Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED review: Lean and (super) clean

The Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED is a beautifully built, slim and powerful 15-inch work machine

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED squeezes into that middleground of offering efficient performance in a premium-looking chassis — all under $1,000.

Pros

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    Stunning 15.6-inch OLED display

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    Ideal performance

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    Affordably priced

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    Great audio…

Cons

  • -

    …but volume could be louder

  • -

    Terrible webcam

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    Battery life could be better

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Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED Specs

Price: $899/£899
CPU: Intel Core i5-12500H
GPU: Intel Iris Xe
RAM: 8GB+8GB (16GB)
Storage: 512GB SSD
Display: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) OLED
Size: 14.17 x 9.17 x 0.74 inches
Weight: 3.97 pounds

Finding a reliable laptop under $1,000 that doesn’t sacrifice build or performance is difficult to come by these days. Many of the best laptops that are reasonably priced will still put a significant dent in your wallet, and if you’re like me, you may not necessarily need the outstanding performance a MacBook Pro or Dell XPS 15 delivers (although, they are worth the investment).

Then the Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED comes along and squeezes into that happy medium of offering efficient performance in a premium-looking chassis — all under $1,000. Packing a 12th Gen Intel processor, a commendable 15.6-inch OLED display, and ample battery life, Asus did a fine job with this year’s Vivobook lineup. Or, should I say clean job. Asus also brings its special “Antibacterial Guard” that inhibits the growth of bacteria by more than 99%.

Even with an Intel Core i5 processor and DDR4 RAM, the Vivobook S 15 OLED is still a capable machine that deserves a spot on our list of best laptops under $1,000. Read on to find out why. 

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED price and configurations

The Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED we reviewed is priced at $899/£899, and comes with a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12500H CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM (8GB on board, 8GB SO-DIMM), 512GB for storage, and a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) OLED display. 

(Image credit: Future)

 If you’re looking for more power, the Vivobook S 15 also comes with an Intel Core i7-12700H processor and a 2.8K (2880 x 1620) OLED display for $1,099/£1,049. The 2.8K resolution will make the OLED panel shine with even crisper details, but the FHD model is still a great option for productivity purposes and watching entertainment.

Compared to other 15-inch laptops like the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (from $1,349) and Dell XPS 15 OLED (from $1,299), the Vivobook is a steal — even at its highest configuration. That puts it on our list of best laptops under $1,000

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED design

The Vivobook S 15 OLED continues Asus’ triumph in design, but adds a few notable tweaks when compared to past models like the Vivobook 15 (2020). No ErgoLift hinge or simple “Asus” logo emblazoned on the hinge; the Vivobook S 15 offers an uncomplicated, premium design in a sleek, thin form factor. 

(Image credit: Future)

Despite it being a plastic build, it doesn’t take away from the laptop’s sturdiness or premium-looking Neutral Grey chassis. I’m surprisingly a fan of this lighter grey, and it’s not the type that’s trying to mimic a MacBook’s shade, either. It also comes in Indie Black and Brave Green. Each look striking in their own shade,which is especially apparent on the lid. The raised outline at the side labels the laptop, along with stripes that look like race stripes — sort of. However, this outline also has “#GoFurther” and “#BeFearless.” I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want Twitter quotes forever emblazoned on my laptop for all to see.

(Image credit: Future)

Open the lid and you’re treated to a wide Chiclet-style keyboard and a sizable trackpad. There are tiny details to spice up its design, including a bright orange escape key and the aforementioned racing stripe-type lines across the enter key. There are also spaced-out lines along the top of the touchpad, which is Harmon/Kardon’s subtle touch on the laptop. It’s the display that steals the spotlight, however, with its “NanoEdge,” slim-bezel panel. Thanks to the “lay-flat,” 180-degree hinge, I was able to bend this back to just the right viewing angle, too.

