Review Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H Ultrabook

Sascha Mölck (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 07/11/2013

Handy touch-ultrabook. Asus upgrades a simple 15.6-inch office ultrabook with a touchscreen and calls the whole thing Vivobook S500CA. The laptop proves to be quite energy-efficient owing to the ULV processor and is to achieve satisfactory battery runtimes. Whether the Vivobook is compelling can be read in our test report.

For the original German review, see here.

The number of available laptops and ultrabooks featuring a touchscreen on the market is skyrocketing. Asus want to cater to this market with the VivoBook series, among others. We have tested various laptops - for example the 15.6-inch VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H (Core i5-3317UGeForce GT 635M). Now another 15.6-inch member dubbed VivoBook S500CA is in our benchmark lab. Although the S550CM and S500CA strongly resemble each other, they only have a few things in common apart from the input devices and their looks. The VivoBook S500CA is based on the same technologies as the recently tested Asus PU500CA-XO002X (Core i5-3317UHD Graphics 4000). They both are similar in size and feature an identical port distribution. Their relationship is particularly noticed when looking inside. Our test reveals whether the VivoBook is worth recommending.

We used HP's Pavilion Sleekbook TouchSmart 15-b153sg (AMD A4-4355MRadeon HD 7400G) and Acer's Aspire V5-571P (Core i5-3317UHD Graphics 4000) to help classify the laptop.

Case

As said above, the VivoBook and Asus PU500CA-XO002X are based on the same technologies. However, there is a difference in the design. The lid's back, the base unit's bottom as well as the display's bezel are matte black. The base unit's upper part is matte silver. The laptop thus looks a lot like the VivoBook S550CM-CJ038. In contrast to the Asus PU500CA, the S500CA is generally rounder. The corners and edges feature a stronger rounding. This is seen most when comparing the casing's bottom tray. Asus has also reduced the VivoBook's height by 1.5 mm compared to the PU500CA, in order to comply with ultrabook specifications. The lid's back and base unit's top of both laptops are made of aluminum. Both the Aspire and Pavilion are completely made of plastic.

The sturdiness of the base units in both Asus laptops is equal. It proves to be pressure resistant and barely warps. The lid of the S500CA is a bit stiffer than that of the PU500CA. The touchscreen adds stability. The hinges keep the lid firmly in position but allow marginal wobbling after adjustments. The lid cannot be opened with only one hand. The lid and base unit of our review sample do not close evenly. The parts close flush at the base unit's front left corner, but the closed lid is shifted by about 2 mm to the back at the right front corner. We cannot say whether this is only the case for our review sample or an issue that affects the entire series.

Asus Vivobook S500CA
Asus Vivobook S500CA
Asus uses metal components
Asus uses metal components
There is no maintenance cover
There is no maintenance cover

Connectivity

The three compared laptops feature the most commonly found interfaces installed in laptops nowadays. We were happy to see that all the computers sport USB 3.0 ports. The Aspire has a marginally superior connectivity than its contenders. It is the only laptop that features an optical drive. Users who miss this drive in the VivoBook will find a corresponding alternative in the VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H. Those who own a Pavilion have to live without a VGA port. The port distribution of the VivoBook is good. All ports are in the back areas on both sides. Thus, there are no cords beside the wrist rest.

Left: Kensington lock slot, 2x USB 2.0, combo audio jack, memory card reader (SD)
Left: Kensington lock slot, 2x USB 2.0, combo audio jack, memory card reader (SD)
Right: USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA port, Gigabit Ethernet, power socket
Right: USB 3.0, HDMI, VGA port, Gigabit Ethernet, power socket

Communication

An Atheros module takes care of wireless connections. It supports the Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n standard. Wi-Fi reception did not cause any problems. The connection remained stable in both the router's direct vicinity (approx. 3 meters/~10 feet) with a signal of around 50% as well as two stories below its position. Both the AR8161/8165 Gigabit Ethernet chip and the Bluetooth 4.0 module in Asus' laptop also come from Atheros. The built-in webcam with a resolution of up to 1280x720 pixels shoots blurry pictures.

Accessories

Apart from a hardware manual and warranty information, the laptop comes with a polishing cloth for the touchscreen.

