This is my detailed review of the 2022 Asus ZenBook Pro 16X premium performance notebook.
You probably remember the ZenBook Pros of the past, premium-tier compact designs able to compete against the heavyweights in this niche, such as the Apple MacBook Pros or the Dell XPS 15/17 lineups. These past years, Asus mostly focused on developing the ZenBook Pro DUO lineup, leaving the standard clamshell design in shadow cone, and that’s somewhat changing now with the ZenBook Pro 16X series.
They sure put a lot of effort into engineering this series, which improves on the design of the Zephyrus S17 with its AAS cooling system and moving keyboard deck, as well as adds a vapor-chamber thermal module on the inside. The end result is a premium product with some moderately powerful specs but excellent thermals/noise levels under load, a big battery, a beautiful OLED display, and uncompromised IO and inputs.
Thing is, I’m having a hard time figuring out who this ZenBook Pro 16X is exactly made for. Asus aims at a jack-of-all-trades in the creator space, but this is an expensive product in the variants available at the time of this review, in a not that portable chassis and with only mid-level performance capabilities, and these might hinder its popularity among the multitude of other options in its niche, both from Asus and from the other OEMs. We’ll get in-depth on all these in the review down below.
Specs – Asus ZenBook Pro 16X OLED UX7602
|Asus ZenBook Pro 16X OLED UX7602ZM|
|Screen||16-inch, 16:10 format, glossy, touch,
4K 3840 x 2400 px, 60 Hz, OLED with 400-nits SDR and 550-nits peak HDR brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color coverage
|Processor||Intel Alder Lake 12th-gen, Core i9-12900H, 6PC+8Ec/20T|
|Video||Intel Iris Xe + Nvidia RTX 3060 6GB (70-95W with Dyn Boost)|
|Memory||32 GB LPDDR5-4800 (soldered)|
|Storage||2 TB SSD (Samsung PM9A1) – single M.2 2280 PCIe gen4 slot|
|Connectivity||Wireless 6E (Intel AX211), Bluetooth 5.2|
|Ports||1x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, HDMI 2.1, SD Express 7.0 card reader, audio jack|
|Battery||96 Wh, 200W barrel-plug charger with quick-charging, USB-C charging support up to 100W|
|Size||355 mm or 13.97” (w) x 251 mm or 9.88” (d) x 21-27 mm or 0.82-1.06” (h)|
|Weight||approx 5.3 lbs (2.4 kg)+ .6 kg (1.32 lbs) for the charger+cables, EU version|
|Extras||WRGB backlit keyboard, haptic touchpad, physical DialPad, FHD webcam with IR Hello and ALS/RGB sensor, 6x speaker system, vapor chamber cooling module|
This series seems to only be available in this top configuration reviewed here with the i9 processor, 32 GB of RAM, and 2 TB SSD. I would have expected more affordable variants to be available as well.
Design and construction
The ZenBook Pro 16X carries on the design idea previously implemented in the ROG Zephyrus S17, which I’ve considered the best ROG ultraportable chassis as of mid-2021 when I reviewed it. That means this ZenBook implements the same sort of mechanical hinges that raise up the keyboard deck when you open up the laptop, allowing for an ergonomic typing position and more importantly, facilitating cooling with demanding loads.
However, unlike the Zephyrus S17, this ZenBook is only specced up to an RTX 3060 dGPU that runs at up to 95W, so nowhere near as competent in sustained GPU and mixed loads. Sure, this is not a laptop meant for gaming by any means, but there are multiple workloads that would benefit from a more powerful dGPU, and there’s no such option here. On top of that, there’s a single SSD slot and soldered RAM on this ZenBook, but we’ll get into that in the Hardware section further down.
The first thing I noticed when I got this out of the box is that it wasn’t as compact or lightweight as I was expecting from a ZenBook Pro.
It weighs 2.4 kg, while many of the popular alternatives in its class are available for between 1.8 to 2.2 kilos. Sure, some of those might not be as powerful, such as the Dell XPS models, but some are more powerful, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme or the HP ZBook Studio 16, both alternatives that prosumers usually favor over a ZenBook for professional work, due to multiple reasons.
As for the overall size of this notebook, the footprint details are pretty self-explanatory. At 355 x 251 mm, this is about the same size as an MBP 16, but due to how the hinges are designed, the display raises up on top of the chassis, and this ZenBook Pro ends up feeling taller than other 16-inch notebooks. There are also some noticeable bezels at the top and under the display, which further add to its overall perceived height.
That aside, on their site Asus claim this Zenbook is a thin-and-light design and throw a 16.9 mm number at potential buyers. Thing is, that’s misleading to say the least, as only the thinnest part at the front of the laptop measures 16.9 mm, without accounting for the height of the rubber feet. Thus, when looking at the official specs, you might expect this ZenBook to be thinner than something like an XPS 15, XPX 17, or a MacBook Pro 16, but it isn’t. In reality, this laptop stands at between 21 mm (at the front) to 27 mm (at the back) in height.
