Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED (H5600) Review

[ad_1]

The “Creator” laptop category emerged a few years ago when manufacturers realised that a large number of buyers need serious processing power for tasks such as photo and video editing, 3D modelling, and animation. Over the years, laptops have become slimmer and lighter but have also ditched a number of features and design elements that power users might want or need – with the exception of the gaming laptop segment. Unfortunately, gaming laptops also tend to be flashy and so they didn’t completely fit the bill. Hardware companies have now begun to cater specifically to pro users who need power as well as portability.

You might have seen Asus ProArt monitors before – calibrated, high-end models aimed specifically at colour-sensitive creative pros. The company has recently expanded this sub-brand to include laptops, PCs, and even peripherals, all with specific tweaks and optimisations for creative workflows. You won’t find flashy RGB accents or any emphasis on overclocking here. In fact, the ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED (H5600) has been designed specifically for power users, with features you won’t see on everyday laptops. Some of these might be unnecessary, but others could have wide appeal beyond the intended target audience. Here’s an in-depth review so you can decide whether it’s worth investing in such a specialised laptop.

The jog dial is one of the main features that sets the ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED apart from mainstream laptops

 

Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED (H5600) price in India

Internationally, Asus lists different versions of the ProArt 16 StudioBook OLED with processors from both Intel and AMD, and interestingly there’s even an Intel Xeon-powered option. GPU options also include mainstream as well as workstation-oriented parts from Nvidia. The company has so far announced only the H5600 model here, which comes in four variants, all with mainstream AMD CPUs and Nvidia GPUs.

The Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED (H5600) is priced starting at Rs. 1,69,990 with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD. The specific variant I’m testing is the top-end one, which features a Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD. This is priced at Rs. 2,19,990 in India. The two variants priced in between, at Rs. 1,79,990 and Rs. 1,99,990 offer different balances of CPU vs GPU power so you can choose the one that’s most appropriate to your workload and budget.

asus studiobook screenangle ndtv asus

The ProArt StudioBook 16 is relatively portable and battery life is surprisingly good

 

Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED (H5600) design and features

The ProArt StudioBook 16 arrives in an enormous box that also contains a backpack and a separate compartment for the chunky 240W charger. For a fully loaded 16-inch laptop, the ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED is still fairly portable. It’s up to 21.4mm thick which isn’t too much bulkier than today’s mainstream models, but it is quite deep at 264mm front to back. The weight of 2.4kg is reasonable but do remember that the charger is quite heavy too. The exterior is matte black with an anti-fingerprint coating. There are no flashy touches, but Asus is prioritising the ProArt sub-brand with a fairly large reflective logo in the centre of the lid. Overall, the look is utilitarian and sober.

The lid opens with one finger and the hinge feels solid. There’s only slight flex to the lid. A cutout at the base of the lid prevents air vents on the rear from getting blocked but can’t even be seen from the front with the laptop open. Asus hasn’t made the screen borders very thin, which is fine. There’s room on top for a webcam with a very tiny shutter. Asus has for some reason printed a bright red dot next to the camera so you know when the shutter is closed, but this is quite distracting. You’ll also have to leave the shutter open permanently if you want to use face recognition to sign in to Windows. There’s a thick chin below the screen, but that isn’t a bad thing since the top of the screen is at a comfortable height.

Of course one of the first things you’ll notice with the lid raised is the large circular jog dial right below the keyboard. This is unique to Asus’ ProArt laptops and it’s meant to function much like a dial on a standalone pen tablet, letting you rapidly change tools and parameters with your left hand while your right hand is busy drawing or manipulating objects on screen. The dial is gradated so you can make precise selections, and it’s clickable which means you can rotate it and press once to select a tool, then rotate it to make an adjustment, then press again to go back. As of now, only Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Premiere Pro, and AfterEffects are supported, and you can customise the layout and shortcuts as well as scroll speed through Asus’ ProArt Creator Hub app. Outside these programs you can use it to adjust brightness and volume in Windows, or even define additional functions such as switching between apps and virtual desktops. You can even define custom functions, with a turn to the right or left triggering a different shortcut or hotkey.