Operating system and Recovery

Asus pre-installs Windows 8 64-bit on the VivoBook. A Windows DVD is not included. The system can be repaired in case of an operating system defect or reset to default via Windows 8 recovery system. It is opened by pressing the F9 key after turning on the laptop.

Maintenance

The base unit's bottom has to be removed in order to access the VivoBook's hardware. This is accomplished by removing all screws from the bottom. The lower tray can then be carefully levered off using a putty knife (from the home improvement center). The bottom tray is secured by plastic hooks that could easily break.

After removing the bottom tray, it is possible to access the working memory, hard drive, Wi-Fi module, BIOS battery, battery and fan. The VivoBook sports four gigabytes of working memory that are soldered to the motherboardOne empty memory bank is available for upgrading the memory. The working memory operates in single-channel mode. The memory could work in dual-channel mode with an additional memory and thus max out the CPU and GPU better. Replacing the hard disk is no problem either. However, only drives with a height of 7 mm fit in the laptop. The battery could also be exchanged in case of defect. It is only secured by screws.

Warranty

The VivoBook comes with a 24-month warranty including pick-up service. The Pavilion and Aspire are delivered with a 12-month warranty to the buyer. The warranty period of the Asus' laptop can be upgraded to three years. Approximately 80 Euros (~$104) is charged for the corresponding warranty upgrade.

Input Devices

The keyboard, touchpad and touchscreen are identical with those in the VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H version. Thus, we will not deal closely with these components here.

Display

The VivoBook features a glossy, 15.6-inch screen. It has a native resolution of 1366x768 pixels. Asus does not offer any other screen models. The screen's average brightness of 173 cd/m² is in the lower range. This rather poor rate is even undercut from the screen in the Pavilion (140.4 cd/m²). The Aspire's screen (179.7 cd/m²) is only marginally brighter than that of the VivoBook.

175
cd/m²
166
cd/m²
166
cd/m²
167
cd/m²
185
cd/m²
157
cd/m²
185
cd/m²
177
cd/m²
179
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
Information
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 185 cd/m²
Average: 173 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 185 cd/m²
Black: 0.27 cd/m²
Contrast: 685:1
Asus Vivobook vs. sRGB
Asus Vivobook vs. sRGB
Asus Vivobook vs. AdobeRGB
Asus Vivobook vs. AdobeRGB

Although the screen does not score in brightness, it looks much better with its contrast of 658:1 and black value of 0.27 cd/m². Both rates are within a good range. The Aspire's screen supplies identically good rates (664:1; 0.28 cd/m²) but the Pavilion lags behind the competition (262:1; 0.58 cd/m²). The screen in the VivoBook cannot reproduce either the AdobeRGB or the sRGB color space.

We assessed the screen in its default state (target color space: sRGB) and determined clear DeltaE 2000 deviation in almost all colors. The deviations were at a rate of around 10. Only a few colors clearly surpassed this rate. Black and white were the only colors within the target range (DeltaE smaller than 5). The screen has a visible bluish cast.

CalMan - Color Checker
CalMan - Color Checker
CalMan - Grayscale
CalMan - Grayscale
CalMan - Saturation
CalMan - Saturation

The VivoBook is useless outdoors. The low brightness and reflective screen do not allow working outdoors. The screen's good contrast ratio does not help here either.

The viewing angle stability is as we expected from a laptop of this price level. Changing the vertical viewing angle quickly leads to picture distortions. The horizontal viewing angles are more generous and the screen can be read from the sides. However, the picture dims slightly.

Viewing angles: Asus Vivobook S500CA-CJ005H
Viewing angles: Asus Vivobook S500CA-CJ005H
The Vivobook outdoors
The Vivobook outdoors

Performance

Asus offers a slim and handy 15.6-inch office touchscreen ultrabook in the VivoBook S500CA. The hardware configuration enables performing the most common application scenarios, such as Internet browsing, word processing, Internet communication or even playing videos. Our review sample is sold for starting at around 700 Euros (~$913). Asus also offers other configurations in the S500CA series. The differences are mainly found in the installed processor and working memory capacity. The VivoBook is currently available with the following processors: Core i3-3217UCore i5-3317UCore i5-3337UCore i7-3517U and Core i7-3537U. The various models range from 600 Euros (~$783) to 800 Euros (~$1044).

