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This Asus laptop looks unassuming, but it has a powerful feature creatives will love

Asus' 2024 Vivobook Pro 15 is a powerful laptop thanks to its solid performance, hi-res display, and extra touches made with pros in mind.
Written by Cesar Cadenas, Contributing Writer
Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Asus Vivobook Pro 15 is a solid machine for graphic design and creative work that won't break the bank.
  • Its Nvidia GeForce GPU, OLED display, and full-sized keyboard can handle even the toughest of tasks.
  • However, the short battery life and placement of the heat vents may pose some usability issues.

I have to be honest: when I first heard about the Asus Vivobook Pro 15, I didn't think much of it. The hardware didn't catch my eye and the design didn't wow me. I was ready to write it off, but something told me to give it a chance. Once I got my hands on the device, I have to say, I massively underestimated the Vivobook Pro 15. It quickly became clear when I began testing that it is a solid, well-priced laptop for creative professionals.

Also: The best laptops for graphic designers: Expert tested

One of the primary reasons I underestimated this laptop was its hardware configuration. My review model had an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card and the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor. This is a solid processor, as every laptop I've reviewed this year with this CPU has performed well. However, I was worried the last-gen GeForce RTX 3050 GPU wouldn't keep up with its power, assuming that this would result in significant bottlenecking.

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As it turns out, I was wrong. My experience with the device was pleasant overall, and the hardware configuration makes a strong laptop. I was able to zoom from webpage to webpage and quickly load videos all without missing a beat. Multi-tasking with multiple applications and a browser running a ton of tabs are a breeze for this machine. I also edited some photographs and was pleased to see how quickly it rendered images. 

However, the battery life on the Vivobook Pro 15 can vary widely. On average, it can last almost eight hours on a single charge. But under duress, the laptop doesn't last as long. I've clocked the battery life at about four hours and 45 minutes when working on tougher workloads.

Because of the hardware, the model can run warm, so Asus equipped this machine with a robust cooling system to keep things at a low temperature. The problem is that the heat vents are at the bottom, so if you are used to working on your lap, your legs will feel the warm air. You can hit F12 to bring up the MyAsus app where you can adjust the fans to work harder, which will alleviate some of the heat.

The second point of concern I had was the 1080p display. The Vivobook Pro 15 would solidify its reputation as a working laptop for graphic designers and creatives if it had a higher resolution count for photo-sensitive work. 

It does, however, sport an OLED screen supported by an array of image-enhancing software, the most notable of which is the Pantone validation. This allows the display to accurately represent colors with the utmost accuracy to true life, and is a feature that is rare among laptops.

Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

If that weren't enough, Asus equipped its machine with special features to help reduce fatigue. The display actively reduces the emission of harmful blue light to your eyes so they don't become irritated after hours of work. Further supporting these ergonomics, the full-sized keyboard is wonderfully springy, easy on the hands, and offers plenty of room to ensure comfortable typing.

Below the keyboard, the trackpad has an ingenious feature that I don't believe I've ever seen on a laptop before called the DialPad. It acts as a quick menu for the toolkits found in creative software. Through its control app, you can connect it to something like Photoshop and then tie it to different brushes, brush sizes, plus layer navigation, among other things. It is primarily meant for Adobe platforms although it can work on other apps for page navigation and web browsers where it serves as media control.

Also: I tested Dell's most underrated laptop and it has clever features at an accessible price

Asus' Vivobook Pro 15 does a good job playing media. Hi-res videos look stunning on the laptop's display, and the Harmon Kardon drivers support Dolby Atmos for powerful audio output. Unfortunately, much like the heat vents, the speakers are at the bottom pointing down, something that can result in muffled sound, depending on the laptop's placement. Other than that, audio quality is quite good.

In line with my initial impression, the device is a little on the bulky side, but the extra heft is not a big deal because it's lightweight and the extra room allows for a wide array of ports. You get two USB-Cs, a pair of USB-A inputs that support transfer speeds of up to 5GBPS, HDMI, an ethernet port, and an SD card slot.

ZDNET's buying advice

I recommend the Asus Vivobook Pro 15 to content creators or graphic designers who want a well-performing, relatively inexpensive work machine. Prices for the model start at $1,299; however, at the time of this writing, it's currently going for $1,049. There is another model available with an Intel Core Ultra 9 processor, a GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, a 3K display, and an SSD with 2TB of storage. This other laptop retails for $1,699.

If you want something more powerful, I suggest checking out the MSI Creator Z16 HX Studio which you can learn about on our Best Laptops for Graphic Design list.

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