Just like the budget smartphone category that’s cluttered with so many confusing options, the budget laptop market is no exception. If you hop onto any e-commerce platform right now, you’ll find a multitude of options and it’s easy to be overwhelmed, especially since you don’t want to buy a laptop with dated specs or inferior performance.
Further, Intel already has a massive grip over the laptop market, but AMD is now looking to break that dominance with its Ryzen Mobile processor lineup. AMD has partnered with Asus to finally launch the VivoBook 15 (X505) lineup in India earlier this week. The Asus VivoBook X505 (starts at Rs 30,990) is a slim, lightweight laptop that’s backed by Ryzen 3 or 5 processors, paired with a nano-bezel display, and other amazing features.
Well, I had never tested out a Ryzen-powered laptop before, so I instantly pounced on the opportunity of reviewing the Asus VivoBook X505. Asus was kind enough to loan us a gray color variant of the laptop for a week and here’s my experience with this machine.
Asus VivoBook X505: Specifications
Before we dive into our complete review, first let us get the internal specifications of this machine out of the way. The VivoBook X505 is powered by the Ryzen 3 2200U in the low-end variant and goes up to Ryzen 5 2500U in the highest-end one. It is coupled with up to 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 1TB of 5400RPM HDD, and up to Radeon Vega 8 graphics memory. Here’s the detailed specification table of the VivoBook X505:
|Dimensions||36.1 x 24.4 x 1.89 cm|
|Display||15.6-inch Full-HD anti-glare panel, with 1920 x 1080 resolution and 45% NTSC|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 3 – 2200U or Ryzen 5 – 2500U|
|Graphics Memory||1GB AMD Radeon Vega 3 or Radeon Vega 8|
|RAM||Up to 8GB DRAM DDR4, 1 SO-DIMM socket for expansion up to 16GB|
|Internal Storage||1TB SATA 5400RPM HDD|
|Connectivity||Integrated Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2×2 MIMO), Bluetooth 4.2|
|I/O Ports||2x USB-A 2.0, 1x USB-A 3.0, USB Type-C, HMDI output, Ethernet, multi-format card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
|Colors||Icicle Gold and Star Gray|
Asus VivoBook X505: Design and Build
Starting off with the design, Asus VivoBook X505 doesn’t look a whole lot different from any other laptop in the company’s budget lineup. It closely resembles the VivoBook X507, which we reviewed earlier this year, in terms of aesthetics and I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing. It’s a design language that works for Asus and the laptop looks sturdy and functional.
Asus VivoBook X505ZA brings to the table a premium build even though it may be made out of plastic. The brushed metallic finish on the lid, as well as the palm rest, makes the laptop look outstanding, and the pattern around the keyboard and hinges, that don’t have the same curvature as the X507, adds to the visual appeal.
The metal finish feels cool to the touch and doesn’t easily catch gunk or appear oily after prolonged use – that is 12 hours of continuous use. The body of the VivoBook X505 feels quite sturdy but the display panel has quite a bit of flex. Although that doesn’t disrupt the user experience in any way.
One of the highlights of the VivoBook X505 is its ultra-thin construction and light design. The laptop might not have the most compact build and is about the same size as any other 15.6-inch laptop and weighs just 1.6 kilograms. Yes, it’s really light.
The laptop is surprisingly handy and you can simply pick it up, with one hand and carry it around with you at all times. It doesn’t add much weight to your backpack either, and it’s one of the primary perks of buying the VivoBook X505.
The VivoBook X505 offers a wide collection of ports, which we will talk about in detail below, and I really don’t have any qualms in the design department except for one. I adore the build quality, but there’s one minor thing that’s been bugging from day one and I need to tell you about it.
The charging port and battery LED indicator are placed on opposite sides, that doesn’t make sense to me from a design point of view. I’d love if Asus places the LED indicators above the keyboard, which is the ideal place to put them as they’re easily visible there.
Asus VivoBook X505: Display
The display on the VivoBook X505 is splendid, considering it’s a mid-range laptop and makes for a great entertainment experience. The 15.6-inch screen on this laptop is surrounded by slimmer 7.7mm bezels and offers a striking 81 percent screen-to-body ratio.