System information: Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H

Processor

Intel's Core i5-3317U is installed as the central processing unit. The dual-core CPU is an offshoot of the Ivy Bridge processor generation and clocks with a default rate of 1.7 GHz. Its speed can be boosted to 2.4 GHz on both cores and 2.6 GHz on one core only via Turbo. It is a ULV processor. These models can be operated with low voltage and they thus consume a relatively small amount of power. Intel specifies a TDP of 17 Watts for the Core i5.

The CPU processed the Cinebench benchmark CPU tests at full speed (2.4 GHz). One core was occasionally boosted to 2.6 GHz in the single-thread tests. The scores of the Aspire (Core i5-3317UHD Graphics 4000) are on a par with the VivoBook. Both laptops sport the same processor. The Pavilion (AMD A4-4355MRadeon HD 7400G) cannot keep up with either contender. AMD's processor is clearly inferior to its Intel counterpart. The VivoBook also supplied the best results in the GL tests. The Aspire slightly lags behind the VivoBook in the GL tests. The graphics processor in Acer's computer apparently does not clock at full speed. The Pavilion can at least keep up with the competition in the Cinebench R11.5 GL benchmark. It is very clearly inferior in the Cinebench 10 benchmarks.

Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
3523
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
7309
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5116
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
4374 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
9146 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5125 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.07 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.41 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
12.38 fps
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
12.38 fps ∼11%
Acer Aspire V5-571P-6499
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
11.76 fps ∼11% -5%
Acer Aspire V5-571P-6499
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
11.76 fps ∼11% -5%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook TouchSmart 15-b153sg
Radeon HD 7400G, A4-4355M, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
12.09 fps ∼11% -2%
Sony Vaio SV-T1511M1E/S
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
15.43 fps ∼14% +25%
Acer Aspire V5-551-64454G50Makk
Radeon HD 7500G, A6-4455M, Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS
19.5 fps ∼18% +58%
Asus VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H
GeForce GT 635M, 3317U, Hitachi HTS545050A7380 + Kingston SMSM150S324G 24 GB SSD Cache
28.06 fps ∼26% +127%
Acer Aspire TimelineU M3-581PTG-53334G25Makk
GeForce GT 730M, 3337U, TOSHIBA THNSNS256GMCP
33.75 fps ∼31% +173%
Sony Vaio SV-F15A1S2ES
GeForce GT 735M, 3537U, Toshiba MQ01ABD075H
33.91 fps ∼31% +174%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
2.41 Points ∼14%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook TouchSmart 15-b153sg
Radeon HD 7400G, A4-4355M, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
0.72 Points ∼4% -70%
Acer Aspire V5-551-64454G50Makk
Radeon HD 7500G, A6-4455M, Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS
0.86 Points ∼5% -64%
Acer Aspire V5-571P-6499
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
2.37 Points ∼13% -2%
Acer Aspire V5-571P-6499
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
2.37 Points ∼13% -2%
Asus VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H
GeForce GT 635M, 3317U, Hitachi HTS545050A7380 + Kingston SMSM150S324G 24 GB SSD Cache
2.38 Points ∼14% -1%
Sony Vaio SV-T1511M1E/S
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
2.38 Points ∼14% -1%
Acer Aspire TimelineU M3-581PTG-53334G25Makk
GeForce GT 730M, 3337U, TOSHIBA THNSNS256GMCP
2.49 Points ∼14% +3%
Sony Vaio SV-F15A1S2ES
GeForce GT 735M, 3537U, Toshiba MQ01ABD075H
2.88 Points ∼16% +20%

System Performance

There is no reason for criticizing the system performance. The system runs without interruptions and applications open immediately. The scores of both PCMark benchmarks are accordingly good. The scores of the Aspire (Core i5-3317UHD Graphics 4000) lag behind the VivoBook's. Nevertheless, the comparison of both laptops is interesting because the CPU, GPU, working memory and hard drive are identical. The main difference between both laptops is the VivoBook's 24 GB SSD cache. Approximately 20% better scores are possible due to the VivoBook's cache. The scores of the Pavilion (AMD A4-4355MRadeon HD 7400G) lag far behind those of its contenders.

