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Asus VivoBook X512UA review: Easy on the wallet, not on the eye

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £470

Compromises are inevitable at this price; even so, the X512UA is both fast and versatile


  • Great price


  • Poor image contrast ratio and colour reproduction
  • Lacking in battery life
  • Sluggish performance

Glance down the X512UA’s spec sheet and nothing particularly sticks out. Like several other contenders, it has a quad-core Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. It also comes with a generous – albeit non-touch – 15.6in screen. What’s remarkable is that, while similar rivals cost £700 and up, the X512UA is just £470.

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Asus VivoBook X512UA review: Features

Inevitably, that price tag comes with a couple of compromises. The major one is the screen. Make no mistake, it’s a nice big panel and the surrounds are as slim as you could ask for. It’s reasonably bright too, topping out at 255cd/m2. However, a shockingly low contrast ratio of 250:1 makes even the most vibrant images look flat and washed out – and as for accurate colour reproduction, you can forget about it. I found the screen covered a mere 48.6% of the sRGB colour gamut, achieving a simply woeful average Delta E value of 7.6.

Despite its sizeable chassis, the X512UA also relies on a relatively small 37Wh battery, which left it in last place in our video playback it still lasted a pretty decent 5hrs 56mins, but the Surface Pro 6-with identical core components – managed 9hrs 36mins.

Asus VivoBook X512UA review: Performance

Finally, like the Acer Swift, the VivoBook X512UA uses a SATA SSD rather than a faster NVMe model. Its sequential read rate of 513MB/sec keeps Windows feeling sharp, but with a write speed of just 218MB/sec, big saves and database operations will feel sluggish. 

Do these issues rule the X512UA out of contention? Not necessarily. For one thing, it managed to eke an impressive benchmark score of 89 out of that Core i5 processor, and while the fan was often audible during our tests, it’s not offensively loud. The VivoBook is also surprisingly pleasant to use: the keyboard is solid, with a nice, spacious touchpad and even a numeric keypad off at the side. With USB 3 and USB-C, as well as twin USB 2 sockets and a microSD card reader, it’s fair to say the core capabilities are all present and correct.

Asus VivoBook X512UA review: Verdict

If you’re into Netflix or Photoshop, this isn’t the laptop for you. The lack of touch will be a turn-off for tablet fans, and the X512UA’s 1.67kg heft and mediocre battery life mean it’s not the most portable option. But if you’re looking for a functional desktop replacement, it fits the bill at a price that’s very hard to quibble with.

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