The ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 is one of the most interesting so-called “NVIDIA Studio” laptops available on the market. This review shows another facet of the Creative Laptop market that we see skyrocketing in the past couple of years.
ASUS has been catering to creative pros for years and is an innovation leader in many ways for that market segment. If anything, most people don’t know enough about ASUS’ history of creative innovation. The NVIDIA Studio label will earn additional awareness for ASUS.
If you’re not familiar with NVIDIA Studio, follow the link and read our overview. In a nutshell, it is an NVIDIA platform and a set of requirements for laptops that ensures buyers can easily identify high-caliber creative laptops.
The NVIDIA Studio software also prioritizes DCC (Digital Content Creation) apps’ stability and optimizations over gaming, even though they remain very much gaming-capable with similar graphics performance.
Specs highlights and options
Our specific test unit is equipped as follows: Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU, 32GB of RAM, 2TB of storage (1 SSD), 4K OLED display, and the NVIDIA RTX 3070 GPU. You can configure it for about ~$2200 at publishing time.
Depending on your budget and needs, ASUS offers more configurations, with more affordable CPUs (Ryzen 7) or more expensive ones such as the Intel Xeon line. Up to 64GB of RAM is supported, making this a proper workstation.
Users can also select “up to” a GeForce RTX 3080 or the workstation equivalent called the NVIDIA A5000, which can run professional drivers tuned for DCC apps. If the budget is more limited, the GeForce RTX 3060 is available too.
The storage options are exciting. Going from 1TB to 8TB, you also have the option of using a RAID-0 configuration to substantially increase performance by aggregating bandwidth across multiple SSDs.
The ProArt Studiobook 16 uses an all-metal design that feels extremely rigid and sturdy. That’s why I’m not surprised that it passes the MIL-STD 810H military durability tests, something that not many OEMs do.
This laptop is a light workstation, and its 5.29 Lbs weight is well in-line with others in this category, including some we’ve reviewed recently: the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE and the Acer Concept D5.
You can find lighter office-productivity 16-inch laptops such as the Huawei MateBook 16, but you’ll see that the graphics performance differential is important. More on that later.
There’s a surface treatment to protect the metal and even keep fingerprints away. It’s far from being “smudge-free,” but it’s a nice try.
“APPRECIABLE COMFORT AND PRODUCTIVITY”
The most remarkable design feature of the laptop is the ASUS Dial placed at the upper-left of the trackpad. It is sunken into the chassis and does not protrude. You only feel it a little bit on the ball of the thumb, so it does not get in your way. If you press the dial, it triggers an action.
What the dial does depends on the context. For example, in Windows, the dial will generally control the brightness or volume. However, its real power is revealed when using it in Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps that offer ample support for these types of devices.
I’m no designer, but I do use Photoshop and Premiere. Users will quickly adjust to having this dial, and it will induce appreciable comfort and productivity, so it’s a perfect idea. When compared to an external Dial peripheral, the main difference is that your hand does not need to move nearly as much because it’s right there near the keyboard.
For a quick overview of the ASUS Dial, watch the official teaser:
For additional customization of the ASUS Dial, people can launch the ASUS ProArt Creator Hub and create new app profiles, in addition to switching between various performance modes or calibrating the display colors. The video below shows a good overview of the functionalities:
Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard is placed slightly higher to accommodate the dial, but overall it’s comfortable and doesn’t fundamentally change hand placement.
The keyboard keys are also slightly smaller than on some other 16-inch laptops, making room for the numeric pad to the right and the Dial.
DDC apps often require inputting numerical values in edit boxes, so having the numeric pad can make a big difference when working. On the other hand, one types slightly faster with larger keys.
ASUS also uses the keyboard as a fan intake, significantly increasing the chassis’s cool-air flow. Since heavy GPU usage is always limited by heat, I like this a lot. The overall cooling design seems very efficient.
The trackpad is large and comfortable, but the surface isn’t “clicky” and ASUS instead relies on three physical buttons. As a matter of personal preference, I’d rather have the two physical trackpad buttons placed at the top, like ThinkPad laptops do, instead of the bottom.
“THE TRACKPAD IS ALSO A DIGITIZER”
The ProArt Studio 16’s trackpad is also a digitizer that supports 1024 levels of pressure. I haven’t tried the stylus, but it seems like a great integration to this creative laptop.
The ProArt Studiobook 16 has a good assortment of ports, and the official illustration below shows that very well. Integrating an RJ45 port is excellent because many professionals need Gb Ethernet for network storage or file transfers. A wired connection is superior to the maximum WiFi throughput and latency.
