[Review] Asus VivoBook 15 F515JA-AH31:A Good Student Laptop

ASUS VivoBook 15 F515JA-AH31: review

Pros
  • Full HD display with thin bezels
  • Core i3  CPU (10th generation)
  • Backlit chiclet keyboard
  • Integrated fingerprint sensor
Cons
  • Limited viewing angles
  • 4 GB RAM - Upgradeable-.
We've talked in-depth about the Asus VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS34 here on 9to5Gadgets. It's a great budget laptop and we can totally see why it's frequently amongst the top 10 best-selling laptops. That said, while that's a pretty good laptop, you might not need as much multitasking performance. 

If that's the case and you're more of a casual user who uses his laptop for a couple of things at a time instead of having several programs operating at the same time then you might be interested in knowing the F512JA-AS34's (adoptive) little brother: the Asus VivoBook 15 F515JA-AH31.

Despite not belonging to the same series, the F515JA-AH31 packs the same features we've grown to love on the F512JA-AS34 but switches up the RAM from 8 GB to a more modest 4 GB capacity and slightly increases the weight.

By doing this they also cut down on the cost considerably yet leave the door open for upgrades down the line with the user being able to upgrade the RAM on their own. 

Now, the question remains; is this laptop good enough for you? Well, that's what we're here to find out and we encourage you to join us as we uncover everything there is to know about a laptop that's competing alongside its brother for the spot of best-selling budget laptop in America. 



Index


ASUS VivoBook 15 F515JA-AH31 Technical Specifications


Make modelASUS VivoBook 15 F515JA-AH31
Dimensions14.2 x 9.2 x 0.78 inches
Weight3.97 lbs
PanelAnti-glare | 15.6-inch
ResolutionFull HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
ProcessorIntel Core i3-1005G1 (2 cores up to 3.40 GHz)
RAM4GB (DDR4)
Graphic ControllerIntel UHD Graphics
Storage128GB (SSD)
Drums2 cells (37 Wh)
Operating systemWindows 10 Home in S mode
ConnectivityWi-Fi 5 
Bluetooth 5.0 
USB-A 2.0 (x2) 
USB-A 3.2 
USB-C 3.2 
HDMI 
Audio combo connector 
microSD card reader 
HD webcam 
Digital microphone 
Fingerprint sensor


Who's it for?


The F515JA-AH31 is the perfect laptop for students, casual users and those who aren't intensive multitaskers yet do a bit more than just browse the web and answer emails on their laptops.

Its lightweight build alongside its decent battery life and affordable price point make it the perfect laptop for people who need a device to edit documents, watch movies, listen to music and even do some light programming on the move with websites such as Codecademy or Udemy.



Design

ASUS VivoBook 15 F515JA-AH31: Core i3 ultrabook with fingerprint sensor and SSD drive
The aesthetic section of the F515JA-AH31 stands out when compared to most of its competitors, due to the sturdy build quality thanks to its silver hard plastic chassis. 

It's also appreciated that, despite being a 15-inch laptop, Asus has made a point of making this laptop as lightweight as possible, managing to cut down the weight to just under 4 pounds. Impressive.

Add to that a 0.78-inch thickness and a decent battery life and you've got yourself a very portable 15-inch laptop.

Keyboard and Trackpad

Moving onto the keyboard, the built-in chiclet keyboard has an ErgoLift hinge to allow it a slight elevation. 

This is one of those little things you don't really know you need until you try it and then you can't live without it. Why? Because it makes for a more ergonomic typing experience from the get-go having the keyboard slightly tilted in a downwards fashion. 

What's more, it features a 1.5 mm key travel distance which is optimum if you ask us for an assertive typing experience without feeling that you either have to dig your fingers onto your laptop's guts or, on the opposite side of things, feeling like you're typing on a touchscreen. 

It's also backlit, a feature that's not all that common within its price range. 

There's also your standard ample trackpad and, being a 15-inch laptop, we've also got a dedicated numeric pad on the side for a more comfortable number-crunching session. 

Display

Betting on an ultra-thin 5.7 mm frame to favor the viewing experience, this model implements a 15.6-inch LED screen , whose Full HD resolution translates into sharp images with decent color fidelity.

That said, you can't expect a laptop within this price range to deliver a high-quality display. That's just a non-starter when you consider the display to be one of the most expensive laptop components out there. 

