ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 (N705UD) review – carries the VivoBook Pro name but it’s somehow different… in a good way

The ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 may sound familiar and you are probably expecting just a bigger version of the VivoBook Pro 15 but you are mistaken. It appears that the VivoBook Pro 17 is essentially different than the 15-inch model in a lot of ways and as always, the smaller model offers better price/performance ratio.

However, there are some key selling points to the VivoBook Pro 17 that need to be considered. The main one is the brand new 8th Generation processor from Intel, which outperforms the Core i5-7300HQ in short workloads while being way more energy-efficient. But due to the bigger 17-inch panel, the VivoBook Pro 17 can’t fully benefit from the improved power management. In any case, the VivoBook Pro 17 is immensely better than its direct predecessor, the ASUS N752VX in so many ways so if you are a fan of the multimedia lineup, you will surely like the latest installment as well. The OEM also offers a more budget lineup with GeForce MX150, although it still costs more than Acer’s 17-inch Aspire 5. So what are the benefits from choosing the VivoBook Pro 17 over the 15-inch model and its direct rivals? We find out in the full review below.

Contents


Retail package

The box contains all the usual user manuals, AC adapter and power cord – nothing out of the ordinary.


Design and construction

As we already stated, the VivoBook Pro 17 is essentially different than its 15-inch sibling and the design department is one of those key differences. Yet, the interior and lid are still made of brushed aluminum but the bottom of the base features black, slightly roughened plastic. We would have really appreciated the same color scheme all around like the VivoBook Pro 15 as this one gives it a bit more cheap look. But don’t let this fool you – the VivoBook Pro 17 is pretty sturdy.

The lid is only flexible to some extent and doesn’t give under our twisting attempts very easily. The interior feels pretty solid as well with virtually no flexing. We also didn’t notice any prominent protruding edges or inconsistencies, although we could feel where the interior aluminum sheet and the base plastic cover meet on the sides. Anyway, we would also like to address the hinge design. Despite being made of plastic, they hold the lid pretty stable but are also a bit overly tightened – opening the machine with just one hand is practically impossible.

And finally, a mid-range 17-inch that fits the portable category. Weighing just as 2.1 kg and measuring just around 20 mm in thickness, the VivoBook Pro 17 offers the working space of a 17-incher and the portability of a 15-inch laptop beating all of its competitors in this regard.

Input devices and I/O

When it comes to keyboard and touchpad, the VivoBook Pro 17 surprises with nice and clicky low-profile keys and discreet LED illumination. Also, the layout is pretty standard so most of the users will get used to it fast. The touchpad is also pretty stable – offers light mouse clicks, it’s fairly accurate, registers gestures accordingly and it’s really easy to use on the go when needed.

But what about connectors and interfaces? Well, just like most 17-inch laptops out there, it doesn’t offer a whole bunch of I/O – it actually comes with the bare minimum of ports for a 15-inch device. We also have a healthy port distribution – on the left, you will find two USB 2.0 ports (no USB 3.0 unfortunately), SD card reader and a 3.5 mm audio jack. And on the other side, you can use the RJ-45 LAN port, HDMI, USB-C 3.1 (Gen 1) and a standard USB-A 3.0.


Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options

Unfortunately, upgradability on this thing is a huge nightmare. It does offer all the usual drive slots and memory slots but accessing them is a big hassle. First, you have to remove all the screws on the bottom (there’s one in the middle hiding under a rubber cap), gently pry up the interior and detach all the cables that you encounter – they should be four. Once you’ve removed the interior, you can only reach the 2.5-inch HDD and the battery. For the rest of, you have to flip the motherboard around.

In order to do so, you have to detach the right hinge and be careful not to damage the heatpipes and radiators when pulling the motherboard out. This will give you access to the RAM slots and the M.2 SSD slot.

Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD

As we already said, the motherboard holds a standard 2.5-inch HDD and an M.2 SSD slot with the latter supporting PCIe NVMe drives as well. It has become a standard anyway. The unit we’ve tested, however, was running only a 2.5-inch 1TB Seagate HDD.

Slot Unit Upgrade price
M.2 SSD 2280 slot 1 Free Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
2.5-inch HDD/SSD slot 1TB Seagate HDD Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

RAM

On the other side of the motherboard you will find two memory slots each supporting up to 16GB of DDR4-2400 memory. Our unit, however, came with just one RAM slot available for upgrade while the other one holds an SK Hynix 8GB DDR4-2400 chip.

Slot Unit Upgrade price
Slot 1 SK Hynix 8GB DDR4-2400 Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
Slot 2 Free Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Other components

The battery can be found under the wrist rest area and can be accessed easily. It’s rated at 42Wh so given the 17-inch diagonal, we don’t expect mind-blowing endurance.

Cooling system

The cooling system is rather interesting – it has two heatpipes (one is shared by both heatsinks while the other one is dedicated to the GPU) and two cooling fans – one blowing the air out the back and the other one dispersing it from the left side.