I don’t have a MBP 16 or an XPS 17 around for comparison, but here’s this ZenBook Pro 16x next to the XPS 15 or the ROG Flow X16, just two other potential competing products that I had lying around. Both are smaller and lighter.
With these out of the way, let’s discuss the other aspects worth mentioning about this design.
The build quality is spectacular, with strong pieces of machined aluminum used for the entire unibody chassis and outer case. There’s no flex in the lid or keyboard deck, and no squeaky funny noises when using or picking this up.
The whole thing is this exquisite dark-gray color, which looks good, but still shows some smudges and finger oils over time. Branding is kept clean, with the new monogram Asus logo on the lid and still a shiny Asus ZenBook engraving under the screen. Asus also put a lot of stickers on the arm rest, which I find unacceptable on a laptop of this caliber and price, and I’d make sure to peel them off the moment I’d get this out of the box. Other OEMs at least put these stikers on the back of the laptop, on the D Panel.
Speaking of that lid logo, it’s backlit, and I was hoping there was some way to shut it off when needed, but there isn’t any. Instead, this logo and the lightbars that are hidden behind the keyboard tray, on the sides, under the speaker grills, are tied to the keyboard’s lighting settings – thus, the only way to shut them off is to entirely kill the keyboard’s backlighting.
That aside, is important to turn our attention toward those complex hinge mechanisms that control the screen angle and the keyboard’s inclination at the same time. They feel well made and high quality and allow adjusting the screen with a single hand, while also ensuring there’s no wobbling or movement during daily use. Just make sure you understand and accept that this sort of design requires a little extra care on your part, so make sure no cables tangle in between the keyboard and the main chassis, and no debris get stuck under the keyboard tray or go into the fans.
Other aspects worth mentioning here are:
- the grippy rubber feet placed on the bottom of this laptop,
- the fact that Asus put a punchy audio system with 6x speakers on this ZenBook,
- the fact that there are no lights or annoying LEDs blinking in the line of sight when using the laptop at night,
- as well as the fact that the front lip around the arm-rest is a bit harsh on the wrists, and I would have preferred a blunter design.
- I also would have liked for the display to lean back flat to 180 degrees – it only goes to about 155-160 degrees here, which is fine for desk use, but somewhat limiting for couch/lap use.
As for the IO, you’ll find all the needed ports lined on the left and right edges, towards the back, as the cooling system doesn’t require side vents on this product. There’s a USB-A slot, two USB-Cs with Thunderbolt 4 support, an HDMI 2.1 port on the right side with a dGPU connection, an audio jack, and a fast SD card reader – an SD card only inserts halfway in the slot, and not all the way through. For everyday use and creative purposes, this IO is just perfect.
Biometrics are also available here, both an IR camera and a finger-sensor included in the power button.
Overall, the craftsmanship and the build quality of this ZenBook Pro 16x are top-notch, and the practicality is mostly fine as well, with only small complaints here and there. This just isn’t a portable design by any means, but rather a full-size 16-inch laptop by today’s standards.
Keyboard and trackpad
For inputs, this ZenBook implements a full-size keyboard centered on the chassis, a massive touchpad with haptic feedback, and a proprietary physical DialPad on the left side of the touchpad.
The keyboard deck lifts up over the main chassis and ends up at a 7-degree-angle sloped position, allowing for an ergonomic typing experience and separating the keys from the components underneath, thus ensuring comfortable temperatures even when running demanding loads. Furthermore, despite this deck being a moving element, it doesn’t flex in any noticeable way with daily use.
As far as the layout goes, all the keys are in the right place and the keycaps are properly sized and spaced. The layout even included an extra column of keys at the very right, mapped by default as Home, PgUp, PgDn, and End. Prt Sc, Insert, Del keys are also available at the top-right, keys that professionals will use in their endeavors.
The typing experience is alright. The inclined position takes some time to get used to, but overall this is a fair typer. A bit shallow, though, at only 1.4 mm of stroke depth – that’s about what I’d expect from an ultraportable design, not a full-size implementation as this one. The Space key is also noticeably louder when pressed than the others.
I have some nits with the illumination system as well, particularly with how light creeps up noticeably from under the top row of keys, which is hardly acceptable for a premium implementation. Other than that, the LEDs get bright and are fairly uniform, and the lighting can be activated with a swipe over the clickpad once it times out, as it should.
I’ll also mention that the illumination system includes White + RGB leds, so you can set them in White or select a color of your own liking, plus any of the few available effects. The lighting controls are buried in MyAsus >> Customization >> Exclusives tab at the top. It sure took me a while to find them.
