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Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Very reasonable price
GTX 1050 Graphics
Capable i7 processor
Poor battery life
Not the best speakers and webcam
The Asus VivoBook Pro 17 is a large screen gaming-capable laptop that wins on price to performance despite a few blunders.
Asus VivoBook Pro 17 sits in an interesting position among bigger laptops, not outright winning by any single metric, but offering a compelling middle ground of features at a very attractive price. The display is large, but the resolution (1920 x 1080) isn’t overly impressive. The construction is solid, but it’s a bit heavy. It comes with an entry-level discrete graphics card, but a smaller than average battery. The VivoBook doesn’t really wow anywhere in particular, but it rarely disappoints either, and for what it costs, that’s enough to make it interesting.
The first thing you will invariably realize when you take the laptop out of its box is that this is definitely, unmistakably a 17-inch laptop. The top shell features a fairly attractive blue brushed metal design, in sharp contrast to the rather drab plasticky bottom. Opening the laptop, the hinge itself is very stiff, requiring two hands to pry open. On the inside, the somewhat thick bezel around the screen itself is made of the same textured black plastic as the bottom of the device, whereas the keyboard side of the device is wrapped in a plastic shell designed to look like brushed metal. The device measures 16.2 inches across and weighs in at 4.6 pounds putting it at the heavier size.
The Asus VivoBook Pro 17 has a healthy amount of connectivity options, starting with two USB-A 2.0 ports (likely for peripherals), an SD card reader, and a headphone jack. These ports are placed close to the front of the laptop, nearest the user, to make way for ventilation immediately to the left of the keyboard. This configuration is somewhat different than we were used to and a bit awkward, but shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for most.
The VivoBook doesn’t really wow anywhere in particular, but it rarely disappoints either, and for what it costs, that’s enough to make it interesting.
The right side of the device contains the power adapter, an Ethernet port (a nice surprise), an HDMI port, USB-A 3.0 port, and USB-C port. Unfortunately, there isn’t a wealth of high-speed data ports to choose from, since two of the USB ports are 2.0, but between the USB-A and USB-C ports, most users should be able to find a configuration that works for them, if not for the use of a dongle.
The keyboard itself features a full-size layout that should feel natural to desktop keyboard users right away. The only part of the keyboard modified for smaller sizing is the numpad and arrow keys, which feel a bit scrunched. The keys themselves have a very pleasant tactile response, striking a nice balance between resistance and travel distance. Overall, this is a great keyboard for those that intend to do a good amount of typing.
The trackpad itself is a bit on the small side, especially for a gargantuan laptop, but it works just fine. The fingerprint reader is located on the top right corner of the trackpad. This isn’t the most ergonomically ideal place for the fingerprint reader, but again, there’s really nothing terribly wrong with it.
Unboxing and getting started with the Asus VivoBook Pro 17 is about as simple as it gets with a Windows laptop. Unpack everything, find a power source, and boot up. Windows will walk you through all the normal steps in setting up your device for the first time, including the fingerprint if you so choose. The only mildly irritating part of the setup was a giant overlay that popped up a few minutes into our first use, prompting us to create an Asus account and get updates about Asus products via email. Thankfully, we never saw this again after dismissing it.
The 1920 x 1080 display found on the Asus VivoBook Pro 17 is, like a lot of the other features, fairly middle-of-the-road. We weren’t particularly wowed by the maximum brightness, color rendition, or sharpness. But we weren’t altogether let down either. Once we got used to using the display, it felt very natural. Switching back and forth between this and a laptop with a higher resolution display like a MacBook Pro or the LG Gram 17 was definitely noticeable, however.
Off-angle performance is decent, but not incredible, losing a considerable amount of brightness from the top, bottom, and sides. To the display’s credit, however, we didn’t notice any unsightly color shift, so it could have been a much worse story.
A well-rounded selection of hardware makes this laptop a great daily driver, offering a nice mix of performance across multimedia, productivity, and light gaming. The Asus VivoBook Pro 17 scored a respectable 4,785 in PCMark 10, aided by the discrete graphics card and Intel i7 processor. This result puts it ahead of 56 percent of other systems tested in PCMark’s database.
A well-rounded suite of hardware choices make this laptop a great daily driver, offering a nice mix of performance across multimedia, productivity, and light gaming tasks.
