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

Asus ZenBook Pro 16X

MSRP $2,600.00

“The Asus ZenBook Pro 16X’s fun experiments never detract from its great performance.”


  • Easy beauty
  • Excellent productivity and artistic performance
  • Spectacular OLED display
  • Great keyboard and haptic touchpad
  • Asus Dial is definitely useful
  • Solid construct quality


  • Inconsistent gaming performance
  • Somewhat expensive

Asus isn’t afraid to try latest things with its laptop designs. The ZenBook Pro 16X is proof of that claim, because it encompasses a keyboard that rises up at a steep angle while you open the lid and RGB lights underneath both sides that flash on various system activities. Then there’s the Asus Dial, a rotary touch device allowing refined control over the system and supported applications.

Just like the ZenBook Pro 14 Duo‘s dual OLED displays, the ZenBook Pro 16X is filled with interesting features, and it’s also configured fairly well for creative app performance.

Fortunately, this one doesn’t need to live and die on the success of its gimmicks, since the laptop’s performance is as solid as its construct quality — it’s way over just smoke and mirrors.

Price and configurations

There are two configurations of the ZenBook Pro 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 display. 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 display. That’s expensive, but not egregiously given the components and design.

The MSI Creator Z16P, for instance, is a way more expensive laptop, starting at $2,900 for a similar CPU, RAM, and SSD, but with an RTX 3070 Ti and a QHD+ (2,560 x 1,600) IPS display, and it tops out at $4,300 when fully configured with a Core i9, 64GB of RAM, and an RTX 3080 Ti. The Dell XPS 17 also has the identical basic components, including the RTX 3060, and it starts at $1,839 with a Core i5-12500H, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) IPS display. It tops out at $3,654 for a Core i9, 64GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, the RTX 3060, and a UHD+ IPS display.


The Zenbook Pro 16X open on a table.

The ZenBook Pro 16X doesn’t cut much of an exciting figure when it’s closed. It has the brand new Star Trek-like Asus logo on the lid, which glows together with the remainder of the lighting system, and a faint example of the enduring Asus concentric swirl. Otherwise, its black chassis has straightforward lines and is sort of minimalistic. You’ll be able to tell it’s different by the additional mechanism apparent from the side, which looks a bit strange.

But open it up,and things get interesting. The keyboard rises up with the display to a full seven degrees, creating an angled typing surface and 30% increased airflow. The Asus Dial to the left of the massive touchpad catches your attention immediately, giving the keyboard deck a high-tech look. And the keyboard lighting is augmented by side RGB lightbars that illuminate the perimeters of the chassis immediately underneath the keyboard. There’s no other laptop quite prefer it, although the ZenBook Pro 14 Duo presents the same easy aesthetic when closed and an intricate appearance when open.

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

Speaking of the lighting, each the keyboard and lightbar could be configured to flash different colours based on various system events. For instance, while you use the MyAsusapp to vary the thermal settings, the lights flash different colours in time together with your mouse clicks. The lights can reply to a USB device being plugged in, the laptop entering battery-saving mode, and switching between foreground apps.

In accordance with Asus, you possibly can set custom ambient lighting modes, but I couldn’t find the settings to achieve this. Also, Asus describes the keyboard as having per-key White RGB backlighting, nevertheless it supports various colours. Of all the weird features, the lighting system is the least useful, even though it’s a whimsical touch for many who like such things.

The ZenBook Pro 16X is a big laptop, with a 16:10 16-inch display that makes it quite tall. Even so, its small display bezels keep the chassis size to a minimum. With its 16:10 15.6-inch display, it’s more significant than the Dell XPS 15 by about half an inch in width and almost a full inch in depth. The ZenBook is thinner, though, at 0.67 inches versus 0.73 inches, and it’s quite 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, while the MSI is thicker at 0.74 inches. Regardless of how you narrow it, the ZenBook Pro 16X is a big, heavy laptop that’s not meant to be terribly portable.

It’s constructed of CNC machined aluminum and despite the complexity, Asus managed to construct a rock-solid laptop. The lid, keyboard deck, and chassis bottom all resist flexing, bending, or twisting. The ZenBook Pro 16X feels as solid as a MacBook Pro, which puts it in excellent company. It’s much more solid than other excellent laptops just like the Dell XPS 15 and XPS 17. The ZenBook Pro 16X’s construct quality is great and helps justify the high price.

Ports and connections

Asus ZenBook Pro 16X left side view showing ports.

asus zenbook pro 16x review right side

Connectivity is greater than sufficient. There are two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, 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, but I can’t fault the ZenBook Pro 16X’s port selection.

Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 provide for up-to-date wireless connectivity.


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

The ZenBook Pro 16X could be configured with certainly one of two 45-watt Intel 14-core/20-thread Twelfth-gen CPUs. There’s the Core i7-12700H running at as much as 4.7GHz and the Core i9-12900H with a top speed of 5GHz. My review unit equipped the previous, which has proven to be a solid performer in our previous reviews.

