Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 review summary:

Expert rating: 3/5

Design and I/O: 3.5/5

Display, Audio, and Keyboard: 3/5

Peformance and Battery: 3.5/5

Pros

  • Prim and proper design
  • Competent performer
  • Decent quality display
  • Nice typing and touchpad response
  • WiFi 6 support

Cons

  • Average webcam
  • No RJ45 port; USB 2.0 in 2021

Asus had launched a batch of laptops back in March which included the titular VivoBook Ultra K15. Now although the brand VivoBook generally resonates value for the mainstream consumers, the Ultra and the K modifiers do hint a dichotomy. We will see in the following account of my experience, where it’s a catch, and where it’s a cut on the cost.

This is the Smartprix review of the Asus VivoBook Ultra K15. The machine packs an AMD Ryzen 7 5000 series CPU, integrated Radeon graphics, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, 256GB SSD, FHD panel, Backlit keyboard, WiFi 6, and weighs about 1.8Kgs.

Here, take a quick gander at the complete specs, box contents, and then we will get to the task at hand.

Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 Unboxing

The VivoBook Ultra K15 comes with all the expected accessories. Here’s what you’ll find in the retail box:

  • The laptop
  • Adapter and Cord
  • Documentation Papers

Also Read:

Contents


Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 Specs and Price in India

Dimensions and Weight: 35.98 x 23.53 x 1.86 cm / 1.8 kg
Display: 15.6-inch, FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9, Anti-glare display, LED Backlit, NTSC: 45%
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5700U Processor 1.8GHz (8M Cache, up to 4.3GHz, 8 cores)
Graphics: iGPU: AMD Radeon 8 Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4 on board (3200MHz)
Storage: 1TB SATA 5400 RPM 2.5″ HDD+ 256GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
Keyboard and Touchpad:Backlit Chiclet Keyboard with Num-key; 1.4mm Key-travel
Webcam: HD 720P
Audio: Built-in Harman/Kardon tuned speaker, microphone
Ports: 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 2x USB 2.0 Type-A, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x DC-in, Micro SD card reader
Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi 6(802.11ax); Bluetooth 5.0 (Dual band) 2*2
Operating system: Windows 10 Home
Battery: 42WHrs, 3S1P, 3-cell Li-ion


Onto the review then,

Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 Review: Design and I/O

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Asus offers the VivoBook Ultra K15 in three paints viz. Indie Black, Transparent Silver, and Hearty Gold. Ours is the much sober black variant. The whole thing looks prim and proper. Whether work or home or work from home, the polished design should blend in really well.

The smooth finish across the chassis endows a comforting feel to touch. The thing is quite easy to wipe clean too.

At 1.8Kgs, the VivoBook is light enough to lug around or even seat on the lap. Even though the exhaust vent is by the bottom, it isn’t a bother as you’d be mostly putting it to less demanding stuff (more on this later). The hinge goes up to 145-degrees which is fine for everyday use. The back and forth mechanism is sturdy too.

Coming to the sides, on the left, there is two USB 2.0 Type-A and LED indicator, while the right houses a power input, one HDMI 1.4, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, and Micro SD card reader. This is good but would have been generous if there was an RJ-45 ethernet port and all the Type-A ports were USB 3.2. Wirelessly though, the laptop’s good to go with WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

Now, let’s lift the lid up. Although there is a slight recession in the frontal lips to hook n’ hoist the lid, when you do so, the whole thing rises up due to the light base. Anyway, on the flip side, you’ve got the display —

Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 Review: Display, Audio, and Keyboard

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The 15-inch panel exhibits the standard specs for the price which includes FHD resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, 60Hz refresh rate, 45% NTSC, and 250 nits brightness. The colors, luminance, and viewing angles are alright for indoors. Even the anti-glare coating also does its job well. I had watched a bunch of movies, and binged the entire Cobra Kai series on this, and had a pleasant experience.

As for audio, the bottom firing speaker is passable in terms of details and loudness. For the past week or so, my right ear was hurt. So, I had to rely on the speaker output. And to surpass the household noise, I had FX Sound app installed. So, if you also want a better oomph, there’s your answer.

Above the display lies a rather average 720P webcam. It is nice to have something, anything but more often than not, I was using my phone’s camera for video calls.

The borders are noticeably broad on top and bottom. I think Asus should’ve used a much-blacker shade on the bezels for a more subdued finish.

Coming downwards, you have a full-sized keyboard with 10 number keys. The chiclet keys offer 1.4mm travel and were good to type on. The only offputting thing is the narrow arrow keys. The white backlit supports 3-levels of brightness and was useful in dark environments.

The touchpad is also responsive and supports multi-touch input. The top right-cornered fingerprint scanner works 8/10 times. It misses digits when the finger or surface is smudged.

