Asus Vivobook 16X OLED
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There is one reason and one reason only for purchasing the Asus Vivobook 16X OLED laptop: its spectacular 16-inch, 4K OLED display. The screen has stunning clarity and contrast and color accuracy that’s clearly and unmistakably better than what you’d get from a midrange laptop with a typical LCD display. The 16-inch size is incredible, too, with a 16:10 aspect ratio for abundant workspace.
Outside of the OLED panel, the Vivobook 16X is a middling midrange laptop. For its $1,200 price, we’re fine with the laptop’s 12th-gen Core i7 H-series processor, even if it’s now a generation behind. But somewhere along the way, Asus cut corners with the hardware because it’s a step behind similarly configured laptops we’ve tested. Plus, the display would be much more useful for content creators if Asus had fitted it with a budget Nvidia RTX GPU. Add to those the plasticky, flimsy feel and a 720p webcam that disappoints in resolution and clarity and the Vivobook 16X OLED is tough to recommend. Still, if you can pick it up at a discount, the drawbacks might be worth overlooking for the Vivobook 16X’s incredible and spacious 16-inch, 16:10, 4K OLED display.
Asus sells only one version (model F1603) of the Vivobook 16X OLED. It costs $1,200 and can be found at Amazon, Best Buy and other online retailers. We could not find it available for sale in the UK or Australia, but the price converts to £955 and AU$1,800. It features a 16-inch OLED display with a 4K resolution (3,480 by 2,400 pixels) and a 16:10 aspect ratio. An Intel Core i7-12700H, 16GB of RAM, integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics and a 512GB SSD round out the internal components. It’s available in either silver or deep blue; our test system was the latter, and it looks nice.
You might see similar Vivobook Pro 16X OLED models — the keyword here is the “Pro” in the model name. These Pro models feature the same 16-inch, 4K OLED display but deliver RTX 3050 or 3050 Ti graphics and up to 1TB of storage. They also have a metal lid and, for some reason, an orange Esc key.
Asus Vivobook 16X OLED F1603
|Price as reviewed||$1,200|
|Display size/resolution||16-inch 3,840 x 2,400 OLED display|
|CPU||2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H|
|Memory||16GB DDR4 3,200MHz RAM|
|Graphics||128MB Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Storage||512GB M.2 NVMe SSD|
|Ports||1x USB 2.0 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A,1x HDMI 1.4. 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack 1x DC-in|
|Networking||Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) (Dual band) 2*2 + Bluetooth 5.3|
|Operating system||Windows 11 Home|
Our non-Pro Vivobook 16X OLED test system produced uninspired results in lab testing. It trailed similarly configured systems on Geekbench 5 and was at or near the back of the pack on our Cinebench and 3DMark tests. In addition to an undersized SSD for graphics pros, its lab performance is another disappointment for anyone looking to use the 4K OLED for media editing. Meanwhile, its runtime of just over 7.5 hours on our battery drain test was merely average.
Hollow and flimsy
Unlike the Vivobook Pro 16X OLED models, the Vivobook 16X OLED features an all-plastic chassis. When I first picked up the laptop, I was dismayed to feel the lid and bottom panel flex between my thumb and fingers, especially the lid. It flexed to the point of feeling hollow. After opening the laptop, I felt the same troublesome flex with the keyboard deck. A metal lid and keyboard deck would have gone a long way to making the laptop feel a bit more premium. As constructed, it feels like you are getting a premium OLED display wrapped in a budget enclosure, which averages out to a midrange laptop.
For having such a roomy display, the Vivobook 16X OLED remains rather portable. It’s only 0.8 inch thick and weighs 4.1 pounds. It’s considerably lighter than the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which weighs 4.7 pounds, and the 4.6-pound Dell Inspiron 16 Plus. Then again, if you are looking for the most portable 16-inch, 16:10 laptop, the Acer Swift Edge remarkably weighs just 2.6 pounds and is only 0.6 inch thick, and it, too, has a brilliant OLED display.