In use, the dial is conveniently located (if you’re right-handed) and doesn’t come in the way at all if you have a standard touch-typing posture. It’s easy to make selections but but the click action is spongy. You can drag the software overlay to a different spot on screen but you can’t dismiss it immediately when you’re done making a selection. Hopefully Asus will add profiles for more software over time, so users don’t have to create their own. I’m also slightly concerned about dust since this is a moving mechanical dial – we’ve all dealt with sticky mouse wheels before.

asus studiobook keylayout ndtv asus

The arrow keys have a distinct texture and the power button doubles as a fingerprint sensor

 

Coming to the keyboard, the layout is quite generous with a full-sized number pad (which doubles as a paging block), non-compressed arrow cluster, and even Fn row keys separated into groups of four. There’s a programmable shortcut key between the right Ctrl and Alt keys, and you can reassign the Windows key as well – both can even be assigned different functions in different programs.

The arrow keys have a ridged texture so they’re easy to distinguish, which is great. There are a few quirks though – there’s no Num Lock status LED, the huge right Ctrl key could easily have been split, and there’s no Wi-Fi disable shortcut. The biggest problem is that the trackpad is placed centred to the body and not to the keyboard, so your right hand will rest on it when typing.

Speaking of the trackpad, it’s quite large, but the fact that it does not have a physical click mechanism will be polarising for many users. There are three discrete buttons, which is great for control, but many people just expect to click a trackpad and not being able to do this will take a lot of getting used to. You can of course still tap, drag, and use multi-finger gestures. The middle button is a neat touch since a lot of creative software uses the middle-click on a mouse, for example to drag, zoom, orbit, or change your viewpoint.

The trackpad has another little trick – it’s sensitive to stylus input, with up to 1024 levels of pressure. This could be highly convenient for illustration, but for some reason Asus has decided not to include a stylus with such a premium laptop. You’ll have to buy your own, and make sure it’s compatible with Microsoft’s Pen Protocol (MPP) 1.51. The lack of an included stylus (and somewhere in the laptop’s body to stow it) is a missed opportunity for Asus.

Asus has placed three very bright status LEDs on the front lip of the ProArt StudioBook 16, but the labels aren’t easily visible. There’s an SSD activity LED which blinks all the time and is unnecessarily distracting. There are front-firing stereo speakers just below the lip, so sound will bounce off a table surface and towards you. Four far-field mics are embedded above the screen.

There are plenty of ports on both sides of the ProArt StudioBook 16, but another little design quirk is that there are thick air vents in the middle of each row so you always need to lean over to check that you’re not accidentally shoving a USB plug into one of these gaps rather than where it’s meant to go.

asus studiobook webcam ndtv asus

The webcam shutter is easy to miss, but the big red dot can be distracting

 

Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED (H5600) specifications and software

The specific unit I’m testing is the top-specced variant, priced at Rs. 2,19,990 in India. It has an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, which is an octa-core model based on the Zen 3 architecture. This CPU has a 3.3GHz base clock and 4.6GHz boost clock, and is rated to run at a 45W nominal TDP. It features a basic integrated Radeon GPU. For more demanding tasks, there’s a discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM.

Asus has outfitted this laptop with 32GB of DDR4 RAM. The RAM is thankfully not soldered; there are two SO-DIMM slots so you can upgrade to 64GB if you like. There’s a single 1TB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD, and a second free M.2 slots. Asus says you can put up to a 2TB module in each slot and even use them together in RAID.

The screen is a 16:10 16-inch 4K (3840×2400) 60Hz OLED panel. It is DisplayHDR 500 True Black certified which means it supports HDR with blacks that are barely even measurable in terms of light output. Asus claims to cover 100 percent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, and there are validations from Pantone and Calman for colour accuracy with a Delta E <2 which means colour deviations should only be perceivable with close observation. The ProArt Creator Hub lets you run a colour calibration routine, though without an external colorimeter actually measuring the screen’s output, it’s limited in scope.

