VIDEO: ASUS Vivobook V500ca Review

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The ASUS Vivobook V500CA-DB71T comes with a 4th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 15.6-inch touchscreen and a set of exceptional Sonic Master speakers that deliver more power than their size might indicate. Despite that, this solid notebook still has a few drawbacks that keep it from being a star. 

Does that mean you should skip this one? Not a chance.

Get all the good – and bad – in Mike Wall’s latest video rundown. After that, you can also read the full written review right here on NBR.

ASUS Vivobook V500CA

Hi, I’m Micheal Wall from Notebook Review, and this is our quick look at the ASUS Vivobook V500CA notebook. So the V500CA is the 15.6 inch bearing of this device. And this device really exemplifies the model; jack of all trades, master of none. It really kind of does everything okay, but never really manages to do anything exceptionally well. And you can see that right off the bat from the design. You can see it’s pretty sleek for a 15.6 ultra book. There’s a 0.8 inch thickness, it weighs in at around four and half pounds. It’s not exceptionally light.  There are definitely lighter laptops on the market, however, you know, it still offers a great deal of portability.  

It looks pretty nice too, at least if you’re looking at it at a distance you can see it has this really nice brushed metal cover lid, and then it compliments really well with the silver there, and the rubberized bottom part of the chassis. It all comes together well, but the colors really do compliment themselves, and I like the texture of the brushed metal. We’re seeing that a lot more on laptops now, and for a good reason because it looks really nice.  

Unfortunately, that gets diminished rather quickly due to the fact that the lid here is one of the worst offenders I’ve seen at being a fingerprint magnet.  We only carried this device pretty much a few steps down the hall to come shoot this video and you can see there are already a ton of finger print smudges here.  Pretty much any indent is going to result in a noticeable smudge and the resilient ones and on there still. Unless you plan on cleaning this device all the time, the aesthetic is unfortunately going to get undermined by the fact that it always looks dirty.  Unfortunately that seems to be the case with this device it’s pretty much the story. There’s always noticeable high points here, with the Vivobook, it’s always followed, quickly followed by a corresponding fault. And that’s why it never really seems to excel in any one area.  As you can see here with the display we have 15.6 inch LED, back lit display with touch controls.  And it actually is pretty vibrant.

The glossy finish does offer a nice color contrast. The problem with that is it’s extremely finicky as well.  When you catch it at the right angle, when you’re straight on, when you’re in good lighting conditions, it’s going to look excellent.  Unfortunately as soon as that changes whether you’re tilting the screen forward a little bit, or backwards, or catching it from the side, or even in direct light you’re going to notice really strong reflections and the image is going to quickly distort.  

The same can be said for usability for this device. Everything here actually works really well. The keyboard here, we have a [inaudible 0:02:36] style keyboard complete with number pad.  The number pad is actually kind of scrunched up a little bit, you can see they condensed the keys. That was just to fit it on the frame or it wouldn’t be able to fit otherwise, and that’s okay.  The arrow keys are actually condensed as well, but in terms of the actual keyboard is full sized.  Everything except for the right shift key and the arrow keys as I’ve already said.  But that’s hardly anything to really make a big deal about.  

In terms of actual key depth, and push back, they’re really limited, and that kind of makes it an uncomfortable experience.  And that’s the biggest issue with this.  Everything works as intended. When you’re trying to type, you’re going to notice that it’s really accurate. The keys are responsive, they just don’t feel responsive.  So it kind of creates the sense of unease when you’re typing, almost like you feel like something isn’t going to register, even though it is actually is registering on screen.   

I imagine that once you get used to this note book, that unease will probably fade away, but it’s still never really a comfortable experience. I had kind of the exact opposite experience here with the touch pad.  It actually feels really great. Unfortunately in practice it just doesn’t work out as intended. As you can see here this is a generously sized touch pad right here. It doesn’t have any mouse pads, instead what it uses is a designated right and bottom left portions of the pad to act as the right and left mouse button. It’s denoted by a really slight decline in the pad, you can hardly feel it.  And then there’s also this little line graphic here.

The problem is with that, is it’s not really enough information for the user to kind of understand when they’re on the pad. So when you’re looking up at the screen and you’re using the notebook, it’s really tough to know when you’re far enough down to register as a right click as opposed to just a normal left click.  It doesn’t seem like a big deal.  It doesn’t seem like something that you should really concern yourself with.  The problem is most of the time when you’re using a laptop here, you’re mousing around, on the touch pad you’re looking at the screen. The problem is that the way this is designed, it’s going to constantly force you to look down to make sure you’re in the right area.  I found myself doing it on more than one occasion where I was kind of in this grey area where I wasn’t clicking as desired and then I had to look down.  So it’s just one of quality of life things that’s going to constantly add up and make the whole experience a little bit more uncomfortable.  Which is unfortunate because everything else about the touch pad is great.  It has a really smooth surface.  As you can see it allows for a great deal of sensitivity, when doing things like selecting text, it works exceptionally well.  The surface of the pad is great, unfortunately just the design leaves something to be desired.

So the device actually performs really well for a mid tier device.  You’re going to get a Fourth Gen, I7 processor, eight gigabytes of RAM.  The big issue, or the thing that’s missing here I think most users will notice is it doesn’t have the solid state drive, it uses a hard drive.  The problem with that is you’re going to see slower data retrieval times.  Notice actually, interesting, the device does boot up rather quick.  It only took on average six to seven seconds to boot up while using it.  And it would resume to from sleep in only a couple of seconds.  If you’re on the go and you close and you open you can rest assured that it is going to get right back to into the fray immediately.  The unfortunate thing is things like boot up speed were actually really inconsistent, and things like launching programs were even more inconsistent.  So that’s the thing.  There were times when I was booting up this notebook for instance where it would take almost 40 seconds to resume, and there were times when applications would take a really long time to launch.  That’s the one thing you can get, inconsistent performance in terms of data retrieval which is really unfortunate.  Other than that though, I mean it is pretty serviceable in terms of performance and it’s probably the one thing that would drive people to look at this thing and take a serious look at as a viable option.  

Another notable highpoint for this machine here was actually the Sonic Master speakers that it had.  You can see them here at the bottom of the chassis right on the side.  They’re almost hidden, they’re tiny, right there, that little slit, and there’s another one corresponding on the other side of the device.  And despite there small stature, they actually manage to produce a rather robust sound.  They can easily fill a modest sized room, this notebook could easily fill a modest sized room with audio comfortably and more importantly it does so with solid quality.  I tested this listening to an orchestral track, and even at 100 percent capacity it was hitting all the high and low notes with clarity which is really nice.  And it’s actually something that’s rather rare on the notebook market.  Unfortunately that quality is still not that amazing.  It can easily be outclassed by a pair of head phones, or an external device. But still it’s a nice surprise and it’s one thing that helps set this apart from everything else that’s out there.  Still I think this notebook kind of falls in a weird limbo where it  doesn’t really do anything exceptionally well.  It does a couple of things okay, which you’re always going to have to make concessions.  But if it hits enough of the high notes for you than it’s definitely, certainly worth taking a look at.  I mean it definitely has solid specs for $800 mid tier notebook. So you get a little bit of everything, but you’re certainly going to have to give something up with the Vivobook.  For more information check out our full review at Notebookreview.com.

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