Review unit provided by ASUS
The ASUS Zenbook Pro 16X OLED is a high-end laptop released in mid 2022 targeted at creators. The performance is a step up from the ASUS Vivobook Pro 16X OLED that I reviewed few months ago.
My review is from the perspective of a visual content creator, someone who's into graphic design, digital art, edits photos and videos. In this review I'll be talking about workflow with the creative apps and features that this laptop provides to improve productivity.
These are the specs for the review unit I received
|Display||16.0-inch, 4K (3840 x 2400) OLED 16:10 aspect ratio, 0.2ms response time, 550nits HDR peak brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio|
|Processor||12th gen Intel® Core™ i9-12900H Processor (2.5 GHz , 6P+8E cores)|
|Storage||2TB PCIe gen 4 NVMe SSD (actual storage 1.86GB)|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU (6GB RAM)|
|Wireless Network||Wi-Fi 6E|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Pro|
|Port(s)||1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
2x Thunderbolt™ 4 supports display / power delivery
1x HDMI 2.1
1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
SD Express 7.0 card reader
|Web Camera||FHD with Windows Hello|
|Dimension||35.50 x 25.10 x 1.69 ~ 1.78 cm (13.98" x 9.88" x 0.67" ~ 0.70")|
The price starts from US $2,599, €2,999, £2,999.99.
Here in Singapore it's priced at SGD 4,999. The lowest price I've seen is on Shopee SG at SGD 4,799, and that's before you use any promo codes.
It is definitely a pricey laptop, but it also has workstation specs fitted into a 2.4kg 16-inch laptop.
These are the things included:
- ASUS Pen 2
- USB-C to USB-A charging cable for the pen
- USB-A to RJ45 gigabit ethernet adapter
- 200W charger
The included backpack looks good and is well made. It's well padded to protect the laptop. Material seems to be water-resistant and zips are covered.
Outside, there's a small exposed pocket (big enough for power adapter) and one zipped pocket. Inside the huge compartment, there's another zip pocket, a huge empty area, and a padded pocket for the laptop.
Shoulder straps are thick and comfortable.
This is the ASUS Pen 2 which supports Microsoft Pen Protocol 2.0 (MPP 2). It supports tilt and 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity.
There are two side buttons with limited customisation via Windows settings.
The pen looks good and has solid build quality. It's comfortable to hold with its matte textured surface.
USB-C charging port is hidden behind the pull-out compartment.
Top of the laptop is matte textured and the logo has lighting effects that follow the keyboard lights.
Half of the bottom is just fan grilles. The long pieces of hard rubber feet raise the laptop for optimal air intake. Screws are exposed.
Design of the laptop looks pretty cool with the keyboard that rises when you lift the display. ASUS calls that the Active Aerodynamic System Ultra (AAS Ultra) mechanism.
The body is made with aerospace-grade 6000-series aluminum-alloy. Build quality is solid with no flex,
Having the keyboard tilted at an angle provides a more comfortable typing experience and also allows the laptop to cool more effectively. Raising the keyboard also means it won't be affected by the heat beneath as much.
The keyboard is well laid out but vertical spacing is slightly shorter than standard keyboards. The power button has a fingerprint sensor that works great and I prefer that to Windows Hello face unlock which is also available.
The keys have a thumping typing experience compared to membrane keyboard keys which feel hollow by comparison. The keys have good travel and the overall typing experience is good.
Speakers (total six) are on both sides of the keyboard and audio quality is excellent. The sound is certified by Harmon Kardon. There's actually some sort of soundstage going on. When you're listening to live music with clapping, you'll feel hands clapping around you. When you're listening to a band, it feels like the band is playing on your keyboard. On a scale of 5, audio quality is 6. Yes, the audio that good.
The keys are backlit and have customisable colours and lighting effects. There are also lights beneath the sides of the raised keyboard.
The 15 x 9cm touchpad is big and features haptic feedback that works really well. There's also a numpad that can be turned on or off with a shortcut. Touchpad still works even when numpad is visible.
Ports on the left are for power, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, and two USB-C Thunderbolt 4.
Ports on the right are SD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack and full-size HDMI.
The bottom of the sides and front are angled to make it easier to pick up the laptop. 2.4kg is heavy and this is not a laptop I will want to carry around very often.
The back is all fan exhaust.
The display is a 16-inch OLED with 3840 x 2400 resolution. The 16:10 aspect ratio is good for productivity. Maximum brightness is rated at 550 nits with HDR support. Colour support is 100% DCI-P3. Contrast ratio is 1,000,000:1.