On the left side, you’ll find a security lock slot, a USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A port, the DC charger inlet, an HDMI 2.1 video output, and two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C ports. There’s a Gigabit Ethernet jack, another USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A port, a 3.5mm combo audio socket, and an SD Express card slot on the right. The Type-C ports support DisplayPort video output and 100W power delivery for charging. One of them doubles as a Thunderbolt 4 port on the Intel-based models, but that’s sadly missing here. Overall, this is an enormous amount of connectivity and flexibility by today’s standards. You also get dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

asus studiobook ports ndtv asus

The ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED offers loads of connectivity options, which power users will appreciate

 

The power button has an integrated fingerprint sensor which is actually easy to miss because it looks like an ordinary button. The webcam has a 720p maximum resolution, and there’s an IR sensor for Windows Hello face recognition. Battery capacity is 90Wh and Asus claims 8.5 hours of battery life. You’ll need a 16A power socket to accommodate the charger that comes in the box.

The ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED (H5600) is listed as running Windows 10 Home, but my unit came with Windows 11 already installed and running. The Pro version of either would have been better for corporate environments. You get a full license for Microsoft Office Home & Student 2021, a three-month trial of Adobe Creative Cloud, and a 12-month McAfee LiveSafe subscription. Asus also includes its MyAsus device management app and the ProArt Creator Hub which has more device-specific settings. Ideally, these apps should have been combined into one – the OLED burn-in prevention tools and screen colour profile adjustment settings are in the former, while the colour calibration tool is in the latter.

If you download a companion app for Android or iOS, you’ll be able to transfer files, sync clipboards, mirror or extend screens, copy files, and even handle phone calls. Asus also says it has implemented AI-enhanced noise cancelation and IR-assisted webcam image enhancement.

asus studiobook oled ndtv asus

The 16-inch 16:10 4K OLED screen is great for getting work done on

 

Asus ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED (H5600) usage and performance

Setting up Windows 11 was easy, but you’re forced to sign in with a Microsoft account because there’s no hotkey to disable Wi-Fi. In my experience, this laptop’s keyboard layout and trackpad buttons took a bit of adjusting to, but typing was very comfortable. I found myself using the jog dial to adjust the volume and brightness in Windows, even though there are hotkeys, just because it was convenient.

Fingerprint and face recognition were not always easy to use, and I needed to reposition myself or fall back to a PIN sometimes. At one point, the trackpad mistook my finger for a stylus and the cursor would change shape and jump around the screen as I tried to move it – but this issue disappeared after a few minutes and did not reoccur.

Asus has tweaked the default Windows settings slightly to help prevent OLED burn in. There’s a vibrant screensaver (which can only be disabled through the MyAsus panel, not the standard Windows screensaver dialog) but you might actually never see because the display timeout has been set at an aggressive default. The dark theme is pre-selected, and you can even choose to auto-hide the Windows taskbar which is usually static on screen. Asus says it has implemented pixel shifting and current compensation to help overcome any potential burn-in but you still need to be aware of this cropping up after long-term use.

That aside, the display is excellent. Contrast is exceptional, and this is plainly evident when watching HDR video. Everything is crisp and clear, though you might want to dial back the default 250 percent screen scaling. The 16:10 aspect ratio is a welcome improvement over 16:9 for getting work done. The only real downside is that this screen is highly reflective. The 60Hz refresh rate confirms that this laptop isn’t aimed at gamers, and at this price at least 90Hz would have been nice.

The front-firing speakers are pretty loud. The bass is quite lacking and the treble can get shrill, but voices in music and videos come through very clearly.