Display quality

The ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 comes with a 17.3-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS panel from AUO with model number B173HAN01.3. The pixel density is 127 ppi while the pixel pitch is 0.1995 x 0.1995 mm. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from at least 69 cm.

Viewing angles are excellent.

We’ve recorded a peak brightness 360 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 352 cd/m2 as average across the surface with just 9% maximum deviation. The correlated color temperature at maximum brightness is almost identical to the optimal value – 6530K and falls a little lower when going along the grayscale – 6400K. You can see how these values change at 140 cd/m2 (50% brightness) in the image below.

The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the screen should be no more than 4.0 and if you are planning to do color-sensitive work, it should be lower than 2.0. But in this case, since the laptop is going to be used mostly for office work, web browsing, multimedia and probably sometimes gaming, a deviation of 2.51 is a good result. The contrast ratio is exceptionally high – 1440:1 before calibration and 1380:1 after calibration.

Color reproduction

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The display covers 92% of the sRGB color gamut so colors will appear vibrant and rich, especially when a good color calibration is applied.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 30 ms.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Our equipment didn’t detect any light pulsations throughout all brightness levels so it should be safe to use in this regard.

Blue light emissions

Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.

Conclusion

Despite the relatively low price of the VivoBook Pro 17, configurations with 1080p displays offer excellent image quality thanks to the wide sRGB coverage, high contrast, high maximum brightness and relatively accurate color reproduction out of the box. In addition, the panel is PWM-free so it’s safe to use during long working sessions, for example.

Buy our display profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 configurations with 17.3″ AUO B173HAN01.3 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

The stereo loudspeakers provide clear and high-quality sound in the low, mid and high frequencies.


Specs sheet

The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region

ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 N705 technical specifications table

Acer
Not available
Display
17.3”, Full HD (1920 x 1080), IPS
HDD/SSD
256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD, 5400 rpm
M.2 Slot
1x 2280 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD See photo
RAM
8GB DDR4
Dimensions
411 x 270 x 20.9 mm (16.18" x 10.63" x 0.82")
Weight
2.10 kg (4.6 lbs)
Body material
Plastic / Polycarbonate, Aluminum (Aluminum lid and interior, plastic base)
Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A 2.0
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • DVI
  • Card reader SD
  • Ethernet lan
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • Audio jack headphone/microphone
Features
  • Web camera
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • Security Lock slot

ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 configurations


Software

We used the pre-installed Windows 10 for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from ASUS’ official support page.

Battery

As expected, the 42Wh battery isn’t enough for any ground-breaking results considering the energy-sipping 17.3-inch IPS display but it did hold up pretty well considering that most 17-inch notebooks on the market offer poor battery life. Let’s just say its a little above average.

Of course, all tests were run using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows battery saving feature switched on.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

Acer Aspire 7 A717-71G 3220 mAh, 4-cell, Li-Ion

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

Acer Aspire 7 A717-71G 3220 mAh, 4-cell, Li-Ion

CPU – Intel Core i7-8550U

The Intel Core i7-8550U is part of the new 8th Generation Kaby Lake Refresh and it’s a direct successor to the Intel Core i7-7500U from the Kaby Lake generation and the Intel Core i7-6500U from the 6th Skylake generation. With the latest alteration to the ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors, Intel doubles the core count from 2 to 4 and retaining the so-called Hyper-Threading technology, keeping the same 14nm manufacturing process and feature the same 15W TDP.

However, due to the core count change, the base frequency of the Core i7-8550U is lowered to only 1.8 GHz while Turbo Boost frequencies remain pretty high – somewhere between 3.7 – 4.0 GHz. This ensures considerably higher multi-core and single-core performance during short workloads before going back to more bearable frequencies considering the 15W TDP but most of the other specs and features remain the same.

The chip also incorporates a newer Intel Gen 9.5 integrated graphics called Intel UHD Graphics 620. The support for Google’s VP9 codec and H.265/HEVC Main 10 is still the most notable feature of the iGPU. Intel claims that the new UHD 620 chips improve the overall power consumption compared to the previous one.

You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-8550u/


GPU – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (4GB GDDR5)

The GeForce GTX 1050 GPU for laptops is part of the latest NVIDIA Pascal lineup of GPUs featuring a brand new architecture design but on contrary to the rest of the GPUs from NVIDIA’s lineup, the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti feature a Samsung-made FinFET 14nm chip instead of the TSMC 16nm found in the GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080. The graphics card is based on the GP107 chip paired with 4GB of GDDR5 memory via 128-bit interface.

Since the GTX 1050 is quite dependent on the cooling design, its performance may vary but if the laptop handles the GPU well and shouldn’t be much different from its desktop counterpart. Anyway, the GPU operates at relatively high frequencies (1354 – 1493 MHz) but incorporates the same amount of CUDA cores (640) while the memory is clocked at 7000 MHz (effective). These specs ensure a huge performance boost over the previous generation of Maxwell GPUs. For instance, the GTX 1050 performs better than the GTX 960M and can be compared to the GTX 965M’s capabilities while running at similar to the GTX 960M’s TDP of around 40-50W.

