ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 review – a ZenBook experience at a fraction of the price

Well, well, well… look at who has boarded the ScreenPad train – the ASUS VivoBook S15 S532. It is the direct successor to the VivoBook S15 S530, who we have dubbed as one of the best 15-inchers for the asked price. The laptop we have with us today, looks pretty similar, once again, embodying the ErgoLift hinge, however it has a little edgier shapes.

Hardware-wise it is almost the same, with the major overhaul being the use of GeForce MX250 instead of the MX150 (which are also quite the same, honestly). However, the biggest change we see, undoubtedly, lays inside the touchpad – literally. ASUS has given the VivoBook S15 S532 the premium treatment we saw last year on the ZenBooks. On paper, everything seems just too right. Let’s see how is it in practice.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-vivobook-s15-s532/

Contents


Specs Sheet

ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 - Specs

  • AUO B156HAN02.1
  • Color accuracy  4.4  3.7
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD + up to 2000GB HDD
  • RAM
  • up to 40GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro
  • Battery
  • 42Wh, 3-cell
  • Dimensions
  • 357.2 x 230.3 x 18 mm (14.06" x 9.07" x 0.71")
  • Weight
  • 1.80 kg (4 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 2.0
  • HDMI
  • Card reader
  • Micro SD
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth
  • 4.2
  • Audio jack
  • combo audio / microphone jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD 720p
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Backlit Keyboard

What’s in the box?

This laptop’s packaging includes all of the essentials – paper manuals and guides, a 90W power brick and the VivoBook S15 S532 itself.


Design and construction

When you visit ASUS’ official website, they will present you the VivoBook S15 S532 in a choice of three different colors – Moss Green, Punk Pink and probably the sleekest of them all – the Transparent Silver. Setting the fancy names aside, we found the VivoBook S15 to have upgraded in terms of a premium feel. In addition to that, the ASUS logo is not in the middle of the lid anymore, but sits on the right side and is joined by e VivoBook branding. Moreover, they have a tactile feel – a nice touch, ASUS.

It combines aluminum and plastic for the build of its body. This way it retains the 18mm profile and the 1.80kg weigh of the VivoBook S15 S530.

Interestingly, the lid opens easily with a single hand, despite the ErgoLift mechanism, and it lifts the back of the laptop by a couple of millimeters – just enough for the fans to breathe. Above the display, there is an optional IR face recognition and when the laptop is open, it nearly has no bezels.

On the base, there is the backlit keyboard, which has a NumberPad section. Indeed, the Numeric keys are smaller than the rest of the keys, but at least they are there, right? As far as the experience, we were satisfied with it, as the feedback is clicky and the travel is long enough.

Now, let’s get to the exciting part – the ScreenPad. Not only it can be used as a NumberPad segment, but now it actually acts as a secondary display. You can drag whatever content you want from the main display to it and enhance your working (or gaming) experience, while watching YouTube videos, browsing the web and more. Additionally, there are some apps that are designed especially for the ScreenPad and you can find it on it, as soon as you turn it on. We were particularly interested in the handwriting tool, that transforms the symbols you write with your finger to a digital text. Additionally, we’re wondering if you can use it to sign online documents, but we can’t give you an answer to that just yet.

When we turn the laptop upside down, we can clearly see the ventilation grill beneath the cooling fan as well as the cut-outs for the speakers.

Ports

Most of the I/O is concentrated on the right side of the laptop. There you can find the charging plug, as well as an HDMI connector, one USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port and one USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 1) port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a MicroSD card reader. Its left side is populated by two USB Type-A 2.0 ports, which is petty as we see more and more manufacturers implementing at least USB 3.0 speeds (even on their budget line ups).


Disassembly and upgrade options

Thankfully, there are no hidden screws with this laptop – only 10 perfectly visible Phillips-head ones. After you remove them, make sure you start to pry the bottom plate with a plastic tool, as a metal one will surely damage the plastic panel.

Honestly, at first, we were a little disappointed that ASUS has given the device the burden of only one heat pipe for both the CPU and the GPU. On second thoughts, however, the heat pipe is pretty bulky and after all, we are dealing with energy-efficient hardware (the CPU has a TDP of 15W, while the GPU has a 25W one.

Memory-wise the VivoBook S15 S532 is equipped with a single RAM DIMM that would support up to 16GB of DDR4 memory. While they have ditched the SATA 2.5″ slot, they have substituted it with another M.2 slot for a total of two.

Lastly, there is the battery pack, which is also the same 42Wh unit we saw in the last year model. We really hope it does better in terms of battery life, though.


Sound

ASUS VivoBook S15 S532’s speakers produce crisp sound with a good quality thanks to the harman kardon tuning. Its low, mid and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

You can download all of the drivers and utilities for ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 from here: https://www.asus.com/Laptops/ASUS-VivoBook-S15-S532FL/HelpDesk_Download/

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. The battery pack in use here has a 42Wh capacity.

It delivers around 7 hours and 45 minutes of Web browsing.

