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Asus Vivobook S15 OLED review: A good general laptop that’s a cut above

Our Rating :
£1,299.00 from
Price when reviewed : £1299
inc VAT

An attempt to reinvent the basic 15.6in laptop with a rather fine OLED display. It’s not cheap, but it is a cut above the competition


  • Superb OLED display
  • Good battery life
  • Lovely sound system


  • Limited I/O port selection
  • Minimal upgrade options
  • Intel Arc dGPU is puny

The new Asus Vivobook S15 piqued our interest, and it generally takes a lot to get us excited about conventional 15.6in laptops. They’re very much the white goods of the portable PC world and, just like with a fridge or a tumble dryer, typically all people ask of them is that they do the job they were bought for, last a reasonable amount of time, and don’t cost too much.

As with all white goods, they’re price sensitive, which raises the question: will people pay more for such frills as a better-quality screen and a discrete GPU? It certainly seems that’s the question that Asus is asking because the new Vivobook S15 is, when all is said and done, a mass-market general-purpose laptop, but one with a couple of decidedly un-mass-market features.

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Asus Vivobook S15 OLED review: What you need to know

It appears that Asus has decided that people wanting a general-purpose laptop deserve a little more and, importantly, are prepared to pay for it because the latest Vivobook S15 models have an impressive OLED display and a discrete GPU, albeit the rather tame Intel Arc A350M.

However, that’s not all, as the new S15 also boasts a great sound system and good battery life. These new Vivobooks may be the first laptops aimed at the general home/school/office user that it’s possible to be genuinely enthusiastic about.

Asus Vivobook S15 OLED review: Price and competition

Configuration tested – Intel Core i7 13700H CPU, Intel Arc 350M (28W) GPU, 16GB RAM, 4GB vRAM, 1TB SSD, 15.6in 1,920 x 1,080 OLED non-touchscreen.

If you want a general-purpose laptop, you can’t do better than a MacBook Pro. The 13in M2 model will cost you between £1,350 and £1,550, depending on how much storage you want. Although the display is smaller than this Asus’, it’s much sharper, and the battery life is epic. However, if you want a 16in model with a 1TB SSD to match the Vivobook, be prepared to part with £2,899.

The Dell Inspiron 16 Plus has just been updated with an RTX 4060 GPU and i7-13700H chip and it has a 120Hz 2.5K display for just £1,249, which is excellent value. As an all-rounder, the Dell takes some beating, but it lacks the Vivobook’s stunning OLED screen.

Acer’s Swift Edge is a featherweight at just 1.17kg and features a 16in, 3,840 x 2,400 OLED panel. The performance from the AMD Ryzen 7 chipset can’t match the new Vivobook, nor does the speaker quality or battery life, but if you have to carry your laptop around a lot then the weight saving could tip the balance. At £1,199, the Swift is good value.

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Asus Vivobook S15 OLED review: Design and build quality

Asus consistently makes some of the prettiest laptops on the market, and the S15 is no exception. A very smart, crisp and angular affair, the S15 is reasonably compact at 359 x 229 x 17.9mm and weighs just 1.7kg, which is good, especially for a laptop that’s not pitched as a superlight.

The Cool Silver model seems to be the only colour the UK is getting, which is a bit of a shame because the Midnight Black, Solar Blue and Cream White models all look more appealing to my eyes.

Unlike such superlight laptops as the LG Gram 17 or the Acer Swift X, the Vivobook S15 is solid and rigid. The keyboard deck has no noticeable flex and the lid has a metal skin, so it doesn’t bend excessively, even when twisted. Despite the Vivobook not having a touchscreen, the lid rotates back 180 degrees – handy if you want to use it slumped on the sofa with your knees up.

According to Asus, the S15 meets the MIL-STD-810H durability standards, with 12 test methods and 26 test procedures undertaken without mishap.

Asus isn’t overly generous with I/O ports so, while you get HDMI (v1.4) and Thunderbolt 4 ports, you only get two USB-A ports: one 3.2 Gen 1 on the right and one 2.0 on the left. Fortunately, you don’t need to use the Type-C port to charge the S15, thanks to the DC-in jack, but there’s no memory card slot.

Getting inside the Vivobook is very straightforward – as long as you have a Torx screwdriver to hand – but once you’re in, you’ll find that all you can do is swap out the 2280 SSD and the Wi-Fi card. There’s no room for a second SSD and the RAM modules are soldered to the motherboard. It doesn’t look like the battery will come out, either.

An Intel AX211 card manages wireless communications, so you get 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. The 1TB Micron SSD recorded mediocre results with sequential read and write speeds of 3,050MB/s and 2,005MB/s.

Asus Vivobook S15 OLED review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

The keyboard is a standard chiclet affair that benefits from a two-thirds-width numeric keyboard, but suffers from half-height Page Up, Down, Home and End keys – an odd choice when there’s ample room for a full-sized set.

