Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review

The battle to win the hearts of the so-called “content creators” has intensified in recent years, with Apple and Dell taking the lead. But don’t count on Asus; the company has created a whole fleet of laptops under the ProArt brand to seduce photo and video editors. The Asus ProArt StudioBook Pro W700G3T, a 17-inch notebook we reviewed last year, was a great start. Now, with the latest ProArt StudioBook 15 (priced at $1,999), Asus gives customers a convincing 15-inch option. This is our Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review.

Last updated on July 10, 2020 2:08 am

The slim laptop delivers excellent performance thanks to the Core i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, and RTX 2060 GPU. It also has a stunning 4K panel that can compete with the best of them. However, there are a few frustrating omissions and disturbing drawbacks to consider before buying the ProArt StudioBook 15. Because of this, the ProArt StudioBook 15 barely misses its chance to be among the best 15-inch laptops.

Specifications

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15
Price:$1,999
CPU:Intel Core i7-9750H
RAM:32GB
Storage:1TB SSD
Display:15.6 inches, 4K resolution
GPU:NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
VRAM6GB
Battery life:3 hours and 20 minutes
Size: 14.2 x 9.9 x 0.8-inches
Weight: 4.4-pounds

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review: Design

I wish I could call Asus the next time my wardrobe needs a makeover. This company knows style. This can be seen in the sleek designs of the laptops and the unique colors that are not offered by competitors. The ProArt StudioBook 15 is a more compact example of what creative people at Asus can make, but it fits its purpose as a stylish workhorse for content creators. The StudioBook has some chic accents, starting with the distinctive brushed metal finish on the cover.

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review

It’s always worth praising the color of Asus’ laptops, in this case, gunmetal gray, with a hint of purple in certain lights. Also on the lid is a stylus reflecting the Asus logo. On the bottom of the lid is a trapezoidal cut-out with three LED indicators on the deck of the laptop. These indicate battery status, Wi-Fi connection, and power status. Just below are diagonal slots for better airflow and four keys (next, play, pause, power button) separated above the keyboard. Sharp lines and aggressive angles are found throughout the body, giving the Asus ProArt a sleek, modern look.

The display is bordered on three sides by minuscule brooms, and there is a lip on the front of the laptop for opening the lid (which can be done with one hand). I also like the subtle texture of the magnesium alloy deck and how it resists fingerprints (unlike the lid).

The lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port on the Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 is an inexplicable omission. I will humor Microsoft’s bizarre reason for avoiding the latest connectivity standard, but Asus has no excuse. As a consolation, the ProArt StudioBook 15 has one USB-C port on the right side that supports DisplayPort for 4K output. Besides, there are two USB 3.1 Type-A ports for connecting old peripherals (mice, keyboards, webcams, etc.) and a lock.

On the left side of the laptop, there is a DC-in power port, an RJ-45 Ethernet port, a third USB 3.1 Type-A port, an HDMI 2.0 input, and unique headphone and microphone jacks.

This is a thin and lightweight laptop for the amount of power it provides. At 14.2 x 9.9 x 0.8-inches and 4.4-pounds, the Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 is the almost same size as the Dell XPS 15 (0.7-inches, 4.5-pounds), lighter than the Razer Blade 15 (0.8-inches, 5-pounds) but heavier and thicker than the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (0.6 inches, 3.4 pounds).

Keyboard and TouchPad

I’ve mixed feelings while using this keyboard. On the one hand, I like the layout of the keys. The arrow keys are differentiated from the rest of the keyboard in an inverted T-shape, making them easy to find without looking. Four discrete keyboard shortcuts for play/pause, next/previous, and the power button are positioned above the standard keyboard row.

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review

That row is divided into three sections, each with four keys, one group for volume adjustment, another for display/keyboard control, and the last for utilities such as the fan output and microphone on/off. I am less enthusiastic about the keys themselves. They’re not awful, but there’s a fragile resilience in them that doesn’t jive with me; I prefer keys with a clicking, tactile feedback. The control force, or the amount of finger force required to initiate a keystroke, is also a bit demanding.

The 4.2 x 2.8-inch touchpad is a decent one. It has a smooth surface and had no problem following my movements when I was browsing the web and winked my fingers to activate Windows 10 gestures, such as scrolling with two fingers or pinching the zoom. It’s weird that the touch-pad is centered and not aligned with the space bar, but that didn’t cause too many problems, even if the fleshy part of my palm accidentally swept against it while my fingers were in the home row.

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review: Display

The 15.6-inch, 4K screen on the StudioBook 15 is fantastic. The detailed panel has vibrant, accurate colors, and the matte finish prevents reflections from getting in the way when editing photos or videos. I was watching a trailer for The King’s Man while sitting on my terrace on a clear day. I had no problem seeing the wires in Harris Dickenson’s knitted sweater or individual crystal balls hanging from a chandelier in the ballroom.

