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.
MSI launches new gaming laptops and Creator series
Complete with all sorts of features for the best gaming and creation experience
MSI continues to roll out new and exciting gaming devices, and these are no exception. This time around, they’ve turned their attention to the gamers and content creators. Packed with the latest hardware and exciting new features, these gaming laptops should bring out the gamer and creator in you.
The Creator Series
The company first unveils their new Creator series of laptops dedicated for the content creators. These new laptops not only come with gaming-ready hardware, but also with new features for a creator-friendly workspace. For starters, the MSI Creator Z16 and Creator M16 feature a True Pixel QHD+ display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. Meanwhile, the MSI Creator 17 comes with a Mini LED UHD display.
Underneath both these laptops are the latest Intel Core H processors and NVIDIA RTX 30 series GPUs. While these pose incredible gaming power, these also provide enough juice for HD video rendering and streaming. Also, these devices come with M.2 SSDs inside for faster boot and application load times.
Upgrading the gaming line
Apart from the new Creator series, they’ve also managed to upgrade their current lineup of gaming laptops. Like the Creator series, these laptops also come with the latest Intel processors and NVIDIA RTX GPUs. Also, these gaming laptops now come with display options with up to a 360Hz refresh rate fit for the competitive gamers out there.
In particular, the following laptops will now feature these upgraded hardware: MSI GE76/66 Raider, MSI GP76/66 Leopard, MSI GS76/66 Stealth, and the MSI Pulse GL76/66.
Finally, they’re releasing a new line for their MSI Sword and MSI Katana laptops featuring the art of Tsuyoshi Nagano. Inside the laptops, you will find the same upgraded hardware from their other gaming laptops. In terms of display options, however, these laptops will only support FHD at a 144Hz refresh rate. Both laptops feature wallpapers design by Nagano, who was best known for his work on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game series.
Pricing and availability for these laptops have yet to be announced. Here’s where to buy in the Philippines.
Huawei MateBook D 15 2021: An all around solid choice
It’s no ‘beast’ because iit’s not trying to be
Being a dominant player in the smartphone scene, I’ve always been curious about how Huawei’s laptops perform.
Having forged their name onto the spectrum of smartphone enthusiasts with their premium Mate series, we know that Huawei has the ability to craft the same caliber for their laptops.
Carrying the Mate branding with its name, let’s take a look if the Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen also has the right to be called premium and carry on this reputation.
Performance you didn’t see coming
The MateBook D 15 2021 is running on the 11th generation of Intel’s Core i5 processor, the 1135G7. Paired with this is the Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and 512GB of SSD internal storage.
On paper, the specs of the 2021 D 15 isn’t really something many of us would consider sensational, but surely this would be more than enough for online classes or even light to heavy work.
I tend to do a lot of photo editing on Adobe Lightroom so I could say that my power requirements do demand a bit of muscle power. The 11th gen Core i5 on the D 15 is able to handle this quite smoothly even with some headroom for web browsing and other multitasking tasks thanks to the considerable amount of RAM.
As you power on the device, you’d immediately notice the swift performance of the D 15.
A surprising contributor to this is its Smart Fingerprint power button which has been carried over from the previous generations of MateBooks.
Automatically tagging your biometrics upon pressing the power button, this move eliminates the need to input your login details which drastically decreases the boot time. I understand this may vary from other users but having recorded the BIOS time at only 2.5 seconds, this has been the fastest boot up time I’ve ever encountered on a laptop.
Classic never goes out of style
“It looks like a MacBook” was the first comment I’ve heard from the people I was with as soon as I took out the D 15 from the box. Yes, you’ll definitely see the resemblance with Apple’s MacBook line but that’s not to say that it’s a bad thing especially if there are things that Huawei has improved on. Thankfully, this is exactly the case with the MateBook D 15’s body.
The MateBook D 15 2021 has smoother and rounded edges compared to that of a MacBook Pro which makes it more comfortable for your wrists to rest on while still bringing with it that sleek and professional look that we’ve grown to love.
For a 15-inch body, you’d notice that this MateBook is incredibly thin and light weighing in only at 1.56kg and just 16.9mm thin. An easy carry to coffee shops or even just transferring from room to room at home.
Kind of a nitpick on my part though but one comment I do have with this build was it had a very slight body flex on the right hand portion of the palm rest. I don’t know if this was an issue on the particular unit I’m using but whenever my hand lands on that part, it does feel like it sinks down a tiny bit.
More screen for work and play
Mentioning the size earlier, the MateBook D 15 2021 has a 15.6-inch FHD IPS display panel. A bit bizarre though, is that at only 250 nits this display felt a lot brighter. I mostly stay just around two or three notches above the lowest brightness setting to keep it at comfortable reading levels.
I wasn’t very concerned with eye strain however, as this display has been certified under TÜV Rheinland’s reduced blue light and Flicker-free qualifications.
With super-narrow 5.3mm bezels and a rating of 100% on its sRGB color gamut, this display is just a tempting movie companion. The large size, almost bezel-less screen and accurate color reproduction truly makes video consumption an immersive experience.