There’s no way to control the lateral lightbars or the logo on the lid independently for the keyboard’s illumination settings, which I feel could be a deal-breaker for some. These light elements add a nice touch when using the laptop at night, but I just want the ability to manually control or disable them when needed.
For mouse, Asus implemented a huge glass surface, centered on the chassis. It’s a haptic feedback touchpad, which means it can be clicked anywhere on its surface, and it worked fine with swipes, gestures, taps, you name it, during the time I’ve used this ZenBook. This surface can also act as a NumberPad, just like on many other Asus notebooks. On the other hand, this rattles with firm taps, though.
Palm rejection was rather patchy at first, but installing the latest TouchPad drivers from the Asus website fixed it. It also mostly fixed rejection on the DialPad, which initially often got activated by my left palm when typing on this laptop. Make sure to update the drivers if you’re running on anything similar on your unit.
The DialPad is a particularity of Asus creator laptops and is hardly useful for everyday activities, but it can be in third-party apps. By default, support for Adobe applications is baked in and allows you to quickly access certain tools without having to go through the menus. Default settings for Photoshop, Premiere, Afte Effects, etc. are available in the ProArt panel, and they can be further customized.
From my time with this laptop, I can see the point of this DialPad when working on the go, without having a mouse plugged in. It will take time to get accustomed to, though, as well as set up to your needs. I’m a mouse person myself and hardly do anything serious without one, but I know some people edit without a mouse, and if that’s you, then give this DialPad idea a chance. The video down below explains the DialPad on an Asus StudioBook, but it works the same here, it’s just a different physical format.
Finally, I’ll also mention that both a finger-sensor and an IR camera are implemented on this ZenBook Pro 16X, so you’re all good as far as biometrics go. Both work as intended, with support for Windows Hello.
There’s a single screen option available for the ZenBook Pro 16X, and that’s a touch glossy OLED panel with UHD+ 3840 x 2400 px resolution.
Blacks and contrast are flawless, as expected for an OLED panel, and colors are beyond reproach either, with almost 100% AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 gamut coverage.
This doesn’t get very bright, though, at only 350 nits sustained maximum brightness in SDR mode and 400 nits in HDR mode. The specs are once more misleading here, as they mention 550-nits peak brightness, but that’s only achievable in a tiny window in HDR mode, so is not sustained brightness. For sustained use, this panel is and feels like a 350-nits glossy screen – in other words, it will struggle in bright environments and is hardly any good outdoors in daylight.
Here’s what we got in our tests, with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: Samsung SDC415D (ATNA60YV02-0);
- Coverage: 99.9% sRGB, 96.9% AdobeRGB, 98.6% DCI-P3;
- Type: 10-bit HDR 400;
- Measured gamma: 2.22;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen, HDR: 406.40 cd/m2 on power;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen, SDR: 367.65 cd/m2 on power;
- min brightness in the middle of the screen: 2.73 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1:1;
- White point: 6400 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.0 cd/m2;
- PWM: No ?? (to be discussed).
The panel comes pre-calibrated out of the box, with a Pantone validation, and there’s very little we were able to improve with our tools. As this is an OLED panel, light bleeding is not something to be concerned with, and we also didn’t find anything unusual in the color and luminosity uniformity fields.
I did notice that slight graininess effect that’s a given with all digitizer-enabled OLED panels of this generation. I can see it on bright backgrounds when browsing or reading texts, but it’s barely visible, as the mesh is much denser on this high-res panel than on lower-res options.
Bottom point, if you plan to keep your laptop indoors and don’t mind a glossy screen coating, this display is awesome and properly suited for daily use, media consumption, and creative work. It’s OK for casual gaming as well, with the fast response times of OLED, even if it’s only 60 Hz refresh at this resolution. Just make sure you understand the particularities of OLED laptop screens and how you should use them in order to prevent any issues. And don’t take this outdoors or expect much in HDR performance.
As for the potential flickering, we don’t have the right tools to test for PWM and you should look into other reports when available. I’m not seeing anything suspicious with the naked eye, and Asus implements an OLED flicker-free dimming technology on their OLED laptops, which is also available here. I’ll update on this matter when I know more.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a top-specced configuration of the ASUS ZenBook Pro 16X, code name UX7602ZM, built on an Intel Core i9-12900H processor, 32 GB of DDR5-4800 memory in dual channel, 2 TB of fast SSD storage, and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 3060 dGPU with 6 GB of vRAM and the Iris Xe iGPU within the Intel processor.
Disclaimer: Before we proceed, keep in mind that our review unit was sent over by Asus and runs on the software available as of early-July 2022 (BIOS 206, ProArt 184.108.40.206, GeForce 511.69 drivers). Some aspects might change with later updates.