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


CPU options

You can choose between the Core i5-8265U and the Core i7-8565U – both quad-core processors.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

ASUS has equipped the VivoBook S15 S532 with the NVIDIA GeForce MX250.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 144 fps 100 fps 70 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 124 fps 92 fps 64 fps

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) HD 768p, Normal (Check settings) HD 768p, High (Check settings) HD 768p, Very High (Check settings)
Average FPS 124 fps 59 fps 29 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-8265U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 2.96 GHz (B+85%) @ 75°C 2.95 GHz (B+84%) @ 90°C 2.17 GHz (B+36%) @ 68°C
ASUS VivoBook S15 S530 2.99 GHz (B+87%) @ 77°C 2.99 GHz (B+87%) @ 87°C 2.29 GHz (B+43%) @ 71°C
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s 2.76 GHz (B+73%)@ 75°C 2.74 GHz (B+71%)@ 84°C 2.11 GHz (B+32%)@ 74°C
Lenovo ThinkPad T490s 3.43 GHz (B+114%)@ 91°C 2.69 GHz (B+68%)@ 91°C 2.19 GHz (B+37%)@ 80°C
HP ProBook 450 G6 2.69 GHz (B+59%)@ 64°C 2.53 GHz (B+60%)@ 68°C 2.09 GHz (B+31%)@ 71°C
Acer Swift 3 (SF314-56G) 2.67 GHz (B+67%)@ 93°C 2.16 GHz (B+35%)@ 86°C 1.66 GHz (B+4%)@ 71°C

Quite frankly, we expected the VivoBook S15 S532 to perform similarly to its predecessor and our temperature tests just confirmed this. Throughout the entirety of the stress test, they were running at similar temperatures and clock speeds, however, the VivoBook S15 S530 had a slight edge over its successor.

Real gameplay

NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 1708 MHz @ 77°C 1480 MHz @ 67°C
NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
ASUS VivoBook S15 S530 1591 MHz @ 74°C 1475 MHz @ 74°C

Looking at this table, however, shows that the MX250 is significantly more efficient than the MX150. Probably it has something to do with the optimization of the laptop they are both residing at, but it doesn’t change the major difference. At the first two minutes of testing, the VivoBook S15 S532 was running good 120 MHz above its predecessor. While at the 30-minute mark they were working at the pretty much same frequency, the newer model was actually 7C cooler. One would say that the fan was ramping up to its maximum potential to do that, but it clearly wasn’t the case here.

Gaming comfort

After 30 minutes of gaming, the laptop didn’t heat that much. We measured the hottest point to be around 46C, right next to the “0” key.


Verdict

ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 is a really, really decent device. We found it to be a good step up from its predecessor, as they haven’t changed anything significant from the VivoBook S15 S530 but instead improved and added features.

One of the main things that ASUS retained from the former version is the 1080p IPS panel (AUO B156HAN02.1). It is clearly a budget panel, as it covers only 57% of sRGB and its colors are a bit off. On the bright side, it is just …bright enough for you to look at it in direct sunlight and it doesn’t use PWM to adjust its levels of brightness.

As far as the choice of hardware, we can’t complain here at all – it features the Whiskey Lake CPUs in a combination with the GeForce MX250, which is marginally better than its respective predecessor – the MX150, but we found it to run cooler.

Additionally, despite it uses the same unamusing 42Wh battery as the VivoBook S15 S530, the newer unit is able to provide you with around 7 hours and 45 minutes of web browsing. This is a reasonable upgrade in optimization, as the battery life was one of the downsides of the former laptop.

We’ve left the most prominent Pros of the ASUS VivoBook S15 S532 for the end. Its ErgoLift hinge and ScreenPad 2.0 are enhancing the experience of this device. In fact, we think that they are one of the greatest reasons to buy the laptop. Not only does the ErgoLift design help the device cool itself and help you type more effortlessly, but the ScreenPad is now a secondary display. With its 1080p resolution and size far greater than the traditional touchpads, it can be your small assistant in work and entertainment.

Pros

  • Its keyboard is backlit and great for typing
  • ScreenPad and ErgoLift hinge for enhanced user experience
  • Has an IPS panel with comfortable viewing angles and good contrast ratio (AUO B156HAN02.1)
  • Doesn’t use PWM to adjust brightness levels


Cons

  • Covers only 57% of sRGB (AUO B156HAN02.1)

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-vivobook-s15-s532/

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R7ex Ed
R7ex Ed
3 years ago

Where to buy?
Looks like Amazon only got the S530 model only. 🙁

R7ex Ed
R7ex Ed
3 years ago
Reply to  R7ex Ed

Amazon AU don’t have but Amazon.com has.

anto
anto
3 years ago

I have inserted a ssd in the second slot M.2 but it doesn´t work, the second ssd doesn’t appear in the bios. Any idea to solve it? Thanks

Bo L
Bo L
2 years ago
Reply to  anto

what kind of SSD did you stick in? It looks like it’s an NVME M-key, if you stuck in a regular SSD it might not work

Aleah
Aleah
1 year ago
Reply to  anto

I did the same. Same SSD that’s in the main slot, but bigger put into the second slot and it’s not showing up in BIOS. Western Digital 2TB WD Blue SN550 NVMe Internal SSD.

Cjo
Cjo
3 years ago

Hi,
I have recently bought this laptop and I was wondering if I can upgrade the RAM to 16gb and if so, what memory would be compatible?

Thanks

Zzz
Zzz
2 years ago
Reply to  Cjo

sodimm ddr4