In everyday use you’ll probably never hear the fans spin up, but there is a dull hum when this laptop is stressed. Unfortunately, some parts of the body do heat up quite a bit – I noticed that the upper right of the QWERTY block on the keyboard became borderline uncomfortable to type on, and the edges of the chassis near the exhaust vents were also quite toasty.

asus studiobook topdown ndtv asus

The ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED definitely isn’t your average everyday ultraportable laptop

 

In terms of benchmarks, the ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED put up a good show, scoring 6,460 and 8,231 in PCMark 10’s standard and Extended runs. Cinebench R20’s single- and multi-core render tests delivered scores of 575 and 4,879 respectively while POV-Ray’s ray tracing benchmark took only 58 seconds to complete. The Blender Benchmark reported render times of 3 minutes, 22 seconds for the BMW scene and 9 minutes, 1 second for the Classroom scene.

The new UL Procyon benchmark suite automates a sequence of real-world tasks in heavy apps. The Photo Editing benchmark, which uses Photoshop and Lightroom Classic, returned a score of 5,552. The Office Productivity test, based on Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, managed 6,222 points. The Video Editing benchmark was unable to run.

As for general performance, I measured 2,871.2MBps sequential reads and 3,091.6Mbps sequential writes for the SSD using CrystalDiskMark. Random reads and writes came in at 1792.9MBps and 1168.3MBps respectively, which are all good for a laptop. Compressing a 3.24GB folder of assorted files using 7Zip took 1 minute, 23 seconds, while transcoding a 1.3GB AVI file to H.265 in Handbrake took just 15 seconds thanks to the high CPU core count.

Although the GPU used here is a standard GeForce RTX 3070, Asus has chosen Nvidia’s Studio driver branch which is optimised for stability rather than squeezing out performance in games. The Unigine Superposition benchmark averaged 49.97fps at the 4K Optimised setting.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider managed to run at only 34fps on average, at the native 4K (3840×2400) resolution and using its Highest quality preset. With Nvidia’s RTX DLSS feature enabled and set to Balanced quality, the average went up to 47fps. Far Cry 5’s built-in benchmark averaged 38fps at 4K and 63fps at 1440p, using the Ultra preset. Middle Earth: Shadow of War managed 40fps at 4K using the Very High preset. These scores are lower than what I would have expected from a GeForce RTX 3070 GPU on a similarly equipped gaming laptop.

Asus claims 8.5 hours of battery life, and with average everyday use I was able to get a little under 8 hours which is still very good. The resource-intensive Battery Eater Pro benchmark ran for 3 hours, 53 minutes which is exceptionally good. Of course if you’re planning to do any heavy work, you’ll need to be plugged in to maximise performance, so battery life is only relevant when considering average day-to-day tasks. For example, CineBench R20’s single- and multi-core scores on battery power were 237 and 3,296 respectively, as opposed to the figures reported above. When powered down, the ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED charged to 55 percent in 30 minutes.

asus studiobook lid ndtv asus

The sober look of the ProArt StudioBook 16 OLED is suitable for corporate environments

 

Verdict

A lot of companies have jumped on board with the “creator” laptop idea, and it’s clear that there’s room for specialisation when it comes to hardware, drivers, and design. However, Asus stands out because it’s trying new ideas that you don’t see in other categories of laptops, most notably the jog dial. It really does seem as though a lot of focus groups have been held to identify little features and tweaks that creators might appreciate – the port selection, the keyboard layout, the trackpad buttons, etc. A lot of thought has also gone into the software side of things, for example the laundry list of measures to prevent or reduce the impact of OLED burn-in.

Of course there’s room for improvement – heat distribution being one downside, and a few very minor design issues that cropped up. Hopefully the company will also implement more application profiles for the dial with future software updates.

The hardware is top-notch and the display is, for the most part, a pleasure to work on. Performance is great, and even battery life is surprisingly competent. Asus is obviously gunning for the MacBook Pro, and its maximalist approach at reasonable prices might just convince some buyers to switch sides.

.

[ad_2]