People rarely talk about budget laptops, let alone recommend them, and with good reason. For, barring the Chromebooks (laptops, detachables and tablets powered by ChromeOS), these are usually lacklustre. It’s another thing that the best Chromebook laptops aren’t available in India. So, when someone asks for laptop recommendations, the instant answer is: Get the Apple MacBook. Those aren’t budget-friendly. Now Asus hopes to bridge the gap, offering premium features at an affordable price point.
Asus has come to town with the Vivobook Go 15 OLED. The USP? A beautiful 15.6-inch, Full-HD OLED (1,920x1,080 resolution) display with a 60Hz refresh rate and 0.2ms response time.
The OLED display also features 100% DCI-P3 and sRGB (a standard RGB, or red, green, blue, colour space)and meets Pantone’s rigorous testing and calibration standards. The OLED display has a peak brightness of 600 for easy outdoor use. All this means the display is great for content creators and media consumption.
You may be sold on the price (starting from just ₹50,990), the OLED display (one of the cheapest OLED laptops in the market) and the colours—Cool Silver, Mixed Black and Grey Green— but does the laptop’s performance pass the test?
Standard clamshell design
Asus’ Vivobook Go 15 OLED is the standard clamshell laptop that looks like previous models in this range. It looks sleek, is sturdy (it meets the MIL-STD 810H standards for durability) and relatively lightweight (1.6kg and 17.9mm thick) but is prone to fingerprints and smudges. The screen can go back as far as 180 degrees flat and the metal lid has a considerable amount of flex.
Considering the price point, Asus has done a good job with the build quality. The plastic chassis is sturdy, and, unlike the lid, the keyboard has very little flex. The keyboard is backlit (with three levels of brightness) and there is a relatively large, smooth and responsive trackpad. The port selection is fairly robust. You get one of each of these ports, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (Type-C), USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB 2.0, HDMI 1.4, a 3.5mm audio jack and power output.
Nothing else in this price range comes close on the display front. The OLED display is bright, has punchy colours, excellent viewing angles and deep blacks that enrich your media consumption experience. It is great for photo editing and content consumption.
The AMD Ryzen 5 7520U processor with Radeon Graphics has plenty of power for a typical day at the office and even some light gaming in the evening. Running multiple tabs, photo editing, typing long documents on Microsoft Word, watching YouTube/Netflix will be no problem.
Try and push the boundaries, though, and the laptop starts to sweat. Given the price point, one can’t really complain.
This laptop isn’t meant for gamers or for editing videos. It’s meant for a modest workload or someone like a college student who needs it primarily for taking notes, attending classes, etc. The 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM help in finishing day-to-day tasks without any lag.
The three categories where the Vivobook Go 15 OLED falters is battery life, the webcam and the keyboard.
Battery life can just about get you through a day’s work. I only got about five hours of usage, without any of the casual games that are usually on my agenda.
The webcam comes with a privacy shutter but it is only 720p. I have tested a lot of laptops recently and sadly, the webcam is below average.
I have taken calls and used the camera app to capture images. The photographs are washed out.
Given that we are likely to be using our laptops for meetings for a long time, the webcam could have been much better.
The keyboard is a standard six-row chiclet style, with a numpad on the right-hand side. The compactness of the keyboard doesn’t help. The keys have shallow travel and the response is fairly average. This is not a keyboard to rave about.
Something I don’t expect in this price range but would have liked is facial recognition and/or a fingerprint sensor. In an age of privacy concerns, these would have been useful additions.
Should you buy it?
The answer is not so simple. Is this the best laptop with an OLED display for anyone on a budget? The answer is a definite yes. Asus has achieved its mission of providing premium features to budget-conscious consumers. The OLED display, the Ryzen 5 chip, durability and more, make this an attractive product.
For just ₹10,000 more, though, you can get a sleeker build, fingerprint sensor, 90Hz refresh rates and more, springing for a Mi Notebook Pro or even a Mi Notebook Ultra, depending on the discounts available. Both should be getting an upgrade later this year and they are the ones to look out for.
The budget segment has slim pickings and Asus has crafted a good overall package on the price front. Do not even look at the non-OLED variant.
While the base Vivobook Go 15 OLED (at ₹50,990) is a decent deal, the spec-ed out variant (retailing for ₹64,990) is the one to go for—the performance boost alone will be worth it.
Sahil Bhalla is a Delhi-based journalist