Spec-wise, the 2022 Asus ZenBook Pro 16X is built on the latest Intel and Nvidia hardware available to date. The Core i9-12900H is an Intel Alder Lake 12th-gen processor, with 14 Cores and 20 Threads. It is a hybrid design with 6 High-Performance Hyper-Threaded Cores and 8 extra Efficiency cores, working together or separately based on demand. The design of this Zenbook allows the processor to run at up to 95W of sustained power in demanding CPU loads, on the Full Speed profile, which is impressive for this sort of design.
For the GPU, the 2022 ZenBook Pro 16X series is only available with mid-tier Nvidia RTX 3060, in a MaxQ implementation running at up to 95W of power, with Dynamic Boost. This design doesn’t implement a MUX, and the GPU is not overclocked by default on any of the available modes.
For the RAM and storage options, the laptop comes with soldered memory and a single M.2 2280 SSD slot. It’s PCIe gen4 and our unit shipped with a high-tier 2TB Samsung PM9A1 SSD – I’d expect that’s what you’ll be getting with the retail units as well.
Accessing the components requires popping up the back panel, which is held in place by a couple of Torx screws. Be careful about putting them back, as they’re of different sizes. Inside, everything except for the SSD is soldered and non-upgradable.
Specs aside, Asus offers a couple of power profiles in the ProArt control app for this laptop: Whisper, Standard, Performance, and Full-Speed, with various power settings and fan profiles between them:
- Whisper – quiet fan-noise at under 35 dBA, limited CPU/GPU speeds and power;
- Standard – balanced profile with up to 40 dBA max fan noise, GPU runs at up to 65W;
- Performance – higher tier profile with increased CPU power allocation and faster-spinning fans at up to 45 dB, GPU runs at up to 95W.
- Full-Speed – like Performance, but pushes the fans to full rpms at 50+ dbA noise levels
|Operating Mode||Silent||Standard||Performance||Full Speed|
|CPU sustained TDP||35W||50W||~85W (thermally limited)||~90W (thermally limited)|
|GPU sustained TGP||up to 65W||up to 65W||80W + 15W DBoost||80W + 15W DBoost|
|TDP + TGP sustained (Crossload)||~90W||~110W||~135W||~135W|
|Noise at head level||sub 30 dbA||max 40 dbA||max 45 dbA||max 50 dbA|
Unlike on ROG laptops, there’s no Manual mode for further tweaking on this ZenBook.
I’ve mostly kept the laptop on Standard with everyday multitasking, but Whisper is also useful for quiet operation (yet the fans are never idle on this laptop), and Performance mode makes a difference in demanding loads. We’ll get to that in a bit.
First, though, here’s what to expect in terms of capabilities and temperatures with everyday multitasking, browsing, and video.
Performance and benchmarks
On to more demanding loads, we start by testing the CPU’s performance by running the Cinebench R15 test for 15+ times in a loop, with a 1-2 seconds delay between each run.
The Core i9-12900H processor stabilizes at ~85W of sustained power on the Performance setting, with temperatures of 95+ C, fan noise of 45 dBA at head-level, and scores of ~2350 points.
By default, the PL1 and PL2 settings on this profile are 115W, but the thermal design isn’t capable of cooling the CPU at that kind of power, thus the sustained power ends up being thermally limited at around 80-90W between demanding loads.
Bumping the back of the laptop up from the desk doesn’t make a big difference here, as the cooling module draws fresh air from underneath the keyboard deck, and thus the fans are not choked with the laptop sitting on the desk, as on most other designs. Instead, opting for the Full-Speed power profile does increase the performance to a small amount, as in this case, the fans spin faster and louder, at 50+ dBA. Regardless, even on Full Speed, the sustained power ends up at 90-95W, so still far from the designed PL 115W limits.
Standard mode sets lower fan speeds, which end up at ~35 dBA noise levels, and PL2 – 115W, PL1-50W settings. That means the processor is power limited in demanding loads, at 50W, in which case we’re looking at sustained temperatures of sub-80 degrees and scores of ~1800 points. That’s about 75% of what this implementation is capable of on Performance, but you end up with quieter fans and excellent sustained internal temperatures.
The Whisper profile further caps the processor at 45W PL2 and 35W PL1 sustained, with the fans running at sub 30 dB and temperatures in the sub 70s C. The i9 ends up scoring ~1450 points in this Cinebench test, about 60% of the Performance profile.
Finally, the CPU runs at ~40 W on battery on the Performance profile, with scores of 1550+ points. Details below.
To put these in perspective, here’s how this i9-12900H implementation fares against other 12th-gen i9s and Ryzen 9s 6000 in this test. It’s interesting that the same processor returns 10-15% higher scores in the Zephyrus M16, despite running at fairly close power settings. At the same time, this scores close to a Ryzen 9 HS processor in something like a ROG Flow X16 or Zephyrus G14/G15.