No cramps for your fingers here
Looking at the D 15, you’d notice immediately that the keyboard is decently sized and its spacing is quite substantial. Key travel on this however, wasn’t very long. While I personally would prefer keyboards with longer key travel over one with a bigger size, the key travel on the D 15 was where it somewhat fell short for me. That being said, I do think this is a matter of personal preference so this isn’t really something that would ruin the MateBook experience.
You’ll also notice that for a 15.6-inch device, this doesn’t have a number pad on the side of the keyboard which I think contributes to how Huawei managed to extend the spacing of its keys and incorporate a decently sized trackpad below.
Speaking of the trackpad, I really appreciate its size as it’s able to accommodate my multi-finger gestures with precision and with only very minimal input errors.
Still placed between the F6 and F7 keys on the top is the iconic recessed 720p camera that the MateBook line pioneered.
I personally see the battery and charging features of the D 15 to be its main strength. It took me a good 9 hours and 30 minutes running off of its 42Wh battery before it shifted to power saving mode. Meaning, this laptop can easily run you for more than 10 hours under controlled conditions and once you’re able to plug it in an outlet, its fast charger would only take you about an hour to charge it back up.
The 65w charger is quite comparable to a size of a smartphone charger that would barely add weight to your everyday carry. The charger also uses a detachable USB-C to USB-C cable. This makes it easy to replace if ever it gets worn out.
Also, this same cable can be used to charge our smartphones either from the charger or from the laptop as the 2021 D 15 also has support for reverse charging.
Next level of connectivity
A neat addition also on the MateBook D 15 is the inclusion of the new Wi-Fi 6 technology. This gives the D 15 the ability to connect to more frequency ranges for a cleaner and less interrupted connection. While this does require that we connect to a Wi-Fi 6 capable wireless network to fully take advantage of it, it does give us some sort of complacency with some future proofing. Giving us more reasons to hold on to our device for a few more years from our purchase.
In this category we also have quite a selection of ports with the inclusion of a USB 3.2, HDMI and USB-C port on the left side and two USB 2.0 and a 3.5mm audio port on the right.
Tap and drop files? Yes please!
A handy feature for people who already belong in Huawei’s ecosystem is the Huawei Share with Multi-screen collaboration.
This feature enables Huawei smartphones to connect and share files, apps and even your phone screen with the D 15 by just tapping it on the dedicated Huawei Share portion of the laptop.
Gimmicky as it may sound at first, I have to say, it really does work. And if transferring files from other devices is something you do often, this might be a feature that you could maximize.
Is the HUAWEI MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen your GadgetMatch?
The MateBook D 15 2021 isn’t what we may call a “beast” of a device as it really isn’t trying to be one. This is mainly designed with professionals in mind or simply people who’re looking for convenience, comfort and just an overall pleasant user experience and it does that very well.
A decent performer, sleek looker, ultraportable 15.6-inch device with a lot of nifty features with the Huawei ecosystem, Wi-Fi 6 and its smart fingerprint power button, the MateBook D 15 2021 is what we could really call a versatile machine.
But here is where it gets a little bit tricky. The MateBook D 15 2021 with the older Intel 10th Gen processor is also currently an available option from Huawei. A less powerful alternative but one that could set you back a few pesos which also gets you most of what the 11th Gen version offers.
If you’re willing to spend a little more for better performance though, the D 15 11th Gen is no doubt a solid choice.
The Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen with 16GB RAM is available in Mystic Silver for PhP 59,999.
Buy from Lazada
ASUS Zenbook 13 OLED UX325: Vibrance and power in portability
Ultraportable and easy on the eyes
ASUS is known for making their mark by leading with state-of-the-art innovation in everything they do, especially when it comes to laptops.
They consistently stand out in the crowd by rendering powerful performance and stunning visuals through their Zenbook series, and they definitely didn’t pull any punches with their best ultraportable yet – the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325.
Vivid visuals you’ve never experienced
As someone who greatly relies on her laptop’s display for creative outputs, I was thrilled when I got my hands on the ZenBook 13 OLED since this has a 13.3-inch FHD OLED HDR NanoEdge Display with 400 nits of brightness. Its 88% screen-to-body ratio and thin bezel design makes work and play very immersive.
These features are accompanied with a 100 percent cinema-grade DCI-P3 color gamut and Pantone validation, making it tick off all the boxes as to what I would prefer for my multimedia consumption.
Since most of us are used to LCD displays on most of our laptops, visuals on this OLED display, however, felt more realistic. Clear and detailed even at low brightness. And its color accuracy made it easy for me to assess and review photos that I had to work on.
A quick research on OLED displays tells us that an OLED display doesn’t use backlight but instead, its millions of LEDs emit its own light. So if an image or a scene in a video to be produced is black, the pixels turn off, resulting in true and deep black and would then turn on when it needs to produce colors.
This feature really helps make you feel like you’re watching live scenes in movies and video projects you’re working on with its true black and extreme contrast ratio.