The VivoBook's scores could be even higher. We inserted a 4 GB working memory module in the laptop, which allows the working memory to operate in dual-channel mode. The CPU and GPU can be used more efficiently. The PCMark 7 score increased by almost 13% to 3174 points. Installing a solid state drive is even more effective. Our 64 GB Crucial RealSSD C300 solid state drive increased the PCMark 7 score by approximately 46% to 4117 points and PCMark Vantage by roughly 68% to 10774 points.

4.7
Windows 8 Experience Index
Processor
Calculations per second
6.9
Memory (RAM)
Memory operations per second
5.9
Graphics
Desktop performance for Windows Aero
4.7
Gaming graphics
3D business and gaming graphics
6.2
Primary hard disk
Disk data transfer rate
5.9
PC Mark
PCMark Vantage6424 points
PCMark 72813 points
Help
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
2813 Points ∼42%
HP Pavilion Sleekbook TouchSmart 15-b153sg
Radeon HD 7400G, A4-4355M, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
932 Points ∼14% -67%
Acer Aspire V5-551-64454G50Makk
Radeon HD 7500G, A6-4455M, Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS
1201 Points ∼18% -57%
Acer Aspire V5-571P-6499
HD Graphics 4000, 3317U, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380
2384 Points ∼36% -15%
Asus VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H
GeForce GT 635M, 3317U, Hitachi HTS545050A7380 + Kingston SMSM150S324G 24 GB SSD Cache
2700 Points ∼41% -4%
Sony Vaio SV-T1511M1E/S
HD Graphics 4000, 3337U, Seagate Momentus Thin ST500LT012-9WS142 + 24 GB SanDisk U100 SSD Cache
3492 Points ∼53% +24%
Sony Vaio SV-F15A1S2ES
GeForce GT 735M, 3537U, Toshiba MQ01ABD075H
4054 Points ∼61% +44%
Acer Aspire TimelineU M3-581PTG-53334G25Makk
GeForce GT 730M, 3337U, TOSHIBA THNSNS256GMCP
4791 Points ∼72% +70%

Storage Devices

HD Tune
HD Tune
CrystalDiskMark
CrystalDiskMark

The hard drive in the VivoBook comes from Hitachi's Travelstar Z5K500 range. It has a capacity of 500 GB and spins with 5400 revolutions per minute. The hard drive is supported by a 24 GB SSD cache from SanDisk. CrystalDiskMark recorded a read speed of 92.04 MB/s for the HDD-SSD array. HD Tune delivered an average transfer rate of 85.7 MB/s. Those are not particularly good rates for an SSD-HDD array. However, these rates would be good when only a hard drive without SSD cache support were installed.

Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
Transfer Rate Minimum: 50.8 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 134.3 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 85.7 MB/s
Access Time: 19.6 ms
Burst Rate: 146.6 MB/s
CPU Usage: 3.7 %

Graphics Card

Intel's HD Graphics 4000 GPU is responsible for video output. The graphics core supports DirectX 11 and clocks with speeds ranging from 350 to 1050 MHz. The VivoBook and Aspire (Core i5-3317UHD Graphics 4000) are virtually on a par in the different 3DMark benchmarks. After all, both laptops feature the same CPU-GPU combination. The Pavilion (AMD A4-4345MRadeon HD 7400G) cannot compete with the competition in these benchmarks either and provides the lowest scores. The Pavilion not only sports the weakest CPU but also the weakest GPU.

As we described in system performance, the system's power can be improved by using a second working memory module because the working memory then operates in dual-channel mode. The same is true for the graphics power. The 3DMark 11 score can be increased by about 13% to 629 points via the dual-channel mode.

