most people might find to be outdated since it’s already 2019. Most laptops nowadays come with USB-C ports instead. Nonetheless, I hate the dongle life and laptops carrying multiple ports are still better until every other device supports USB-C. This would pass, but I do hope that the next version would come with USB 4 ports, or at least USB 3.1.

The problem with just “looking good”

With its enormous size, it’s hard not to be drawn to the VivoBook S15. Its screen boasts a 15.6″ FHD panel bordered by thin bezels on every side, thanks to its NanoEdge design giving an almost-frameless look. Found on top is an IR HD camera, which isn’t as visible unless you put it under proper light.

I hate to rain on ASUS’ parade, but I honestly believe the display could’ve been better. The company is a braggart when it comes to their display, but let’s be real here: we don’t need something beautiful if it doesn’t provide what we need.

Consumers are looking for the very essence of a product’s feature, hence, the display should not be lackluster. It’s not bright and vibrant enough, and it has poor color reproduction. Moreover, it has a limited viewing angle and I experienced a lot of glare contrary to its claims.

It’s just like when you buy a fleece coat and a cashmere scarf, only to be duped when you find out it was mostly acrylic or polyester and it failed to provide the primary reason for buying it: to protect you from the cold during winter. The VivoBook S15 failed to give us the bright side of its display, but it’s one thing you can compromise if you already fell in love with its look.

Don’t have high hopes

While this laptop failed me in the display department, I wouldn’t let a single moment pass by to watch my favorite sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Despite all the disappointments I encountered, I still had high hopes for its audio performance since it was tuned by Harman Kardon.

However, don’t be fooled by its branding. Even though it has the Harman Kardon signature, the VivoBook S15 provides below average audio quality befitting a non-flagship laptop like this. The speakers are also stuck in the bottom, along with the fan perforations which can result in subdued sound quality especially when it’s placed on a flat surface.

I know, both the display and audio department have failed miserably yet I still found the whole experience with the laptop enjoyable. After all, comedies have taken a bulk on my watch list which guarantees I’ll be happy whatever I watch, wherever it may be. Yet as a person who sees a glass half-full, I honestly believe the VivoBook S15 is more than enough to most users.

My nitpicking is based on my impeccable — and irrationally — high standards, born out of using premium and flagship laptops first-hand. If I didn’t have any point of comparison, I would have opted for this one already.

But since I know we all deserve better, I still encourage you to look for the best you can find; unless this is the one that fits your preference, personality, and of course, budget. If that’s the case, then by all means, go ahead and continue reading.

Sometimes, it’s more than enough

The whole affair with the VivoBook S15 is like a dating adventure. I was hooked at first glance, and I admired its look and style, and I dived right in to feel it. One by one, I see red flags, and I still hold on to the tiny things that I might discover, hoping to make the affair with this “perfect” match going on.

In an attempt to hold on longer, I clung to one of the reasons why I chose this laptop. I looked back and remembered why I enjoyed every moment I was using it. The truth is this laptop provides more than what I need.

The VivoBook S15 is powered by an 8th-Gen Intel i7-8565U processor, running an NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card. It also has an 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and 1TB HDD storage.

Yes, I’m a designer and I occasionally delve into multimedia work. If we’re going to talk about how I’m going to use this laptop in my everyday life, I’d say it’s more than enough. A confidante once affirmed that with the right person, you are enough.

Truly, the VivoBook S15 packs power more than what we need. It can let us browse the internet, open multiple tabs and multitask, and run Spotify, Netflix, Google Chrome, and Adobe Photoshop all at once in the background. Do note that these apps are some of the most power-consuming apps but the VivoBook S15 can handle everything without hiccups.

I also didn’t have qualms working on my post-processing sessions on Adobe Photoshop. On some occasions, I was able to handle illustrations through Adobe Illustrator and edit photos batch-by-batch in Adobe Lightroom. For those who do video editing, this laptop can handle a bit of editing, but I would look elsewhere.

Then again, I wouldn’t push a laptop beyond its limits, especially with a task it’s not meant to handle. Such examples are heavy multimedia works, or worse, playing graphics-intensive games. Sure it can do it albeit only to a certain extent.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

I may have said a mix of praise and brutally honest complaints about this laptop, and it might have confused some of you. Frankly, the ASUS VivoBook S15 has a lot of shortcomings, especially for a laptop in 2019. Yet despite its imperfection, it still proved to be more than capable, especially for everyday users.