I’ve also added this ZenBook’s performance on the Standard profile in the chart, in order to compare it to the XPS 15 or the Blade 15, which are alternatives that creatives will consider in their purchase decision. The ZenBook returns the best scores and is the quieter of the three, but the differences are small and you should not forget to account for the size aspect as well, where both the XPS and the Blade are significantly smaller devices. We’ll further touch on that down below.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the more taxing Cinebench R23 loop test and Blender – Classroom, which resulted in similar findings to what we explained above.
We also ran the 3DMark CPU test on the Performance and Standard profiles.
Finally, we ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook. 3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and this unit easily passed it, which means there’s no performance throttling with longer-duration sustained loads.
Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the stock Performance profile and on FHD screen resolution for consistency with our other tests. Running some of these tests at the screen’s 4K+ native resolution will result in slightly different numbers.
- 3DMark – Fire Strike: 18927 (Graphics – 20398, Physics – 28534, Combined – 9253);
- 3DMark – Port Royal: 4546;
- 3DMark – Time Spy: 8284 (Graphics – 7808, CPU – 12660);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4675;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 14261;
- Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 64.09 average fps;
- PassMark 10: Rating: 5752 (CPU: 31497, 3D Graphics: 14841, Memory: 2976, Disk Mark: 29564);
- PCMark 10: 6823 (Essentials – 9765, Productivity – 8694, Digital Content Creation – 10155);
- GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1725, Multi-core: 12799;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 2471 cb, CPU Single Core 249 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6231 cb, CPU Single Core 671 cb;
- CineBench R23: CPU 16249 cb (best single run), CPU 16208 cb (10 min run), CPU Single Core 1743 cb;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 25.48 s.
And here are some workstation benchmarks, on the same Performance profile:
- Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – CPU Compute: 2m 22s (Turbo);
- Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – GPU Compute: 30s (CUDA), 16.4s (Optix);
- Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 5m 32s (Turbo);
- Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 1m 0s (CUDA), 33.7s (Optix);
- Pugetbench – DaVinvi Resolve: 1027;
- Pugetbench – Adobe Afert Effects: 854;
- Pugetbench – Adobe Photoshop: 1042;
- Pugetbench – Adobe Premiere: 913;
- SPECviewperf 2020 – 3DSMax: 54.59 (Performance );
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Catia: 28.17 (Performance );
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Creo: 62.36 (Performance );
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Energy: 31.13 (Performance );
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya: 134.54 (Performance );
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Medical: 8.47 (Performance );
- SPECviewperf 2020 – SNX: 12.6 (Performance );
- SPECviewperf 2020 – SW: 79.4 (Performance ).
- V-Ray Benchmark: CPU – 10189 vsamples, GPU CUDA – 1328 vpaths, GPU RTX – 1018;
These are competitive scores for a 2022 creator laptop.
On the CPU side, this ZenBook Pro 16X scores within 15% of full-size implementations for the 12th gen i9 processors, higher than many of the ultra-compact designs, and on par with the Ryzen options available out there. This is an impressive performer in CPU-heavy chores.
On the GPU side, though, this is only a mid-tier RTX 3060 running at sub-100W of power, so not that much of a performer, especially when considering this isn’t really a compact or lightweight design. In fact, it’s larger and heavier than most clamshell 15 and 16-inch thin-and-light performance notebooks, and while it outmatches some options in capabilities, such as let’s say the Dell XPS 15/17 lineups or even the MacBook Pros to some extent, it also trails most others.
Among those, there are professional devices such as the ThinkPad X1 Extreme or the Elitebook ZBook 16, available with higher tier GPUs, but running at overall lower power settings and most likely higher temperatures. Those get an advantage in configurability, post-sale services, and potential GPU performance, but at the same time, they can get very expensive!
Then, there are the premium performance lightweight notebooks such as the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16/G15 lineups, the Razer Blade 15, the MSI GS66 Stealth, or the Legion Legion Slim 7, which are, with some specific exceptions in CPU demanding loads, more powerful across the board. An OLED display is only available with a few of these, but good IPS screens are available on all.
Finally, if you’re looking at full-size laptops weighing 2.4+ kilos, you should also consider designs such as the VivoBook Pro 16X, Acer Predator Triton 500, the Gigabyte Aero 16, and especially the Lenovo Legion 7, with arguably superior capabilities, better upgradability + serviceability, and/or lower prices for matching specs.
Hence, the intro to this article, where I’m saying that I’m having a hard time figuring out who’s going to preffer this laptop over everything else. We’ll further touch on that in the Conclusions section.
For now, though, let’s discuss the other power profiles.
You might want to consider using the laptop on Standard mode if you’re aiming for a quieter everyday experience, with fan noise under 40 dBA in complex loads. Here’s what we got in our tests on this profile.
