Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED

Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED: Two minute review

The Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED brings the stylings of Asus’ Zenbook family to a head with elegance that can’t be denied. It comes with no shortage of might either, packing performance hardware that can keep up with day-to-day demands and regular creative workloads.

Elegance and power come at a high price, but the Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED offers a fair value next to its competitors, like the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (2021) and Dell XPS 17 (2022), which all trade blows in performance, design, and price. 

For all its style and flair, the Asus Zenbook Pro 16X’s design doesn’t prove as perfectly functional. The keyboard is a bit far forward for comfort, and the way the keyboard lifts up to increase ventilation for the internals in turn exposes the fans to elements better kept away from an expensive laptop’s internals. 

Even the inclusion of touchscreen and stylus support comes at a cost, with the lovely OLED display being ever-so-faintly washed over by a dot matrix layer that shows itself on close inspection.

If the design were perfect, there’d be little to gripe about. But the reality is this combination of components and a complex design come at a price that will only make sense for a small audience. There are substantially better value options for those who can do without even a small amount of the power on deck here or who can live with a simpler design.

Asus’s own Vivobook Pro 16X comes close to matching this model where it counts, and it costs about half as much. There’s still a mighty CPU onboard, plenty of RAM, a fast SSD, an NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti (a minor downgrade), and it still rocks a 4K OLED display.

Ultimately, if you want gobs of performance and an elegant design, the Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED isn’t a bad offer, it’s just not the best laptop on offer right now.

Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED: Price and availability

(Image credit: Future)Starts at $2599 for an Intel Core i7 configurationBumps to $2999 for an Intel Core i9Available now

 The Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED 2022 is available to buy right now, if you’ve got the money. Starting at $2,599 (about £2,590, about AU$3,800) for a US-only model with an Intel Core i7-12700H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD, this laptop doesn’t come cheap. That bumps up to $2999 (£2,999, about AU$4,380) to swap up the i7 for an Intel Core i9-12900H, double the RAM, and double the storage. The more expensive model is the only version appearing available in the UK.  

Value: 3.5 / 5

Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED: Design

(Image credit: Future)Mostly marvelous OLED displaySo many things to touchDesign vulnerability concerns

Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED Key Specs

Here is the Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 6GB; Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB LPDDR5 (5,200MHz; onboard)
Screen: 16.0-inch, 4K UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400, 16:10 aspect ratio, OLED, 60Hz, multi-touch, stylus-enabled, VESA DisplayHDR 500 True Black, Dolby Vision)
Storage: 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD (952GB available)
Ports: 1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, 2 x Thunderbolt 4, headset jack, SD card reader, HDMI 2.1 (FRL)
Connectivity: Intel 802.11ax (2×2) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
Camera: FHD (1080p, 2.1MP) IR webcam, Windows Hello
Weight: 5.29 pounds (2.4kg)
Size: 13.98 x 9.88 x 0.7 inches (355 x 251 x 17.8mm; W x D x  H)

Asus hasn’t been caught slacking with the designs of its Zenbook family, and that’s as clear as ever on the Zenbook Pro 16X OLED. This is an exceptionally elegant looking laptop. From the deep blue chassis and the chamfered edges of its CNC-machined unibody to the domineering touchpad and the magical, pop-up keyboard, Asus puts its knack for design on full display. 

Some aspects of the design don’t feel like they had practicality in mind, though. The keyboard raising up when the laptop is open may serve to provide more airflow for the laptop internals, but it’s not enough of an ergonomic improvement to make up for how far up the chassis the keyboard is — it’s quite a reach and leaves they edge of the laptop digging into our forearms. The per-key RGB lighting isn’t going to fix that. Curiously, Asus also built large rubber strips all around the laptop’s bottom intake vents, so they’re probably not contributing much airflow.

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The hinging keyboard design also poses some durability risks, as now just about anything can slither its way into a delicate and hard-to-clean area of the device. If closed with something inside, it seems likely to jam or, worse still, see that thing get pushes into the two fans.

