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[Review] Asus VivoBook 15 M515UA-ES56: Everything You Need

The Asus M515UA-ES56 is the latest VivoBook from Asus, a slick and modern mid-range laptop that has managed to climb the ranks and earn itself a pretty good reputation.

But don't be fooled by its sleek and modern design as this might just be one of the most balanced mid-range laptops within its price range.

For starters, the M515UA-ES56 is powered by a hexa-core AMD processor which has proven to be very powerful and efficient for the average user. Alongside the processor, its 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD, have helped this notebook become one of the most popular student/professional laptops.

Without further ado, let’s get on with this review!

Who’s it for?

=> Students - You’re looking for a laptop that can handle your everyday tasks such as emailing and video streaming. You don’t want to spend more than $600 on a device, but you also need something that has the specs to last you at least a few years.

=> Professionals - This laptop is good for you because you need a laptop that can handle your daily workload - web browsing, word processing, video editing, and streaming.

=> Software developers - As long as you’re not working with GPU-intensive tasks such as 3D rendering, this laptop can handle just about anything you throw at it. That means running virtual machines, compiling code, debugging, and of course, running your IDE.

=> Content creators - For the same reasons mentioned above, this laptop is great for content creators such as YouTubers and Twitch streamers.

Who’s it not for?

=> Graphic designers - If you’re working on projects that require the GPU to render lots of textures such as designing a game or creating 3D art, then you should consider looking for a laptop with a dedicated GPU.

=> Gamers - If your budget is less than $800 and you play graphically intensive games, the M515UA-ES56 may not be for you.

=> Video editors - While this device comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 5500U processor, the M515UA-ES56 lacks a dedicated GPU which means it's not a laptop we'd recommend for professional-grade video editing.

Design & Display

This laptop has a nice and clean all-around build with no sharp edges, feels really sturdy overall, and also looks really nice. Gives out some serious MacBook vibes. It should be pointed out, however, that we're still talking about a laptop made out of plastic and not a metal alloy.

The keyboard is one of its selling points, with a 1.4 mm key travel, it's very comfortable to use and its backlight means you can still type in the dark. It also has good tactile feedback which should mean fewer typos and more productivity!

The touchpad is large and supports Windows 10’s native gestures, giving you a wide area to move your finger around. It's alright. There's also a fingerprint sensor located on the top-right of the trackpad, which works under Windows Hello and it works pretty fast thanks to the combo of key specs on this device.

As far as the display is concerned, there’s not much to say other than it's a 15.6-inch 1920x1080 IPS panel with thin bezels, which is great for watching videos and gaming (FHD resolution).

Overall, color reproduction is fine and while we wished it was just a tad brighter to use it comfortably outdoors, it's well in line with what you typically get in terms of displays in this price range.

Hardware & Performance

Moving onto the key specs, the processor on the Asus VivoBook 15 - the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U - features 6 cores and 12 threads which means it can handle heavy-duty tasks, such as photo editing and code compiling.

And while it's not necessarily the ideal laptop for photographers as we've covered in this guide, it's still a pretty good option if you don't/can't go down the route of a dedicated graphics card

It also comes equipped with 16GB of DDR4 RAM which is more than enough for everyday tasks and a 512GB PCIe SSD which will provide you with the necessary storage for launching apps and storing files.

But what does this mean for everyday usage?

► Web Browsing - This laptop can handle multiple tabs open at once and it also handles YouTube well. Certainly one of the better devices in its price range for everyday use.

► Word Processing - Again, a good performance here with multiple documents running simultaneously without any lag or stutter.

► Video Editing/Streaming - Good performance as long as you don't overload it with too many video editing programs, if so the laptop will start to stutter a bit.

► Gaming - For casual gaming it's good, but for more graphics-intensive games it might struggle a little (still playable though). And because it's a mid-range laptop you don't get any dedicated GPU so the CPU and integrated graphics will handle all your gaming requirements.

► Coding - This computer processes code quite fast due to it having the Ryzen 5 processor. Overall, no issues in this category here.

► Multitasking - Thanks to its 16 GB of RAM you should be able to multitask to your heart's content -within reason of course -.

Battery Life & Connectivity Options

Battery life isn't all that on the Asus M515UA-ES56. Unlike the recently reviewed HP 14-fq1021nr or the Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-35SE, this model doesn't really brag about substantial battery life.

Overall, if our years of experience in this business have taught us anything is that if the company ain't bragging about the extensive battery life you can pretty much be assured that it's going to be along the lines of 4-6 hours. Here's where you need to consider if you're planning on taking this laptop everywhere you go or if you're planning on always having it near a power source.

The connectivity options in the Asus VivoBook M515UA-ES56 are quite decent. The laptop features 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port, a couple of USB 2.0 Type-A ports, a single HDMI port, and a 3.5mm combo audio jack.

It also has Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.1 with dual-band support. We're slightly disappointed that Asus didn't implement a WiFi 6 solution which is slightly faster than the previous generation standard but it's hardly a deal-breaker these days.

We were even more surprised to find that the webcam has a VGA resolution, which is pretty much the lowest you can get and while we know that most people don't use their webcams for recording videos it's a bit of an eye-sore to see such a low-resolution camera on a laptop designed for general usage.

At least it does offer Windows Hello support with its fingerprint scanner which makes logging in quite quick and easy.

Wrapping up

If you're looking for a new laptop that will be able to handle your everyday needs without too much lag or performance issues, the Asus M515UA-ES56 is worth considering.

The device comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 processor and 16GB of RAM which means it's going to do well on tasks such as web browsing, video streaming, word processing, coding, and even some photo editing. Throw in its fast - and generous - PCIe storage and you've got a good all-rounder on your hands.

Overall, the Asus VivoBook 15 M515UA-ES56 is a proper laptop that will handle your daily tasks and its slim form factor means you'll be able to take it anywhere. It does have some limitations though such as the bad VGA webcam, low battery life, and lack of dedicated GPU so if those aspects are important to you then you should definitely set your sights elsewhere.