Gaming performance was fairly reasonable in slightly older, but still demanding titles like Grand Theft Auto V, and made quick work of less demanding games like Slay the Spire. Despite having an entry-level discrete graphics card, the 1080p display meant there weren’t too many pixels to push to the screen. This is one scenario where having a lower resolution monitor can work out in your favor, to a degree.
The speakers on the Asus VivoBook Pro 17 are not that great overall. We wouldn’t want to use them as a primary source of listening to music. This is partly due to the fact that the speakers are located on the bottom of the laptop, making them easily muffled when sitting on your lap. Coupled with the fact that these speakers have poor bass response and lack detail, it’s not a great experience overall. This is one area we wish Windows laptop manufacturers would pay closer attention to.
Headphone performance, on the other hand, was totally fine—we didn’t note any lack of clarity or detail when comparing the listening experience of this laptop against any others in the field. We imagine most users will be using this laptop with headphones or external speakers due to the aforementioned limitations.
The Asus VivoBook Pro 17 employs the use of Intel’s Wireless-AC 9560 Wi-Fi adapter, offering just about as good Wi-Fi performance as you can reasonably expect from an internal chip. This adapter offers a listed maximum speed of 1.7Gbps, which, in theory, outstrips even the performance of the Gigabit Ethernet port also included on the device. This has little practical significance today, due to the performance of most routers over Wi-Fi, but could become more relevant over the lifetime of the device as wireless networks reach their true potential.
The camera is clearly not a battle that Asus cared to win, and it shows. The Asus VivoBook Pro 17 features a very meager webcam that serves up old-timey photos and videos that lack detail, and suffer from stuttering and low framerates that blur motion unintentionally. We understand this isn’t a huge selling point for most buyers out there, but we have to wonder what a few extra dollars in OEM part costs could do for the quality here. Nevertheless, this webcam will still prove adequate for simple video conferencing purposes
The battery found on the Asus VivoBook Pro 17 is meager for the components, managing only around 5 hours during light activity like web browsing. The VivoBook is definitely more suited as a full-time desktop replacement and part-time portable computer.
The battery found on the Asus VivoBook Pro 17 is meager for the components, managing only around 5 hours during light activity like web browsing.
During stressful activities like gaming, don’t expect more than an hour of battery before you’re searching for an outlet. When we put the VivoBook through Battery Eater Pro’s ruthless benchmark, it lasted just 1 hour and 16 minutes, coming in last place with about half the time of the best performing laptop in our roundup.
The Asus VivoBook Pro 17 comes with a few pieces of software pre-installed, including Asus Hello, by which users register their device for full warranty support, opt-in (or out) of marketing communications from Asus, and are given the option to elect into free trials of Dropbox (25GB for 1 year) and McAfee LiveSafe (30-day trial).
The VivoBook is definitely more suited as a full-time desktop replacement and part-time portable computer.
The laptop also comes loaded with Asus Giftbox, which gives you access to “exclusive deals” and “popular apps”. We did ourselves the disservice of attempting to install the updates required to run this application in the interest of being thorough, but even this overly generous act was thwarted by a download that would never arrive. The Microsoft Store was perpetually “Waiting for Wi-Fi”, despite being online. Alas, we may never know what the free gift was waiting for us in this self-described awesome app.
At an MSRP of $1,099, the Asus VivoBook Pro 17 strikes a very nice balance between price and performance. Large laptops like this might not be as popular as they once were, but the VivoBook makes a perfectly reasonable case for them. Given the fact that you can pay a lot more for a laptop and not even get a discrete graphics card, this is a good deal.
Speaking of much more expensive laptops that don’t have a discrete graphics card, one of the other interesting competitors in the 17-inch space is the LG Gram 17. This laptop is an altogether different proposition, providing a featherweight (2.95 pounds) body and a 16:10 aspect ratio display with a more generous 2560 x 1600 resolution. It’s a wonderfully portable productivity laptop, but it also costs about 50 percent more ($1,699 vs $1,099), and can’t play games or handle video editing tasks particularly well.
A big screen jack of all trades.
The Asus VivoBook Pro 17 is no beauty queen, and it lacks a few refinements here and there, yet still one of the most compelling offerings in its class. The totality of components and the price makes it well worth considering for many buyers shopping for a large laptop on a budget.
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