For years, ASUS has built a strong following among tech enthusiasts and fanatics due to their highly durable devices that really live up to their tech promises–something that carries on to their newest line of laptop offerings under the Vivobook series. Strong on both specs and aesthetic fronts, the series features laptops that fit the tech requirements of today’s multi-hyphenated, multitasking working professionals.
In this review, POP! takes a look at one of the units under the Vivobook series–a showcase on the Vivobook 16 (X1605), a feature-packed, stylish laptop priced at under Php50,000.00–and how it stacks up against usage requirements from the perspective of several working professionals (ergo, the POP! team):
A no-nonsense tech package for working professionals who are known to “hit the ground running”
The Vivobook 16 does wow you from the get-go as it opens to a no-nonsense reveal–you get the laptop, the charger, and a few leaflets of warranty and important notices. Beyond that, you’re basically good to go as everything you need is inside the laptop: initial setup, Microsoft registration, MyASUS, GlideX (we’ll talk about this nifty little feature in a bit), the works. You just need to be connected to a network to get started–a practical and convenient start for the practical professional, indeed.
Built to be rugged and aesthetically pleasing at the same time
The Vivobook 16 comes in two colors: Transparent Silver and Indie Black; the unit that was handed to POP! for review came in the latter color, but for people who tinker with plastic scale models, airbrush, and spray paints (basically the entire POP! team), it gives off an elegant shade of gun metal black, which is pure awesome and one that is duly appreciated.
The chassis is largely made of military-grade plastic, but the finishing does fool the eyes and the hands–the smooth, matte finish gives an aluminum feel to it, making it feel premium.
The bottom part of the chassis has been textured to withstand scratches from being placed on top of random, unsmooth areas (such as your jeans, bags with zippers, or that coffee table that still had hard crumbs on it).
Ergonomically designed with working professionals in mind
The Vivobook 16 comes with a full-size backlit keyboard (somewhat of a rarity these days in this price point) but one that is very much appreciated, especially for individuals who toil and burn through the midnight oil in dark spaces). The tactile keyboard with relaxed key spacing allows for comfortable typing (even at fast speeds) but remains relatively quiet throughout usage. The large trackpad gives users enough room for their fingers to move the cursor around.
The Vivobook 16 can also lay flat on its back. Like, really flat, with the hinges capable of doing a full open-lay. This feature is almost exclusively presented as a tool that can help you share your screen with others around you (presumably for a better collaboration mode), but for the POP! team, that’s not only what it’s good for. A 180-degree lay-flat hinge allows any working professional to momentarily work standing up in the absence of a standing desk, with an unobstructed view of the screen–an ergonomic win.
Vivid display that’s easy on the eyes
Let’s be honest–today’s work computers double as entertainment consoles for people, which makes the Vivobook 16 a good all-in-one computer for anyone. It has a 16-inch screen and slim bezels that give a wider display, whether for multiple opened windows for work, or for binge-watching, or for both (you know, multitasking).
It is also TÜV Rheinland-certified for low blue-light emissions and has a matte finish that prevents glare, making any screen time easier on the eyes. Its 16:10 aspect ratio also puts it in a league of its own, given the laptop’s price point. The screen quality is good for its price point, to say the least.
The laptop that’s built to work and perform together with the user
For the record, the POP! team is not a proponent of multitasking because being able to effectively multitask is predicated on the ability of your armory (meaning, your tools) to perform, among other things. But in test-running the Vivobook 16, we can say that it has the capability to really perform alongside its user. This laptop can power through multiple office or personal tasks, thanks to the Intel® Core™ i5 Processor that comes with it. Depending on the unit, it can have up to Intel® Core™ i7-1255U 12th Gen processor, up to 8 GB of fast memory (with an extra RAM slot, upgradable up to 16 GB for futureproofing), and 512 GB of speedy SSD storage, and WiFi 6E that can really power you through multiple windows and applications opened, even on a daily basis. The team tested this by opening Chrome with 20 active tabs, four productivity applications, and one streaming service on the side (because, right?), and it all operated without a glitch. To be fair, the laptop is new and will definitely perform great on an empty slate. But the specs prove promising for long-term daily office/academic use.