To add to its clean-looking chassis is Asus’ Antibacterial Guard, which the company claims is scientifically proven to inhibit the growth of bacteria by more than 99% over a 24-hour period and adheres to the ISO 22196 test. I’m no scientist, but this is what Asus had to say:

“The Asus Antibacterial Guard treatment consists of positively-charged silver ions and is durable enough for at least three years of normal usage. Household cleaning products and agents such as alcohol wipes and soap water won’t easily wear away the silver-ion surface treatment, ensuring Asus Antibacterial Guard’s long-lasting bacterial-inhibiting effect.”

(Image credit: Future)

In other words, this is a certified-clean laptop, and less bacteria on a laptop is always a win. To this point, I found the laptop’s surface to be free of smudges, specs of dust and dirt a majority of the time. It’s a nice addition that neatniks will appreciate.

With dimensions of 14.17 x 9.17 x 0.74 inches and weighing 3.97 pounds, the Asus Vivobook 15 S OLED isn’t the smallest or lightest laptop of its kind. The Samsung Galaxy 2 Pro 360 (14 x 9 x 0.46 inches, 3.1 pounds) and Dell XPS 15 OLED (13.6 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches, 4.3 pounds) are smaller in size, and the Vivobook leans towards the heftier side of the XPS 13 in terms of weight. It’s still a slim laptop that’s easy to carry around in a laptop bag.

I’m a fan of the subtle touches Asus delivers to make it stand out among other 15-inch laptops. Although, I could do with less hashtags. 

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED ports

 The Vivobook S 15 OLED comes with a decent selection of ports, including dual speedy Thunderbolt 4 ports. One of these is used to charge the laptop, meaning if you’re keeping this laptop plugged in at home, you’re still left with one port that supports external monitors with up to 8K resolution and fast 40 Gbps transfer rates.  

(Image credit: Future)

On the left, there’s one lonely USB-A 2.0 port to plug in PC peripherals like a mouse, keyboard, or USB stick.

(Image credit: Future)

The right side features two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port with 5 Gbps transfer rates, a HDMI 2.0 slot, and a handy 3.5mm audio combo jack.

It would be nice to see a Gigabit Ethernet slot, especially on a 15-inch laptop. However, its Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, along with Bluetooth 5.0, delivers a stable internet connection. For those after even more ports, including Gigabit Ethernet, check out the best laptop docking stations

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED display

The Vivobook S 15 OLED’s shining star is its 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) OLED. Despite sporting a 16:9 aspect ratio that can make the panel seem squashed when compared with displays with a 16:10 or 3:2 aspect ratio, the Vivobook’s screen is still a joy to look at. Of course, the 2.8K (2880 x 1620) OLED display is likely to offer brighter, sharper visuals, the FHD (1920 x 1080) display on this review model can hold its own.

To test out the OLED experience, I fired up Don’t Worry Darling to see how the laptop could handle the bright, 1950s glamour of the disturbingly perfect neighbourhood we see Florence Pugh and Harry Styles flourish in. From the vivid green gardens in stark contrast with the dirty browns and yellows of the desert to the aesthetically matched household items in each luxury home, the Vivobook’s display is a visual treat. 

(Image credit: Future)

The disturbing scene of Pugh wrapping her face in cling wrap out of the blue showed off each crinkle as she clawed it off while gasping for air. The yellowish hue of the room along with the different shades of pale green and yellow was evident, showcasing the OLED display’s capabilities — even on an FHD display.

The numbers add up to what’s seen on screen with 600 nits of HDR peak brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color-gamut coverage (that’s Patone validated), VESA-certified, HDR True Black 600, and 1.07 billion colors. And, to keep your eyes safe, it offers 70% less harmful blue light. 

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED audio

A great screen deserves a great pair of speakers to go along with it, and the Harmon/Kardon built-in speakers meet that expectation. While the sound is crisp in detail and instruments lusciously sing through the side-firing speakers, audio doesn’t get as loud as I would like.

