Asus ZenBook Professional 16X review: greater than smoke and mirrors

Asus ZenBook Professional 16X

MSRP $2,600.00

“The Asus ZenBook Professional 16X’s enjoyable experiments by no means detract from its nice efficiency.”

Execs

  • Easy beauty
  • Glorious productiveness and inventive efficiency
  • Spectacular OLED show
  • Nice keyboard and haptic touchpad
  • Asus Dial is definitely helpful
  • Strong construct high quality

Cons

  • Inconsistent gaming efficiency
  • Considerably costly

Asus isn’t afraid to attempt new issues with its laptop designs. The ZenBook Professional 16X is proof of that declare, because it incorporates a keyboard that rises up at a steep angle once you open the lid and RGB lights beneath all sides that flash on varied system actions. Then there’s the Asus Dial, a rotary contact gadget permitting refined management over the system and supported functions.

Just like the ZenBook Professional 14 Duo‘s twin OLED shows, the ZenBook Professional 16X is stuffed with attention-grabbing options, and it’s additionally configured pretty properly for artistic app efficiency.

Thankfully, this one doesn’t should reside and die on the success of its gimmicks, as a result of the laptop’s efficiency is as stable as its construct high quality — it’s excess of simply smoke and mirrors.

Worth and configurations

There are two configurations of the ZenBook Professional 16X. My $2,600 review unit was configured with an Intel Core i7-12700H, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, a 1TB PCIe 4 SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, and a UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) OLED show. The high-end configuration is $3,000 for a Core i9-12900H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, the RTX 3060, and the identical OLED show. That’s costly, however not egregiously given the elements and design.

The MSI Creator Z16P, for instance, is a way more costly laptop, beginning at $2,900 for a similar CPU, RAM, and SSD, however with an RTX 3070 Ti and a QHD+ (2,560 x 1,600) IPS show, and it tops out at $4,300 when absolutely configured with a Core i9, 64GB of RAM, and an RTX 3080 Ti. The Dell XPS 17 additionally has the identical primary elements, together with the RTX 3060, and it begins at $1,839 with a Core i5-12500H, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) IPS show. It tops out at $3,654 for a Core i9, 64GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, the RTX 3060, and a UHD+ IPS show.

Design

The Zenbook Pro 16X open on a table.

The ZenBook Professional 16X doesn’t reduce a lot of an thrilling determine when it’s closed. It has the brand new Star Trek-like Asus emblem on the lid, which glows together with the remainder of the lighting system, and a faint instance of the long-lasting Asus concentric swirl. In any other case, its black chassis has simple traces and is kind of minimalistic. You’ll be able to inform it’s totally different by the additional mechanism obvious from the facet, which seems just a little unusual.

However open it up,and issues get attention-grabbing. The keyboard rises up with the show to a full seven levels, creating an angled typing floor and 30% elevated airflow. The Asus Dial to the left of the big touchpad catches your consideration instantly, giving the keyboard deck a high-tech look. And the keyboard lighting is augmented by facet RGB lightbars that illuminate the perimeters of the chassis instantly beneath the keyboard. There’s no different laptop fairly prefer it, though the ZenBook Professional 14 Duo presents the same easy aesthetic when closed and an intricate look when open.

The lightbar shining from under the raised keyboard of the Zenbook Pro 16X.

Talking of the lighting, each the keyboard and lightbar may be configured to flash totally different colours primarily based on varied system occasions. For instance, once you use the MyAsusapp to vary the thermal settings, the lights flash totally different colours in time along with your mouse clicks. The lights can reply to a USB gadget being plugged in, the laptop getting into battery-saving mode, and switching between foreground apps.

In accordance with Asus, you may set customized ambient lighting modes, however I couldn’t discover the settings to take action. Additionally, Asus describes the keyboard as having per-key White RGB backlighting, nevertheless it helps varied colours. Of all the bizarre options, the lighting system is the least helpful, though it’s a whimsical contact for many who like such issues.