Asus bundles a utility to manage the thermal system to tune for quieter and slower or louder and faster performance. That’s common amongst manufacturers today, and the Asus utility significantly impacted a few our benchmarks. I’ve recorded reports for each balanced and performance modes within the table below. The ZenBook Pro 16X was aggressively tuned, especially in performance mode, hitting 100 degrees Celsius and throttling. Even so, it maintained high frequencies during a lot of the testing and managed solid performance.

Across all our benchmarks, the ZenBook Pro 16X performed at or above its processor class, especially in performance mode. It fell behind the MSI Creator Z17 on Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R32, especially in single-core mode, but its scores were good overall. It had certainly one of the fastest scores in our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265. I also ran the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark that tests several productivity, multimedia, and artistic tasks and it hit 6,621, a quick rating for the CPU.

Within the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark that runs in a live version of Premiere Pro and uses the GPU to speed up processes, the ZenBook Pro 16X was average for its class in balanced mode at 771. However it jumped way as much as 1,034 in performance mode. That beats laptops running much faster GPUs reminiscent of the Razer Blade 17 with its RTX 3080 Ti. The Asus even outperformed the Apple MacBook Pro 16 running the M1 Pro.

Overall, the performance was excellent. The ZenBook Pro 16X punches a bit above its CPU weight class, competing with faster CPUs and putting in a solid all-around performance. It’s a laptop that may serve probably the most demanding productivity users and creators in search of a robust workstation.

(single / multi)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Premiere Pro
Asus ZenBook Pro 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 Pro 16
(Apple M1 Pro)
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


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

Asus opted for Nvidia’s Studio drivers, that are optimized for reliable and fast scientific, engineering, and artistic application performance. Which means the corporate is aiming this laptop at apps like AutoCAD and Adobe’s creative suite moderately than games. Even so, with an RTX 3060 installed, one can hope for at the very least passable gaming performance.

The outcomes from our game benchmark suite were decidedly mixed. The ZenBook Pro 16X performed well within the 3DMark Time Spy test, beating the opposite two RTX 3060s within the comparison group. But then, it couldn’t run Civilization VI without crashing, something I’ve seen in another Studio driver-equipped laptops. It performed decently in Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p and ultra graphics, hitting 51 frames per second (fps), faster than the Dell XPS 17, nevertheless it hit just 65 fps in Fortnite at 1200p and epic graphics, falling behind the Dell. Then, in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, it performed poorly at 24 fps, around similar to the XPS 17 but behind the MSI Creator Z16.

So, it’s hard to characterize the ZenBook Pro 16X as a gaming laptop. In case your game installs and runs without issue, you possibly can get playable frame rates at 1080p with high graphical detail or 1440p in the event you turn graphics down a bit. But you may have problems with some games, meaning that counting on the laptop as a gaming machine might be a mistake.

Assassin’s Creed
Ultra High)
Civilization VI
(1080p Ultra)
1200p Epic)
Time Spy
Asus ZenBook Pro 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

Display and audio

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

I like a big, vivid, colourful OLED display. Turning one on is just a special experience than you get with even the perfect IPS panels. The ZenBook Pro 16X qualifies as probably the greatest I’ve experienced in all but one respect.

In accordance with my colorimeter, the display is spectacular in all metrics except its brightness, which while above our 300-nit threshold, isn’t the brightest OLED panel I’ve tested. But the colours are very wide at 100% of sRGB and 98% of AdobeRGB, and the colour accuracy is great at a Delta-E of 0.84 (anything lower than 100% can’t be discerned with the human eye). And the contrast is incredibly high, as with all OLED displays, showing off inky blacks.

Note that the contrast difference between the OLED displays and the MacBook Pro 16’s XDR display is attributable to a change in colorimeters. My SpyderX colorimeter reports lower contrast on these technologies than does the Spyder 4 colorimeter used on the MacBook. Rest assured that when tested with the identical colorimeter, these displays achieve similar contrast results and are equally impressive.

Asus features a utility that works hand in hand with a colorimeter (right away, just the X-Rite i1 Display Pro is supported, with more on the way in which) to supply professional-level calibration. The panel is great out of the box, but when colours shift over time, the ProArt Creator Hub utility could be used to bring things back so as.

The ZenBook Pro 16X display perfectly matches the laptop’s performance, providing an experience that creators will love, as will productivity users and content consumers. The one display that’s more colourful is the Dell XPS 17’s IPS display, and it doesn’t have OLED’s deep blacks. There’s just loads to like here.