Btw, it’s time to unlock the device and see what’s within.

Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 Review: Performance and Battery

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

VivoBook Ultra K15 ships with Windows 10 Home edition with mainly just McAfee as the bother-ware. Cortana is at your disposal. Asus’ own MyAsus is present to give you basic specifics and stats about the device on hand. There is no other proprietary gewgaw here.

The software lies on top of fairly competent hardware. This consists of AMD’s Ryzen 7 5700U CPU with integrated Radeon Vega 8 GPU. The CPU is based on a 7nm Zen 2 architecture, features 8 cores, up to 1.8GHz base clock speed, up to 4.3GHz Turbo Boost Speed, 16 threads, and a TDP of 15W. Even the Vega 8 has 2GB memory and around 1.9GHz frequency. Overall, this should fare better than AMD 4000-series laptops in the market, especially on the graphics front.

Further, there is 8gigs of DDR4 3200MHz RAM, 256GB M.2 NVME PCIe 3.0 SSD, and 1TB SATA 5400RPM 2.5″ HDD. Except for the lack of expandability, I don’t mind this setup cuz my own laptop has one like this. For real-fast boot and app load times, at least for the ones installed on the SSD. You could see the difference in CrystalDiskMark scores of both C and D drives below along with other benchmarks:

Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 Benchmark Scores
3DMark Sky Diver11949
Cinebench R203264
CrystalDiskMark (C: SSD) Seq Read | Seq Write | Rnd Read | Rnd Write2486.03 | 964.84 | 698.59 | 737.65 MB/s
CrystalDiskMark (D: HDD) Seq Read | Seq Write | Rnd Read | Rnd Write124.54 | 119.58 | 1.63 | 0.71 MB/s
Geekbench 5 Single-Core | Multi-core (CPU)1183 | 6041
PCMark 10 (Work)5371
Handbrake test (1GB WebM file to H.265 MKV 1080p30 conversion)30 mins

The 8-core 7nm-based CPU outclasses the competition which is reflected in the synthetic tests. The only weird encounter was that the machine did freeze about 4 times during my usage. I am not sure about the reason, and, this could be either a problem with my evaluation unit or some software conflict.

Now even though it doesn’t come with discrete graphics, the iGPU does let you game at playable rates. Take a look at some of the titles I tested:

Gaming on VivoBook Ultra K15

  • Rocket League: 41 FPS
  • Fortnite: 60 FPS
  • Watch Dogs 2: 30 FPS
  • Metro 2033 Redux: 40 FPS
  • GTA V: 43.7 FPS

On the battery front too, the VivoBook lasts easily for 6 hours of productive workflow including browsing 30 tabs at a time, Spotify in the background, and a few mins of YouTube. Even the PCMark 10 battery test clocked 7 Hr 10 minutes. Good! And what’s better is that the thing takes only about 1 Hr 30 Mins to refill fully.

And finally, it’s time for the conclusion.

Review Verdict: Should you buy the Asus VivoBook Ultra K15?

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The current market price of the VivoBook Ultra K15 is ₹72,990 and for that amount, you’re getting a lot of basic things done right. There is a large 15-inch decent quality display, nice and responsive keys+touch pad, and reasonable gameplay. But, it’s the performance from 5700U that’s the real draw here. It’s about having a heavyweight chip in a lightweight chassis.

Now, if you want a budget laptop for gaming or creative workloads, you may look for a machine with a richer display, more graphics power, and even better port selection. However, if you only care about a thing to get by everyday work/study along with media viewing and some casual gaming, you’d probably like this offering of Ryzen 7 and the respectable rest.

Pros

  • Prim and proper design
  • Competent performer
  • Decent quality display
  • Nice typing and touchpad response
  • WiFi 6 support

Cons

  • Average webcam
  • No RJ45 port; USB 2.0 in 2021

Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 FAQ

Q. Does Asus Vivobook Ultra K15 have a LAN port?

A. No, the VivoBook Ultra K15 doesn’t have a LAN/Ethernet/RJ-45 port. You will have to shell out extra money for a Ethernet adapter or connector.

Q. Which is the GPU on Asus VivoBook Ultra K15?

A. Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 feature an integrated AMD Radeon 8 GPU. It doesn’t come with a discrete Nvidia graphics.

Q. Can the RAM/ Storage on the Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 be expanded?

A. No, the board comes with a single stick DDR4 RAM slot which is occupied. There is no expandable option for either RAM or storage.

Q. Does Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 support Windows Hello?

A. Yes, Asus VivoBook Ultra K15 supports Windows Hello Fingerprint, but not Windows Hello Face.

Q. Can you play games like GTA 5 on the VivoBook Ultra K15?

A. Well, yes you can play games like GTA 5 at serviceable frames per second. But, mind you this is not a gaming machine.

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