Currently, Vivobook and the Zenbook are two of the most popular and well-known mid-range laptop series by Acer. While the Zenbooks tend to be residing on the expensive side, the Vivobooks were designed and launched for the budget consumers. Now, it is yet to be seen either Asus VivoBook X542BA-DH99 lives up to its name or not. Let’s check it out then.
- CPU – AMD A9-9420 Dual-Core (7th Gen), 3.0 GHz
- GPU – AMD Radeon R5
- Memory – 8 GB DDR4
- Screen – 15.6-inch HD (1,366 x 768)
- Storage – 1 TB SATA HDD
- OS – Windows 10 Home edition
- Performance – Now before we get into the nitty-gritty details of the performance let’s take a quick peek at what it’s got under its hood. The first important thing one would notice is that it comes with an AMD A9 APU (Accelerated Processing Unit, CPU + GPU) rather than a more familiar Intel processor. Other than that it includes 8 GB of RAM and a 1 TB of hard disk drive. It also includes an AMD Radeon R5 integrated GPU which is somewhat more powerful than an Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU (not much but significantly more). The A9 processor is somehow more powerful than a standard Intel i3 processor (but staggers when it comes to compete with a full blown i5). What all of these inevitably means is that it might be somewhat lacklustre (only slightly; especially when multitasking as AMD doesn’t seem to handle it as efficiently as Intel) at times but can get your day-to-day jobs done easily.
- Price – As said earlier, the Vivobooks are supposed to be cheap. And they sure are, honestly! When you look at the specs sheet you would know for sure that it’s reasonably well configured. The nearest contenders that I could find were Dell Inspiron 15 3000 series (15.6-inch version) and Acer Aspire F5. Both of them were priced around 500 bucks meaning they are at least 10-20% more expensive than the Vivobook.
- Display – It is no wonder that Acer had to cut some corners on this laptop in order to make it available at this price point. And the slightly second-rate display is one of the aspects where they pinched pennies. It includes a 15.6 inch HD display with a matte coating. The brightness is just ‘okay’ at 210 nits. While it is enough for working in the indoor situations, it might not be the best option for working outdoors. The sRGB coverage, lurking at 60%, is also pretty poor making it capable of recreating only that much fraction of the visible colour spectrum. The delta E value, measuring the colour accuracy of the screen, isn’t anything extraordinary as well with a reading of 5 (that might improve a bit with proper calibration; not much though, I think). So the bottom line is you shouldn’t expect much from this display.
- Noise – Now, the fans can be a bit noisy. When the machine runs on full load the fans literally starts to whine. The noise level can get as high as 45 dB or even 50 dB which is considered to be on the higher end. The AMD APUs tend to generate more heat than a standard Intel CPU. So I guess it’s a consequence of trying to counter the excess heat.
VivoBook X542BA-DH99 isn’t perfect. Putting an AMD in place of an Intel might surely save you a couple of bucks, but it effectively results in somewhat less power. But again, if you’re going to use it for merely web browsing, video streaming and casual gaming (for what it’s built anyway) there might hardly be any other laptop that comes at this price tag.