ASUS A16 Advantage Edition Review – TUF Enough
My experience with gaming laptops has been fairly limited, the term always feeling like somewhat of an oxymoron – an object designed to demonstrate incredible graphical power whilst avoiding hammering a small battery to zero in the space of a few hours. Perhaps it’s my status as a Grade A console schmuck, but my expectations around visual fidelity have cooled in recent years, and a solid 1920 by 1080 picture at 60fps is all I really need to make me happy, especially when my eyes are maybe two feet away from a screen. Fortunately for me, such aesthetic delights are well withing the realms of possibility using the ASUS A16 Advantage Edition, a mid-range entry in their newest line which keeps the gimmicks to a minimum and instead delivers reliable performance and ‘off the (power) leash’ play for an impressive amount of time.
With nary a pulsating RGB LED in sight, the A16 feels sturdy right out of the box, hefty enough to suggest build quality but not so bulky as to be uncomfortable when carried around for the day. Many of the design choices; understated lighting, sleek angles, monochrome exterior – feel symbolic of the target market, those who don’t need to blast their ‘gamer cred’ from every corner of their device. Instead, the A16 can glide undetected through schools and workplaces, robust enough hardware under the hood to handle a plethora of games or video editing when needed, but won’t attract too much unwanted attention.
Sporting a crisp 16-inch HDR capable screen, the A16 doesn’t waste a whole lot of space on a bezel, resulting in a tiny, almost pinhole 720p webcam nestled in the top of it, fuzzy enough that anyone could mistake me for half decent looking. Across both gaming and video viewing, the display held up admirably, with its maximum resolution of 1920×1200 balancing performance with visual fidelity and battery life. The main body of the A16 holds a backlit full-size keyboard which offers a few pulsating ‘auras’, albeit only in white, a choice that once again favours the discrete aspects ASUS seem to be pushing here over rainbow light vomit. The keyboard itself is responsive with a good amount of pressure required – the keys aren’t particularly ‘clacky’ when typing forcefully unlike other laptop keyboards I’ve experienced. I often find jumping between laptop keyboards difficult due to the muscle memory one acquires using a single model for the bulk of their time, but the A16 seemed to make this a lesser issue than other brands I’ve struggled to type effectively on.
Not every area of design on the A16 is razor sharp however; placement of the numerous ports is somewhat awkward, most being geared towards front of device which could be a pain depending on setup. Personally, I tend to prefer ports towards the back of a laptop due to the placement of my wrists when typing as I tend to splay my elbows, so having the ports and objects plugged into them in these locations was a tad uncomfortable. The left side of the A16 houses HDMI output, Ethernet, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a pair of USB C ports and a single USB B port, with the right side solely hosting a USB B port, presumably as a nod to right-handed mouse users like myself. The built-in touchpad is both responsive and well sized but won’t hold a candle to a mouse in most use cases for this device, so the availability of USB ports on either side for a wired and/or wireless mouse is welcome.
The A16 doesn’t come with an obnoxious amount of bloatware, with Asus keeping things simple on that front. The bespoke Armory Crate software, the only element that really screams ‘gamer’ about the system, gives a nice visual rep of what is happening in regards to CPU and GPU, with a dedicated button alongside the volume and mute buttons above the standard keyboard layout to access it with a single press. Xbox/Windows integration makes it a breeze to get Game Pass up and running. I tried a handful of titles including Rise of the Tomb Raider, DJMax Respect and Return to Monkey Island, all of which the CPU/GPU combo handled admirably, again perhaps a result of the 1920×1200 resolution maximum. One thing to be aware of with the model I reviewed is that the 500gb of included storage will go quickly, especially with the ever-increasing size of AAA games which are now pushing well over 100GB in many cases. While more expensive versions of the A16 double the included SSD size, those with higher storage needs might opt for an external drive for media storage or make use of the free M.2 NVMe slot to expand it.
Across other activities like web browsing and video editing, one recurring issue was that of the default fan settings, meaning the fans can spin up rather loud, even at points where I would presume the workload on the device is rather low. In such situations, headphones might be required to aide focus. While the internal speakers included in the A16 are fine, they aren’t amazing when it comes to bass reproduction, not an uncommon issue in this type of hardware anyway, so anyone planning to listen to a lot of music or who likes accurate bass reproduction while using the A16 will especially benefit from a decent pair of headphones or gaming headset.
Overall, the A16 is an impressive piece of hardware that benefits from Asus’ intentional-or-not approach to design which neatly sidesteps this sleek bit of kit being labelled solely a ‘gaming laptop’. The truth of the matter is that the A16 is a solid mid-range entry in the space that also happens to do a great job of supporting gaming on top of everything else it’s capable of. It doesn’t fall down in any area that isn’t generally expected of the entire range of laptop hardware, most notably storage space and sound reproduction, while its overall aesthetic is one I find distinctly appealing. The Asus TUF Gaming A16 Advantage Edition is currently available for purchase for $1899AU.
The Asus TUF A16 Advantage Edition was reviewed on a loan unit kindly supplied by PR.
ASUS TUF A16 Advantage Edition Specs:
Processor – AMD Ryzen™ 7 7735HS Mobile Processor (8-core/16-thread, 16MB L3 cache, up to 4.7 GHz max boost)
GPU – AMD Radeon™ RX 7600S, up to 95W(SmartShift), 8GB GDDR6
Display – 16-inch, FHD+ 16:10 (1920 x 1200, WUXGA), IPS-level, Anti-glare display, sRGB:100%, Adobe:75.35%, Refresh Rate:165Hz, Response Time:7ms, FreeSync Premium, MUX Switch + AMD Smart Access Graphics
Memory – 16GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM, Max Capacity:32GB
Storage – 512GB PCIe® 4.0 NVMe™ M.2 SSD
I/O Ports – 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI 2.1 FRL, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C support DisplayPort™, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C support DisplayPort™ / power delivery, 1x RJ45 LAN port
Camera – 720P HD camera
Audio – Dolby Atmos, AI noise-cancelling technology, Hi-Res certification, Built-in array microphone, 2-speaker system
Battery – 90WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
Weight – 2.20 Kg