The ZenBook Professional 16X is a big laptop, with a 16:10 16-inch show that makes it fairly tall. Even so, its small show bezels hold the chassis measurement to a minimal. With its 16:10 15.6-inch show, it’s extra vital than the Dell XPS 15 by about half an inch in width and virtually a full inch in depth. The ZenBook is thinner, although, at 0.67 inches versus 0.73 inches, and it’s fairly a bit heavier at 5.29 kilos versus 4.62 kilos. The ZenBook is nearly identically sized to the MSI Creator Z16P in width, depth, and weight, whereas the MSI is thicker at 0.74 inches. Irrespective of how you chop it, the ZenBook Professional 16X is a big, heavy laptop that’s not meant to be terribly transportable.

It’s constructed of CNC machined aluminum and regardless of the complexity, Asus managed to construct a rock-solid laptop. The lid, keyboard deck, and chassis backside all resist flexing, bending, or twisting. The ZenBook Professional 16X feels as stable as a MacBook Professional, which places it in glorious firm. It’s much more stable than different glorious laptops just like the Dell XPS 15 and XPS 17. The ZenBook Professional 16X’s construct high quality is great and helps justify the excessive worth.

Ports and connections

Asus ZenBook Pro 16X left side view showing ports.

asus zenbook pro 16x review right side

Connectivity is greater than adequate. There are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 assist, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a full-size HDMI 2.1 port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a full-size SD card reader. Some 16-inch laptops have one other USB-A port or so, however I can’t fault the ZenBook Professional 16X’s port choice.

Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 present for up-to-date wi-fi connectivity.

Efficiency

The lid of the Zenbook Pro 16X on a table.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

The ZenBook Professional 16X may be configured with one in every of two 45-watt Intel 14-core/20-thread Twelfth-gen CPUs. There’s the Core i7-12700H working at as much as 4.7GHz and the Core i9-12900H with a high velocity of 5GHz. My review unit geared up the previous, which has confirmed to be a stable performer in our earlier reviews.

Asus bundles a utility to regulate the thermal system to tune for quieter and slower or louder and quicker efficiency. That’s frequent amongst producers at this time, and the Asus utility considerably impacted a few our benchmarks. I’ve recorded stories for each balanced and efficiency modes within the desk beneath. The ZenBook Professional 16X was aggressively tuned, particularly in efficiency mode, hitting 100 levels Celsius and throttling. Even so, it maintained excessive frequencies throughout a lot of the testing and managed stable efficiency.

Throughout all our benchmarks, the ZenBook Professional 16X carried out at or above its processor class, particularly in efficiency mode. It fell behind the MSI Creator Z17 on Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R32, particularly in single-core mode, however its scores have been good general. It had one of many quickest scores in our Handbrake check that encodes a 420MB video as H.265. I additionally ran the PCMark 10 Full benchmark that checks a number of productiveness, multimedia, and inventive duties and it hit 6,621, a quick rating for the CPU.

Within the Pugetbench Premiere Professional benchmark that runs in a reside model of Premiere Professional and makes use of the GPU to speed up processes, the ZenBook Professional 16X was common for its class in balanced mode at 771. However it jumped method as much as 1,034 in efficiency mode. That beats laptops working a lot quicker GPUs such because the Razer Blade 17 with its RTX 3080 Ti. The Asus even outperformed the Apple MacBook Professional 16 working the M1 Professional.