Keyboard comfort is limited by the flexy chassis. Under the fingertips of my rather thunderous typing, the keyboard deck flexed constantly. The keys themselves felt snappy and responsive with shallow travel. And it was one of the quietest keyboards I’ve encountered in a while. It’s a good pick for working in a coffee shop or workshare space; you need not worry about any clacky typing bothering those around you.
Asus squeezes in a number pad, which you might appreciate if you spend portions of your day entering data into Excel and the like. Personally, I’d rather have the keyboard centered below the display and along with full-sized arrow keys. All four of the Vivobook 16X’s arrow keys are half-height, even though there’s room to at least make the two side-arrow keys full height.
The keyboard features three-level backlighting, which is appreciated because it lets you choose the appropriate level for the ambient light in your environment. One last note on the keyboard: The Enter key has white-and-black striping along its bottom edge. I don’t know about you, but the Enter key is about the last key I need help locating. It’s large and located in an easy spot to press. The striping is distracting, and I quickly grew peeved by its presence.
The touchpad is of decent size and felt accurate, but its click response — like the rest of the system — felt flimsy. It had too much travel and had a “clacky” response when pressed. On the upside, it features a fingerprint reader in the upper-right corner for easy, secure logins.
Awesome OLED display
Again, at the heart of the Vivobook 16X is a spacious, sharp and bright 16-inch OLED panel with a 4K resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio rated for 600 nits of brightness. My testing with a lux meter confirmed that figure and then some — I recorded a maximum of 650 nits. The brightness of the display, combined with the ability of the OLED panel to produce absolute blacks, results in an incredible contrast ratio. Asus claims it has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and I can’t dispute it. The image it produces is absolutely gorgeous. Colors are accurate and vibrant, and the edges of images and text look razors sharp. According to Asus, the display covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color range, which is par for OLED displays.
The display features a 180-degree hinge, but I question its usefulness. It makes more sense to me with touch support as a convenient way to share your screen with a collaborator. But without a touch panel it seems superfluous.
I also don’t see the point of outfitting a laptop in 2023 (or 2022, for that matter) with a 720p webcam. Nearly every mainstream model released in the last year features a 1080p camera. Only budget models can squeak by at this point with such an outdated webcam. And sure enough, it produces a grainy, poorly exposed image. The webcam does have a physical privacy shutter, an item we are always happy to see.
The Vivobook 16X OLED’s speakers, too, are subpar. Movies look fantastic on the large, high-res OLED display, but the audio output sounds muddy. You’ll need to turn on subtitles so you don’t miss any dialog or reach for your headphones.
Getting a roomy, high-resolution OLED display at this price feels like a steal, but you’ll need to make a number of tradeoffs to get away with it. The flimsy plastic enclosure is the biggest concession you’re forced to make, and content creators looking for an affordable, big-screen OLED laptop will need to limp by with integrated graphics and only 512GB of storage. And the tinny speakers limit its appeal as an entertainment laptop.
We recommend stepping up to the Pro version if possible. It’s roughly $350 more, and you get the same great display with better build quality, faster processing and a discrete GPU for beginner content creation. For $300 more, the Acer Swift Edge offers a 16-inch, 16:10 OLED display inside a slim yet rigid magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis. It also regularly goes on sale at Costco for less than $1,000. Or if you don’t mind a smaller display, consider the HP Pavilion Plus 14, which comes in many configurations at more affordable prices.
|Asus Vivobook 16X OLED||Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H; 16GB DDR4 3,200MHz; 128MB Intel Iris Xe Graphics; 512GB SSD|
|Dell Inspirion 16 Plus 7620||Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H; 16GB DDR5 4,800MHz; 4GB Nvidia RTX 3050 Ti ; 512GB SSD|
|Acer Swift 3 OLED||Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H; 16GB DDR5 4,800MHz;128MB Intel Iris Xe Graphics; 1TB SSD|
|HP Pavilion Plus Laptop 14||Microsoft Windows 11 Pro; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H; 16GB DDR4 3,200MHz;128MB Intel Iris Xe Graphics; 1TB SSD|
|HP Dragonfly Pro||Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.7GHz AMD Ryzen 7 7736U; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon Graphics; 512GB SSD|