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A new dawn for laptops? I’ve tested the Asus Vivobook S 15 (S5507) and there’s no doubt in my mind

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1299
inc VAT

The first Snapdragon X Elite laptop has amazing battery life, a superb screen and great performance – Windows ARM laptops are here to stay


  • Stupendous battery life
  • Great screen
  • Comfy ergonomics


  • Not great for gaming
  • Not the prettiest laptop

On the outside, the Asus Vivobook S 15 looks like any other 15in laptop. It’s reasonably pretty, but no MacBook Air. It’s quite light for a laptop this large but feels a little insubstantial. Under its very normal-looking exterior, however, it’s as exciting as any laptop I’ve reviewed in years.

That’s because this is the first laptop I’ve tested to come with one of the new Qualcomm Snapdragon X series processors inside – the top-end 12-core X Elite, to be specific. It’s an ARM-based chip Windows laptop manufacturers are hoping can challenge Apple’s M-series silicon on both performance and efficiency where Intel has so far failed.

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Asus Vivobook S 15 (S5507) review: What you need to know

To go with the Qualcomm chip, the Asus Vivobook S 15 is as well equipped a laptop as you’d expect a modern Asus machine to be. Initially, there’s only one model available and it comes with 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage and a gorgeous 15.6in 120Hz 3K OLED non-touch display.

It’s impressively light for a 15.6in laptop at just 1.42kg and is only 14.2mm at its thickest when closed. It isn’t the prettiest – the underneath, in particular, is littered with labels, vents and exposed screw heads – but it is quite practical. There are two USB-C 3 ports on the left edge, accompanied by a full-sized HDMI output, a microSD card slot and a 3.5mm audio jack, and a pair of USB-A (5Gbits/sec) ports for legacy peripherals on the right. There’s no fingerprint reader, but you do get Windows Hello support via a 1080p webcam with a built-in privacy shutter.

This is also one of the first laptops I’ve tested to bear the Microsoft Copilot+ branding. This unlocks a handful of exclusive Windows and third-party AI features, all of which will run locally on the Snapdragon chip’s neural processing unit (NPU).

Asus Vivobook S 15 (S5507) review: Price and competition

The one variant of the Asus Vivobook S 15 currently available will set you back £1,299, but I’d expect that to be discounted in the coming months so it might be worth waiting.

The obvious competition is the 15in M3 Apple MacBook Air, which starts at the same price but comes with half the RAM at 8GB, a quarter of the storage at 256GB and only an IPS display.

Windows rivals are more numerous. My favourite is the slightly smaller Asus Zenbook 14 OLED, a laptop that comes with an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. If you want a machine with a screen similar in size to the Asus, you can’t go too far wrong with the Huawei Matebook 16s. That laptop comes with a 16in display, a 14-core Intel Core-i7 13900H CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for a very reasonable £1,000. It’s significantly heavier than the Asus at 2kg and battery life isn’t as good, but it’s also more powerful.

And, of course, there’s a whole tranche of Snapdragon X-series laptops coming very soon, not least the Microsoft Surface Laptop 7, which is a much nicer-looking machine than the Vivobook. However, note that you’ll be paying a lot more for an equivalent specification, with the X Elite/16GB/1TB model going for a whopping £1,749.

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Asus Vivobook S 15 (S5507) review: Features and design

If it’s a high-end, premium design you’re looking for, then this is probably not the laptop for you. It’s handsome enough, but the vent-ridden base, slightly hollow-feeling chassis and black matte plastic screen bezel all hint at more humble origins than the all-metal, minimalist MacBook Air.

That said, this is a solid, practical design. There are plenty of inputs and outputs scattered around the edges, including a full-sized HDMI port and a microSD card slot. The keyboard is comfortable and equipped with a compact number pad to the right, although the half-height cursor keys, small left Shift and half-height Enter key put a dent in its appeal.

As with all modern Microsoft “AI” laptops this year there’s a Copilot key where the right-hand Windows Start key would normally be. You can also press Windows + C to launch Copilot if you’d prefer. The touchpad, meanwhile, is big and responsive, despite the click being a little on the heavy side.