Total, the efficiency was glorious. The ZenBook Professional 16X punches a bit above its CPU weight class, competing with quicker CPUs and placing in a stable all-around efficiency. It’s a laptop that may serve probably the most demanding productiveness customers and creators on the lookout for a strong workstation.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Pugetbench
Premiere Professional
Asus ZenBook Professional 16X
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,628 / 12,227
Perf: 1,629 / 12,526
Bal: 78
Perf: 70
Bal: 1,655 / 11,983
Perf: 1,657 / 15,621
Bal: 771
Perf: 1034
MSI Creator Z16P
(Core i9-12900H)
Bal: 1,769 / 14,034
Perf: 1,835 / 14,051
Bal: 71
Perf: 69
Bal: 1,844 / 15,047
Perf: 1,837 / 16,084
Bal: 717
Perf: 1,042
Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,712 / 13,176
Perf: 1,747 / 13,239
Bal: 74
Perf: 71
Bal: 1,778 / 12,696
Perf: 1,779 / 14,086
Bal: 771
Perf: 853
Apple MacBook Professional 16
(Apple M1 Professional)
Bal: 1,773 / 12,605
Perf: N/A
Bal: 95
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,531 / 12,343
Perf: N/A
Bal: 977
Perf: N/A
Razer Blade 17
(Core i7-12800H)
Bal: 1,808 / 11,843
Perf: N/A
Bal: 73
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,697 / 13,218
Perf: N/A
Bal: 969
Perf: N/A
MSI Creator Z17
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,744 / 11,750
Perf: 1,741 / 13,523
Bal: 88
Perf: 70
Bal: 1,805 / 11,266
Perf: 1,819 / 15,754
Bal: 897
Perf: 984
MSI GE76 Raider
(Core i9-129000HK)
Bal: 1,855 / 13,428
Perf: N/A
Bal: 72
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,872 / 16,388
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,120
Perf: N/A
LG Gram 16 2-in-1
(Core i7-1260P)
Bal: 1,682 / 9,035
Perf: 1,686 / 9,479
Bal: 137
Perf: 113
Bal: 1,524 / 6,314
Perf: 1,663 / 8,396
N/A

Gaming

Asus ZenBook Pro 16X rear side view showing ports and vents.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Asus opted for Nvidia’s Studio drivers, that are optimized for dependable and quick scientific, engineering, and inventive software efficiency. Meaning the corporate is aiming this laptop at apps like AutoCAD and Adobe’s artistic suite reasonably than video games. Even so, with an RTX 3060 put in, one can hope for at the least satisfactory gaming efficiency.

The outcomes from our sport benchmark suite have been decidedly blended. The ZenBook Professional 16X carried out properly within the 3DMark Time Spy check, beating the opposite two RTX 3060s within the comparability group. However then, it couldn’t run Civilization VI with out crashing, one thing I’ve seen in another Studio driver-equipped laptops. It carried out decently in Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p and extremely graphics, hitting 51 frames per second (fps), quicker than the Dell XPS 17, nevertheless it hit simply 65 fps in Fortnite at 1200p and epic graphics, falling behind the Dell. Then, in Murderer’s Creed Valhalla, it carried out poorly at 24 fps, across the identical because the XPS 17 however behind the MSI Creator Z16.

So, it’s onerous to characterize the ZenBook Professional 16X as a gaming laptop. In case your sport installs and runs with out concern, you will get playable body charges at 1080p with excessive graphical element or 1440p in case you flip graphics down a bit. However you might need issues with some video games, that means that counting on the laptop as a gaming machine might be a mistake.

Murderer’s Creed
Valhalla
(1080p/1200p
Extremely Excessive)
Cyberpunk
2077
(1080p/1200p
Extremely)
Civilization VI
(1080p Extremely)
Fortnite
(1080p/
1200p Epic)
3DMark
Time Spy
Asus ZenBook Professional 16X
(RTX 3060)
24 fps 51 fps N/A 65 fps Bal: 7,047
Perf: 8,221
MSI Creator Z16P
(RTX 3080 Ti)
55 fps 30 fps 60 fps 60 fps Bal: 9,251
Perf: 10,054
MSI Creator Z16
(RTX 3060)
50 fps N/A 92 fps 56 fps Bal: 6,322
Perf: N/A
Dell XPS 17 9720
(RTX 3060)
23 fps 45 fps 111 fps 77 fps Bal: 6,757
Perf: 6,958
MSI Creator Z17
(RTX 3070 Ti)
61 fps N/A 85 fps Bal: 8,763
Perf: 9,263
Razer Blade 17
(RTX 3080 Ti)
83 fps 52 fps 193 fps 104 fps Bal: 12,634
Perf: N/A

Show and audio

Asus ZenBook Pro 16X front view showing display.Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

I really like a big, shiny, colourful OLED show. Turning one on is only a totally different expertise than you get with even the very best IPS panels. The ZenBook Professional 16X qualifies as among the finest I’ve skilled in all however one respect.