- 3DMark – Fire Strike: 14996 (Graphics – 16410, Physics – 24498, Combined – 6732);
- 3DMark – Time Spy: 6770 (Graphics – 6353, CPU – 10791);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 3880;
- GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1665, Multi-core: 11893;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 5484 cb, CPU Single Core 637 cb;
- Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 6m 58s (Turbo);
- Pugetbench – Adobe Photoshop: 1015;
- Pugetbench – Adobe Premiere: 892;
Both the CPU and GPU scores drop by a fair amount in the synthetic tests, but real-life capabilities in Blender or the Adobe apps remain competitive and close to what the laptop delivers in the Performance mode.
As far as the Full-Speed profile goes, here’s what we got in our tests.
- 3DMark – Fire Strike: 18168 (Graphics – 19469, Physics – 27376, Combined – 9060);
- 3DMark – Time Spy: 8296 (Graphics – 7815, CPU – 12743);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4770;
- GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1762, Multi-core: 13116;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6214 cb, CPU Single Core 666 cb.
This mode returns nearly the same performance as the regular Performance mode, with a bump in noise and a slight decrease in internal temperatures. I don’t see much use for it.
One final aspect to mention here is the performance on USB-C power, in case you don’t want to bring along the main brick. Here’s what we got in our tests on Performance mode, with a 100W ROG USB-C charger plugged in.
- 3DMark – Fire Strike: 15902 (Graphics – 18760, Physics – 19033, Combined – 6656);
- 3DMark – Time Spy: 7774 (Graphics – 7506, CPU – 9755);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4548;
- GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1539, Multi-core: 9929;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 4375 cb, CPU Single Core 575 cb.
Compared to the laptop running on Performance with the main 200W charger plugged-in, the CPU performance takes a noticeable hit on USB-C power, while the GPU performance remains competitive. The fans still spin up to 45 dBA on USB-C power.
Even if the drop in CPU performance is acceptable to you, it’s important to understand that just like other Asus laptops, this ZenBook is not meant for heavy use on USB-C power, but rather for quick high-load activities, because the battery discharges in a few hours of sustained demanding loads. It doesn’t discharge with daily multitasking, though.
This ZenBook is not primarily made for gaming and even runs on Studio Edition drivers, but considering the hardware and the fast OLED display, I’d still expect many of you to run games on it time and again.
Hence, we ran a couple of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles on the Performance and Standard profiles of this Core i9 + 3060 configuration, at FHD+ and QHD+ resolutions and Ultra graphics settings. Gaming at the native 4K+ screen resolution is a mostly no-go with this sort of hardware, so I didn’t even log it in our tests.
|Intel Core i9-12900H
+ RTX 3060 Laptop 80-95W
|QHD+ Performance||FHD+ Performance||FHD+ Standard|
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|87 fps (51 fps – 1% low)||116 fps (56 fps – 1% low)||92 fps (48 fps – 1% low)|
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|30 fps (21 fps – 1% low)||47 fps (38 fps – 1% low)||–|
(Vulkan, Ultra Preset)
|insufficient memory||139 fps (72 fps – 1% low)||167 fps (116 fps – 1% low)|
|Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAA)
|57 fps (32 fps – 1% low)||77 fps (40 fps – 1% low)||61 fps (38 fps – 1% low)|
|Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
|76 fps (62 fps – 1% low)||100 fps (74 fps – 1% low)||84 fps (66 fps – 1% low)|
|Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA)
|59 fps (42 fps – 1% low)||82 fps (56 fps – 1% low)||–|
|Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)
|63 fps (44 fps – 1% low)||93 fps (51 fps – 1% low)||79 fps (48 fps – 1% low)|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)
|74 fps (53 fps – 1% low)||103 fps (72 fps – 1% low)||89 fps (65 fps – 1% low)|
- Battlefield V, Cyberpunk, Doom, Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
- Far Cry 5, 6, Metro, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on these settings.
Those above are rasterization tests, and here are some results for RTX titles with and without DLSS.
|Intel Core i9-12900H
+ RTX 3060 Laptop 80-95W
|QHD+ Performance||FHD+ Performance|
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF)||50 fps (33 fps – 1% low)||73 fps (54 fps – 1% low)|
|Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS ON)||57 fps (45 fps – 1% low)||82 fps (60 fps – 1% low)|
|Cyberpunk 2077 (DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Balanced)||28 fps (17 fps – 1% low)||46 fps (28 fps – 1% low)|
|Doom Eternal (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS Quality)||-insufficient memory||-insufficient memory|
|Far Cry 6 (DX 12, Ultra Preset + DXR reflections / shadows)||44 fps (30 fps – 1% low)||54 fps (32 fps – 1% low)|
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra)||35 fps (27 fps – 1% low)||58 fps (29 fps – 1% low)|
Most games are running at 60+ fps even at QHD+ resolution and Ultra settings, but for some of the recent AAA titles you’ll have to trim the details or the resolution. Ray Tracing performance is also rather limited on this sort of lower-power 3060 implementation.
