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ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) Review – Red Pill Or Blue Pill?
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ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) Review – Red Pill Or Blue Pill?

by April 8, 2024
Overview
Warranty

2 years

Price

RM 3,199

Positives

+ Excellent CPU single-core performance
+ 16GB of RAM fit for moderate multitasking
+ Excellent fan acoustics & cooling
+ Increased touchpad size
+ Taller 16:10 display
+ USB-C PD charging support

Negatives

- Weak multi-core performance
- Subpar display colors/brightness
- Speakers can't deliver bass
- Display hinge is too stiff
- 720p webcam is dated

Pokde Scoreboard
Pokde Rating
Appearance
8.2
Efficiency
8.3
Features
8.2
Materials
8.0
Performance
8.3
Portability
8.0
User Experience
8.2
Value
8.5
Bottom Line

The Intel-powered ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) is mostly identical to its AMD-powered sibling, though it gets the edge in battery life and CPU single-core performance.

8.2
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Unboxing

ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) Review - Red Pill Or Blue Pill? 27

Box packaging

A few months ago we reviewed the ASUS Vivobook 16 in AMD flavors – and now we have the Intel-flavored model with the new Core 5 processor that improves upon the Raptor Lake-based 13th Gen chips. Same brown box that everyone is familiar with, and inside you get these items:

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Box contents

  • Power cable (UK, Type G)
  • DC power supply (45W)
  • MyASUS leaflet
  • User guide
  • Quick start guide
  • ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) itself

Walkaround

As far as exterior designs go, ASUS has made no changes from the original AMD-powered model. That means you’re getting the same embossed design on the lid, the same 16:10 display on the inside, and the same 720p webcam (admittedly dated at this point) with the bright orange mechanical shutter.

No changes down the keyboard deck, nor the underside – although you can see the blue Intel Core and the Intel Graphics badge occupying the left side of the deck. The chassis is entirely constructed using plastic on the outside, same as the AMD variant.

The same design carried over from the AMD model means that the flaws are following along, too. We mentioned in that review that the hinge is too stiff to open using a single hand, and the same applies here. It also doesn’t provide the lift-hinge mechanism, but you can open the display all the way up to 180° flat. Hidden beneath the hinge that runs almost the entire width of the chassis is one of the two exhaust channels, with the other located on the left, as seen below.

While there are changes made on the inside, it only involves the CPU itself. Everything else is the same: one USB-A on the left, with the remainder of the I/O located on the right side. While Intel systems usually come with Thunderbolt support, this Vivobook 16 has to keep costs low – which means no Thunderbolt 4 support here, and it’s just a regular USB-C port, with power delivery support.

Specifications

ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V-APMB035WS)

Note: Full specifications are available on the manufacturer’s website.

CPU Intel Core 5 120H (2P+8E – 10 cores, 12 threads)
RAM 16GB DDR4-3200 (soldered + 1x SO-DIMM)
GPU Integrated: Intel Graphics (80 EUs)
NPU Not present
Storage Micron 2400 SSD 512GB (MTFDKBA512QFM-1BD1AABGB – PCIe 4.0, M.2 2280)
Display 16″ FHD+ 16:10 IPS
1920×1200@60Hz
45% NTSC, 8-bit (16.7M colors)
300nits max brightness
Anti-glare non-touch panel
TÜV Rheinland certified
Speakers Downward-firing stereo speakers
Webcam 720p, physical webcam shutter
I/O
Left:
1x USB 2.0 Type-A
Right:
1x DC barrel jack
1x HDMI 1.4
2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C (45W USB-C Power Delivery support)
1x 3.5mm combo jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 (Intel AX101)
Battery 42Wh 3-cell Li-ion
Power Supply 45W, DC barrel jack
Operating System Windows 11 Home
Dimensions 358.7 x 249.5 x 19.9 mm
Weight 1.88kg
Click here to purchase the ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) via Shopee

Performance

*All benchmark runs performed on Standard power profile unless otherwise stated.

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Starting with the CrystalDiskMark test: we found that this Intel Vivobook 16 uses the same SSD model found on the ASUS Zenbook 14 OLED we recently reviewed, which is the Micron 2400 SSD. Compared to the AMD Vivobook, the difference lies in the slower write and faster reads – and more importantly, the random I/O is better than the Samsung PM981 found on Team Red’s variant. That means, this Micron SSD should deal with daily tasks slightly better, but it’s unlikely to be noticeable for most.

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ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) Review - Red Pill Or Blue Pill? 31

Moving on to CPU performance – and here’s where we found a surprising result. The single-core performance of the Core 5 120U is amazing, and it even surpassed all of our results from the Raptor Lake-based chips (which is what the Core 5 120U is based on) short for the Core i9s found in gaming laptops we’ve tested so far. However, multi-core performance suffered from the lack of P-cores (2P+8E), which is simply no match for the good old 8 cores and 16 threads found on the Ryzen 7 7730U powering the AMD Vivobook 16.

ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) Review - Red Pill Or Blue Pill? 32

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Both the Core 5 120U and the Ryzen 7 7730U have something similar – they are all previous-gen CPU architectures accompanied by older onboard GPU architecture. The 80 EUs Intel Graphics (Intel no longer uses the Xe branding for its onboard GPUs from this generation onwards) is pretty much equal against the Vega 8 found in Vivobook 16 M1605V’s Ryzen 7 7730U, and in either case, it’s only going to be good enough for light gaming.

ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) Review - Red Pill Or Blue Pill? 34

Novabench puts all components into the mix and gives you a score to indicate a system’s general performance. In this case, while the Intel Vivobook gets a significant lead in the storage department, the advantage evaporates as soon as we add CPU scores into the mix.

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Moving on to the PCMark 10 Modern Office benchmark, here we see the Intel-powered Vivobook 16 is once again falling behind the AMD-powered counterpart. Its biggest deficit comes from its Productivity score – which is more than 1,600 points behind. We observed that this could be down to the lack of processing cores which are crucial for some parts of this test, including heavy data processing in spreadsheet software.

ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) Review - Red Pill Or Blue Pill? 36

However, the battery life is where Team Blue gains an advantage over Team Red. The much newer architecture found on the Intel model is able to carry the Vivobook’s relatively small 42Wh battery to over 8 hours of runtime, which is over one hour more than AMD’s 7 hours. Both are not exactly considered as long-lasting in the grand scheme of things, but the USB-PD support should make your life easier when the battery needs topping up.

Click here to purchase the ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) via Shopee

The Good

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For the most part, the Intel-powered Vivobook 16 has similar characteristics to its AMD-powered counterpart, and that means the good and bad usually carry over – with a few exceptions, of course. Let’s talk CPU first, because your choice may come down to usage types. The Intel model is the better option if you’re strictly about doing the basic work, given its vastly superior single-core performance.

The Intel Core 5 120U is paired with 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM (with one SO-DIMM slot), which is great for multitasking and some occasional light gaming, and it should have no issues with thermal throttling holding it back. The cooling system can comfortably handle the Core 5 processor with unobtrusive fan acoustics, and in the Standard power profile, it settles at a comfortable 75°C (at 25W MTP) over a full Cinebench 2024 run.

ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) Review - Red Pill Or Blue Pill? 38

The 16-inch panel naturally brings a larger touchpad, although it’s not quite edge-to-edge seen in higher-end laptops. Still, the fingerprint scanner located at the top-right corner of the touchpad can be convenient for those who prefer instant access. Having the sensor directly integrated into the power button would be nice, but given that this is a budget laptop after all, I’m not gonna get too picky about it.

Finally, the USB-PD charging support will be very useful for those who carry a decently-sized phone charger along – no need to carry the DC barrel jack when you’re out and about, and given the laptop’s relatively pedestrian battery life (despite being better than the AMD counterpart), this is going to be a lifesaver feature.

The Bad

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Now, back to the topic of CPUs – while the Intel chip is great at single-core workloads, its multi-core performance is not quite on the level of the 8 full-size cores a Ryzen processor can provide. If your reason for picking up a Vivobook is to do some moderate processing work (i.e. coding) then the Intel Vivobook might not be the best budget choice here.

Speaking of budget, some corners are cut to save on costs. The display is one, with the panel weak on brightness and color gamut simply not achieving full sRGB gamut; speakers lack bass, and the 720p webcam hasn’t aged well in 2024.

One more thing: since this Vivobook shares the same chassis as the AMD Vivobook, the same stiff display hinge issue also applies here – it’s too stiff to open using one hand and you’ll end up lifting the entire laptop doing so. Adjusting the hinge while the display is up also causes the same issue, so make sure to use both hands if you need to make small hinge adjustments during use.

Verdict

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The ASUS Vivobook 16 in Intel form will cost slightly more than its AMD counterpart at RM3,199, but just like the Team Red’s laptop, this is a budget workhorse for those who want to get things done without blowing a big hole into their wallets. However, I’d personally stick with the AMD version because there’s more multi-core performance on offer (which will be noticeable compared to single-core), even at a slight battery life deficit.

Essentially, it’s about your preference: slightly better multi-core performance or slightly better battery life?

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Click here to purchase the ASUS Vivobook 16 (A1605V) via Shopee

Many thanks to ASUS Malaysia for providing us the Vivobook 16 (A1605V) laptop for this review. 

About The Author
Low Boon Shen
Is technology powered by a series of tubes?