It’s a slight improvement over the Nanoedge display we had seen on the VivoBook X507, however, you still get sizeable top and bottom bezel to hold the webcam, sensors, and the Asus branding. Apart from the bezels, Asus sweetens the deal by offering a Full-HD display, with a 1920×1080 pixels resolution, in an attempt to outshine many similarly-priced competitors. It also comes with an anti-glare coating, which feels like a matte finish, and that’s a great added touch.
During my time with the VivoBook X505, I found the display panel to be quite bright in most lighting conditions, but it fell short in super-bright conditions. Asus is also offering good color reproduction and a 178-degree wide viewing angle, but the colors sometimes appeared washed out and not up to the mark. This is my biggest qualm with the panel used here, otherwise, it’s all good.
Asus is known to sprinkle its own software into the mix and here also it enables you to choose between 4 different display modes, namely Normal, Vivid, Eye Care, and Manual. The display is set to normal by default, but you can pick Eye Care to apply a night light filter.
Asus VivoBook X505: Keyboard
Moving on to the keyboard, the VivoBook X505 packs a standard chiclet keyboard with no numpad. We know not having a numpad may be a dealbreaker for some but it didn’t really affect me much.Asus is looking at professionals and students to market its latest entrant into India and if the keys are well-spaced out instead of being stuffed into the limited space then it’s all fine, right?
While I was mostly in favor of the comfy layout from the get-go, the cheap plastic build of the keys was a big turn off for me, especially since I use a MacBook Air every day. While got used to their quality over a few days of usage, but there was another thing that troubled me.
While the keys here did offer me a good amount of travel, something I love on my older MacBook, and didn’t need too much force to register a key press, however, the keys are wobbly and the keyboard deck has some flex to it. Each time I went a little too fast and hard with my writing, the keyboard wasn’t really stiff enough to handle the pressure.
Also, there is no LED indicator in the Caps Lock key, nor does the laptop show when the function has been activated with an on-screen toast, so it was a huge pain to write uppercase letters. You can’t know when you accidentally hit the Caps Lock key.
The overall typing experience is okay-ish here and I would surely have to give a budget keyboard a pass, in my opinion, because it is certainly good enough for the price you’re paying, especially the base model with Ryzen 3.
Asus VivoBook X505: Touchpad
Asus has included a decent-sized touchpad on the VivoBook X505 with a single button at the bottom, where the left and right clicks are defined with a small line down the middle. The touchpad here is made out of plastic with a matte texture so that it doesn’t feel cheap and icky to the touch and offers a comfortable scrolling experience.
The touchpad has a fair amount of travel, which I appreciate, and the clicks don’t feel empty. Coming from a MacBook Air though, the touchpad was a little rigid for my liking and I also had to adjust the sensitivity multiple times, but that’s something which can be toyed around with, for a personalized experience.
However, Asus has elevated the experience by including Windows Precision Drivers on the VivoBook X505. Many budget laptops don’t place focus on the touchpad experience, which will be used extensively every day over the lifetime of the laptop, but this laptop is extending a multitude of swipe gestures, that make it easier to navigate around.
Overall, I would say that the touchpad on the VivoBook X505 is quite good for a budget laptop in its price segment and on par with what you would get these days for this price.
Asus VivoBook X505: Ports and Connectivity
While Apple has taken the minimalist route with its MacBooks, those are super premium and the company knows that users can spend a few more bucks on a dongle that makes the required ports available to you. Well, budget laptop makers don’t really have such liberty and VivoBook X505ZA has all the ports that you might need for daily use.
Asus has evenly distributed the ports on both sides, instead of heavily packing them on any one side. The left, as you can see above, packs the DC port, an RJ45 Ethernet port, an HMDI port, a USB Type-A 3.0 port (also referred to as SuperSpeed USB port), and a USB Type-C port.
It’s really good to see Asus adopting the USB Type-C standard, even though it may have included just one port, and even if it’s not a Thunderbolt 3 version. You can also use the USB Type-C earphones, as I did. I tried the Google Pixel USB-C earbuds and Xiaomi’s Type-C earphones with the USB Type-C port and they both worked just fine.
Moving our attention to the right side, there’s the Kensington Lock, coupled with 2 USB-A 2.0 ports, a combo headphone jack (will support an earphone with an in-line microphone), and a multi-format card reader.
