In recent years, PC manufacturers have been catering to creative professionals with an increasing variety of unique designs, and the Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 is a terrific new example. (It starts at $1,599.99; the OLED H5600 variant we tested costs $2,399.99.) This laptop's combination includes a stunning 16-inch OLED screen with 4K resolution, a powerful AMD Ryzen 9 processor with Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics, and a unique keyboard dial with contextual tool instructions for Adobe creative software. This high-configuration test model is costly, and it's intended for a relative niche customer that needs top hardware and a fantastic display, as well as the extra capabilities available.
The show stands out among similar systems, providing a solid (though pricey) total creative experience for pros.
From OLED to Ryzen, Everything Built for Creatives
The StudioBook isn't a little system, but it's more compact than you might think for a 16-inch laptop with considerable processing power. The laptop measures 0.77 by 14.3 by 10.4 inches and weighs 5.29 pounds, which isn't the lightest power-user laptop on the market, but it's a good size for its intended audience and usage.
In terms of quality, the construction is solid and well-made, which is suitable with the price tag. The keyboard provides a nice typing experience; the keys are fast and springy but lack any unique feel. The keys appear to be a little small for a laptop on this site, which may require some adjusting, but there's a good reason for it: Some of the vertical areas are taken up by the physical dial (which we'll go over in more depth below). The keyboard is also relocated slightly upward, so you may initially feel like you're reaching for the keys. It's not a deal-breaker, but on a 16-inch laptop, the keyboard feels a little tight.
The display is one of the most crucial components of a content-creator laptop, and this one is stunning. Our testing device has a stunning 4K OLED display, but the StudioBook is also available with IPS displays. The 16-inch panel has a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 3,840 by 2,400 pixels, resulting in a super-sharp and bright screen when combined with OLED technology's rich colours and deep blacks. Needless to say, the display's brilliant colors and vitality turn heads when seen in person.
Many of the laptop OLED panels we see are smaller than this one, but a bright display of this size—Asus calls it the first 16-inch OLED laptop screen—is a stunner. Color accuracy and inky blacks are a benefit for content production, color matching, and more for creative workers. A more extensive description of the various benefits of OLED technology can be found in our guide to the best OLED laptops.
Set Up Your Workflow
When you're simply browsing the web or on the Windows desktop, pulling down on the dial brings up a digital radial menu, where you can click to select screen brightness or audio volume, then change them by rotating the dial.
That's a great bonus, but Adobe Creative Suite is where the Asus Dial really shines. Pressing the dial when Photoshop is open brings up a unique menu that includes a brush settings group (which includes options for sizes, flow, hardness, opacity, and other things), layer zoom, and undo. Time axis adjustment, layer browsing, moving along the timeline, and other features are available in After Effects.
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Each application has its own set of choices that are specific to that product, making your process more efficient. It's possible that your muscle memory for keyboard shortcuts is faster (or will be at first), but keeping one hand on the touchpad and the other on the dial to swiftly switch tools becomes more comfortable. Although this concept is unique to laptops, it is reminiscent of Microsoft's Surface Dial, which was designed for the company's Surface Studio desktop and Surface Pro tablets.
I'm not a graphic designer or artist, so I can't say how beneficial the Asus Dial will be for creative professionals, but I found it to be both enjoyable and useful. I'm grateful for its addition even if I only use it as a volume scroller. I also experimented with other software and created a mimic workflow in order to make using the dial second nature, and I was soon flying through menus faster than when I first started. I can't speak for everyone's workflows (perhaps your own shortcuts are faster), but I can see how the gadget makes it easy to switch through tools without having to shift the cursor.
In addition, the ProArt's touchpad has three mouse buttons instead of two, including the centre button, which is popular with CAD software and other independent software vendor (ISV) applications. The left and right buttons are standard left- and right-click buttons, respectively, with the central button acting as a "hold" button.
The StudioBook 16 is particularly well-equipped with ports, albeit they aren't plentiful. Two USB Type-C ports, two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, an HDMI port, an SD card slot, and an Ethernet socket are all included. I hope no one gets left out, but this array covers more than the fundamentals. Creative professions frequently require a lot of connectivity, so I hope no one is left out.
Performance Testing and Components: A+ Grade Speed
Let's move on to the components now that we've gone through the display and build, which will be just as vital to creative professionals with heavy workloads. The H5600 comes with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB hard drive (which is made up of two 1TB SSDs in RAID). It costs $2,399.99, which is a bit steep, but not unreasonably so given the parts (including the display).
A similarly configured high-end gaming laptop would cost around the same, with some of the cost-increasing components coming from somewhat different sources. It's worth noting that the laptop we received has 32GB of RAM, however, the retail edition of the same configuration will have 64GB.
The cheapest StudioBook 16 costs $1,599.99 and comes with a 2,560-by-1,600-pixel display with a 120Hz refresh rate, an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, and a GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. For $1,999, you can get an OLED variant with an RTX 3060 GPU, 32GB of memory, and 1TB of storage.
It's important not to mix up the StudioBook 16 OLED with the StudioBook Pro 16 OLED, which is more expressly marketed as a workstation and uses Nvidia's ISV-certified RTX A2000 and A5000 professional GPUs rather than the GeForce RTX hardware aimed at creativity and gaming. The Pro is available in two varieties (W5600 and W7600) and has Intel Xeon processors. It starts at $2,499.99 and tackles the most demanding 3D design and rendering workloads.
UL's PCMark 10's core benchmark simulates a range of real-world productivity and content-creation processes to assess overall performance for office-centric operations like word processing, spreadsheeting, web browsing, and videoconferencing. The Full System Drive test in PCMark 10 is also used to evaluate the load time and throughput of a laptop's storage.
Three benchmarks evaluate a PC's suitability for processor-intensive applications by focusing on the CPU and employing all available cores and threads. Primate Labs' Geekbench 5.4 Pro mimics popular apps ranging from PDF rendering to speech recognition to machine learning, while Maxon's Cinebench R23 uses the company's Cinema 4D engine to produce a complicated scene. Finally, we convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p quality using the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4. (lower times are better).
Even among this high-end competition, the StudioBook 16 should be one of the fastest devices, and it is. The ProArt's main competitor is the ThinkPad P15 Gen 2 workstation, however, the ProArt's Ryzen CPU gave it a minor advantage over the Core i9-11950H. The media tests are particularly interesting for this type of laptop, and there's no doubt that the StudioBook 16 is up to the task of processing photographs and films.
Gaming and Graphics Tests
We put two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL's 3DMark to the test: Night Raid (which is more modest and suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).
We also conduct two tests from the GFXBench 5 cross-platform GPU benchmark, which puts a strain on low-level operations like texturing as well as high-level, game-like visual rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase experiments, which are rendered offscreen to suit multiple display resolutions, use the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation, respectively, to exercise graphics and compute shaders. The higher the frames per second (fps) on GFXBench, the better.
Battery and Display Tests
We tested laptop batteries to the test by playing a locally saved 720p video file (the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel) at 50% brightness and 100% loudness until the device shuts down. Before the test, we ensure sure the battery is fully charged and that Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting is turned off.
We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and software to measure a laptop screen's color saturation—how much of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes it can show—and brightness in nits (candelas per square meter) at Windows' 50% and peak screen settings.
The 16-inch OLED screen performs well in terms of brightness and color coverage in display testing. When it comes to photo editing and prepress color matching, OLED is the way to go.