ASUS Vivobook 16 (M1605Y) Review – Essentially Sensible
+ Decent CPU performance
+ 16GB of RAM fit for moderate use
+ Excellent fan acoustics & cooling performance
+ Increased touchpad size
+ Taller 16:10 display
+ USB-C PD charging support
+ Good value
- Weak onboard graphics performance
- Subpar display colors
- Speakers can't deliver bass
- Display hinge is too stiff
- 720p webcam is dated
The Vivobook we’re reviewing today is, specifically, the Vivobook 16 (M1605Y). As part of the more ‘pedestrian’ Vivobook lineup, the box packaging is your standard flip-open box that most ASUS laptops use these days (which I prefer over the traditional box designs, just makes unboxing much easier).
Here’s what you’ll get with this laptop:
- Power cable (UK, Type G)
- DC power supply (45W)
- MyASUS leaflet
- User guide
- Quick start guide
- ASUS Vivobook 16 (M1605Y) itself
Design-wise, the Vivobook 16 continues to feature the same look seen on contemporary releases in 2023, with the Vivobook Pro-inspired lid. It also shares virtually identical designs to the 15-inch variant we previously reviewed, albeit now with a taller 16:10 display (hence the 16-inch instead of 15). It’s also worth noting that ASUS opted for the AMD Ryzen chip to power the laptop, instead of the Intel chip seen in the 15-inch model.
Since the 16-inch provides extra vertical space for the chassis, this meant the touchpad area has grown significantly as well. No complaints on size here – and you get a fingerprint scanner on the top-right corner for quick logins. Under the laptop you can see plenty of open vents both on the exhaust fan, as well as a big chunk of the motherboard.
There’s a small lip at the front for opening the laptop – although the hinge itself is way too stiff for any single-handed opening of the display (it also doesn’t provide the lift-hinge function like Zenbook models usually do). Like the 15-inch counterpart, the rear side obscures one of the two exhaust ports of this laptop.
The I/O layout is identical to the previous Vivobooks before it – with a single USB 2.0 sitting on the left side accompanied by indicator lights and a secondary exhaust port. On the right side, you have the DC barrel jack, HDMI 1.4, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) ports, a single USB-C port (5Gbps) with Power Delivery support, and the 3.5mm combo jack.
ASUS Vivobook 16 (M1605Y-AMB423WS)
|AMD Ryzen 7 7730U (Zen 3, 8 cores / 16 threads)
|16GB DDR4-3200 (8GB soldered + 8GB SO-DIMM)
|Integrated: AMD Radeon Graphics (Vega 8)
|Samsung PM9B1 SSD 512GB (MZVL4512HBLU-00BTW – PCIe 4.0, M.2 2280)
|16″ FHD+ 16:10
300nits max brightness
Anti-glare non-touch panel
|Downward-firing stereo speakers
|720p, physical webcam shutter
1x USB 2.0 Type-A
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
|Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 (MediaTek MT7902)
|42Wh 3-cell Li-ion
|45W, DC barrel jack
|Windows 11 Home
|358.7 x 249.5 x 19.9 mm
*All benchmark runs performed on Standard power profile, unless otherwise stated.
The Vivobook 16 comes with a midrange Samsung PM9B1 PCIe 4.0 SSD which is advertised with 3,500MB/s read and 2,500MB/s write speeds. One small detail worth noting: the Ryzen 7 7730U, despite being powered by Zen 3 architecture, has been updated to use PCIe 4.0 signaling, unlike its original Ryzen 5000 series APU lineup. Random I/O figures isn’t spectacular, but it’s good enough.
Despite using older core architectures, the Ryzen 7 7730U is given enough grunt to power past the much recent Ryzen 7 7840U seen in the Acer Swift Edge 16. Of course, single-core falls behind, and is in fact the slowest of the bunch in this chart, as it is the oldest architecture in this list of laptops.
That being said, pushing this laptop to its limits won’t make the cooling fan scream in help – despite pushing 32W of sustained power (and far from thermal throttling with temps at mid-80s), the fans remain barely noticeable throughout our benchmark runs. Impressive! Note: Performance mode only squeezes two more watts of power into the CPU, so you won’t be getting much in return (and fan gets louder too). Just stick to Standard and you’re good to go.