As for the connectivity aspect, well, the VivoBook X505 also offers Integrated Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac with 2×2 MIMO support and I faced almost no connectivity issues – be it at home on a 5GHz network or the Beebom office’s firewall. There’s also Bluetooth 4.2 support that comes in handy for using wireless headsets, Bluetooth speakers.
Asus VivoBook X505: Performance
Though we might have already come across a few hardware kinks, it’s the performance that I was secretly excited to check out with this laptop. This is the first Ryzen Mobile laptop that I am testing out, so I was really excited to see how it performs. So, let’s not waste more time and dive in.
Getting the specs out of the way first, this machine is powered by AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor, clocked at 2.0GHz, and paired with 8GB DDR4 RAM (expandable up to 16GB) and 1TB 5400RPM HDD storage. The benefit of an AMD processor here is that it brings along 1GB dedicated graphics memory with the Radeon Vega 8 and it makes the VivoBook X505 a much more powerful laptop than most others in this price range.
The APU in the VivoBook X505 makes it a highly versatile machine, which is not only capable of handling daily workloads but can also stomach casual gaming sessions. The 1TB spinning hard-disk is disappointing, but you can replace that for an SSD. So, let’s take a different route than we usually do for laptop reviews and talk all about the performance of the laptop in two situations- the day-to-day tasks and casual gaming.
Performance in Productivity and Tasks
In regular day-to-day use, the VivoBook X505’s performance has been pretty good in the one week that I got to spend with it. The laptop was able to handle my daily writing needs with ease, where at a time I had close to 15-20 tabs open in Opera and Microsoft Edge at the same time.
To thoroughly test out the Ryzen 5 2500, I decided to install Photoshop CC on this laptop as we tend to use at Beebom to edit images on a regular basis. I then tested the opening time of the software, which was about 12 seconds, and edited images all day without any hiccups. The system didn’t hang or stutter, which is a positive sign.
I was running Photoshop, the browsers, and streaming music through YouTube, so there was a fair amount of load on the laptop but it managed to power through – even though it stumbled a couple of times and my browser crashed. I am pretty satisfied with its performance and wouldn’t mind recommending Ryzen PCs to people in the future.
Performance in Gaming
Asus VivoBook X505 can handle heavy workloads and that’s evident but what about the gaming performance? Well, let me preface this section by saying that VivoBook X505 is certainly not made for gaming in mind but you can enjoy a few popular game titles like CS:GO, Fornite, PUBG Mobile on emulator, and many more.
I’m not going to lie, I was quite skeptical about playing games on this laptop and all the skepticism was met with equal force by the VivoBook X505. Firstly, the graphics drivers were missing and I had to go through the trouble of finding those on Asus’ website and installing them, post which I started my gaming endeavor and it wasn’t good.
PUBG is one of my favorites and I started off the testing with it. Even though all settings were punched down to very low (720p) but the game couldn’t deliver over 20fps. I then moved on to PUBG Mobile, which I played using the Tencent Gaming Buddy, and well, I don’t have the numbers to prove it, but the title (automatically set to low graphics settings) runs smoothly and you can enjoy some battle royale action with friends using the same.
We also tried our luck some other popular games, including Fortnite, which seems to be well optimized as the game was playable, as well as enjoyable, at 720p low settings. We were able to get an average of 36 fps, with a peak of around 44 fps, which is just great.
I even tried out Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) that recently went free-to-play and was easily able to notice an average 100 fps frame rate in 720p low settings and also around 42 fps in 720p high settings. Even multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) titles such as Dota 2, as well as League of Legends, were easily playable on the VivoBook X505. You can check out our statistics in the table attached below:
|Game Title||Graphics Settings||Avg. FPS||Peak PFS|
|PUBG||720p, Very Low||18||24|
|Dota 2||1080p, Medium||53||62|
So, the laptop may not be a gaming beast but it can surely handle some casual gaming. I believe the low-frequency DDR4 RAM and the spinning hard disk could be creating a bottleneck here and if you plan on upgrading it, the gameplay could be improved by a wee bit. I’d, however, suggest you use a cooling pad to regulate the heat and not play hours-on-end.