Let’s go over some performance and temperature logs, which are going to better explain some of our findings above.
On Performance, the design allows up to 140W of combined CPU+GPU crossload power in games and demanding loads. The CPU uses about 35-40W of those, and the rest goes to the GPU, up to 95W with Dynamic Boost. This is a bit unusual compared to let’s say a ROG design, which allocates less power to the CPU in games, and suggests that Asus could have implemented a higher-power GPU here if they would have wanted to.
That’s further supported by the excellent internal temperatures measured in games, in the 70-80 C on the CPU despite the high allocated wattage, and 70-72 C on the GPU at its maximum 95W of power with Dynamic Boost.
Bumping up the back of the laptop off the desk in order to improve airflow underneath the chassis makes a minimal impact here, as the cooling draw fresh air from the top, from under the keyboard tray, and thus the fans are not chocked out while the laptop sits on a desk, unlike most other designs.
Switching over to the Full Speed profile does lower the CPU/GPU temperatures by a few degrees, as a result of the fans spinning faster and louder, at up to 50 dBA, vs 45 dBA on Performance.
The Standard and Whisper modes are interesting on this ZenBook as well, as they allow for quieter gaming experiences. The GPU is also power limited on these modes, at up to 65 dBA, and as a result, the framerates drop by about 150-25% vs. the Performance mode.
Most games are still running well on Standard at FHD+ resolution, with internal temperatures in the 60s and fans under 40 dBA.
The Whisper mode returns almost similar framerates, but this time around with even quieter fans at sub-30 dBA and temperatures in the 70s, as a result of the slower spinning fans.
You might also be interested in the gaming performance on battery, but don’t expect much, as the CPU and the GPU are power capped aggressively in this case.
One final aspect to mention here is the performance on USB-C power, in case you don’t want to bring along the main brick. With a 100W USB-C charger, I’m looking at 115W crossload and 85W GPU power on Performance mode, and 100W crossload and 65W GPU power on Standard mode. However, as mentioned already, keep in mind that the battery discharges in a few hours when running games on USB-C power.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
Asus put a lot of effort into the cooling module implemented on this ZenBook Pro 16X series.
Internally, they implemented a 3D vapor chamber with two 12V high-capacity fans and two radiators, as well as an extra heatpipe over the MOSFET. What’s special about this so-called 3D Vapor chamber is the fact that it’s bent down over the components, for better contact and heat transfer.
Furthermore, on the outside, the AAS design draws fresh air from the top and bottom of the laptop, but especially from the top, from underneath the keyboard tray, and expells it to the back, out of the way. This way, the fans are never choked out in the same way as on most other laptops that primarily draw fresh air from the bottom.
However, this design means that you should not get this laptop if you plan to use it with the lid closed, either on the desk or placed in a vertical stand.
As shown in the previous section, the cooling module on this ZenBook Pro does an excellent job at keeping the internals in the 70s and 60s degrees Celsius between the various power profiles.
With sustained loads, the fans ramp up to 45 dBA on Performance, 40 dBA on Standard, and spin quietly at sub 30 dBA on Whisper mode. Furthermore, the external chassis keeps under 40 degrees Celsius on any of the areas that you’ll come in contact with, on the armrest, keyboard, or back panel, as the hotter part placed over the components is hidden underneath the keyboard tray.
*Gaming – Standard mode – playing Witcher for 30 minutes, fans at up to 40 dB
*Gaming – Performance mode – playing Witcher for 30 minutes, fans at up to 45 dB
With daily activities, the fans remain constantly active even on the Whisper profile with the current software, but they spin quietly at sub 30 dBA, so are only noticeable in a silent environment. Id’ still prefer if Asus implemented an idle ability with very basic activities, like on their ROG laptops.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Standard Mode, fans at sub-30 dB
For connectivity, there’s the latest-gen WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 through an Intel module on this laptop. It worked flawlessly during my time with it.
There’s a set of 6x speakers on this ZenBook Pro 16X, similar to what Asus offer on some of the ROG Zephyrus models, with dual-force speakers on the bottom and two tweeters firing through some small cuts in the grills at the left and right side of the keyboard.
They sure are loud, at 88+ dBA at head-level, but they distort above 80% volumes. At 50-70% levels, the sound quality is rich for laptop speakers, especially in the mids and highs, but even with some bass. I still opted for the Enhanced Audio setting ticked in Windows 11s.
Finally, our unit gets a FHD camera with IR Hello and AddaptiveLock support, plus an RGB sensor meant to adjust the brightness/gamut based on the light around. The camera’s image quality is alright, better than what the average laptop camera gets you today, but still nothing amazing. An array of microphones is also placed at the top of the screen, and do a fine job recording your voice in calls.
There’s a 96 Wh battery inside the ZenBook Pro 16X series, larger than the norm for this class. At the same time, this needs to power a hungry 4K display and Intel platform, so don’t expect long runtimes on battery use.