This laptop will surely do you wonders, increase your productivity, and let your creativity thrive. For PhP 60,995 (US$ 1206), the ASUS VivoBook S15 S531FL can be rivaled by other laptops out there, but they probably look tacky. None of them can compete with how ASUS packaged this beaut into something stylish yet functional to complement one’s lifestyle. This laptop is something worth bringing and showing-off while you do your work.

Even though I noticed a lot of flaws, I still chose to see the good in it. I have learned that if you want to make a thing last, you have to choose it. Just like in love, you have to choose it every single day. Sure, there’ll be drawbacks and a lot of disappointments along the way, but some can be glossed over, understood and accepted. We’ll always have unreasonable demands, but we only need to take a step back and see the reason why we choose this thing (or someone) in the first place. Sometimes, they are enough.

With this affirmation, I’m going to reward myself and buy this laptop as a gift for myself this holiday season. I believe this is my GadgetMatch.

Deals

ASUS TUF Gaming joins season of giving

With their Share 2019 Plus promo

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The holiday deals keep coming and ASUS TUF Gaming is joining in with their Share 2019 Plus promo.

Under this holiday deal, purchasing various ASUS TUF Gaming laptops will net you any of the following: Sperry Gift Certificates, JBL Clip 2 Speakers, or even game codes for Borderlands 3 or The Outer World. The promo will run from November 30 to December 31.

Here are the participating ASUS TUF Gaming laptops.

Model Screen LCD Spec CPU RAM Storage GPU SRP Bundle
FX505DD-AL272T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 8GB 512G PCIE2 GTX1050 3GD5 PhP 41,995
  • Sperry Gift Certificates worth PHP 3,000
  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each
FX505DD-AL233T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 8GB 1TB GTX1050 3GD5 PhP 40,995
  • Sperry Gift Certificates worth PHP 3,000
  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each
FX505DD-AL127T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 1TB GTX1050 3GD5 PhP 38,995
  • Sperry Gift Certificates worth PHP 3,000
  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each
FX505DY-AL117T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 512G PCIE2 RX560X 4GD5 PhP 37,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

FX505DY-AL080T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 1TB RX560X 4GD5 PhP 36,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

FX505DY-AL026T 15″ FHD IPS 120HZ R5-3550H 4GB 1TB RX560X 4GD5 PhP 36,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

FX505DY-BQ121T 15″ FHD IPS 60Hz R5-3550H 4GB 1TB RX560X 4GD5 PhP 35,995
  • JBL Clip 2 Speaker worth PHP 3,099

  • Choice between Borderlands 3 or The Outer Worlds worth PHP 1,530 each

 

Some important details to take note of:

Claiming of hard bundle items (Sperry Gift Certificates or JBL Clip 2 Speakers) will start on December 2, 2019 and will end on February 28, 2020. Claiming can be done at ASUS Philippines, 4/F Hanston Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig City on weekdays, between 10:00AM-4:00PM. The following documents need to be presented:

  • Original collection receipt
  • Photocopy of customer’s twovaid IDs with signature
  • Photocopy of the representative’s two valid IDs

In case the buyer cannot make an appearance at the claiming site, they must send the following information and documents to [email protected]:

  • Name as found on the original collection receipt
  • Complete shipping address and contact details
  • Store of Transaction
  • Clear photo of original collection receipt
  • Photocopy of the customer’s two valid IDs with signature
  • Photocopy of the representative’s two valid IDs

Buyers will receive confirmation two to five working days after sending the e-mail. Only valid claims will be tagged as eligible for the program.

Bundle items will be sent directly to the assigned shipping address within 30 days of validation. Only purchases done within the period stipulated in #1 can be valid. Game bundle can be claimed through the official AMD Philippines claiming website.

Bundle items are not transferrable nor convertible to cash. Any incorrect information submitted to ASUS Philippines will void eligibility. Any re-processing outside operating procedure will be subject to charges and fees will be shouldered by the buyer.

Lastly, existing replacement and repair mechanics will be applicable once the unit has been availed. Standard warranty terms will also apply to all accessories purchased during the same transaction.