There’s good to the functional aspects of the design, too, though. The keys themselves are pleasantly poppy and don’t have much squish to them. The trackpad makes for easy navigation and has an Apple Force Touch-like vibration response. There’s also a multi-function touch dial to the left of the touchpad, which can be set up with various features (volume and display brightness) by default.

As could be expected, the Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED has an exceptional display. It’s 16-inch size is a great fit for the resolution, which goes a bit beyond the typical UHD. The OLED panel produces deep blacks and has a high peak brightness, good for HDR and outdoor use alike. The touch and stylus support comes with one big drawback that becomes noticeable on bright, solid colors, though. It appears to use a sort of dot matrix for touch sensitivity, and it’s plainly visible at times, hindering what would have otherwise been a near faultless display.

Design: 3.5 / 5

Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED: Performance

(Image credit: Future)Performance for everyday work and heavier workloadsSpeedy storage

Benchmarks

Here is how the Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Fire Strike: 15,593; Time Spy: 7,018, Night Raid: 33,058; Port Royal: 3,867
Cinebench R23 Single: 1746.5; Multi: 12,640
GeekBench 5: 1,776 (single-core); 11,129 (multi-core)
CrystalDiskMark: Sequential Read: 6,634MB/s; Sequential Write: 4,335MB/s; 4KiB Q32T1 Random Read: 341MB/s; 4KiB Q32T1 Random Write: 365MB/s
PCMark 10: 6,336 points
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 9 hours and 37 minutes
Blender: Monster: 54.41; Junkshop: 571.46; Classroom: 498.82
Battery Life (Techradar movie test): 4:37

You have to expect a nearly $3000 laptop to perform, and the Asus Zenbook Pro 16X does for the most part. Combining a powerful processor and capable graphics card, this laptop is able to chew through multi-core rendering tasks. All that performance goes a good way into ensuring smooth performance through day-to-day use as well.

The Zenbook Pro 16X OLED has its work cut out for it, though. At the price, it’s running up against some premium, decked-out laptops, like the Dell XPS 17 2022 and Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch 2021. In the head-to-head, all three laptops take their share of wins and losses, but the Zenbook Pro 16X doesn’t come out squarely ahead. It even falls surprisingly far behind the XPS 17 in multi-threaded CPU benchmarks despite the two laptops using the same processor.

At first glance, it may seem like that’s a bad deal for the Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED, because it can cost so much more than configurations of the Dell and Apple. However, once those laptops are configured with the specs that bring them closer to the Zenbook (such as 1TB of storage, an upgraded GPU, and a 4K display), they come much closer in price to the Zenbook. While there’s no clear winner, the Zenbook Pro 16X OLED is worth strong consideration for designers who can benefit from the stylus and touch support.

Performance: 4 / 5

Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED: Battery life

Long-lasting for productivityShort life for entertainment

Having much muscle under the hood tends to come with some big drawbacks in battery life, and we see that here with the Zenbook Pro 16X OLED. It mustered a decent runtime in our PCMark battery test, lasting just over nine and a half hours. 

However, it only hit paltry four hours and 37 minutes in our video playback rundown test. When the MacBook Pro 16 can offer similar performance and then run for almost 19 hours in a battery rundown, powerful Windows laptops that can’t break 10 hours are a bad look. 

Battery Life: 3.5 / 5

Should you buy an Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED?

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if…

Don’t buy it if…

Also consider

Asus Zenbook Pro 16X OLED Report card

ValueYou’ll get a lot for your money, but a serious portion of the budget is going into the fancy, unique design. Asus’s other laptops show just how much a premium the Zenbook Pro 16X OLED design adds on. 3.5 / 5DesignDespite all its elegance, the Zenbook Pro 16X OLED is a bit big for perfectly comfortable use. And its unique design creates a worrying vulnerability.3.5 / 5PerformanceThis laptop trades blows with others in its product segment, but you can get more performance for your money if design were less of a concern.4 / 5Battery LifeThere’s modest life in this battery, but it’s beaten handedly by Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 and the Dell XPS 17.3.5 / 5Total3.63 / 5

First reviewed October 2022

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