ASUS is bringing in some of their more affordable choices of laptops to the market with the VivoBook A510U. In some ways, it’s similar to the S15 that we reviewed here, so let’s begin.
The Vivobook A510U is meant to be an even cheaper version of the existing VivoBook S15 series of laptops and yet maintains some performance and build quality for the laptop. It’s certainly interesting to see what ASUS has done for the VivoBook series.
The Vivobook A510U comes in a rather simple and compact cardboard box with just the VivoBook branding at the front. I know the box is pretty water resistant since I was carrying the entire box with the handle while it was raining heavily that day.
Opening up the box reveals the VivoBook A510U itself, and another compartment at the side that holds the power plug. Underneath the laptop holds some documentation. Pretty simple packaging design.
Honestly speaking, the VivoBook A510U still looks generally the same as the VivoBook S15 – but it has a full plastic body instead. Since it’s plastic, the concentric circles on the lid isn’t as dense or as fine as its more premium cousin.
With a plastic build, the entire VivoBook A510U feels lighter too. With a full plastic build like this, just be careful not to drop it or anything or the corners can chip off easily compared to a dent on laptops made out of metal.
Connectivity and ports
The ports on the VivoBook A510U is pretty good in my opinion. It has two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports and a full-sized SD card reader on the left side. On the right side, there’s a headphone/microphone combo jack, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, another USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, and the charging port.
Honestly, quite a good selection of ports but for the student demographic that this laptop is aiming for, I think including a VGA port would make sense. Yes, lots of universities still use VGA ports.
As for the cooling part of this laptop, it’s not something to be worried about. There is a heatsink with a fan at the hinge. Given the specs of the VivoBook A510U, it’s adequate enough to cool the system down.
Opening up the lid for the first time and booting it up. the only thing I saw is how thin those side bezels are for this 15.6-inch 1080p display. This design was first introduced in ASUS’s laptops last year during Computex 2017 and dubbed as the “NanoEdge display”. Honestly, I liked how thin the side bezels are compared to other laptops. Thinner bezels means the entire laptop can be shrunken down in its overall footprint too.
The microphones and webcam are still situated at the top. I personally would love to have the top and bottom bezels a little thinner than what we have now. I mean, the microphones and webcam modules aren’t that big anyway.
The screen’s quality is surprisingly vivid and bright. It’s a little washed out in its brightest setting, but I doubt anyone would use that in normal conditions anyway.
Trackpad and keyboard
Let’s begin with the trackpad, It’s not bad – usable to navigate around and get simple stuff done without frustration. Of course, if rapid movement and precision clicking is needed, I still prefer to go back to a regular mouse.
The VivoBook A510U uses Windows Precision Touchpad drivers and all of the gestures are working out of the box. Good enough.
As for the keyboard though, it has a short travel distance which some people might like and keeps the laptop thin, too. The force needed to press the key isn’t that much, but tires out the fingers easily because every key press is essentially bottoming it out instantly.
It’s an okay keyboard. Not a huge fan of it but at least it’s pretty silent.
Oh god. The specs on the VivoBook S15U isn’t bad, actually. It has an Intel Core i5-8250U with NVIDIA GeForce MX130 GPU with 2GB of VRAM, running at 1080p resolution. Performance overall isn’t that bad, given that the GPU is severely underpowered to play the latest games. Still, it’s good to have a dedicated GPU especially for video editing.
Here are some benchmark scores.
For those who are curious about gaming performance, I tested Overwatch at its lowest settings with 1080p resolution, and it hovers at about 55FPS most of the time. Occasionally, it drops to about 30FPS and stutters.
The problem that this laptop has is the fact that it still comes with 4GB of RAM and a hard disk. Yes – a hard disk. The hard disk included in the VivoBook A510U that we’re reviewing is a 1TB Seagate ST1000LM035, by the way. It’s slow.
Look, I get it that ASUS might be trying to save cost and just include a hard disk. Let the customer get an SSD themselves with higher quality too, right? In my opinion, that’s true for a small percentage of the market. Many users prefer everything to be included and ready to go right after purchase. 8GB RAM and at least 128GB SSD would be great.
I mean, if users can get their own M.2 2280 SSD, then the user can choose high quality ones themselves. We’ve seen low-quality M.2 SSDs that came with laptops in the past which has terrible sequential write speeds. To save you some trouble, may I interest you in getting a budget M.2 2280 SSD like the PenDrive M.2 SSD here?
Let’s not forget that the VivoBook A510U comes with an insane amount of bloatware too.
Which leads us nicely to the next segment – upgrading the storage yourself.
Maintaining & upgradability
It’s fairly easy to open up the VivoBook A510U. A few screws around the sides and you’re in – right? Not so simple. ASUS hid two screws underneath two of the rubber feet nearest to the hinge. I don’t see any advantage of hiding screws there other than to cause inconvenience. Not like the warranty sticker is there anyway.
Opening the backplate reveals everything at one go. Thank you ASUS for making everything easily accessible.
We can first see the M.2 2280 slot beside the 2.5-inch HDD slot. A rather awkward position to install, to be honest – but it gets the job done.
Then the SODIMM RAM slots. One of them is already occupied with the 4GB module whereas the other one is empty. Get another 4GB module and pop it in there and you’ll be good to go.
As for the cleaning process, there’s one heatpipe shared between the CPU and GPU, leading to the heatsink and fan. It’s easy to clean if you ever need to.
Fun fact: there is quite a lot of unused space beside the fan.
The battery on the VivoBook A510U. It’s prety good. It can last for about 6-7 hours of browsing and typing and stuff like that with a comfortable indoor brightness level. Yes, the battery is really that good.
Charging however, is another story. It takes quite a long time to actually charge it up to 100% when it’s dried up – about 2-3 hours. Just remember to plug it in and let it charge while you’re not on the go.
Wrapping up the ASUS VivoBook A510U review
Let’s be honest here – the VivoBook A510U is quite a bland laptop. There is no extra feature or extremely powerful hardware to differentiate itself from the market. The VivoBook A510U is aimed towards two categories of users – students and those who are on the go. These two target audiences need something in common – low price.
For the configuration that we have, i5-8250U, does not have a M.2 SSD and only has 4GB RAM inside. The price for this configuration is RM2,545. To be honest, kind of expensive for what they’re asking. RM2,545 with 4GB RAM is fine… but I’d rather pay slightly higher and to have ASUS includ a 128GB M.2 SSD.