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Asus VivoBook Pro 16 is undoubtedly a powerful laptop, but clings to the past


There has been a persistent conventionality about laptops, even though these had been the preferred computing devices for millions over the last handful of years. Nudged by the pandemic, without doubt. Yet, and I refer to the Intel Core chips here for better recollection, an unwritten demarcation remained, dictating which chip (and accompanying specs) you’d get for a certain price band. The same conventionality told us that for the top-of-the-line Intel Core i9 processors, you’d be spending well over ₹1,00,000 (though over time, many Core i7 options slid well beneath this).

That has changed, well and truly, with Asus’ new VivoBook Pro 16. It is a curious machine. In terms of its standing in time, it is a very recent addition to the company’s laptop line-up in India. Yet, the Core i9 processor that powers it is the Intel Core i9 – 11900H. It was announced in mid-2021. Then you’d probably glance at the price tag o ₹89,990. This is where you begin to wonder if the bragging rights of a laptop with a Core i9 chip is worth it, for a processor that is already a generation old – and the next gen chips are on their way this year.

Sticking to the performance theme, what you’ll essentially get is a machine that is significantly more powerful than what is otherwise the norm around this price point, albeit a different generation. The next generation, which would be the Core i9-12900H, bumped up the core speeds incrementally but the larger changes were with graphics and thermals. That said, what the Asus VivoBook Pro 16 runs with doesn’t come across as a disadvantage, all things considered.

Without getting into the complexity of synthetic benchmarks, which do not give a clear picture of typical real-world usage scenarios, it is safe to say you are trading off a few things for a faster, but older chip set. But raw multi-tasking performance isn’t one of them. The Asus VivoBook Pro 16 will hold ground even when you push it. There will be a point when the loads force the cooling system to speed up the fans, and that is noticeable. Yet, app loads times don’t suffer, and neither is there any slowdown if you open more.

Not limited to Intel’s integrated graphics, the Asus VivoBook Pro 16 gets the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 chip as well. This doesn’t at all make this a gaming laptop, but there is enough substance that you can do some Forza Horizon and F1 2022 sessions, at consistent framerates with moderately high visual quality. For the creatives, this is good news since there is very much the option of editing multiple 4K video streams or getting a 3D render going, without much trouble.

Also Read:Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 makes you wonder: Are two screens better than one?

Coming back to the choice of the chip for a moment, and the lack of optimisations in an older generation show up when it comes to battery frugality – this lasted us 5 hours on a single charge, if we were extremely careful with screen brightness and apps running simultaneously. For most use cases, we suspect this will last around 4 hours before you’ll have to plug in again. Strong battery life is genuinely rare for large screen Windows laptops, but in this case, it is also missing out on the Intel 12th generation chip improvements in that regard.

There is no doubt that the Asus VivoBook Pro 16 is built well. It has a heft to it, which is best betrayed by the almost 2-kg weight. This is going in a different direction, whereas logic dictates laptops to get slimmer and lighter every time. For a 16-inch screen size machine, portability was never likely completely achievable. Yet, the good build quality makes a difference. The lid is well made, for instance, and there is very little flex. The keyboard deck doesn’t betray dips when you press downwards on the middle of the keyboard.

Asus hasn’t tried anything out of the ordinary with the display. It is a 16-inch LED panel, with the 1920 x 1200 resolution and the more modern 16:10 aspect ratio. This is a bright screen, and not reflective enough to cause any eye strain in a generously lit room. The surprise here is the way colours pop out more than laptops usually manage. You’ll like watching video content on this screen.

There is a very simple pitch for the Asus VivoBook Pro 16. You buy this if you need a powerful laptop that doubles up as the workstation for the most part. Battery life not much of a concern, and a runtime of around 5 hours is manageable. It is built well, and the generational gap has allowed for an Intel Core i9 processor to be available at this price point. Yet, it can double up as an editing rig for creatives, and a part time gaming laptop, leaning more towards the casual use cases. That’s defining the compromises in play, led by the battery life which should make you think long and hard.


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