[Review] 11th Gen Intel Workhorse: ASUS Vivobook 15 (K513)
ASUS VivoBook 15 (K513)
It seems that every few months, we get a new Vivobook from ASUS. It's actually not surprising as the productivity-focused Vivobook is one of their staples in their laptop lineup.
This time, we have received the ASUS Vivobook 15 (K513), which is largely the same as its predecessors, but is updated with the latest 11th Gen Intel processor as well as NVIDIA GeForce MX350 graphics.
Classic colour blocking
The Vivobook series is known for their wide array of vibrant colour choices as well as colour blocking aesthetic. True to its design DNA, the colour blocked Enter key has made a return, along with the familiar diamond cut edges on its aluminium alloy body. The choice of material strikes a balance between lightweight portability and durability, making it perfect for working on the go.
Our unit is Transparent Silver, which actually looks nicer than it sounds - it's a whitish silver reminiscent of MacBooks, as opposed to a darker, more grey-ish tone. It also comes in Indie Black and Hearty Gold if silver is not your thing. I'm slightly disappointed that it doesn't come in brighter colours like Gaia Green and Resolute Red like the S14/15 range, but on the bright (hurhur) side, it does come with a brand-new sticker pack for you to jazz up your machine a little .
Opening it up, you'll find a 15.6" FHD IPS anti-glare display with their signature NanoEdge display with 5.75mm bezels. While the bezels are slim, you'll still find a HD webcam along the top edge. The quality of the webcam is rather meh, but should suffice for conference calls and such.
The display itself is pretty vibrant in terms of colour and has great viewing angles. The brightness is rather underwhelming though, so indoor usage would be most ideal. It is also TUV Rheinland Eye Care certified to greatly reduce the harmful effects of blue light, so your eyes won't feel as fatigued staring at the screen all day long.
Great for work - even some casual gaming
The Vivobook 15 (K513) is equipped with the latest 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor. What's interesting is that it also features NVIDIA GeForce MX350 discrete graphics on top of Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, which are already a step up from the integrated graphics we've seen in previous generations.
In any case, we found that you're not just able to use the Vivobook as a pretty mean productivity machine, but you'll also be able to do some light gaming on it. While Triple A titles may still be a stretch (this isn't a gaming laptop after all), mainstream esports titles like Dota 2 and CS:GO still sat comfortably within the 60FPS range on highest settings, which is great for those who are looking to play some chill games during their downtime.
It is also kitted out with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, which I find just enough for working purposes. While the Malaysian variant of the Vivobook 15 seems to come in just the one configuration mentioned above, it actually has space to accommodate up to 16GB of RAM and an additional HDD to boot.
AIPT and more
(No, not the uni - thats' APIIT.) AIPT stands for ASUS Intelligent Performance Technology, which sets the Power Limit 1 value of the processor from 15 to 28 watts, thereby improving overall performance by up to 40%. It also dynamically adjusts power consumption to optimise efficiency as well as audio and thermal output.
To turn it on, you'll have to head on over to the built-in MyASUS software and switch to Performance Mode. At the moment, you'll find it under "Fan Profile", but a representative from ASUS has stated that it will be clearly labeled as "AIPT" in future updates.
In terms of lasting power, the 42Wh battery powered through roughly 9 and half hours at 60% brightness on Battery Eater's reader mode, which simulates casual web browsing. For more intensive real-world usage though, you can expect to get around 6-7 hours of usage before needing to hook it up to a power outlet. In any case, the power brick is small and light, so bringing it along for longer days isn't a huge issue.
MyASUS also comes with a bunch of other useful features, including diagnostic tools, ASUS Splendid to adjust the display to your liking, and Link to MyASUS, which allows you to connect your smartphone or mobile device directly to the laptop. You'll be able to mirror screens, transfer files and more, which is extremely convenient.
Numpad and fingerprint sensor are always welcome
Considering the target audience of Vivobooks, it makes sense that a numpad is included. The arrow keys are in the same inverted-T layout, but are half height, so it will take some getting used to. You'll find a handy array of shortcuts along with the function keys, and the power button is nested into the main keyboard cluster, which usually isn't my favourite design choice, but since it's placed well away from commonly-used keys, it's rare that you'll accidentally put your laptop to sleep.
In terms of typing, the experience is pretty standard for laptops - the 1.4mm key travel is comfortable, and the three levels of backlighting make it easy to type in the dark if you're not a touch typist.
The touchpad is smooth and works well, while the fingerprint sensor is quick and responsive, which is a plus for convenience since the webcam does not appear to support facial recognition.
I/O: selection yay, position nay
In terms of I/O, the selection is pretty decent:
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C (DT only)
2 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
1 x Audio Jack Combo
1 x Micro SD Card reader
However, I'd prefer a full-sized SD card reader over Micro SD any day, and honestly, the positioning of the ports could be much better. For example, the charging port on the right - since it's placed relatively high up, I can still forgive it since it's mostly out of your mouse hand's way.
However, the HDMI port, USB-C port, and headphone jack are all located on the right side as well, which will definitely create a clusterfuck situation should you have all of them plugged in at the same time. Hopefully, some of these will be moved to the left in future iterations, especially since that side is relatively sparse with only 2 USB-A ports at the moment.
There's also no Ethernet port, but the Vivobook 15 has both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, so I can easily overlook its omission.
The speakers are down-firing instead of sideways or upwards, so it sounds best on a flat and hard surface. Either way, you can easily hook up a pair of TWS earbuds via the aforementioned Bluetooth 5.0, or simply plug in a headset and you're good to go.
Buy or no buy?
At just RM3,299, the ASUS VivoBook 15 offers a great deal of value. Its 11th Gen Intel processor coupled with discrete MX350 graphics allow you to not only perform work tasks efficiently, but provide enough juice for some light gaming on the side as well.
The battery life is satisfactory while the form factor is pleasantly light and portable, though it definitely isn't as thin as ultrabooks (which cost a pretty penny more for the additional portability!)
The RAM and storage capacity hit the sweet spot at 8GB + 512GB, but the fact that there's room to upgrade if necessary is a bonus.
Overall, the ASUS VivoBook 15 (K513) provides a nice upgrade from its predecessor while maintaining the stylish and sleek aesthetic that it's known for. If you're looking for a portable workhouse at a reasonable price point, this is definitely something to consider.
For more information, you can head on over to the official product page here.