ASUS Vivobook 16X (M1603)
Get the Vivobook 16X if you want to save some cash, or go for the Vivobook 15X OLED and your eyes will thank you later.
- Good performance out of the box
- A nice set of ports
- Full-sized keyboard and trackpad
- Display is good, but not good enough
- Can run really warm
- Subpar battery life, inconvenient charging
The ASUS Vivobook 15X OLED we reviewed previously was pretty exciting, as it brought a spectacular 120Hz OLED display down to a price point that students can consider for their first laptop. Today’s ASUS Vivobook 16X (M1603) is interesting for a different reason though: it proffers a larger 16-inch 16:10 LCD panel for RM300 less. Emphasis on the LCD. Is it worth considering, or should you just go for the Vivobook 15X OLED? Well, let’s find out.
ASUS Vivobook 16X — What’s Good?
Good performance out of the box
Performance from the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H is pretty good, and I won’t go into the benchmarks, as you can just read the review of the ASUS Vivobook 15X OLED if you want to know how it stacks up against the competition. In short, both Vivobooks feature the same hardware configuration and the same cooling solution, so expect good performance that can still go toe-to-toe with the latest laptops, especially in multi-threaded workloads where the Ryzen 5000H CPU can fully make use of its 45W TDP.
A nice set of ports
I like that ASUS has included just about every port you would need here. The Vivobook 16X serves up three USB-A ports, two of which are USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 one, along with a USB-C port that goes up to USB 3.0 (5Gbps) speeds. There’s a HDMI 1.4 port to take care of your display/projector needs, a headphone jack for your audio and last but not least, the barrel charger that accepts the 90W charger that comes included with the Vivobook 16X.
Full-sized keyboard and trackpad
Don’t you just hate it when some laptops don’t make full use of the available space and give you a dinky keyboard when they can jolly well fit a full-sized one? Well that’s not the case here. We have a full-sized backlit keyboard, complete with a proper numpad and an unnecessarily embellished Enter key for all your typing needs. I wish the keys were stiffer and more tactile, as these are quite mushy, but all things considered, it’s acceptable. The ASUS Antibacterial Guard treatment is applied to keep everything sanitary on the keyboard deck.
The large trackpad here is plastic, which feels less smooth when compared to the silky glass-covered ones found on more premium options. ASUS was kind enough to include a fingerprint scanner in the upper right corner of the trackpad for more convenient security. There’s no option for facial recognition for even greater convenience, and you still have to tap it separately, unlike what ASUS has provided on some of their more premium offerings with the SSO fingerprint scanners integrated into the power button. I am not complaining here though, just mentioning some of the options that you can have if you are ready to splurge a larger sum on your laptop.
ASUS Vivobook 16X — What’s Not?
Display is good, but not good enough
I appreciate that ASUS is embracing 16:10 in more than just their premium ASUS Zenbooks and gaming laptops. I dig the taller aspect ratio as it does help when going through documents, and the fact that we have a 16-inch display in a rather minimal footprint is nice. However, it’s quite unfortunate that we have a significantly inferior display here, as compared to the Vivobook 15X OLED. It’s dimmer with a much narrower color gamut, resulting in washed out colors.
It’s not all bad though. The 180-degree hinge is pretty sweet, and the wide viewing angles does help when it comes to sharing the screen with people opposite you. But after seeing the stunning OLED displays ASUS has been pushing recently, the poor 45% NTSC color gamut here just doesn’t cut it. But, if you wanna save a few bucks, and aren’t as particular about display quality, the Vivobook 16X will serve you just fine, with a little extra viewing space as well.
Can run really warm
The single heatpipe and fan cooling solution is somewhat insufficient to tame the AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, despite it being a relatively efficient chip. We are seeing peak temperatures in excess of 90°C, which is not what you want to see. And more worryingly, performance is not throttled yet at these toasty temperatures, which has me somewhat worried about the overall longevity of the laptop. Throttling may be detrimental to performance, but it does help to protect the hardware from a premature death. Not sure why did ASUS go with such a liberal thermal limit for this productivity-oriented machine.
Subpar battery life, inconvenient charging
As it has a 28% smaller battery while packing a 10% larger display at the same time, battery life suffers. In PCMark’s battery test, we only eked out 6 hours and 13 minutes. The Vivobook 15X OLED gives us close to 30% longer battery life, despite its 120Hz display. Overall, this is not the laptop you want if you want to stay mobile without your power brick. And yes, unfortunately you can’t charge with a USB-C power adapter, so you need to bring a separate power brick like its 2019 or something. This is an issue shared with the Vivobook 15X OLED, and I hope if ASUS plans on a 2023 version of these laptops, please include USB-PD charging support.
ASUS Vivobook 16X (M1603) Specifications
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, 6C/12T at up to 4.2GHz|
16MB L3 cache
|Memory||8GB DDR4-3200 on-board, 1 x SO-DIMM slot vacant|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon Graphics, 7CU @ up to 1800MHz|
|Storage||512GB Intel 670p (M.2 PCIe 3.0×4 NVMe SSD, NVMe 1.4)|
|Display||16-inch FHD 16:10 (1920 x 1200) AUO B160UAN03.3 IPS LCD display|
300 nits max brightness, 45% NTSC gamut
86% screen to body ratio
|Connectivity||WiFi 6 + Bluetooth 5.0 (MediaTek MT7921)|
1 x USB-C (USB 3.0, 5Gbps)
2 x USB-A (USB 3.0, 5Gbps)
1 x USB-A (USB 2.0, 480Mbps)
1 x HDMI 1.4
1 x 3.5mm combo jack
|Power||50WHr, 3-cell Li-ion battery|
90W AC adapter
|Dimensions||358.4 x 247.7 x 19.9 mm|
ASUS Vivobook 16X — should you buy this?
Not really. As a RM2,999 laptop, I honestly recommend you consider spending an extra RM300 for the Vivobook 15X OLED. That sweet 120Hz OLED is truly mindblowingly good. Not to mention you get a more portable laptop overall, with the Vivobook 15X OLED being lighter and more compact, while also giving you better battery life with its larger battery. As a package, the Vivobook 15X OLED punches well above its price bracket. The Vivobook 16X isn’t exactly a bad laptop, but it’s currently priced too close to its much better sibling. A good RM200 to RM300 price cut to widen the gap will make the Vivobook 16X much more worthy of consideration.
But if you really can’t eke out the extra RM300 to spend on a new laptop, then yes, the ASUS Vivobook 16X (M1603) might be worth settling for, even at its current price. The performance is good as it is, and once you throw in an extra stick of RAM, the Vivobook 16X can serve up even better performance. The all-plastic build is solid, and the full-sized keyboard is comfortable to type on, albeit a bit mushy. The silver lining is the included Microsoft Office Home & Student license though, which saves you a good RM529. The taller screen can also come in handy, provided you don’t mind the lackluster color gamut.