Also after a long and gruelling day at work, eye strain wouldn’t be a concern since the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 is certified with TÜV Rheinland’s certification under low blue light reduction standard. This ensures that this display emits 70% less harmful blue light and protects you from visual discomfort and disrupted sleep quality.
All these features rolled into this laptop’s OLED display definitely improves its image quality, viewing angles and eye comfort while consuming less battery power.
Power that pushes through
If you’re someone who usually multitasks or someone who wears multiple hats at work, you’ll definitely have the #PowerOfMore with the ZenBook 13 OLED. You can accomplish more tasks with this laptop as it is powered by the latest 11th Gen Intel Core processor complemented with Iris Xe integrated graphics for superb all-around performance.
Also under this laptop’s hood is 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD, more than enough for everyday activities like web browsing, video watching and getting some tasks done to work without a hitch.
Work light, work smart
I am a big fan of compact and portable laptops since I like working at different spots. While I can’t frequent my favorite coffee shops and open spaces these days, I’m still able to work in different rooms and areas at home due to the UX325’s ultraportability.
Measuring only 13.9mm and weighs 1.14kg, it is just a tad bit bigger than your usual notebook. It doesn’t take up much space and is so light that you can just put it in your bag and carry it around when you have to.
Though this laptop is light, thin and has narrow bezels, ASUS still managed to put an IR camera positioned at the top part of the screen.
This is very efficient because aside from using it for your day-to-day Zoom meeting or catch-ups, this IR camera also has the technology and large sensor which allows ultrafast face logins with the help of Windows Hello. I was even surprised when I tried to unlock the laptop with the lights turned off, the IR camera was still able to recognize my face in the dark.
I usually work long hours on a day-to-day basis and I have limited power outlets at home so I mostly rely on battery power. The ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 has been very convenient being powered by a big 67Wh lithium polymer battery.
ASUS claims that this laptop can provide up to 15 hours of battery life but this was proven wrong in a good way. I was actually able to use it for 16 hours for my daily work, a side job and some Netflix series marathon until it reached power-saving mode. Then to fully charge it just takes less than 2 hours. Talk about extreme convenience.
All set to connect
In most ultrathin laptops, they usually sacrifice ports for portability. The ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 definitely redefines the possibilities without sacrificing connectivity. This is the world’s slimmest laptop with full I/O ports – you’ll find a full-sized HDMI, two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports with support for fast charging and up to 40Gbps data transfer speed, a USB Type-A port, and a microSD card reader on the sides of this laptop’s chassis.
If you’re still using wired earphones, you don’t have to fret since ASUS provides a USB Type-C to 3.5mm audio jack adaptor in the package. They also provide a standard USB to LAN adaptor if you’d have to connect to a wired network.
Also, still adding up to this laptop’s connectivity is the inclusion of Wi-Fi 6. This new generation of Wi-Fi technology gives you access to more Wi-Fi frequency ranges which results in a more stable and faster connection.
Lift to your liking
Typing can be pretty wearisome especially if you’ve been working for quite a while. The ZenBook 13 OLED has a precision-engineered ErgoLift hinge which automatically lifts the rear of the laptop as it is opened, tilting the keyboard for a more comfortable typing experience.
This lift also optimizes ventilation at the bottom part of the laptop while adding resonance to the sound that’s coming from the Harman Kardon down-firing speakers.
Designed for comfort and convenience
Despite being compact, the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED is actually easy to type on. This is thanks to the stunning edge-to-edge ergonomic keyboard and its large chiclet keys with hefty key travel which provides us with that satisfying typing feedback and a more comfortable experience.
Some people still prefer to have a dedicated number pad on their laptops. To solve the lack of a number pad caused by the small size of the ZenBook’s body, ASUS implemented the innovative NumberPad 2.0 on the UX325. This NumberPad 2.0 is a dual function touchpad with an integrated LED-illuminated numeric keypad.
The NumberPad 2.0 can be accessed by pressing on the icon on the upper right side of the touchpad while its brightness can be adjusted through long presses on the icon found on its upper left. With the NumberPad 2.0 activated, the touchpad can still be used as cursor thanks to its integrated software.
Built to last
Durability has always been a concern for many when deciding on which laptop to purchase. When it comes to this laptop’s toughness however, the ZenBook 13 OLED is tested with the Military Grade MIL-STD-810G U.S. Standard for reliability and durability. These tests consist of different levels of stress examinations to ensure survival in harsh environments.
This includes power-on drop tests and operation at extremes of altitude and temperature. Along with this, the UX325 also endured ASUS’s stress assessment which far exceeds the standards set by the industry.
Is the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 your GadgetMatch?
It’s amazing how such a compact laptop could handle the demands of my tasks while offering more with its true-to-life colors on visuals, amazing battery life, fast charging, ultraportability and excellent performance.
So if these features tickle your fancy in a laptop, then your search for Incredible is here with the ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325. Safe to say, this amazing piece of machinery is definitely your Gadgetmatch.
The ASUS ZenBook 13 OLED UX325 retails for PhP 59,995 and is available in Pine Grey and Lilac mist variants.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.
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