3D Mark
3DMark 06
 1280x1024
3831 points
3DMark Vantage2651 points
3DMark 11555 points
3DMark Ice Storm30356 points
3DMark Cloud Gate3053 points
3DMark Fire Strike414 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The VivoBook is not a laptop for gamers. The computer manages to render a few up-to-date 3D games in low resolution and quality smoothly on the screen. Games, like the FIFA series, should also run smoothly in the screen's native resolution and medium quality level. As we just said, the graphics power can be increased by installing a second working memory module. This is also noticed in games. When the working memory operates in dual-channel mode, the frame rates are approximately 5 to 20% higher (depending on the game). A comparison between the frame rates of the VivoBook and Asus PU500CA-XO002X shows how much higher the frame rates are when operating in dual-channel mode. The plus was even a bit over 20% in the games we tested.

Another laptop is needed when more gaming power is wanted. Users who want a touchscreen could find an alternative in Asus' VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H (Core i5-3317UGeForce GT 635M). A version of the Aspire V5-571P (Core i5-3317UHD Graphics 4000) is also available with a dedicated GPU. Disregarding ultrabooks and touchscreens, Acer's Aspire V5-571G (Core i7-3610QMGeForce GT 640M) or Dell's Inspiron 15 (Core i5-3337URadeon HD 8750M) could come in question.

low med.high ultra
Trackmania Nations Forever (2008) 1634718fps
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011) 25.412fps
Anno 2070 (2011) 37.418.8fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 33.216.9fps
Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H
Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache
Asus PU500CA-XO002X
Intel Core i5-3317U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Hitachi HTS545050A7380 + Kingston SMSM150S324G 24 GB SSD Cache
Anno 2070
27%
1024x768 Low Preset37.446.7
25%
1366x768 Medium Preset AA:on 18.824.2
29%
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
18%
1280x720 Low Preset25.427.2
7%
1366x768 Medium Preset AA:4x1215.4
28%
Tomb Raider
21%
1024x768 Low Preset33.240.1
21%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x16.920.2
20%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
22% / 22%

Emissions

System Noise

The VivoBook sports an energy-efficient ULV processor. Thus, there is not much cooling effort necessary and the laptop works quietly when idle. We measured a noise level of 30.2 to 31.1 dB(A). These rates are undercut by the Aspire (30.5 to 30.8 dB(A)) and from the Pavilion (29.6 dB(A)). The VivoBook does not produce much noise in medium load via 3DMark06 with 34.4 dB(A) or in full load during the stress test via Prime95 and FurMark with 36.6 dB(A). The Pavilion's rates are only slightly higher with 34.9 and 38.3 dB(A) and the Aspire is much louder with 36.9 and 42.2 dB(A) in full load.

Noise Level

Idle 30.2 / 31 / 31.1 dB(A)
HDD 31 dB(A)
Load 34.4 / 36.6 dB(A)
 
    30 dB
silent
40 dB
audible
50 dB
loud
 
min: , med: , max:    Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The Vivobook S500CA-CJ005H in the stress test
The Vivobook S500CA-CJ005H in the stress test

The casing's idle temperatures are within an acceptable range. We ascertained temperatures ranging from 24.4 to 34.8 degrees Celsius (75.92 to 94.64 Fahrenheit). The casings of the Pavilion (25 to 31.2 degrees Celsius/77 to 88.16 Fahrenheit) and the Aspire (21.8 to 33.2 degrees Celsius/71.24 to 91.76 Fahrenheit) are a bit cooler. During full load, the VivoBook's temperatures increase moderately to 23.5 to 42.4 degrees Celsius (74.3 to 108.32 Fahrenheit). The Aspire (24.2 to 38 degrees Celsius/75.56 to 100.4 Fahrenheit) is slightly below that. The reason for this is that the processor and GPU do not clock at full speed. The temperatures of the Pavilion are somewhat higher than its contenders (26.5 to 41.2 degrees Celsius/79.7 to 106.16 Fahrenheit).

The processor performed our stress test, where Prime95 and FurMark run for at least one hour, with 2 to 2.1 GHz for the first five minutes. Afterwards, it stably clocked at 2 GHz. The stress test started with 2 GHz from the outset in battery mode. The GPU clocked at full speed with 1050 MHz in both AC mode and battery mode. The CPU's temperature settled to approximately 78 degrees Celsius (172.4 Fahrenheit) in AC mode.