Worth noting as well that the laptop is built for mobility and convenience. You have a small charger that can be easily stowed away and multiple essential ports on the sides, thereby ridding you of bulky USB hubs. So it’s really just you and your laptop, charger, and possibly an auxiliary mouse against the world.
Most importantly, perhaps there is a 3.5mm audio jack for the audiophiles within the team! The removal of this jack is becoming prevalent in the laptop category, so this is kind of a testament to the oft-perceived notion about ASUS listening closely to user feedback because, honestly, not everyone digs wireless earphones or headphones.
A key feature that’s worth mentioning: The AI noise-canceling audio technology that is perfect for any remote work setup
ASUS has paid significant attention to every working professional’s bane–the ambient or background noise that unfortunately comes with remote or work-from-home setup. In the new normal, the last thing everyone wants to hear during your teleconference call is your pupper barking at you relentlessly, begging for your unbridled attention. The ASUS AI Noise-Canceling Technology employs machine learning to isolate unwanted noise from human speech, helping filter out ambient noise to achieve optimum call quality.
Other features worth highlighting
- The webcam comes with a physical privacy shield so you can block your camera when you need it to be covered.
- Battery life seems decent at 8-9 hours of chill usage or about 6-7 hours of full-on work mode. But realistically speaking, batteries will take a hit at some point in its usage–it’s really the way of life. Perhaps what’s more interesting is its fast-charging capability, something that is increasingly becoming needed, especially if there’s a need to send a very important file or email. Juice up quickly and get the work done! The laptop also protects from overcharging itself.
- The free GlideX subscription that comes with your unit. GlideX is a cross-device screen-sharing solution from ASUS that uses wired or wireless connections to create a bigger and better space for work or play. Users are given a single-device, standard access free of charge, but also the option to subscribe to enjoy ad-free, high-quality, uninterrupted screen-sharing to multiple devices.
- The ASUS Antibacterial Guard–a feature that may get lost on most Vivobook users, but has extremely piqued the interest of the POP! team as some of the members of the group have had too-close-for-comfort encounters with Gram Positive and Gram Negative bacterial infections. It’s true, our hands will always be vessels of some of the worst pathogens available to mankind, so it does make sense to have a hygienic laptop that will self-clean itself for three years or so. The Vivobook 16 comes with an ASUS Antibacterial Guard, a silver-ion surface treatment that’s applied on the most frequently touched laptop areas, including the keyboard and touchpad, making sure that bacterial growth is restricted. Really, this should set a standard in the industry! Also, let’s all continue to hate bad bacteria.
The honest cons
While the Vivobook 16 can be considered a good tech workhorse for any working professional, it does come with some downsides, such as:
- The unit is prone to smudges. The smooth finish of the laptop will attract all kinds of smudges from your hands, so expect to be always wiping and cleaning everything up.
- The unit is prone to scratches. It will be inevitable, so a laptop case is your best bet.
- The weight is touch and go. To be fair, this is a 16-inch laptop, so the weight seems just about right. But it seems like it will weigh down on the user over time, but such is the result of having a big laptop.
- The durability of the hinges is also touch and go. Hinges that disintegrate over a year or two are becoming a regular occurrence in laptops with plastic chassis, so the durability with the ones built on the Vivobook body remains to be seen, though ASUS assures its customers that all of their laptop models (including X1605) go through a 20,000 open-and-close cycle hinge test as part of the standard ASUS Laptop Durability Test.
For its size, specs, price point, and brand, the ASUS Vivobook 16 is a good choice for an all-around laptop, especially for users who really value the screen size. This unit brings about the durability and user-friendliness that ASUS is known for, along with other features that have been thought of with A+ user experience in mind. Is it worth its price? Yes. Is it a fun device? Heck, yeah. It’s definitely one for the upwardly mobile, creative, goal-oriented, multi-hyphenated, multitasking working professional.
Price starts at Php32,995. To learn more about the ASUS Vivobook 16, click here to visit the official ASUS Philippines stores.
This review, while paid, has been objectively done by members of INQUIRER.net BrandRoom, the same people behind POP!.