The VivoBook Pro is Asus’s line of full-size multimedia laptops.
The computers in this series are not as compact or as light as those in the VivoBook Slim or Zenbook Pro line, but not far off. They are however good multimedia options built on modern HQ platforms with dedicated graphics, capable of handling multitasking, demanding loads and even gaming to some extent. The bundle also includes matte screens, a backlit keyboard, a full-set of ports and an overall price tag that won’t break the bank for you.
We’ve spent a few days with the VivoBook Pro N580VD model, the highest end configuration in the VivoBook Pro family, and gathered all our impressions below, with the pros and those parts that could be improved.
The N580VD is a solid all-round laptop with good specs and features, but also simple and nice looking aesthetics, unlike most other devices in the segment. In fact, this particular aspect is its main selling point in its otherwise very competitive niche, but you’re not just getting the looks here, you’re getting a good overall package.
The VivoBook N580 series is available in two different lines as of August 2017, each with multiple hardware (CPUs, RAM, storage and screens) configurations. The N580VD/M580VD is the top line, the one we have here, with Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics, while the N580VN/M580VN is the entry-level series with Nvidia MX150 graphics.
Design and first look
The VivoBook N580 is not one of the new breed of laptops with a compact footprint and thin bezels around the screen, and given how there are more and more such options out there, you’ll have to decide if this particular aspect is something you’re interested in or you can live with a more classic design.
If you can’t, then this laptop is not for you, but keep in mind as well that most computers with similar hardware and more compact builds are also more expensive, like the Asus Zenbook Pro UX550 and the Dell XPS 15. If you can, then proceed to the next part where we talk about this laptop’s build and the choice in material.
All the metallic surfaces feel different than on most other metallic laptops I’ve seen though, somehow cheap to the touch. In fact, it’s pretty hard to tell if they are made from aluminum or plastic without a classic teeth test (put your teeth on the surfaces). So the first impression can be a little misleading and some might not like how this Vivobook Pro feels.
It is otherwise fairly well built, although not on par with the sturdier computers in the higher tier class. It’s on par with the Zenbook Pro UX550 and sturdier than the VivoBook Slims though. There’s some flex in the main-deck, especially towards the top-side of the keyboard, but not as much that it would be obvious in daily use. The screen is also rather bendy and the metallic lid warps when pressed, yet I could only see an impact on the panel when pressing very hard, so I don’t think you’ll run into any problems carrying this laptop in your bag or backpack. Overall, there are better made computers in the class, but this one is decent as well
I was mentioning earlier that the looks put this computer on the map, and that’s because there aren’t any other laptops with a silver aluminum case in its niche, at least none than I can think off, as most alternatives with the same hardware and features come in a mix of black and red, with more or less obvious “gaming” lines. If you’re not into those, this Zenbook is a welcomed breath of something else.
Design and looks aside, the N580 is also quite practical in everyday use. It’s lighter than most other 15-inchers, at 4.2 lbs for the reviewed configuration, and fairly grippy, so easy to put into and take out of your bag or move from a place to another. The silver color helps hiding smudges and fingerprints too. Four rubber feet keep it well anchored on a desk, while the ports are all lined on the sides and the screen is hold in place by one big solid hinge. It works smoothly, allows one hand use and allows the screen to go back to about 150 degrees, which is enough for desk use. Asus also made it easy to pop-up the display, creating a small crease on the laptop’s front edge for your finger to grab on.
The underbelly includes those rubber feet mentioned earlier, the speakers and some cuts for air-intake. I’m glad to see those, given how the cooling was subsized on the Zenbook Pro. Based on a first look this is no longer the case here, as the VivoBook N580 gets more intake cuts on the bottom, as well as enough space between the hinge and the main-body for the hot air to go though. We’ll talk more about the cooling solution and its performance in a further section.
As far as the IO goes there’s everything you’ll want on this computer, with the exception of a Thunderbolt 3 port. There’s an USB Type-C slot, but only supports 1st gen up to 10 Gbps speeds, so no Thunderbolt 3. On top of it, you’ll also find one USB 3.1 Type-A and two USB 2.0 Type-A ports, full-size HDMI, a card-reader, LAN, a Kensington lock and a mic/headphone jack on the edges. Most of them placed on the left, where you’ll also find the PSU, which leads to a less cluttered right side. The status LEDs are also placed on the side, so there are no LEDs or lights that would bother you in any way when using the computer in a dark room, unlike on the Zenbook Pro.
All in all, the VivoBook Pro N580 doesn’t feel as premium as the Zenbook Pro UX550 and is also a little bigger, but is overall a more practical laptop. It gets more ports on the sides, smoother edges, improved intake and output cuts, and no annoying lights. Potential users would have to accept the slight amount of flex in the main-deck and lid-cover, as well as the larger footprint and the fact that the metal case feels somewhat cheap, different from I would normally expect from an aluminum finishing.