Max. Load
 24.1 °C35.8 °C37.9 °C 
 23.8 °C30.2 °C34.6 °C 
 23.5 °C24.2 °C27.5 °C 
Maximum: 37.9 °C
Average: 29.1 °C
42.4 °C39 °C25.7 °C
34.2 °C34.4 °C26.3 °C
26.5 °C26.3 °C24.3 °C
Maximum: 42.4 °C
Average: 31 °C
Power Supply (max.)  43 °C | Room Temperature 22.1 °C | Voltcraft IR-360

Speakers

The stereo speakers in Asus' laptop are located in the casing's front bottom area on both sides. They produce a rich sound that lacks bass. The sound is acceptable and it is possible to listen to the speakers for a long time without torturing the ears. External speakers or headphones boost the sound experience considerably.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

We ascertained an idle power consumption ranging from 7.1 and 12.8 Watts. These rates are acceptable for a touchscreen ULV ultrabook. The rates from the Pavilion are even a bit lower with 6.9 to 10.1 Watts. The Pavilion proves to be even more energy-efficient during medium load via 3DMark 06 with 26.6 and full load in the stress test via Prime95 and FurMark with 29.3 Watts. The VivoBook consumed 31.7 and 32.4 Watts here.

Power Consumption

Off / Standby 0.0 / 0.2 Watt
Idle 7.1 / 10.4 / 12.8 Watt
Load 31.7 / 32.4 Watt
 
Key: min: , med: , max:         Voltcraft VC 940

Battery Runtime

The VivoBook achieved a runtime of 6:55 h in idle mode. Thus, it lasts over two hours longer than the Aspire (4:48 h) and the Pavilion (4:46 h). Idle mode is ascertained via Battery Eater Reader's test using minimum screen brightness, enabled energy-saving mode and disabled wireless modules. The VivoBook ran for 1:17 h during load. The Aspire is on a par with 1:14 h. The Pavilion surpasses two hours with 2:04h. The Battery Eater Classic test is used for determining the load runtime. The screen is set to maximum brightness, the high-performance profile and the wireless modules are enabled for this.

A full battery kept the Wi-Fi test running for 3:44 h. Both the Aspire (2:59 h) and the Pavilion (3:09 h) are drained sooner. Websites are opened automatically every 40 seconds, the energy-saving profile is enabled and the screen brightness is set to approximately 150 cd/m² for this test.

The runtimes of the three devices can only be compared to an extent since their batteries all have a similar capacity (Asus: 44 Wh; HP and Acer: 37 Wh). As in the Asus PU500CA-XO002X, the VivoBook's battery runtimes are not exceptional. We would expect more from a ULV ultrabook, particularly considering the price of around 700 Euros (~$913). Acer proves that building an affordable ultrabook with high battery capacities and long runtimes is possible with its Aspire M3-481 (Core i5-3317UHD Graphics 4000, 14-inch). Its 54 Wh battery ensures much better runtimes (Wi-Fi test: 5:57 h; idle: 11:18 h). It also sports a DVD burner and is sold for less than 500 Euros (~$652).

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
6h 55min
WiFi Surfing
3h 44min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 17min

Verdict

The Asus Vivobook S500CA-CJ005H
The Asus Vivobook S500CA-CJ005H

Asus' VivoBook S500CA provides a decent application performance and always works quietly. It comes with a satisfactory keyboard and with a 24-month warranty. The entire technology is packed in a sturdy and attractive casing. The VivoBook's screen compels with its good contrast but only achieves a low brightness at the same time. The overall battery runtime is not bad although we would have expected more from an ultrabook. A significant issue is also the price. The laptop is not exactly cheap costing around 700 Euros (~$913). Asus should have more to offer for this price, e.g. a bigger battery, better screen and/or a backlit keyboard. Users who are satisfied with the power of a Core i3 can obtain the VivoBook for 620 Euros (~$809).

HP's Pavilion Sleekbook TouchSmart 15-b153sg is ideal for users who want to spend as little as possible for a touchscreen laptop. It is currently available for 400 Euros (~$522). Acer's Aspire V5-571P is a possible alternative when as many options as possible is wanted. The laptop is available in innumerable configurations, i.e. different CPUs, with and without touchscreen, with and without a dedicated GPU. The model we tested is sold for around 600 Euros (~$783).