In accordance with my colorimeter, the show is spectacular in all metrics besides its brightness, which whereas above our 300-nit threshold, isn’t the brightest OLED panel I’ve examined. However the colours are very vast at 100% of sRGB and 98% of AdobeRGB, and the colour accuracy is great at a Delta-E of 0.84 (something lower than 100% can’t be discerned with the human eye). And the distinction is extraordinarily excessive, as with all OLED shows, displaying off inky blacks.

Be aware that the distinction distinction between the OLED shows and the MacBook Professional 16’s XDR show is because of a change in colorimeters. My SpyderX colorimeter stories decrease distinction on these applied sciences than does the Spyder 4 colorimeter used on the MacBook. Relaxation assured that when examined with the identical colorimeter, these shows obtain related distinction outcomes and are equally spectacular.

Asus features a utility that works hand in hand with a colorimeter (proper now, simply the X-Ceremony i1 Show Professional is supported, with extra on the way in which) to supply professional-level calibration. The panel is great out of the field, but when colours shift over time, the ProArt Creator Hub utility can be utilized to deliver issues again so as.

The ZenBook Professional 16X show completely matches the laptop’s efficiency, offering an expertise that creators will love, as will productiveness customers and content material customers. The one show that’s extra colourful is the Dell XPS 17’s IPS show, and it doesn’t have OLED’s deep blacks. There’s only a lot to like right here.

Brightness
(nits)
Distinction sRGB gamut AdobeRGB gamut Accuracy DeltaE
(decrease is best)
Asus ZenBook Professional 16X
(OLED)
365 26,090:1 100% 98% 0.84
MSI Creator Z16P
(IPS)
461 990:1 100% 89% 0.89
Dell XPS 17 9720
(IPS)
543 1,870:1 100% 100% 0.58
Dell XPS 15 9520
(OLED)
391 28,130:1 100% 96% 0.42
Apple MacBook Professional 16
(XDR)
475 475,200:1 100% 90% 1.04
Razer Blade 17
(IPS)
313 890:1 100% 90% 0.84

4 audio system, two upward-firing and two downward-firing, put out sufficient quantity to fully envelop my house workplace. Mids and highs are clear and shiny, whereas there’s a contact of bass. The audio system is nice sufficient for bingeing Netflix and listening to music with out headphones,

Keyboard and touchpad

Asus ZenBook Pro 16X top down view showing keyboard and touchpad.

As talked about beforehand, the ZenBook Professional 16X’s keyboard is propped up at a seven-degree angle, and it appears like greater than that in use. It took me some time to get used to typing as a result of my wrists rested on the flat palm relaxation and my fingers needed to stretch to hit the higher keys. The keycaps are very massive, with loads of spacing, and the switches are gentle and snappy with a exact bottoming motion. It’s an excellent keyboard when you get used to the angle.

The touchpad is one other uncommon characteristic. It’s an expansive haptic touchpad that rivals the MacBook Professional 16’s Power Contact model. I discovered the touchpad responsive and correct throughout its whole floor, and the haptic clicks felt pure. However that’s not all. Asus additionally included its NumberPad 2.0 technology, which embeds an LED numeric keypad that may be switched on and off. Most customers in all probability gained’t discover all of it that helpful, however in case you work with quite a lot of numbers, then you definitely’ll admire it. And it saves area on the keyboard by avoiding a bodily numeric keypad.

The built-in Dial on the Zenbook Pro 16X.

Asus additionally in-built a singular controller, the Asus Dial, which makes use of a touch-sensitive ring surrounding a bodily button to supply rotary management of system utilities and customizable functions. It’s a helpful method to management software program like Adobe’s Inventive Suite, in addition to to carry out easy duties like adjusting display brightness and sound quantity. The Asus Dial is a surprisingly great tool and provides one other handy technique for controlling the ZenBook Professional 16X.

Webcam and privateness

The webcam of the Zenbook Pro 16X.