The keys possess a light and positive action, with 1.4mm of travel. The keycaps have a soft and pleasant feel to them and feature a 0.02mm dish, though that’s not something I’d have noticed unless I’d read about it. Overall, typing on the S15 is an enjoyable and near-silent experience.

At 130 x 82mm, the one-piece trackpad is pretty expansive for a 15.6in laptop, with little free space above or below it. The surface offers just the right amount of resistance (Asus doesn’t say if it’s glass or plastic, but I’d guess the latter), while the click-action is nicely damped and not too noisy.

The webcam has a 1080p resolution and produces a crisp and nicely coloured image. It also features a physical shutter to keep prying eyes at bay, if you’re worried about webcam hacking or “camfecting” (camera + infecting). There’s a selection of camera enhancements in the AiSense control panel, including background blurring, gaze and motion tracking, lighting optimisation, and a filter to improve your appearance. However, you can only have one feature active at a time – for my preference, that was always motion tracking as it does an excellent job of keeping your face front and centre, no matter how much you fidget or squirm.

Asus Vivobook S15 OLED review: Display and audio

When I unboxed the S15, I was rather disappointed to discover that the display refresh rate was only 60Hz. Originally, Asus’ marketing communication gave the impression that both the Full HD and 2.8K models refreshed at 120Hz, but that now seems to have been clarified, with the UK product page only claiming 60Hz Full HD.

The Samsung-made OLED screen is undoubtedly the S15’s main bid for your attention and money. There are buckets of colour available, with gamut volumes of 144.3% sRGB, 99.4% AdobeRGB and 102.2% DCI-P3. In SDR mode, the maximum brightness reached an impressive 399cd/m², but in HDR mode, the small area (<5%) peak jumped to 630cd/m², more than enough to qualify for the S15’s VESA DisplayHDR True Black 600 certification. With black luminance being 0, the contrast ratio is infinite, so HDR content looks superb on the Vivobook: lush, saturated and visually dramatic. And the visual appeal is only helped by the gloss, rather than matte, finish on the screen.

The S15 has three industry-standard colour profiles built-in: sRGB, DCI-P3 and Display P3. Measuring the Delta E colour variance against the first two profiles returned scores of 1.34 and 1.4, which are both good and means that the Vivobook can be used for colour-critical work right from the get-go.

The S15’s speakers are certified by Harman Kardon and are very impressive, capable of producing solid, punchy bass and plenty of detail. Beyond that, the Dolby Atmos processing creates an expansive sound profile for a very enjoyable listening experience.

The maximum volume, measured against a pink noise source at a 1m distance, was 73.2dB(A) which is good, though not exceptional, but means there’s no chance of any distortion at maximum output.

Asus Vivobook S15 OLED review: Performance and battery life

No laptop running on a 14-core Core i7-13700H CPU with 16GB of DDR5 RAM could ever be accused of being slow, so it was no surprise that the S15 scored 357 points in our standard 4K multimedia benchmark. That’s performance enough to chew through even demanding tasks in pretty short order.

The 350M is the entry-level model in Intel’s Arc series of discrete GPUs and, in this instance, comes with 4GB of vRAM and a lowly TGP of 28W. The 3DMark Timespy benchmark scored 2,954 on the S15, around 50% higher than an Intel Iris Xe integrated GPU would have achieved.

All this means the S15 will handle tasks such as video editing and 3D graphics rendering faster than a laptop without a discrete GPU, but that the difference isn’t all that marked. By way of an example, the S15 ran the SPECviewperf 3dsmax 3D modelling test at 19.6fps. That compares to around 15fps from the i7-13700H / Iris Xe laptops I’ve tested, but over 60fps from machines with an RTX 3050 GPU.

The S15’s gaming abilities are also limited. With all the graphics settings turned down as low as possible, and Intel’s XeSS upscaling system doing as much of the heavy lifting as possible, Returnal (which looked superb on the Vivobook’s OLED screen) ran at 32fps, which is playable, but only just. Less demanding titles such as Serious Sam 4 performed better, running at almost 75fps, albeit on the same low detail settings we use to test laptops without discrete GPUs.

Battery life is another one of the S15’s strong suits. In our standard video rundown test using VLC, the 75Wh battery lasted for 10hrs 40mins, a highly creditable result that puts it up with some of the best Windows laptops we’ve tested, even if it can’t quite match the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus or the MacBook Pro.

Asus Vivobook S15 OLED review: Verdict

The lovely OLED display is the special spice that turns the Vivobook S15 from just another 15.6in laptop stew into a dish a Michelin chef might serve. The high-quality speaker system reinforces the S15’s media playback credentials, making the S15 a great choice for general home use.

What you don’t get is overly impressive graphics performance. The Arc 350M does outperform Intel’s Iris Xe integrated GPU, but not to the degree of an RTX 3050 or RTX 4050 GPU, even one with a low TGP. That said, it’s still a very desirable package for under £1,300, so can be highly recommended.

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