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The Asus Vivobook S500CA-CJ005H
The Asus Vivobook S500CA-CJ005H

Specifications

Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H

:: Processor
:: Mainboard
Intel HM76 (Panther Point)
:: Memory
4096 MB, DDR3, single-channel, soldered, 1 empty memory bank
:: Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 4000, Core: 350-1050 MHz, 9.17.10.2857
:: Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, multitouch, AU Optronics B156XW04 V5, TN LED, glossy: yes
:: Harddisk
Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 HTS545050A7E380 + 24 GB SanDisk SSD U100 Cache, 500 GB 5400 rpm , 410 GB free
:: Soundcard
Intel Panther Point PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
:: Connections
2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combo audio jack, Card Reader: SD,
:: Networking
Atheros AR8161/8165 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (10/100/1000MBit), Atheros AR9485 WiFi Adapter (b g n ), 4.0 Bluetooth
:: Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 21 x 383 x 258
:: Weight
2.1 kg Power Supply: 0.235 kg
:: Battery
44 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.1, 4000 mAh
:: Price
600 Euro
:: Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8 64 Bit
:: Additional features
Webcam: HD Webcam, Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, McAfee Internet Security (trial), Microsoft Office 2010 (trial), 24 Months Warranty

 

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A number pad is installed.
A number pad is installed.
The hinges keep the lid firmly in position.
The hinges keep the lid firmly in position.
Accessing the hardware is possible after removing the bottom tray.
Accessing the hardware is possible after removing the bottom tray.
Four gigabyte of working memory are soldered. A memory bank is present.
Four gigabyte of working memory are soldered. A memory bank is present.
Replacing the hard drive is easy.
Replacing the hard drive is easy.
The fan can be taken out for cleaning purposes.
The fan can be taken out for cleaning purposes.
The processor is soldered to the motherboard.
The processor is soldered to the motherboard.
Asus treats the laptop to an SSD cache.
Asus treats the laptop to an SSD cache.
Good: Two Wi-Fi antennas are installed.
Good: Two Wi-Fi antennas are installed.
The BIOS battery could be exchanged.
The BIOS battery could be exchanged.
Replacing the battery is also possible.
Replacing the battery is also possible.
The battery has a capacity of 44 Wh.
The battery has a capacity of 44 Wh.
The power supply weighs almost 235 grams...
The power supply weighs almost 235 grams...
...and provides a maximum of 65 Watts.
...and provides a maximum of 65 Watts.
The waste heat is discharged here.
The waste heat is discharged here.
The speakers are on the bottom.
The speakers are on the bottom.
The keys feature a short drop.
The keys feature a short drop.
The Vivobook outdoors.
The Vivobook outdoors.

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Pro

+Quiet operation
+Slim and light
+Attractive casing
+Decent application performance
+24 month warranty
 

Cons

-Dark screen
-Screen has an intense bluish cast
-At best middling battery runtimes despite ULV hardware
-High price

Shortcut

What we like

The decent application performance and quiet operating noise. The casing is also nicely designed.

What we'd like to see

A brighter screen and longer battery runtimes.

What surprises us

Although the laptop sports ULV hardware, its battery runtimes are on the same level as most laptops with standard mobile processors.

The competition

HP Pavilion Sleekbook TouchSmart 15-b153sg, Acer Aspire V5-571P, Asus VivoBook S550CM-CJ038H, Acer Aspire TimelineU M3-581PTG, Sony Vaio SV-T1511M1E/S, HP Spectre XT TouchSmart 15-4000eg, Sony Vaio SV-F15A1S2ES

Rating

Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H
07/05/2013 v3
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
84%
Keyboard
80%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
67%
Weight
87%
Battery
82%
Display
76%
Games Performance
65%
Application Performance
90%
Temperature
89%
Noise
93%
Add Points
85%
Average
81%
83%
Office *
Weighted Average

> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Review Asus VivoBook S500CA-CJ005H Ultrabook
Author: Sascha Mölck, 2013-07-11 (Update: 2013-07-14)