See the participating stores here.

 

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Features

5 reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play

They can do more than just game

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If you’re a professional in need of a powerful laptop, you might find it difficult to find something that meets all of your needs and preferences. While you’d rather have something that’s sleek, sometimes what you need are on a gaming laptop that’s bulky and just screams gaming too much.

Fortunately, brands like ASUS and Lenovo have started redesigning gaming laptops with portability in mind. This attempt makes consumers consider gaming laptops once again.

While it’s easy to look for a reason to buy a gaming laptop if you’re a gamer, there are still a few good reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play games.

Work anywhere you want

Brands are redesigning gaming laptops by making them slimmer and more compact. Gaming laptops have started looking like real laptops and not a clunky machine that will be tough to carry around for most people. They’ve trimmed the weight and now a lot of them fit in most backpacks with a dedicated 15-inch laptop sleeve. Think of it as bringing a laptop with the power of a mobile PC wherever you go.

Stay ahead of the game (no pun intended)

A lot of laptops launched this year carry the latest processors and graphics card meant for the future. For instance, the Lenovo Legion Y540 has a 9th-gen Intel i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, 8GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage.

With that much power, that’s more than enough for your work and daily usage. Imagine running multiple tabs without any hiccups, or even when using power-hungry apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Google Chrome simultaneously.

Show-off a personality

Most gaming laptops nowadays are designed stylishly to reflect different personalities. The ASUS’ ROG line roars like thunder, screaming power, and strength. It’s also unafraid of coming out too loud and daring.

On the other hand, Lenovo’s Legion laptops remain true to their motto of being “stylish on the outside, savage on the inside.” A lot of their laptops look discreet and classy, but are powerful on their own right and oftentimes, they let their work  — and performance — do the talking.

Since I have a hint of narcissism and vanity, I enjoy showing-off from time to time. However, I resonate most with the Legion lineup since I prefer astounding the world with the quality of my output.

Choose when to be untethered

A lot of people prefer being mobile so they can work remotely. Gaming laptops may be humongous but they’re portable and have multiple ports for you to stay connected. It’s difficult to pass on this kind of convenience. Additionally, gaming laptops aren’t limited to USB-C ports, unlike most business laptops. Furthermore, you don’t have to be tied down with cables compared to when you opt for a desktop PC.

Get the extra features to make you more productive

While your needs for a work laptop sometimes are limited to the basics, switching to a gaming laptop lets you enjoy extra features. Case in point: near-borderless display, better visuals, a 144 Hz refresh rate allowing a smooth and seamless, immersive sound experience, antiglare screen, and unique cooling system.

With all these nitty-gritty details, gaming laptops can make your workflow easier since these machines do most of the work for you. It’s just a matter of you taking advantage of all that power.

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Laptops

Lenovo ThinkBook 14, ThinkBook 15: Price in the Philippines

For the modern workforce

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Lenovo is following up the release of the ThinkBook 13s with two more ThinkBooks — the ThinkBook 14 and ThinkBook 15.

These pair of ThinkBooks were first announced in IFA 2019. The ThinkBook 14 has a 14-inch narrow-bezel FHD screen. Inside, the laptop carries up to a 10th-generation 6-core Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of DDR4 2666 RAM, and 512GB of SD M.2 2280 solid-state storage as well as integrated graphics.

The ThinkBook 15 carries much of the same internals but has the Intel Core i7 and a Radeon 620 2GB G5 64B graphics card.

Both laptops have the business-grade Lenovo Services showing you that these were really meant for upgrading the workforce. Ports are also the same.

On the left side you have two USB-C ports, along with a USB port, an HDMI port, and the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Over to the right is the Lenovo hidden port alongside a card reader, another USB port.

It also has Lenovo’s Touch Fingerprint power button as well as the ThinkShutter camera for that much needed privacy and security.

Pricing and Availability

The ThinkBook 14 starts at PhP 48,990 while the ThinkBook 15 starts at PhP 57,490.

Launching alongside the two are ThinkBook Accessories. They are as follows: ThinkBook Wireless Media Mouse (PhP 1,200), ThinkBook 15.6″ Laptop Urban Backpack (PhP 1,900), and a Laptop power bank (PhP 4,900).

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