Asus VivoBook X505: Benchmarks
Though we’ve already seen that the performance of the Ryzen 5 2500U processor on the VivoBook X505 is quite decent for the price, let us see if the benchmark figures back the same. And well, some users really rely on benchmark numbers to better understand the overall performance, so here we go.
Like we always do, I ran the standard set of benchmarks including Geekbench 4, PCMark, 3D Mark, Cinebench R15’s OpenGL test, and more.
I started off with the PCMark 10 and 3DMark test, where the VivoBook X505 scored a decent 2,627 on the former (which is really below my expectation) and about 5,700 on the Night Raid test in the latter.
In the Geekbench test, the Ryzen 5 2550U on our VivoBook X505 gave us a single- and multi-core score of 3378 and 9048 respectively, which is very respectable. These figures are better than the official Geekbench results of the Intel i3 8130U, that has a single and multi-score score of 3680 and 7090 respectively.
I then resorted to running the BMW Benchmark from the Blender demo archive and the VivoBook X505 was able to render the image in 15 minutes and 40 seconds using the GPU on board, which is quite good for a budget laptop.
So, as you can see, the quad-core Ryzen 5 processor is able to handle the taxing load of the benchmark software and offer results that are on par with 8th-generation Intel i3 U-series mobile processors. However, I would like to point out that the Intel processor will have more ease in handling CPU-intensive tasks whereas the AMD chip on board here is going to come in handy for GPU-intensive tasks.
Asus VivoBook X505: Thermals
With casual gaming possible on the VivoBook X505, it became important for us to explore the thermal performance as well.
This laptop includes only a single fan module at the rear end, sitting right under the SonicMaster logo that’s visible above the keyboard deck. While the VivoBook X505 stays cool during regular use, i.e. while browsing or even while using Photoshop, but it tends to heat up when you’re gaming on it. Not extremely hot, but mildly hot!
Asus has equipped the laptop with its proprietary IceCool technology that should keep the temperatures low using smart fan control, internal heat pipes, and the fan design. All this means palm rest should be at room temperature even while gaming, and it worked.
After playing Fortnite for about an hour, I found the external temperature to be around 44-45 degrees but the high-temperature zone was concentrated around the top, above the keyboard. The keyboard deck and the palm rest, however, stayed cool and didn’t meddle with the experience. The heat didn’t reach the keyboard during the gameplay and that’s awesome.
Asus VivoBook X505: Camera
Nowadays, you can find some decent cameras being integrated into budget smartphones but the webcam on laptops are still crappy and haven’t improved over the years. Same is the case here as VivoBook X505 comes bundled with a 0.3MP VGA camera and the picture quality is obviously sub-par – like always!
Considering the price point and slim build of this laptop, I’m not going to fret over the picture quality as it would mostly be used for work-related Skype calls and it’s decent enough for it. However, if you’d like to click some personal photos and videos, then the Microsoft Camera app will come in quite handy.
The Microsoft Camera app shows what you’re recording on the screen in real-time (up to 480p @ 30fps) and it’s good to see that the webcam on board has a decent refresh rate. There are no stutters in the video recording when you move your head around. You can also play around with the app settings, enable Digital Video Stabilization, to make it just slightly better.
Asus VivoBook X505: Audio
This laptop is designed and priced to address the needs of a casual user, who is likely to carry it to the workplace or lectures during the day and use it as their primary source of entertainment at night. It is not only the display that plays a major role but instead, the audio output can help make the experience worthwhile. We cannot say that about the Asus VivoBook X505 that we have right here.
Asus may like to boast about the SonicMaster audio tuning and technology, but the audio output here is just average. The poor placement of the speakers could be a big factor.
The SonicMaster branding may excite users at first, but the speakers are pretty average and nothing close to what Asus boasts of.
The VivoBook X505 has two tiny speaker grills on either edge, at the bottom front (as seen below) and the sound output is not well-balanced and lacks bass. I tried watching a popular Spanish crime thriller, The Invisible Guest, on Netflix the past weekend and the speakers were bit of a disappointment.
The output was sufficiently loud when the VivoBook X505 was placed on a table, however, moving to the comfort of your bed or placing the laptop on your lap muffled the sound. I found Asus Zenfone phones to be louder. My 4-year old 11-inch MacBook Air also sounds sounding than this laptop, and that’s a tiny machine.