The image quality of the display is excellent and colours look great out of the box. 16-inch is a good size to work with for visual content creation.
It is very satisfying to work on a colour accurate and bright display.
There's one drawback to the display though. There's this layer of graininess which is visible especially against white background. I've read that the graininess is due to the digitiser of the touchscreen. The graininess is not distracting though, and does not affect colour, contrast and sharpness.
Pixel density is 283 PPI so all the visuals are sharp and detailed with no noticeable pixelation.
I tested video editing with DaVinci Resolve 17. Video editing process is mostly smooth. There are no dropped frames when editing 4K without proxies.
Photo editing is smooth and responsive. Exporting a simple cut-and-join 5min 4K 25FPS video with H265 took 1min 55s to complete.
There are no issues with graphic design of course.
The combination of 12th gen Intel Core i9, 32GB RAM and the gen 4 NVMe SSD makes this system really responsive. Even when editing videos, the fans would barely spin, and even when the fans spin at full speed, fan noise is not really audible. Since the laptop can export photos and videos fast, exports can end before the laptop can even become hot. The only time the laptop is hot is when gaming.
The ASUS dial has a physical button in the middle and a touch sensitive wheel. The button call up functions and the wheel can adjust the settings.
Customising the dial is done through the ASUS ProArt Creator Hub.
You can customise up to 8 shortcuts or groups of shortcuts for the dial.
You can also create shortcuts that load automatically for different apps. E.g. You can have a group of shortcuts for Photoshop, another for DaVinci Resolve.
The dial works quite well. When gaming, the dial can be activated too easily so it's better to switch off the dial.
There are other customisation features provided by the ASUS ProArt Creator Hub. You can adjust fan speed, do your own colour calibration (supported only by i1Display), create Task Group that will launch a group of apps at the same time, set the amount of resources any particular app can get.
Drawing experience on a touchscreen laptop is not ideal since the display is glass and slippery, and the drawing surface moves. But the drawing performance of the pen is actually pretty good.
Initial activation force is quite low and the pen is quite sensitive. Diagonal line jitter or wobble isn't really noticeable and not a problem.
Gaming performance of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is good. With Red Dead Redemption 2 at 1080P resolution, I was able to get 50 - 60 FPS and it's usually on the higher side, and overall gaming performance is smooth.
The ASUS Zenbook Pro 16X OLED (UX7602, 2022) is a well designed powerful laptop with a bright vibrant display. This is a workstation-grade laptop that is great for demanding professional creators. It has all the specs visual content creators can be satisfied with, namely the big 16-inch 3840 x 2400 OLED display with 16:10 aspect ratio, fast TB4 ports and internal storage and a good graphics card. It can also handle 4K video editing without proxies.
I don't really have many negative things to say about this laptop except for 6hr battery life and weight. And the inclined keyboard takes some time to get used to.
The price is may be on the higher side at SGD 4999 but you kinda get what you pay for. You may be able to find it at a slightly lower price depending on the retailer you buy from.
Pros and cons at a glance
+ Excellent build quality
+ 3840 x 2400 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio
+ Colour accurate touchscreen OLED
+ Effective cooling system
+ Excellent audio quality
+ Good selection of ports
+ Beautiful LED backlights for keyboard
+ Huge touchpad with satisfying haptic feedback
+ Good gaming performance
+ Capable for 4K video editing
- Takes time to get use to keyboard incline
- Graininess on the display
- ASUS Dial usefulness questionable
- 6 hour battery life
- Single slot SSD
If you're a visual content creator, the other laptop to consider is the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo which features two displays. The Zenbook Pro Duo is a productivity powerhouse. The Zenbook Pro is a laptop that excels in almost all areas except for battery life (6hr vs Zenbook Pro Duo's 4.5 hr). What I like about the Zenbook Pro over the Zenbook Pro Duo is excellent audio quality and heat exhaust from the back. What I like about the Zenbook Pro Duo is dual display productivity.
Check out the review I have for the ASUS Zenbook Pro Duo 15 OLED (UX582) (2021).
The model with 12th gen Intel processor (2022) is the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED (UX8402). 14-inch display isn't as big as 16 but two displays is better than one display.
If you don't want to spend so much money, you can consider the ASUS Vivobook Pro 16X OLED M7600 which is about half the price. The limitation is gaming performance compared too the Zenbook Pro and that laptop, here in Singapore, only comes with the AMD processor which isn't as good as Intel for video editing.