I would have liked to see a second Thunderbolt 4 connector because one could go to a TB dock, while the other might connect directly with an external high-speed TB4 storage solution.
There’s a full-size SD card reader (SD Express 7.0, 985MB/s), which is great, especially if you’re dealing with lots of 4K video files where this kind of performance can be maximized. The HDMI port supports up to 8K/120Hz or 10K/60Hz.
The Harman Kardon speakers output good and powerful sound. ASUS has chosen an intelligent way to place the two primary speakers at the front edge of the computer.
It’s much better than having bottom-firing speakers, as some sound energy goes directly towards the user. However, it’s not as powerful as up-firing quad-speakers or soundbars, as seen on some Lenovo Yoga laptops.
The differences are most evident if pushing the sound to 100%, and that’s where you can spot a lack of bass and surround power on the ProArt Studiobook 16. Very good, but not the best.
Our 16-inch 4K OLED display has a 16:10 ratio, which generally improves productivity thanks to the extra vertical space compared to a 16:9 one.
This is a superb display with superior contrast (1,000,000:1), ultra-fast response time (2ms), and excellent brightness levels (550 NITs).
Professional users will appreciate the 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and the HDR True Black 500 certification that could be very valuable with the proliferation of 4K HDR recording.
Asus has included some software to tune and calibrate colors, but keep in mind that OLED displays should be color-calibrated for a specific brightness level if you want the best results.
While I’m okay with the 4K OLED 60Hz display refresh rate, it’s good to know that a 120 Hz IPS 2.5K display is available too. That panel should also be more power-efficient if you need extra battery life on the go.
The top bezel hosts a webcam with an infra-red sensor compatible with the Windows Hello face login system. There’s an array of microphones for better sound recording, which should make a big difference in video-conferencing audio quality.
As a light workstation, the ASUS ProArt StudioBook 16 shows great performance in its category. You can look at numbers from Geekbench 5 (synthetic CPU test) or Cinebench R23 (3D software rendering) to see processor performance that is within what we expect from this configuration.
Graphics performance is critical for Creative apps, and that’s where NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070 makes a big difference. I’m adding the Huawei MateBook 16 for reference as it has a great CPU, but no discrete graphics.
The more demanding 3DMark Port Royal test illustrates the potential difference between the RTX 3060, 3070, and RTX 3080/A5000 GPUs, since you have the choice between all of these.
Even if you look at “performance for the price,” (value-proposition) the ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 looks very good. You can see that you can get slightly more performance for your money.
However, remember that game-centric laptops like the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE don’t have creative-centric elements like the dial, trackpad digitizer, or 64GB of maximum RAM.
The Acer ConceptD5 would be a better DCC laptop comparison, and both are neck to neck when it comes to value-proposition, with a slight advantage for ASUS because of the better user experience (dial+digitizer).
Finally, the storage performance is outstanding, especially the write speed, one of the highest. If you opt for the optional RAID0 configuration, you should see numbers similar to our Predator Triton 500 SE that has such a setup.
The 90Wh battery capacity is large, and while it’s possible to find competitors with 99Wh capacities on the market, it won’t make that big of a difference in the real world.
In our office productivity tests, we got about four hours of continuous usage, and people can expect to be able to watch local videos for about 6 hours with moderate brightness.
It might not seem like a lot, but these very powerful computers have a base power consumption that’s much higher than your typical office productivity laptop.
You’ll need to plug 240W power supply to run at peak performance and keep in mind that it’s relatively bulky, which is entirely standard: that’s the case for all competitors too.
The ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 is an excellent NVIDIA Studio laptop. It combines the right design, user experience (display, dial, digitizer), performance, and pricing. It is the right choice for many users, and the integration of the dial and digitizer could save you money on two devices usually purchased as peripherals.
A discrete GPU is required to achieve maximum performance in many DCC apps, and the GeForce RTX 3070 with NVIDIA Studio drivers is a formidable choice. Alternatively, the GeForce RTX 3060 has an excellent price, performance, and thermals ratio.
“AN EXCELLENT NVIDIA STUDIO LAPTOP”
At the high-end, the RTX 3080 or A5000 are fantastic for quick bursts of work, but keep in mind that sustained performance might be limited by cooling.
The data shows this laptop has performance comparable to powerful gaming laptops or enterprise workstations. However, the ProArt Studiobook 16 is genuinely built for DCC applications.
It’s a reminder that performance is not the only productivity factor. The user experience might make someone work faster, more efficiently, and with higher focus.
The same is valid for having a more comfortable experience that makes you work longer, like the OLED display optimized to reduce eye strain.