The keyboard has a single-zone RGB backlight, which is a little unusual in a laptop of this ilk, but no fingerprint reader. To make up for this, the 1080p webcam supports Windows Hello face login and comes with a built-in privacy shutter. The speakers are rather good, too – there’s plenty of volume and they don’t sound too harsh when cranked up – and wireless connectivity stretches to Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4.

Asus Vivobook S 15 (S5507) review: Performance and battery life

The most interesting aspect of the Vivobook S 15 isn’t its keyboard, its screen or even its price – it’s the silicon lurking beneath its humble silver skin. This laptop is powered by one of the new generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon chips; in this case the 12-core Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite.

This is an ARM-based processor like Apple’s M-series chips, and Qualcomm has been bigging it up over the past few months, claiming superior performance and – critically – better battery life than Apple’s chip. Considering Intel has tried, and failed, to achieve this feat in the four years since Apple launched its own silicon, I have to admit I was sceptical. Early indications from my tests, however, show that these are no hollow boasts.

First and foremost, battery life is fantastic. In my test, the Asus Vivobook lasted a stonking 16hrs 59mins 38secs, a result only matched by the 13.6in M2 MacBook Air. That result is also two hours longer than the current M3 MacBook Air 13.6in achieved and it’s a time that no Windows machine has got close to in recent years.

More importantly, perhaps, this is a laptop that doesn’t seem to eat into its battery when you close the lid and pop it in your bag. In the week I’ve been using it, it’s been efficient, responsive and always ready to go – and it barely ever seems to need a charge. As I write this, it’s Wednesday morning and the laptop still has 6% in the tank. The last time I charged it to 100%? Sunday morning. Another bonus is that even though there’s a fan inside, it rarely whirs up, unlike most Windows laptops.

asus vivobook s15 qualcomm review battery life chart

Of course, the other main attraction, or at least the one Asus, Microsoft and Qualcomm want you to care about, is the chip’s powerful NPU. It’s rated at 45 TOPS (trillions of operations per second), which is five TOPS above the rating required by Microsoft for it to be called a Copilot+ PC. What does this mean? At the current time, it guarantees a slightly augmented set of AI-driven features that run locally on the machine.

The main one is Recall, a feature that takes screenshots every few seconds and allows you to search or scrub back through to see what you were doing at any given time. It sounds handy, but due to privacy concerns, Microsoft has made a U-turn on rolling it out immediately. If you were to buy this laptop straight away, you could try it but you’d have to enrol in the Windows Insider Program, and I wouldn’t recommend doing this on your main machine.

What you can try out right away, however, is the new Cocreator feature in Microsoft Paint. This lets you combine text prompts with rough scribbles to produce AI images with a bit more control than plain text prompts. It’s fun but you’ll get bored with it in a day or two, and it’s probably better suited to a laptop with a touchscreen and stylus support.

The NPU also enables an expanded set of Windows Studio Effects, which you can use during video calls. There’s an extra option for keeping your eyes dead centre in the frame, new filter effects and improved background blurring. Other features have been promised, too, including translation in live captions, although I could see no way of enabling that.

These are all well and good, but none is particularly groundbreaking. The promise, however, is that third-party apps from the likes of Adobe will choose to accelerate other features on this new, efficient hardware, speeding up performance and moving the load from the more power-hungry CPU and GPU cores without the consequent hit to battery life.

The good news is that general performance across the rest of the chip is impressive. In the Geekbench 6 CPU test, the Cinebench R23 single- and multicore tests (even though these are x86 benchmarks) and the Geekbench ML tests, the Snapdragon chip performed well, trailing behind the Apple M3 for single-core tasks but beating it in the multicore tests. It also bested the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED’s Intel Core Ultra 7 CPU in these benchmarks.

asus vivobook s15 qualcomm review geekbench 6 compute opencl chart

asus vivobook s15 qualcomm review cinebench 23 chart

I also fired up the ARM-native version of DaVinci Resolve to see how it would cope with a quick edit and 4K video render and was pleased to find that a 3mins 47secs clip recorded on my iPhone 15 Pro Max rendered out using the H.265 Master preset in 2mins 55secs. The M2 MacBook Air I had to hand took 4mins 57secs.

asus vivobook s15 qualcomm review geekbench 6 cpu chart

Where it doesn’t perform quite as well is in GPU benchmarks, with the Qualcomm chip’s Adreno X1 GPU lagging significantly behind its rivals in the Geekbench 6 Compute (OpenCL) benchmark. I also experienced a little bugginess in the display drivers, with the display flashing frequently during charging. I expect this bug to be ironed out in fairly short order, however, as it isn’t a problem when the power source is disconnected.