Here’s what we got in our battery life tests with the screen set at around 120 nits (~60% brightness).
- 20 W (~4-5 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Standard Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 19 W (~5-6 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Standard Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 17 W (~5-6 h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Standard Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 22 W (~4-5 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Standard Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 55 W (~2 h of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
Don’t forget this is an early unit here, so further software optimization could improve these runtimes, especially with light use and video streaming. We know based on our multiple Alder Lake reviews at this point that the Intel Core H hardware can run efficiently in some products such as the XPS 15 or the ROG Flow Z13, but it requires careful software tweaking that most implementations lack.
I’ll also add that this laptop ships with a 200W barrel-lug charger, mid-sized for what it is. USB-C charging is supported here as well, up to 100W.
Price and availability
The ZenBook Pro 16x is listed in most regions at the time of this article, but mostly in a single configuration, the one reviewed here.
Asus asks 2999 USD on the US market and between 2999 and 3299 EUR MSRP here in Europe for the i9-12900H configuration with 32 GB of RAM, RTX 3060 graphics, 2 TB of SSD storage, and the 4K touch OLED display – code name ZenBook Pro 16X UX7602ZM. That’s expensive!
I mean, it’s not necessarily that expensive for the kind of RAM, SSD, and overall specs that you’re getting here, but Asus should also offer some mid-tier configurations as well, with a more affordable price tag. At $3000, this will be hard to justify by most potential buyers, and we’ll discuss why in the next and last section of the article.
Update: A Core i7-12700H version with 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of SSD storage is also available in some EU countries, but that’s also listed at 2999 EUR, so not cheaper that the i9 model. Not sure what’s up with that.
Nonetheless, perhaps other variants will be available later on. Follow this link for updated prices and configurations in your region.
Final thoughts- 2022 Asus ZenBook Pro 16X OLED UX7602
Asus targets this laptop at content creators and professionals who value a premium design and mostly uncompromised ergonomics, in a bundle that offers an interesting mix of looks, good inputs and IO, a beautiful OLED display, a big battery, and fair performance with most applications.
Thing is, this ZenBook Pro 16X is expensive, as it is only available in a high-level configuration at 3000+ USD/EUR (at least for the time being), and that alone takes it off the list for many potential buyers.
But let’s assume paying that kind of money for a laptop is within your reach. Question is, are you OK paying that kind of money for only mid-tier GPU capabilities and a full-size 16-inch chassis weighing 2.4 kilos? Well, I guess that’s up to you, but I do want to point out two important aspects that you should consider in your decision, which are not that obvious about this ZenBook. First off, with the bulkier design, the ErgoSense keyboard deck, and only the mid-tier GPU implementation, this laptop runs cooler in demanding loads than any other similar device we’ve tested in recent months. And second of all, it also allows for a competitive mid-tier Standard profile, which keeps the fans quiet, temperatures at comfortable levels, and performs fine for everyday activities and creator/programming tasks.
However, on Standard mode, this ZenBook offers roughly similar capabilities to something like the 2022 Dell XPS 17 9720. This is in fact the closest rival of this ZenBook 16X, but only if you’re considering the i9 + 32 GB + 2 TB SSD + 4K display configuration. Otherwise, the XPS 17 is available in significantly more affordable variants as well, while the ZenBook is not.
Briefly, in comparison, with the ZenBook you’re getting an OLED panel, an uncompromised IO, an RGB keyboard, 10-20% higher performance in sustained loads, and superior cooling. The XPS feels more compact with daily use due to how it is designed, though, gives you a 17-inch screen with a brighter IPS panel, as well as upgradeable RAM/SSD slots. So all in all, this ZenBook Pro 16X is competitive against the XPS 17. However, the audience for this sort of laptop at the $3000 is tiny, and it’s difficult for me to understand why you’d create such a complex brand new series that only targets such a minuscule potential set of buyers.
As far as I’m concerned, I think this ZenBook Pro 16X should also be offered in an i7 configuration with 16/32 GB of RAM and perhaps 512/1 TB of storage somewhere closer to the 2K price point. It would be a lot more competitive at that level. That’s not an option at launch, but perhaps it will be later on.
I also think that Asus could have implemented a higher-tier GPU in this laptop, such as an RTX 3070Ti or even A-series professional GPUs, and they could even spec the GPU at higher power on the Performance mode, considering the thermal headroom shown in our tests with this 95W design. These options would make this more competitive as a creator-focused premium laptop for those that would require a better GPU for their activities.
As it is today, though, this ZenBook Pro 16X is a mixed bag, and only an option the few potential buyers will probably end up choosing over everything else out there.
This wraps up my review of the mid-2022 Asus ZenBook Pro 16X UX7602 series, and I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, and feedback down below, so get in touch.