(Please take a look at my accompanying video review above)
The Asus VivoBook Pro N552VX is a 15.6” high end general purpose laptop with a tempting spec. There are a few variants, but the specific model I’m looking at here comes with an Intel i5 quad core processor, 12GB of DDR4 memory, and a full HD 1920×1080 screen. It has a fast 128GB SSD boot drive and a 1TB storage drive. It retails in the UK for around £800.
First impressions are this is one hefty laptop. It feels heavy at 2.5kg but it’s the thickness that you first notice at around 30mm – well over an inch. The 120W charger is also larger than average. Build quality is decent but nothing special and the heavily rounded edges and larger screen bezel tend to be seen on more budget laptops. But it has a metal finish to the lid and keyboard surround and it’s the performance that really matters with a laptop like this, which I’ll look at shortly.
This model comes with a Full HD (1920×1080 resolution) non-touch display, with a built in 720p web camera. I’m not particularly fond of the very wide plastic bezel, but the screen itself looks very good with decent viewing angles.
Connectivity is good with the latest ac WiFi and Gigabit ethernet and there’s a good selection of ports. Starting along the front there’s a memory card slot with SDXC support. Down the right side there’s a combined headphone / mic jack, 2 USB 3.0 ports, a DVD drive (which partly accounts for the laptop’s thickness), and a Kensington security slot. Around the left side there’s the power port, air vents, a mini display port, an HDMI port, the Gigabit Ethernet port, another USB 3.0 port which is also a quick charge port for mobile devices and a very welcome USB Type-C port.
The built in speakers sounded good but unfortunately are rather limited in their output, so you’ll still want to connect headphones or an external speaker for many activities.
The trackpad feels nice and smooth although tapping sounds a little clunky. I also like the feel of the keyboard, and there’s even a number pad which you won’t find on smaller laptops.
The battery has a capacity of 3200mAh, which is on the low side and if the weight and size hadn’t already put you off using this laptop for your travels, battery life just might.
Upgrading the laptop in the future is straightforward. There’s a panel on the back that slides off allowing access to the storage drive and memory, but unfortunately not the SSD.
Initial setup of the laptop went very quickly. There was some junkware to remove – I uninstalled Evernote, a Dropbox trial, Foxit PDF, WPS Office, Teamviewer, Asus Webstorage and McAfee. And I disabled OneDrive.
The 128GB SSD boot drive also has the default configuration as the storage drive, so out of the box you would quickly fill this drive up leaving the 1TB storage drive empty. It’s easy to configure the larger drive for users’ documents so I’m not sure why they are never set up this way.
This laptop came with a pre-anniversary update of Windows 10 Home, so I had to install the significant update – this could take some time on a slower connection.
We now get onto the performance of this laptop which is where it really shines. It feels fast and responsive and Windows boots up incredibly quickly. It takes under 20 seconds to boot into Windows, load Chrome and start a web search.
This model has a quad core Intel i5 6300HQ processor which runs at 2.3GHz and can boost to 3.2GHz. The 12GB of the latest DDR4 RAM is more than you tend to get on laptops at this price, and there’s no doubt the Samsung 128GB SSD really helps things along.
Running the free benchmark tool from userbenchmark.com gives good results, only let down by the graphics card which is an entry level NVIDIA 950M, good enough for general computing tasks but only suitable for light gaming.
There is some fan noise but it didn’t sound particularly loud to me, even when I pushed the processor to full utilisation running Prime95.
Overall, I think this laptop offers good value for money. It’s not a laptop to impress your friends or to take travelling. But it’s a fast desktop replacement that will be able to handle pretty much anything including video editing and even light gaming. The screen is good and although they do an Ultra HD model, full HD is enough for most people. The selection of ports is very good and offers a decent amount of future proofing, especially via the USB Type C port. Its closest rival is probably the Dell XPS 15, which is a lot sleeker but also far more expensive.
- Very good specifications and performance
- Bright clear full HD screen
- Good value
- Robust build quality
- Easy upgrade capability
- Good selection of ports including USB Type C
- Rather heavy and bulky
- Underwhelming design
- Low capacity 128GB SSD boot drive
- Graphics card under powered for gaming (next model up recommended)
- Battery life may be an issue depending on how you want to use the laptop
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