Perhaps more significant is that more and more big software developers are converting their applications to run on Windows on ARM natively, and that means better performance all round, less waiting around for apps to launch, and a lot less time spent staring at the spinning wheel of doom.

I took a quick straw poll of the applications I use regularly for work and testing and most had ARM versions available for installation: DaVinci Resolve, Affinity Photo, the Chrome web browser, Handbrake and its accompanying command-line application, Blender, Spotify, Netflix, Disney+, Zoom and all the Microsoft Office applications. Even Adobe has converted its ever-popular Photoshop to run on ARM chips natively now.

In fact, Microsoft is claiming that for 90% of the “app minutes” users spend on their machines today there’s currently ARM-native software available for Windows 11. Note that this figure is really for non-gaming apps – for serious gamers the benchmark numbers above and the lack of ARM-native gaming titles means you’re probably best sticking with Intel and AMD laptops for the time being.

And, this being Windows, there will always be x86 software you want to use that will never be converted to ARM. Fortunately, for these less demanding applications, the new Prism x86-64 emulator will take over, and Microsoft claims this is now just as fast as Apple’s much-lauded Rosetta 2 system. This allows laptops such as the Vivobook S 15 to run x86 software in emulation, so there should be no worries about general compatibility.

Whether your laptop will work with your legacy hardware accessories, however, is another matter. I attempted to install my ageing Canon ip4950 printer and was met with the computer equivalent of a blank stare. This might be the time to retire your older accessories.

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Asus Vivobook S 15 (S5507) review: Display

The only other thing to address is the Asus Vivobook S 15’s display, which is an absolute triumph. It’s an OLED screen with an old-school aspect ratio of 16:9 and a resolution of 2,880 x 1,620. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling, and adaptive colour temperature sensing so it will match the white point in your room for less eye strain.

It passes the eye test effortlessly. I’ve been using this laptop to watch all sorts of content, from HDR YouTube videos to NBA basketball and football matches at the UEFA Euro 2024 championship, and nothing fazes it. Colours look natural, details are crisp and sharp and, of course, I rarely have to worry about the battery running flat while I’m watching.

In tests, the Vivobook’s screen turned in an impeccable performance. Brightness peaks at 394cd/m2, contrast is effectively perfect thanks to that OLED tech and the panel is capable of reproducing 117% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut in Native mode.

There are several colour profiles you can switch to using the MyAsus app if you want to tone things down and work with more accurate colours. In all colour modes – sRGB, DCI-P3 and Display P3 – I measured colour accuracy at exactly 1, which is pretty much as good as you’d want it to be.

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Asus Vivobook S 15 (S5507) review: Verdict

I’ve been waiting a long time for a laptop like the Asus Vivobook S 15 to come along. It’s as good as a M3 MacBook Air, with great performance and battery life. Although it may not be as sleek and attractive as Apple’s ultraportable, it delivers far better value for money, with an unbelievably good display, a comfortable keyboard and good speakers and a webcam as bonuses.

With so much more native ARM software now available, it appears Windows laptops are at last able to operate on a level playing field with their Apple silicon counterparts. The only problem may be legacy hardware accessories such as printers, scanners and so on.

If that isn’t an issue for you, and you’re not a big PC gamer, then this new generation of Windows laptops would appear to be a no-brainer. Moreover, this particular laptop is a wonder, combining performance, battery life and value better than any Windows machine before it.

With several other Snapdragon Copilot+ laptops due to come out in the coming weeks, you might want to see if anything else takes your fancy, but for now, this is the best-value big-screen laptop money can buy.

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