Last year we reviewed the ASUS ExpertBook B7 Flip, which we found had more bark than bite but was still a solid notebook for the office and a status symbol, especially at its inflated pricing.
The B7 Flip was more of a Floyd “Money” Mayweather in terms of flashy gimmicks (it folds) but also in terms of excellent and expensive technique. Now, the ASUS Vivobook Pro 16X, of which we received a review unit from ASUS South Africa, is more like Tyson Fury.
It’s a big, beefy notebook at 2.3 kgs, capable of heavyweight performance, and while it’s not quite “Iron” Mike Tyson, it’s still a champion machine in our eyes.
ASUS Vivobook Pro 16X OLED – The specifications
A notebook boasting serious processing power for serious professionals. The 16X is a flat tower of heavy-duty hardware, namely:
- 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12650H processor (10 cores, 16 threads @ 2.69Ghz),
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU (discrete),
- Intel (R) UHD Graphics (integrated),
- 16GB DDR 5 RAM,
- Up to 2TB SSD (Storage space),
- 3840 x 2400, 250 percent DPI scaling, OLED display,
- WiFi Smart Connect capable of WiFi 6E Support,
- 90Wh battery with fast charging,
- One 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4, one USB Type-C port, and a 2.5GbE wired LAN port,
- Dolby Atmos speakers, with sound by Harmon/Kardon,
- Windows 11 Pro.
The full rundown of the Vivobook Pro 16X OLED can be found here.
The first thing you notice about the device is its weight. It is heavy for a notebook, but perhaps those used to gaming notebooks or notebooks with discrete GPUs may find it ordinary. While it is thin, its weight is distributed and it is a gangly beast that is more for being stationed at home than being moved about from place to place.
Aesthetically, the 16X’s pitch heavy metal case adds to its raw appeal. It looks like something you’d find at a construction site. The slightly raised logo atop its case and the chevron painted on the Enter key also give it that heavy equipment, heavy vehicle vibe. And we like it.
It has a massive 3840 x 2400 OLED display that produces vibrant colours and clear image quality. Reds are deeper, imperfections are more noticeable. The huge screen is definitely a bonus if you spend your time gaming, streaming video or working with Photoshop or video editing software, but it does little to nothing for those who have to look at spreadsheets or WordPress all day.
Again, the size of the machine ensures that it’s not an office notebook unless you have your own space. It will take up a large portion of your desk.
Performance-wise, there are no worries with the 16X. It flies along with its i7 processor and 16GB of RAM (which can be upgraded 32GB). Working on the machine is a breeze, even if the large keyboard will take you a few hours to get used to. Applications pop up quickly, and internet browsing is seamless.
In benchmarks, the Vivobook Pro 16X racked up a 4 229 in 3D Mark’s Port Royal and a 7 024 in Time Spy, which is up there for a notebook that isn’t necessarily built for gaming.
Its raw power can be better witnessed in Cinebench R23, in which it scored 11 979 in multi-core testing. This is an even better score than was recorded by the ASUS Zephyrus G14, a notebook manufactured for monstrous in-game performance.
Despite ASUS marketing the 16X for video editing and other creative, performance-hogging software usage, we were pleasantly surprised when it ran Elden Ring at max settings at plus 60 frames per second.
The OLED, with 250 percent DPI scaling and Pantone-validated colour accuracy, made navigating the Lands Between a visual feast and honestly we’re still itching to try other games on the 16X to see the potential of its screen and hardware brought to the fore.
However, it did start billowing air like a helicopter about five minutes into playtime. ASUS says that the 16X has ASUS IceCool Pro thermal technology, which means a dual-fan, quad-vented cooling system.
Those fans were definitely working overtime as the machine sounded like it was soon to take off, but despite the noise, there were no noticeable performance hiccups.
It also has the benefit of crisp speaker audio, which can go up quite a few decibels if you’re interested in playing music. Ice Cube’s Today Was a Good Day sounded particularly good thanks to Harmon/Kardon.
Extras and nice-to-haves
Apart from its AI-powered noise-cancelling microphone, and sliding webcam shield, the 16X also comes with an ASUS DialPad built into the trackpad.
This can be accessed by holding down on a small button on the top right of the pad, which lights up the dial. This dial can then be used to quickly change the volume or the screen brightness and can be customised to add more functions.
We found this tool a bit gimmicky, as in, we were questioning how often we would use the dial in an everyday scenario instead of just using the mouse to change the volume and screen brightness directly from the toolbar.
Another thing we didn’t like about it is that once it is active, it is very difficult to make it go away. This means that it’s easy to accidentally bring it up if you use the trackpad. We had a similar problem with ASUS’ light up numpad in the trackpad with the B7 Flip. While innovating with the trackpad is honestly a cool idea, we hope for better controls in the future.
The 16X has a 90Wh battery capacity, which would be fine if it wasn’t such a hungry, hungry animal. It struggles to conserve battery once off its brick-sized charger.
We took it off charge at 100 percent in the morning at 10:21. By 12:11 after sustained work, including multiple browser tabs open and simultaneous YouTube videos, the battery was at 64 percent.
By 13:48, it was at 31 percent. This meant that it went into power saving and finally switched off long before our workday was over. Again this indicates that it is machine to keep on charge at home, preferably plugged into a UPS or an inverter during loadshedding.
It will be kinder to your inverter’s battery than a desktop PC, but this is not a machine to take on a busy meeting-filled day across multiple offices and locations. You will find that it dies just before the end of your day.
However, ASUS says that its fast-charging capabilities can bring it back to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. We did note that it doesn’t take too long for a full charge, but as loadshedding continues to press down on South Africans without end, it just doesn’t seem too smart to have this machine leave the home.
ASUS Vivobook Pro 16X OLED – Final Verdict
According to ASUS South Africa, the ASUS Vivobook Pro 16 retails for R34 998, with higher prices set for different configurations of RAM or SSD space and similar.
The machine is a heavyweight in terms of actual size and hardware capabilities. It is well capable of winning titles within its weight class, even when compared to other performance-focused notebooks from ASUS, especially in its price range.
While the battery life and its weight will keep this notebook from offices. Its at-home capabilities are pronounced and will make a great replacement or upgrade if you finally want to ditch your desktop. This is especially true since its vibrant OLED display will easily replace your Samsung monitor from 2012.
Creative professionals and gamers looking for high-class performance will be quite happy with the Vivobook Pro 16X. If they can afford it.
FINAL SCORE: 8 OUT OF 10.