For example, I threw on “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by the talented Marvin Gaye and was blown away by the faint “tch” of the drum’s hit-hat while the sombre keys built up a groovy mood — beautifully mixed with the smooth voice of Gaye. But there’s one problem: I could only satisfyingly sway to the tune when I cranked the volume up to 100. Even at 80, the drums were more faint than prominent. 

(Image credit: Future)

This foible persisted while I watched Don’t Worry Darling, too. I could only follow along with Pugh and Styles’ playful back and forth when volume was at full blast. Otherwise, everything sounded pitch perfect. I prefer to have the option to boost the volume to deafening levels (a problem I need to sort out) rather than need one of the best computer speakers. Still, users will be happy to blast some tunes on the Vivobook S 15.  

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED keyboard and touchpad

The Vivobook S 15 OLED’s simple Chiclet keyboard is your average 1.4 millimeter key-travel set of keys with a low actuation point; it’s comfortable to type on, too. The model we received isn’t backlit, but the bold, white font on the keycaps stand out enough to see what you’re typing in a dark environment. Oh, and Asus gets bonus points for adding a numpad. 

(Image credit: Future)

With keys being solid and snappy, I averaged 71 words per minute on the 10FastFingers.com typing test. I usually hit 70 wpm, so getting that extra word in before the timer ran out shows that the Vivobook’s keyboard is capable of churning out fast copy (for those with faster fingers than me). Keys are solid and snappy, which is exactly what you need on a laptop. 

(Image credit: Future)

The large Precision touchpad doesn’t feel as good as the keyboard; it feels a touch flimsy when pressing down. This is a significant nuisance, however, because I’m still able to swiftly use the Windows 11 multi-touch gestures with precision. 

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED performance

Sporting a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-12500H CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM (with an additional 8GB DDR4 SO-DIMM RAM), and 512GB SSD, the Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED offers ample performance at its price. While sticking with DDR4 RAM instead of the speedier DDR5 hinders its capabilities, it’s saved by its zippy 12th Gen Intel processor. Although, understandably, the upgraded i7 chip will undoubtedly offer even greater performance.

My daily activities consist of scrolling through multiple websites in Google Chrome, working in Google Docs and Google Sheets, and watching one too many YouTube videos. I put the laptop to the test by opening 50 Chrome tabs and playing three 1080p YouTube videos while typing up some copy in Google Docs. I could swiftly switch between tabs without experiencing any slowdown, meaning the Vivobook is up to the task of being your daily work driver. 

(Image credit: Future)

In our Geekbench 5.4 benchmark test, the Vivobook S 15 OLED reached a multi-core score of 6,873. This is unsurprisingly below the Dell XPS 15 OLED (7,477, Intel Core i7-11800H CPU and Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (9,043, Intel Core i7-1260P), seeing as these laptops boast an i7 processor. However, you can see how the Vivobook’s 12th Gen i5 processor isn’t too far behind the 11th Gen Intel i7 chip. What’s more, seeing how it’s below $1,000, this isn’t a bad score in the slightest. Plus, it beats the category average (5,267).

In our Handbrake test, which tests how long it takes to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, the Vivobook took 13 minutes and 56 seconds. Compared to the Galaxy Book 2 360 (9:34) and XPS 15 (8:10), it couldn’t keep up. Even compared to the category average (13:27), the Vivobook falls behind.

With the 512GB SSD in our review unit, the Vivobook S 15 OLED delivered a 1,485 megabytes-per-second transfer rate. That’s extremely impressive seeing how the category average is set at 753 MBps. Unfortunately for Samsung and Dell, theGalaxy Book 2 Pro 360 (763 MBps) and the XPS 15 (825.6 MBps) couldn’t keep up either.

Finally, while the Vivobook is by no means a gaming laptop with its Intel Iris Xe graphics, we put it through the 3DMark benchmark. It achieved an overall score of 1,381, averaging a measly 7.76 frames per second. Compared to the Dell XPS 15 OLED’s Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti, which scored 8,433, the Vivobook is leagues behind. Again, however, this isn’t made to game on. 

