The Asus Vivobook V500CA-DB71T delivers adequate well-rounded performance, but fails to stand out in any one particular area.
The Asus Vivobook V500CA-DB71T is the typical mid-tier notebook. It lacks an identity though; and that's not to say that the Vivobook is a poor product, but instead that the notebook struggles to stand out in any one particular area. For every notable feature the Vivobook offers, there is a corresponding flaw that quickly follows.
Equipped with a fourth generation i7 processor and 8GB of RAM the Vivobook provides a fair bit of performance for its mid-tier price, though the lack of SSD storage may leave some consumers wanting. With its solid performance and durable design, the Asus Vivobook is not without merit. However, with little to set the Vivobook apart from the competition, does its well-rounded dependable approach outweigh the notebook's apparent faults? Read the full review to find out.
Build and Design
At first glance, the Asus Vivobook V500CA offers an alluring aesthetic. The black brushed aluminum lid complete with braised metallic 'Asus' lettering complements the silver deck. The bottom portion of the chassis is comprised of a black rubbery plastic that matches the lid and provides an easy to grip surface. The inward slants towards the front end of the chassis provide a stylish ergonomic design that is both visually pleasing and functional. In pristine condition the notebook is fairly attractive, especially for a budget mid-tier ultrabook; however, keeping the device in that condition is not so easy. Unfortunately, the brushed aluminum cover proves susceptible to fingerprints. Any firm indentation will likely result in a visible smudge on the lid's surface. Unless users plan on cleaning the chassis on a daily basis, they should expect a few visible smudges.
Measuring in at 15." X 10.2" x 0.8" and weighing in at 4.6 lbs., the Asus Vivobook manages to provide a solid level of portability. Weighing over four and a half pounds, the Vivobook certainly isn't a feather weight and users will most certainly notice the heft of the device, but with its comfortable curved design the Vivobook is comfortable to transport.
The plastic and metallic chassis proves resistant to pressure offering minimal flex, even when extreme pressure was applied. The display case also proved sturdy giving slightly to pressure, but no noticeable rippling occurred on the display.
With a solid mix of portability and durability the Vivobook is a solid choice for those looking to travel. It's not the lightest notebook on the market, but the ergonomic design helps to ease the burden and it's sturdy enough to hold up during travel.
Ports and Features
The Asus Vivobook V500CA ultrabook will easily meet the average user's needs with its wide selection of ports. The left side is outfitted with a Kensington security slot, two USB 2.0 ports, a headphone/microphone combo jack and an SD card reader. The right side offers a power jack, an Ethernet connector, a VGA connector, an HDMI connector and a USB 3.0 port.
|Left: Kensington security slot, two USB 2.0 ports, headphone/microphone combo jack and SD card reader||Right: power jack, Ethernet connector, VGA connector, HDMI connector and USB 3.0 port|
The two USB ports on the left side are a bit congested, but the spacing should only prove problematic when using an abnormally large USB plug (such as a bulky USB storage drive), luckily there is a third USB port located on the right side of the device to help alleviate that issue. Other than that all of the other ports are easy to access with more than adequate spacing.
Display and Speakers
The Vivobook houses a 15.6-inch LED backlit display with a 1366 x 768 standard resolution and multi-touch panel. The screen's surface area is somewhat limited due to the standard resolution; however, the glossy display does manage to provide an attractive viewing experience. The bright glossy screen provides a clear picture that reads text exceptionally well and boasts impressive contrast. The display also provides sharp touch controls that result in a quick seamless response for each click, swipe or multi-finger gesture.
That being said, the display can prove finicky. While the flexible display hinge allows users to position the device at a variety of angles, the screen itself has a hard time holding up. The glossy finish of the display makes the screen sensitive to direct light, resulting in image deterioration and reflection whenever the display is positioned away from the user's line of sight. Pushing past 90 degrees, users can expect noticeable glare to set in on screen along with reflections of background images. The screen proves just as sensitive on the vertical axis with images becoming quickly distorted when the display is pushed forwards or backwards.
From a straight-on angle in normal lighting conditions the display provides a clear colorful picture; just don't expect the notebook to hold up well in outdoor or direct lighting.
The Asus Vivobook is also equipped with a pair of Sonic Master speakers that are located on the right and left sides of the bottom front end of the chassis. The two speakers are more boisterous than their small size would indicate and are capable of providing a modest size room with audio. More importantly the speakers provide solid performance, as the pair was able to accurately detail an orchestral track with minimal distortion at 100 percent capacity. For a mid-tier device the speakers are certainly a cut above the competition, but users still looking for optimal performance will want to turn to an external device.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Asus Vivobook offers a Chiclet style keyboard complete with number pad. While the number pad is a welcomed addition, the keys are noticeably condensed to fit on the notebook's 15" deck, which can make it difficult to use the pad accurately. Luckily the traditional keyboard provides ample spacing and the surface area of the keys is more than suitable. Only the right shit and arrow keys have been reduced in size and the reduction is slight enough that the change shouldn't impede workflow.
The rounded keys are slightly braised on top helping to add a bit of friction to the otherwise sleek plastic finish. Key travel distance is somewhat limited, though it's substantial enough that users can be sure that each key has been struck. The same can be said for the keyboard's responsive feedback, the keys manage to snap back in place, but there is a noticeable lack of force when the keys return to position. The keyboard is serviceable in that users should be able to type with haste and accuracy, but the experience isn't exactly comfortable due to the lack of tactile response.
Located below and slightly to right of the spacebar the notebook houses a generously sized touchpad. The pad itself is devoid of mouse buttons and instead designates the bottom portion of the pad to act as left and right mouse buttons. This portion of the pad is denoted by a slight downward slant at the end of the pad and a small line graphic that sits in the middle bottom portion of the pad.
The touchpad which uses drivers provided from Asus responds instantly to input with little to no lag. The surface area of the pad is smooth to the touch and devoid of friction allowing for a fair amount of sensitivity and precision, which proves perfect for detailed tasks such as highlight small portions of text. The pad manages to read multi-finger gestures just as quickly and as accurately as normal swipes and clicks. The only notable issue with the pad comes from the mouse buttons or lack thereof. The bottom portion of the pad works well enough, but the slight downward slant and small graphic hardly provide enough tactile information for users to accurately gauge where the mouse button portion of the pad is. This often results in missed clicks and can only be remedied by looking away from the screen and down at the pad itself.
It's unfortunate that Asus opted for this touchpad design, because on all other accounts the touchpad is quite enjoyable to use.
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