All the Vivobooks we reviewed in recent times seemingly have an iGPU problem where the onboard Radeon Graphics can’t seem to properly stretch its legs. Same case here, hence the Vega 8 iGPU is significant behind other laptops in this chart (except the other Vivobook, that is).
The pattern continues, as the Vivobook 16’s Vega 8 Graphics ranked fifth in six laptops we tested. If you intend to game on this laptop, keep the graphics as low as possible to maintain playable framerates.
Of four lightweight laptops we have here, the Vivobook 16 did decently in the Novabench test, with its main advantage being the CPU performance. Outside of the CPU, the performance universally falls behind the Acer Swift Edge 16 – but in fairness to ASUS, the Acer laptop is about twice as expensive.
The Vivobook 16 did decently in the PCMark 10 benchmark, scoring second overall. It leads in the Essentials test, while Productivity is a close second behind the Acer laptop. Meanwhile, Digital Content Creation does fall quite a bit behind, as a result of weaker GPU performance as discussed earlier.
The 42Wh battery is on the small side as far as 15/16-inch class laptops go, so the battery endurance wasn’t going to be amazing by any means. However, for what its worth, a runtime of 7 hours is not too bad for the small battery it comes with. Since it supports USB-PD charging (45W), you can bring along a charger to get it topped up, especially on the chance that you already own a smartphone charger rated for this power.
The ASUS Vivobook 16 (M1605Y) does one thing and is very good at it: performance. That isn’t to say it’s going to blow your mind in terms of CPU speeds, but the specs it comes with – 8 Zen 3 cores, 16GB RAM (finally!) and a decent SSD should make multitasking a much better experience than the models that come before it. If you need even more than that, the second RAM slot can be swapped for bigger DDR4 modules.
On the cooling side of things, the laptop has done an excellent job. The single fan can comfortably cool the Ryzen chip even at full bore, and has very little noise doing so. Unless pushed hard, the fans won’t kick in either, making it a very silent laptop that won’t distract you at work.
Touchpad is now larger thanks to the taller screen (and chassis), so now you have way more room to swipe the pointer across the screen. The fingerprint scanner is a neat feature for a laptop of this price, and while some laptops has it integrated into the power button, it’s more common on premium laptops – for the price of this Vivobook 16, I’m still fine with this approach.
There’s also USB-PD charging support available, and given that this laptop only needs 45W to work, a charger of this power rating should be pretty common (and cheaper) to acquire. Most phones already support these charging speeds, so you’re likely to have one of these lying around on your desk.
For its price, you can expect some corners cut to keep the prices low. Display and speakers are the two most common parts that gets sacrificed in quality, and in the case of this Vivobook 16, the display simply isn’t capable of reproducing 100% sRGB color gamut, making colors washed out and inaccurate as a result. Avoid doing color-critical work on this laptop, end of story. As for speakers, while they’re loud, the bass is lacking; though some tuning on DTS app can help boost it to a limited extent.
The odd integrated GPU performance continues to exhibit itself on Vivobooks, and we aren’t sure why exactly. In any case, just keep your settings low when you game, and you should be fine FPS-wise. Just don’t try to run Starfield on this laptop – that’d be a terrible idea.
Another downside is the display hinge, and it’s not suitable for one-hand opening due to its stiffness – opening the lid at any angle is 100% a two-hand operation. Meanwhile, the webcam is still a 720p unit, which is arguably a bit dated at this point. A 1080p webcam would’ve gone a long way for people doing teleconferencing.
This particular configuration of the ASUS Vivobook 16 (M1605Y) is RM2,999, which sits on the cheaper side on the budget workhouse laptops spectrum. (There’s also the cheaper Ryzen 5 7530U version.) While you’re not getting a colorful display or boomy speakers to go with it, the laptop would be a very solid choice for those looking for something that can do work, and perhaps even heavier workloads, such as coding. For the price, you’ll be getting a lot of good ol’ performance and practicality out of it.
Special thanks to ASUS Malaysia for sending us the Vivobook 16 (M1605Y) laptop for the purpose of this review. You can also check out the laptop on ASUS eStore by clicking on this link.