Asus Vivobook 16X OLED review

Asus Vivobook 16X OLED review

The Asus Vivobook 16X OLED is a Creator-designated, 16-inch laptop with an OLED screen. It ticks a lot of boxes for designers but who else will benefit from it and is it worth buying?

Key specs of the Asus Vivobook 16X OLED

16-inch, glossy, 60Hz, 3800 x 2400 OLED display; 3.3-4.6GHz AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU; 32GB RAM; 1TB HDD; Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti; 96Wh battery; 1.95KG. SKU: M7600QE-L2014X, Full specs here.

Handling and Design

On the one hand the Asus Vivobook 16X OLED is just plain black (with an anodised aluminium finish) but there are some nifty, understated, innovative design flourishes. Instead of a typical logo on the front there’s slightly-raised plinth where the brand name appears. The text is very low key and only reveals itself when it catches the light. It’s joined by some similarly understated hashtags: #BeExplorers and #ReadySetGo plus the motivational tagline, “Uncage Your possibilities.” That might make some people roll their eyes but you need to squint up close to read them. They’re so novel that we think of them more like high fashion’s use of street iconography on their high-end clothing lines.

Our only gripe with the Asus Vivobook 16X OLED’s “0o Black” lid is that it’s a real fingerprint magnet. There is a “Meteor White” variant that has a finger-print-proof coating, but we can’t attest as to whether it works.

Opening it up and there are some more flourishes: the Escape key is bright orange and so is the HD webcam’s privacy slide. Also, the Enter key has warning stripes on its base. It’s all supposed to evoke an industrial feel and to some degree it succeeds. Anything that positively differentiates a laptop is applauded by us.

Asus Vivobook 16X OLED keyboard
The keyboard has some subtle, ‘Industrial style’ design flourishes. It’s very comfortable and accurate to use too.

The touch-type keyboard offers a perfect combination of low travel comfort, perfect firmness and excellent accuracy. There’s a full-sized number pad but, unfortunately, the arrow keys are all squished.

The large trackpad is very smooth and accurate and features a party-piece feature called DialPad. This is activated by sliding your finger diagonally from the top-right corner. A touch-senstive shortcut wheel then presents itself which controls an on-screen display which offers various different shortcuts. In Windows it lets you adjust volume and brightness but in Adobe applications it offers shortcuts to various functions like brush size and opacity (in Photoshop). It’s a nice innovation, but it feels very Gen. 1ish. It’s just not responsive enough and the lag between your finger’s movements and the on-screen display was annoying enough to stop us using it quickly – it’s often far quicker to use keyboard shortcuts or even the mouse. Some people may like it but future iterations will likely succeed if it becomes more responsive.

Another feature is that the power button doubles as a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader for quick sign-in. The HD webcam has a smart, orange privacy cover so you can see when it’s being used, but it isn’t Windows Hello compatible.

The main feature of the Asus Vivobook 16X OLED is the 3800 x 2400 UHD OLED screen. As you’d expect from an OLED it offers, glorious vibrant colours, near-infinite contrast and – to some extent – proper HDR. The response time is fast (0.2ms) but it’s only a 60Hz panel which limits what would otherwise be a brilliant fast-and-frantic gaming screen. There’s a 550nit brightness rating but it doesn’t feel overly bright unless you turn HDR on. Doing so can make office applications appear a bit harsh on your eyes and the effect on multimedia is a mixed bag. Indeed, bright HDR content needs the brightness turned down considerably to avoid significant white-out (total loss of detail in bright areas). Dark content needs the brightness turned back up again. Turning HDR off in videos still saw highlights blow out (in bright content), unfortunately. However, its colour and contrast performance is still better than pretty much every LCD screen that’s on the market. It’s glossy but makes a decent fist of reducing reflections.

Asus Vivobook 16X OLED screen
The OLED screen offers accurate, bright-and-vibrant colours that’s great for multimedia and office work. It can be a bit reflective in certain lighting conditions, though.

It’s also worth noting that both colour and monochromatic gradients are much smoother than most LCDs – there’s very little banding. It supports 100% of the complex DCI-P3 colour gamut and is Pantone validated for colour accuracy. It’s also TÜV Rheinland certificatied for low blue-light emissions.

The speakers are surprisingly mediocre for a Creator laptop: they don’t get very loud and there’s virtually no bass. Audio doesn’t sound tinny though and they’re certainly better than others on the market.

Performance of the Asus Vivobook 16X OLED

Under the hood is the very powerful 3.3-4.6GHz AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and this is flanked by 32GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe hard drive. It scored 6278 in PCMark 10 which is very fast but not quite on a par with some rivals which sport similar components. It was a similar case in the CineBench rendering tests where, in the R15 drag-race, it scored 2068 while in the lengthy, R23 test it scored 11,501.

For 3D there’s the modest Nvidia 3050 Ti, which is a little disappointing – a 3060 would open the door to more rendering (and gaming) opportunities. Indeed, it scored 5308 in 3DMark TimeSpy (an average of 21fps), 5746 (26fps) in Fire Strike Extreme and couldn’t properly complete the ray-tracing Port Royal test. A score of 2509 (15fps) in the lowly Wild Life Extreme test reinforces that it’s not great for gaming although a score of 25,984 (145fps) in Night Raid illustrates that it can still play casual and competitive games if you want.

In terms of noise, when under load the Asus Vivobook 16X OLED makes a steady whooshing noise but it’s not intrusive. Turning it into Quiet mode sets it so that you can barely hear it. Performance mode will make the swoosh much more audible, though.

Connectivity

Asus Vivobook 16X OLED left
On the left are two USB-A 2.0 ports. Creators will want faster transfer speeds.
On the right
On the right is a USB-A 3.2 Gen. 1 port, a USB-C 3.2 Gen. 1 port, HMDI 1.4, a microSD slot and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Inside is Wi-Fi 6 and BlueTooth 5.0. To be frank these ports are disappointing… the USB and HDMI ports especially as they’re last generation. Designers, more than anyone, make use of the latest and greatest connectivity.

Portability

The 16-inch body is rather large in terms of square footage but it’s not bulky and weighs an impressive 1.95KG. The power brick is relatively small and only boosts this by 450g.

Battery life is impressive: it ran PCMark 10’s Modern Office test for 13hrs 31mins! It’s also solidly built and should capably withstand life on the road.

Should I buy the Asus Vivobook 16X OLED

At $3039, this is a very reasonably priced for an OLED Creator laptop: rivals like the Gigabyte AERO 17 HDR YC and it’s sibling, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, cost much more but offer more performance and features. The 3D performance feels underpowered for this market though – many designers use 3D hardware for rendering. We’re also disappointed with the connectivity – it’s almost all last-generation and will feel slow to many Creators. However, if you can live without having serious 3D grunt and don’t mind the old ports, this is a decent gateway into owning an OLED-based Creator laptop.

Asus Vivobook 16X OLED Review
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Ergonomics
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
3.8

Summary

An OLED Creator laptop that’s a joy to use. But, corners have been cut: while there are potentially-minor issues regarding performance, the connectivity is disappointingly last-generation.

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