In the most recent announcement, ASUS came up with a brand new lineup of laptops – the “Pro” variant of the Vivobook laptop. We’ve praised the Vivobook S series of laptops for its price-to-performance ratio while offering a very good battery life and has some upgradability.
So, does the Pro variant expand upon these plus points? And comes with OLED too! Let’s find out today.
From the moment of unboxing it, I can see that it’s very different from the Vivobook S series of laptops. From what I can feel and see, this laptop has a fantastic build quality.
The design of it though, is a weird one. Remember like a year or two ago when ASUS had this obsession whereby the enter key has a Mountain Dew color? Well, they now have this warning-stripe design obsession.
Another weird point is the addition of these two metal plates that I’m not a fan of because of a few reasons. Number 1, literally everyone that saw this laptop asked me if those two plates can be peeled off. Number 2, those plates will have grime stuck around the edges. Number 3, it will also snag on those little flaps in my bag.
But, once we open the laptop – which is doable with one finger since the hinge is so finely tuned, we can see a beautiful 15.6-inch OLED screen. Actually, I want to point out that the coating that this screen has feels very similar to the inner display of the Galaxy Z Fold3. It’s very smooth and glossy, but somehow it’s not reflective like a typical glossy display, if that makes sense.
Anyway, just know that it looks great and has fantastic brightness. I don’t care what color accuracy ASUS claims this laptop has because we did our own test to find out that this screen can go up to 400 nits of brightness. And testing the color accuracy of this display at 100 nits brightness, it covers more than 99% of both sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamuts – and I’m very impressed by this OLED panel here.
However, for our case, I think we got a lemon unit. When I used this laptop, I thought my eyes were starting to give up since the text appears blurry and has color fringing. It is most noticeable when viewing white texts on a dark background. After some discussion, we think that our unit is a lemon unit – but it’s still something that customers need to be wary of.
I should also mention that the bezels of this laptop are also adequately thin and the webcam is also at the top of the screen, alongside a physical webcam shutter and some microphones.
This is also one of the best build quality of a laptop that I’ve seen so far. See this? There is barely any flex on the screen when I tried to bend it. Plus, it also has a relatively thin bezel.
The keyboard of this laptop is fairly decent. It’s not my cup of tea since the keys are quite stiff and springy, short travel distance, typing area is biased to the left, and the keyboard is cramped up since it has a numberpad.
Still, I can live with this keyboard.
The trackpad also got a big upgrade – and I mean literally big in terms of size. It’s now super big and thanks to ASUS for developing proper palm rejection algorithm, I didn’t have any misclicks or the mouse cursor doing the moonwalk on the screen while I was typing.
It also has this very, extremely smooth surface. Navigating using this trackpad feels weird because it’s just so smooth, and using multitouch gestures feels surreal on this laptop.
But, here comes the funky part. The ASUS Vivobook Pro 15 OLED comes in a few different spec configurations that we can choose from, and the one we have is the highest-end variant.
It comes with:
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX
- 16GB RAM at 3200MHz
- 512GB NVMe SSD
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop
Okay, so looking at the product page of this laptop, ASUS is hinting that this laptop is made for everything – browsing, gaming, and even content creation. However, looking at the specs page, the literal highest-end variant of this ASUS VivoBook Pro 15 OLED is 16GB RAM. If I am to run Chrome, Premiere Pro, and After Effects at the same time (which I do all the time), I am sure that 16GB of RAM will get choked up instantly. And we’re not here – we’ll revisit this point later.
Now then, what about the performance of this laptop? As told earlier, editing some fancier videos on Premiere Pro will eat up nearly all of the available RAM, and that’s just not good.
If we are to do some simpler edits with this laptop, then yea – there are no issues editing videos on this laptop at all in terms of performance.
But in terms of the experience though, please get some earphones or headphones. I was editing some video in performance mode and, oh my god, the fan sounds like a drone propeller. I can tune it down to standard mode but there are some hiccups here and there in terms of performance.
And so, I was curious. What type of cooling system did ASUS use for this laptop? I mean, it has a Ryzen 9 5900HX chip and an RTX 3050 Laptop GPU inside. So, I opened it up – which was rather difficult, by the way. There is a plastic tab grabbing the middle part right above where the battery is, which makes it very likely to break the tab if we just pry it open.
Once I got it opened though, we can see two semi-shared heatpipes, each leading to their own heatsink and fan at the sides. That’s it? No wonder this laptop is so low-powered and the fan sounds like a helicopter. From our wattmeter, this laptop takes in slightly less than 100W all the time – which is weird since this laptop comes with a 120W power supply.
Anyway, after having a hard time opening up the laptop to satisfy my curiousity, I immediately realized there is no reason for us to open it in the first place. There is nothing that we can do to upgrade this laptop. Remember when we talked about the 16GB RAM? Yeah, that’s the maximum we can get. The RAM is soldered onboard and we can’t add additional RAM sticks.
There isn’t even an additional SSD slot! We only have that M.2 SSD slot and that’s it. As a video editor, I think this is just insufficient. Save a few projects on this laptop and you’re essentially out of storage.
Then, we gotta talk about the ports of this laptop. I don’t know how to tell you this but I think ASUS should have placed more of the ports at the left side of the laptop.
You see, there are two USB 2.0 ports on the left. The position is good, but I think one for an external mouse is enough.
At the right side, we have:
- 3.5mm audio jack
- microSD card reader
- USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 port (5Gb/s)
- HDMI 1.4
- USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1 port (5Gb/s)
- Power jack
And I think ASUS should have those high-speed USB-A and USB-C ports on the left side. Because of how tiny the SSD is, I had to use an external SSD to load my footages. I’m using the ROG STRIX Arion and naturally, I connected that external SSD to the high-speed USB-C port. And when I did that, the cable got in the way of the mouse. This shouldn’t have happened.
Also back to the power intake a little while – remember when I said that this laptop is always taking in just a little shy of 100W of power? I thought – hey, maybe I can get full performance if I plug it into the Ugreen 100W GaN charger, right? Nope. This laptop doesn’t support USB-C charging. What a bummer!
One thing I am impressed with, though, is the battery life. Despite having such a powerful processor, it manages to last for about 6-7 hours in a single charge if I use it conservatively at 40% brightness in silent profile while viewing mostly dark stuff. Because this is an OLED panel, the battery usage fluctuates wildly depending on what you’re viewing and what brightness you’re using.
Should you buy the ASUS Vivobook Pro 15 OLED M3500Q?
So, at the end of the day, this exact spec of the Vivobook Pro 15 OLED that we have is priced at RM5,199. I honestly think it’s an okay price to pay if you can live with the glaring shortcomings of this laptop.
However, I also think that the Ryzen 9 5900HX is overkill. Getting the Ryzen 7 5700H version is a much better option, and at the lower price of RM4,799 too. Everything else remains the same.