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED battery life

If you’re looking for a laptop that will last a majority of the day without needing to plug in, the Vivobook S 15 OLED is up to the task. Even with its 3-cell 70Wh battery, I could continue to work and watch shows without worrying about scurrying to find a place to power it up. That’s a triumph for a 15-inch laptop with an OLED display.

My average day consists of writing and editing stories through CMS or Google Docs, scrolling through websites and multimedia, answering emails, and watching multimedia on YouTube and other streaming platforms. This isn’t a heavy-duty workload, but it’s exactly what this laptop is designed to do well. Kicking off at 9 a.m., the laptop only went into power-saving mode just past 3:30 p.m. However, it lasted over an hour before I needed to reach for the charger. That’s around 7 hours and 30 minutes of constant work, which is great for the on-the-move worker.

What’s more, the Vivobook S 15 OLED comes with a speedy 90W AC adapter via USB-C (which supports Thunderbolt 4), meaning I could quickly zap the laptop from 0% to 50% in around 45 minutes. Fast charging is a must-have for this writer, so I was pleased with the speedy charge. 

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED webcam

The 720p webcam makes a return. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: these are a terrible mess of grainy, noisy images that would make anyone on a video call look like a bundle of blurred images stitched together. 

(Image credit: Future)

This was especially true when I switched the webcam on in a dark environment; the camera couldn’t keep up with my movement — like I was seeing myself at 5 frames per second. Colors were dull, my facial hair seemed like someone haphazardly painted it on, and the top of my shaved head, along with objects in the background, was a fuzzy blur.

Webcams at 720p don’t work in a world of high-clarity selfie cameras on smartphones. I’m happy to see Asus stick in a privacy shutter, but it’s best if you stick with one of the best webcams on the market. 

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED heat

We don’t have lab numbers to give you an exact temperature of different areas across the Vivobook S 15 OLED, but after using the laptop, I can say it doesn’t get overly hot — more like lukewarm in certain places.

The warmest region was underneath the laptop, but everywhere else was temperate. With angled vents at the side and underneath, along with a rubberized stem to elevate the laptop slightly, the laptop could keep cool even under pressure.

I also found the Vivobook to be a quiet machine with fans only emitting a soft hum during more demanding tasks. 

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED software and warranty

Asus doesn’t overload you with proprietary software or even much bloatware. Sure, there’s the usual McAfee antivirus app, but there are other useful MyAsus apps that provide information regarding your warranty and service options along with the serial number and access to some system utilities.

(Image credit: Future)

You can use the MyAsus app to tweak your hardware settings for the display, battery, and other such features. It also includes a tab that will offer deals on some apps (e.g. Adobe Suite). It will also walk you through the process of installing and connecting the link to MyAsus app for your smartphone, which lets you control your iOS or Android smartphone to varying degrees.

The VivoBook 15 S OLED comes with a one-year limited warranty. You can see how Asus fares in general on this front in our Tech Support Showdown.  

Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED: Bottom line

The Asus Vivobook S 15 OLED excels as a capable work machine at an affordable price. It offers commendable performance, thanks to its 12th Gen Intel chip, delivers quality on-screen entertainment with its 15.6-inch OLED display, and can (kind of) get you through a full day of work. Oh, and its special Asus Antibacterial Guard is a nice touch for those who like a clean laptop.

While it isn’t the premium laptop that some may be seeking, it matches a majority of their traits. Its webcam leaves much to be desired, and its keyboard and touchpad are your standard fare. However, these are qualities that even laptops over $1,000 struggle with, and its highlights outweigh its more disappointing qualities. Plus, it’s more understandable on a laptop that has a starting price of $899.

If you are looking for more power, those interested can bump up the specs to have even better performance. Sure, the Intel Core i7 model brings the price over $1,000, but it’s still better than a lot of its competition. For more of the best laptops under $1,000 and best 15-inch laptops, look no further.  

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.