However, along with all the power consumption and performance improvements, the GPU now supports essential features like DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, HDR, improved H.265 encoding, and decoding.

You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-geforce-gtx-1050-4gb-gddr5/


Gaming tests

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average FPS 99 fps 57 fps 32 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 63 fps 44 fps 21 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
Average FPS 34 fps 31 fps 27 fps

Temperatures

The stress tests that we perform don’t represent real-life usage scenarios because even the most demanding games don’t require 100% CPU and 100% GPU load all the time. However, these stress tests remain the most reliable way to assess the overall stability and effectiveness of the cooling system in the long run.

We started off with 100% CPU load for about an hour. At first, the Core i7-8550U ran at about 3.6-3.7 GHz for a few seconds before gradually going down to 2.5 GHz. Shortly after, the chip’s frequency started fluctuating between 1.8 GHz and 3.5 GHz but no thermal throttling occurred. In fact, the chip was running at reasonable temperatures.

Turning on the GPU stress test resulted in CPU throttling at around 1.2 GHz while the GTX 1050 was running at full speed while maintaining a bit higher than usual temperatures – 76 °C.

We’ve recorded stable and relatively low temperatures on the surface around the keyboard.

32.9°
41.9°
30.9°
33.3°
40.0°
28.7°
34.2°
28.1°
26.2°

Verdict

Even though the 17-inch VivoBook Pro and the 15-inch one differ in many ways, there’s one thing in common – they are both well-balanced multimedia notebooks. The VivoBook Pro 17 quickly became one of our favorite mid-range 17-inch notebooks currently on the market. It has good build quality with minor design flaws and exceptionally portable chassis – thinner and lighter than the competition. Input devices are also pretty solid and should serve you fine on the go.

When it comes to performance, the VivoBook offers plenty of configurations combining the 8th Gen Intel CPUs and GTX 1050 or relying on NVIDIA’s less demanding and budget-oriented MX150. Whichever configuration you choose, you will enjoy relatively silent operation, full utilization of the hardware and decent cooling performance. It’s still a bit pricier than Acer’s Aspire 5 and Aspire 7 notebooks, though, but it offers better portability in return. But if price/performance ratio is essential, you might be better off with the Aspire 7 with Core i5-7300HQ processor and GTX 1050 or with the 15-inch VivoBook Pro sporting either Core i5 or Core i7-7700HQ paired with GTX 1050.

When it comes to image and sound quality, the VivoBook Pro 17 proves to be a worthy successor to the legendary multimedia lineup excelling in both areas – clear and punchy sound and a Full HD IPS panel ensuring rich and vibrant image. It’s also PWM-free so it should be safe to use for long periods of time by users with sensitive eyes. There is, however, one aspect that’s not exactly user-friendly and that’s the upgradability. A full disassembly of the device is required just to reach the M.2 SSD and memory slots. Just keep that in mind.

Do we recommend it? For sure! The VivoBook Pro 17 might charge a few extra bucks over some of its competitors but compelling features like rich sound, vibrant screen, portable chassis, solid build quality and comfortable input devices are hard to ignore. If you are looking for any close alternatives, probably the 15-inch version of the VivoBook Pro and Acer’s 17-inch Aspire 5 and Aspire 7 lineups are your best bet.

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • One of the most portable 17-inch notebooks on the market
  • Good input devices
  • A wide range of configurations with various GPUs and CPUs to fit your budget and needs
  • Excellent image quality
  • The screen doesn’t use PWM for regulating brightness
  • Great sound


Cons

  • Some of the upgradable hardware is really hard to access

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
6 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Guillaume
Guillaume
4 years ago

Just wanted to thank you guys for your work on rating this laptop, it’s very helping. It’s hard to find good in-dept reviews on 17 inchers these days.

Miloslav
Miloslav
4 years ago

It seems that there are at least two version of display in ASUS VivoBook Pro 17 N705. Notebookcheck tested version with LG LP173WF4-SPF5 panel, which has terrible 119 Hz PWM (under 99% brightness). I know that the tests are hard to compare directly, but when compared to the similar competition (Asus VivoBook Pro 15 N580VD-DM028T and Acer Aspire 7 A717-71G with GTX 1060), the battery life was also much worse. I see the subtle differencess with these two Pro 17 N705 (2x the system/video memory and 512GB PM961 SSD), but that much? It bring two questions: 1) How consistent are… Read more »

Abdul
Abdul
3 years ago
Reply to  Miloslav

Regarding the PWM, they measured it 119 kHz not 119 Hz.

Shev
Shev
4 years ago

Could you tell me the exact model that was tested N705UD-??? because I would like to buy the one with the AUO B173HAN01.3 screen panel.

Spyros
Spyros
4 years ago

Can you please check if the USB type-C port can deliver 4k video through DisplayPort?

according to manufacturer, this is not possible, but maybe they added the feature with the use of 1050.

Regards,

Spyros

Spyros
Spyros
4 years ago

also, what the version of HDMI? 1.4 or 2.0?