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

4 speakers, two upward-firing and two downward-firing, put out enough volume to completely envelop my home office. Mids and highs are clear and vivid, while there’s a touch of bass. The audio system is sweet enough for bingeing Netflix and listening to music without headphones,

Keyboard and touchpad

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

As mentioned previously, the ZenBook Pro 16X’s keyboard is propped up at a seven-degree angle, and it seems like greater than that in use. It took me some time to get used to typing because my wrists rested on the flat palm rest and my fingers needed to stretch to hit the upper keys. The keycaps are very large, with loads of spacing, and the switches are light and snappy with a precise bottoming motion. It’s an amazing keyboard when you get used to the angle.

The touchpad is one other unusual feature. It’s an expansive haptic touchpad that rivals the MacBook Pro 16’s Force Touch version. I discovered the touchpad responsive and accurate across its entire surface, and the haptic clicks felt natural. But that’s not all. Asus also included its NumberPad 2.0 technology, which embeds an LED numeric keypad that could be switched on and off. Most users probably won’t find all of it that useful, but in the event you work with a number of numbers, then you definitely’ll appreciate it. And it saves space on the keyboard by avoiding a physical numeric keypad.

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

Asus also inbuilt a novel controller, the Asus Dial, which uses a touch-sensitive ring surrounding a physical button to supply rotary control of system utilities and customizable applications. It’s a handy technique to control software like Adobe’s Creative Suite, in addition to to perform easy tasks like adjusting screen brightness and sound volume. The Asus Dial is a surprisingly useful gizmo and adds one other convenient method for controlling the ZenBook Pro 16X.

Webcam and privacy

The webcam of the Zenbook Pro 16X.

The webcam is a 1080p version with infrared, an RGB color sensor that may adjust the display’s brightness and color temperature based on ambient lighting, and a time of flight sensor. The webcam provides a wonderful video image with 3D noise-reduction technology, and it’s vivid and detailed in all types of lighting conditions. Asus includes its AdaptiveLock technology that may use the Intel Visual Sensing Controller to lock the laptop when the user moves away and wake it up when the user returns. The screen may also dim when the user looks away.

Windows 11 Hello passwordless support is provided by each the infrared camera and a fingerprint reader built into the ability button. Each methods worked flawlessly.

Battery life

The side of the Zenbook Pro 16X.

Even 96 watt-hours of battery capability isn’t loads when coping with a 45-watt CPU and a big, high-resolution OLED display. Add within the undeniable fact that the ZenBook Pro 16X is tuned for performance, andexpecting excellent battery life could be unreasonable.

As I suspected, the ZenBook Pro 16X didn’t fare well in our suite of battery benchmarks. In our web-browsing test that runs through a series of complex web sites, the ZenBook made it to only five hours. It managed just eight hours in our video test that loops an area Full HD Avengers trailer, and 5.5 hours within the PCMark 10 Application battery that’s the perfect indicator of productivity battery life. Those results align with among the other creator laptops in our comparison group, with Dell’s XPS 15 and XPS 17 standing out among the many Intel machines. And in fact, the MacBook Pro 16 embarrassed the remainder of the group with its multiday battery life.

Ultimately, you’ll wish to take your power brick with you in the event you need all-day battery life. The ZenBook Pro 16X won’t get you there by itself.

Web browsing Video PCMark 10
Asus ZenBook Pro 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 Pro 16
(Apple M1 Pro)
18 hours, 35 minutes 23 hours, 11 minutes N/A

Our take

The Asus ZenBook Pro 16X is a well-designed, well-crafted laptop that meets and exceeds its creator-oriented objectives. It’s surprisingly fast given its components and could be configured to be even faster, its display is spectacular, and its keyboard and touchpad are excellent. It has the useful Asus Dial feature that adds some convenience. All in all, Asus created a standout laptop.

Yes, it’s expensive, but not unexpectedly given the design and components. It’s competitive with other laptops aimed toward the identical users and, in some cases, is cheaper. In the event you’re available in the market for a transportable creative workstation, then the ZenBook Pro 16X must be in your short list.

Are there any alternatives?

The MSI Creator Z16P is a solid competitor for demanding productivity and artistic work, and it’s also well-built with a high quality display (although nothing nearly as nice because the ZenBook’s). The MSI can be costlier when fully configured.

In the event you don’t need quite all that power or the features of the ZenBook, then Dell’s XPS 15 and 17 are good options. They’re also quite fast, and supply the choice of going a bit smaller or larger and dialing in performance accordingly.

Finally, Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 is a natural competitor, offering just as prime quality a construct, excellent performance, and a top-notch display while also offering unbelievable battery life. It’s considerably costlier, though.

How long will it last?

The ZenBook Pro 16X is rock solid, and despite the fact that it has some complex mechanisms, it seems like it should last for years of service. The components are up to this point as well. Only the industry-standard one-year warranty is disappointing.

Must you buy it?

Yes, in the event you do creative work or have a seriously demanding productivity workflow, the ZenBook Pro 16X will meet your needs after which some.

Editors’ Recommendations

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