In that regard, if you come from a laptop that costs twice as much you should know that viewing angles won't be as good, as a few buyers have already pointed out

Viewing-angles aside its screen-to-front ratio is 88% and, to ensure smooth multimedia playback, it has a 60 Hz refresh rateIn addition, its matte surface is great for working outside without having to worry about annoying reflections.

The hardware side is supported by the low-consumption Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor, made up of 2 real cores - running at frequencies up to 3.40 GHz -, a 4 MB SmartCache memory, and 4 virtual cores (via HyperThreading).

For RAM, ASUS relies on a DDR4 memory soldered onto the motherboard, with a capacity of 4 GB and a 3200 MHz clock speedThis figure refers us to a limited laptop in terms of multitasking performance, so it is advisable not to work on many tasks at the same time. That said, we will talk about the possibility of upgrading the RAM on this model later on in this review. 

We should point out that despite not being a lot of RAM it's a very fast one, far better than most laptops which feature anywhere between 2400 and 2600 MHz memory.

The storage department, on the other hand, features 128 GB of SSD storage, designed to run installed applications more smoothly, as well as boot Windows and transfer heavy data in a matter of seconds. Overall, if you're coming from a laptop that packed a hard-drive then you'll see the difference between them immediately as it's a night and day kind of situation. 

So, what can I expect in terms of performance? 


In terms of overall performance, with this set of key specs, you're looking at a quick and smooth laptop as long as you don't ask it to do too many things at once - you would need more RAM for that -. 

This set of components make it a great device for streaming movies, surfing the web, taking on zoom calls, editing complex spreadsheets, and even working with demanding software such as the Eclipse IE or lightweight graphic design tools - not photoshop - such as Gimp, Canva and the likes. 

Ports and Connectivity

Connectivity-wise Asus made sure the F515JA had all its bases covered.  Specifically, we've got a single USB Type C port for fast data transfer speeds, another standard USB 3.2 Type-A port to keep the data transfer speeds and two regular USB 2.0 type-A ports which are ideal to connect a mouse or whatever.

To connect external monitors, we have an HDMI outputThe 3.5 mm connector enables the use of headphones, microphones and external speakers and the microSD slot allows inserting these types of cards into the laptop without any inconvenience. That's also a way to easily upgrade storage if 128 GB seems limiting to you.

Wireless connections are provided by Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 adaptersTo make video calls you have a webcam and, finally, a fingerprint reader in charge of speeding up the login through Windows Hello.

The sound side is covered by a dual speaker system, whose ASUS SonicMaster technology allows you to enjoy a decent audiovisual experience, which you can further improve using external solutions. 

Honestly, the sound system isn't that great, this is a recurring issue on budget laptops so we'd suggest you opt for a Bluetooth speaker such as the Tronsmart T6 Plus for sound quality. With this popular speaker, you get excellent sound, long-lasting battery life, and a very small price tag. 
Battery-life is a big deal when you're looking for a laptop you're planning to carry with you everywhere you go. Having said that, this particular model packs a 2-cell battery which coupled with the rest of the specs and depending on your usage should deliver anywhere between 5-6 hours of battery life. Not bad but hardly impressive. 


Can the RAM / Storage of the F515JA-AH31 be increased?

According to official data provided by the manufacturer, the built-in RAM supports a maximum expansion of up to 12 GB, after installing an 8 GB DDR4 memory in the only free SO-DIMM socket. 

It is our professional recommendation if you're an intensive multitasker that you buy another 4 GB RAM module for this laptop. If, on the other hand, you're happy using a couple of tabs and a couple of programs then you could very well get away with the included 4 GB. 

However, we like to point his out because more often than not when a user thinks his  "new laptop is slow" it's just a matter of upgrading the RAM, not replacing the entire laptop. More so when you're a casual user who basically uses the laptop for the listed activities. 

As far as the SSD is concerned, it is also upgradable thanks to the available slot on the device for another storage unit. Yet here it's more a matter of preference. 

Conclusion: Is the ASUS VivoBook 15 F515JA-AH31 worth buying?

Wrapping up this review, and answering the million-dollar question we would say that it depends. If you're looking for a state-of-the-art laptop with a high-end display, stellar processing power, and the ability to work on multiple programs at a time then we would be quick to say: No, it's not

On the other hand, if you're a casual user, you don't want to spend much money and really just want a laptop to perform rather simple computational tasks such as editing documents, conferencing over zoom, and streaming movies then this would be a good option for you. More so when you consider that you can always upgrade the memory down the line if you start to see that your usage outpaces the specs.  Overall, a great option for students, casual users, and the likes who don't need a MacBook-killer to do their tasks.