You can certainly jump into the Audio Wizard software on board to choose from among 5 different audio modes, such as movie, music, and gaming, to tweak the audio output, but that doesn’t affect sound quality too much.
Asus VivoBook X505: Battery Life
Turning our attention to one of the more important factors, well, the Asus VivoBook X505 carries a small 3-cell 42WHr Lithium-ion battery and it’s decent enough to offer you up to 3.5 hours of backup on a single charge.
During my week-long time with this laptop, I mostly used it at 90 percent brightness and was able to squeeze out somewhere between 3-3.5 hours from the battery during a usual day at the Beebom office, which sees me using the Wi-Fi, Photoshop, and multiple Firefox tabs open at the same time.
The battery life, in my opinion, is decent for the price point of the VivoBook X505, but if you’re looking to travel around with this laptop then you might want to lower the brightness or make sure you have a power outlet close by to charge up every few hours.
Talking about the charging capabilities of the VivoBook X505, Asus bundles a 45W (19V, 2.37A) charging adapter with the laptop and my tests saw it fully charge it in about 2 hours and 15 minutes– which is quite decent but still a bit slow when you consider the amount of charge it holds.
Just like VivoBook X507, this laptop also comes backed by Asus’ fast-charging technology that it boasts will help juice up the laptop to 60% in just under one hour (49 minutes, if you want to be precise). Well, these claims are essentially true as the laptop charges very rapidly in the initial run when the battery is almost depleted, but slows down later in the charging process.
Asus has also bundled its own ‘Battery Health’ monitoring software on the VivoBook X505 and you can choose from 3 charging modes- Full Capacity, Balance, Maximum lifespan, to cap the charging capacity and prolong the battery life.
Asus VivoBook X505: Pros and Cons
Now that you know almost everything about the VivoBook X505, it’s time to see if Asus’ latest mid-range laptop is worth buying or not. Well, the Taiwanese giant has gotten an equal mix of good and bad in this laptop. I mean, it does check all the right boxes when you talk about the design and performance, but there are some negative quirks like the average battery life and keyboard quality that might be a turn off for some.
Asus VivoBook X505 (starts at Rs 30,990) offer you an ultra-slim build, with a metallic finish and it’s awesome. We even adored how light it was, making it easy to carry around, and well, we’ve already shown that the Ryzen APU breathes life into this machine, and is powerful enough for light gaming too.
This makes it an ideal laptop for college students and professionals, who usually need to carry out their work in word processors, browse the web, Netflix and chill, and also have some fun game time – if they need to. Asus has built a perfectly fine laptop in its sub-Rs 35,000 price segment but there is a possibility that you don’t want a 15.6-inch screen, so I’d suggest you go for the Lenovo Ideapad 330S (Rs. 34,990) for its simple build and smaller 14-inch Full-HD screen.
You can even check out the VivoBook X507, which is priced slightly lower and has dated Intel internals right here. However, if you want to explore more Ryzen-powered options, then you can check out the Ryzen 3-backed HP 15 (Rs. 27,990) or the Ryzen 5-backed Acer Aspire 3 (Rs. 39,990) as well.
- Slim bezels
- Anti-glare display
- Good performance
- Precision Touchpad
- Good for casual gaming
- Decent thermals
- Crummy battery life
- Lacking audio experience
- Keyboard flex
Asus VivoBook X505 Review: A Versatile Machine With Minor Faults
The VivoBook X505 is certainly a versatile machine as it not only offers you the ease and comfort of using it as your daily driver for simplistic tasks but also using heavy software and gaming on the same. It proves that the Asus-AMD partnership could be quite fruitful over the coming months.
However, I would still like to point out that the VivoBook X505 is a mid-range laptop and though it’s going to provide you all the essential functionality, there are laptops which have better battery life and keyboards at this price range. Ultimately, I’d like to conclude by saying that VivoBook X505 is definitely worth the asking price and much more powerful than competing laptops in its class.
So, if you’re in the market for a budget laptop, would you consider buying the VivoBook X505? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Buy Asus VivoBook X505 from Paytm Mall (starts at Rs 30,990)