The webcam is a 1080p model with infrared, an RGB shade sensor that may alter the show’s brightness and shade temperature primarily based on ambient lighting, and a time of flight sensor. The webcam supplies a wonderful video picture with 3D noise-reduction technology, and it’s shiny and detailed in every kind of lighting situations. Asus consists of its AdaptiveLock technology that may use the Intel Visible Sensing Controller to lock the laptop when the person strikes away and wake it up when the person returns. The display may dim when the person seems away.

Home windows 11 Whats up passwordless assist is offered by each the infrared camera and a fingerprint reader constructed into the facility button. Each strategies labored flawlessly.

Battery life

The side of the Zenbook Pro 16X.

Even 96 watt-hours of battery capability isn’t so much when coping with a 45-watt CPU and a big, high-resolution OLED show. Add in the truth that the ZenBook Professional 16X is tuned for efficiency, andexpecting glorious battery life can be unreasonable.

As I suspected, the ZenBook Professional 16X didn’t fare properly in our suite of battery benchmarks. In our web-browsing check that runs by a collection of complicated web sites, the ZenBook made it to only 5 hours. It managed simply eight hours in our video check that loops an area Full HD Avengers trailer, and 5.5 hours within the PCMark 10 Utility battery that’s the very best indicator of productiveness battery life. These outcomes align with among the different creator laptops in our comparability group, with Dell’s XPS 15 and XPS 17 standing out among the many Intel machines. And naturally, the MacBook Professional 16 embarrassed the remainder of the group with its multiday battery life.

In the end, you’ll need to take your energy brick with you in case you want all-day battery life. The ZenBook Professional 16X gained’t get you there by itself.

Net shopping Video PCMark 10
Functions
Asus ZenBook Professional 16X
(Core i7-12700H)
4 hours, 54 minutes 7 hours, 58 minutes 5 hours, 28 minutes
MSI Creator Z16P
(Core i9-12900H)
4 hours, 42 minutes 5 hours, 24 minutes 5 hours, 37 minutes
Dell XPS 17 9720
(Core i7-12700H)
7 hours, 36 minutes 13 hours, 5 minutes 7 hours, 3 minutes
Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
9 hours, 38 minutes 12 hours, 40 minutes 11 hours, 14 minutes
MSI Creator Z17
(Core i7-12700H)
4 hours, 23 minutes 4 hours, 32 minutes N/A
Apple MacBook Professional 16
(Apple M1 Professional)
18 hours, 35 minutes 23 hours, 11 minutes N/A

Our take

The Asus ZenBook Professional 16X is a well-designed, well-crafted laptop that meets and exceeds its creator-oriented aims. It’s surprisingly quick given its elements and may be configured to be even quicker, its show is spectacular, and its keyboard and touchpad are glorious. It has the helpful Asus Dial characteristic that provides some comfort. All in all, Asus created a standout laptop.

Sure, it’s costly, however not unexpectedly given the design and elements. It’s aggressive with different laptops aimed on the identical customers and, in some circumstances, is cheaper. If you happen to’re available in the market for a conveyable artistic workstation, then the ZenBook Professional 16X must be in your brief record.

Are there any alternate options?

The MSI Creator Z16P is a stable competitor for demanding productiveness and inventive work, and it’s additionally well-built with a high quality show (though nothing practically as good because the ZenBook’s). The MSI can also be dearer when absolutely configured.

If you happen to don’t want fairly all that energy or the options of the ZenBook, then Dell’s XPS 15 and 17 are good choices. They’re additionally fairly quick, and supply the choice of going a bit smaller or bigger and dialing in efficiency accordingly.

Lastly, Apple’s MacBook Professional 16 is a pure competitor, providing simply as top quality a construct, glorious efficiency, and a top-notch show whereas additionally providing unbelievable battery life. It’s significantly dearer, although.

How lengthy will it final?

The ZenBook Professional 16X is rock stable, and although it has some complicated mechanisms, it feels prefer it ought to final for years of service. The elements are updated as properly. Solely the industry-standard one-year guarantee is disappointing.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, in case you do artistic work or have a severely demanding productiveness workflow, the ZenBook Professional 16X will meet your wants after which some.

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