A car explosion at a parade scene sent fireballs of bright orange and yellow into the air, contrasting with the turquoise uniforms of the unfortunate officers who wore them. You get punchier colors from a quality glossy screen, but this is one of the most colorful matte displays I have tested. According to our colorimeter, the StudioBook 15’s screen covers an excellent 171% of the sRGB color gamut, making it much livelier than the screens on the XPS 15 (132%), Blade 15 (107%) and Surface Laptop 3 (101%). The category average for top laptops is only 121%.

As is typically the case with Asus laptops, I would like the display of the ProArt to be a bit brighter. The maximum brightness of 339 nits is quite decent, but the panels on the Dell XPS 15 (434 nits), the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (380 nits), and the average premium laptop (368 nits) surpassed the ProArt StudioBook 15. The Blade 15 has a disappointingly weak display (275 nits). Although it doesn’t get as bright as the competition, I had no problem viewing the screen outside on a sunny day thanks to its matte finish.

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review: Audio

The double speakers under the Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 have captured a surprising amount of depth in the song “Stakes” by ZES. The quiet vocals were relatively detailed, and the aggressive synthesizer tones and low bass never shrouded them. Fortunately, the sharp violin-like trebles didn’t pierce my sensitive ears, even at maximum volume. These are not the loudest loudspeakers, but they pump out enough sound to fill a small space. Phoebe Bridgers’ “Kyoto” also sounded quite balanced, with a warm low range, but the vocals were a bit hollow, and the drums were missing crunchy.

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review: Graphics

This is where it gets interesting. The Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 has an Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB of VRAM. Competitors like the XPS 15 (GTX 1650 Ti) and the Razer Blade 15 (GTX 1660 Ti) also use their discrete graphics, but none of them leap RTX. The difference is quite significant, as you can see in our reference scores.

The StudioBook 15 ran Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1080p, Max) at 46 fps (frames per second), crushing the Dell XPS 15 (29 fps, GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q), although the Razer Blade 15 (48 fps, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti) was ahead of the Asus ProArt StudioBook 15. We saw identical results on the GTA V (1080p, High) benchmark in which the ProArt StudioBook 15 played at a stable 63 fps. That almost corresponds with the Blade 15 (64 fps) and again shows the XPS 15 (42 fps).

The ProArt StudioBook 15 was consistently only a few frames shy of the Razer Blade 15. In our Far Cry New Dawn benchmark, the Asus ProArt hit 72 fps while the Blade 15 recorded 77 fps. The XPS 15 (48 fps) is not in the same class as these gaming compatible laptops.

You won’t have much luck playing games with a 4K resolution on the ProArt StudioBook 15. It has only 15 fps on the Shadow of the Tomb Raider test and a still unplayable 19 fps in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. That said, less demanding games like Hitman (40 fps) will run at 4K without much stutter.

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review: Performance

The ProArt StudioBook 15 is equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and 32GB RAM. I streamed a German soccer game live with about 20 Google Chrome tabs in the background. The pages loaded quickly and the graphics appeared right away, because the laptop never stuttered, no matter what I threw, with four 1080p YouTube videos in the background. I wasn’t doing any intensive editing, but editing some of the images for this review in Affinity Photo didn’t delay the laptop’s performance for a moment.

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review

The Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 did a great job keeping up with the leaders in its category. In the Geekbench 5 test, which measures overall performance, it scored a 5,963, crushing Surface Laptop 3 (2,856, with AMD Ryzen 5 3580U), Blade 15 (4,918, Intel’s Core i7-9750H) and the premium laptop category average (Intel Core i7-9750H, 4,249). Only the Dell XPS 15 (6,174) with a 10th Gen Intel’s Core i7-10750H, surpassed the Asus.

Asus also equipped the ProArt StudioBook 15 with some fast storage space. The dual 512 GB SSDs (an M.2 and a PCIe NVMe) converted 5 GB of multimedia files in 8.1 seconds for a transfer rate of 628.3 MBps (megabytes per second). Once again, the Dell XPS 15 (726 MBps) took the crown, but the Asus beat the Blade 15 (565.5 MBps), the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (282.7 MBps) and was close to the premium average (686.6 MBps).

These laptops held their position in our video transcoding test, where they had to convert a 4K video to a resolution of 1080p. The ProArt StudioBook 15 came second with a time of 10:25, just behind the XPS 15 (10:06) but in front of the Blade 15 (10:47), Surface Laptop 3 (20:33) and the category average (18:30).

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review: Battery Life

4K display, Core i7 H series CPU, portable chassis? It’s a recipe for the battery disaster. The ProArt StudioBook 15 fell victim to a battery test that lasted 3 hours and 39 minutes (continuous surfing the web over Wi-Fi with 150 nits). The Dell XPS 15 with a 4K screen (8:01) and the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (8:00) embarrassed the ProArt and lasted more than double its running time. The Razer Blade 15 didn’t excel in this test either, but at least got a few extra hours over the ProArt StudioBook 15. However, you must consider that none of these competitors has an RTX GPU.

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review: Heat

In all seriousness, the ProArt StudioBook 15 is quite toasty at a heavy workload. The bottom reaches a scum of 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and even the middle of the keyboard (101 degrees) is on top of our 95 degrees comfort threshold. This was after we shot a 15-minute full-HD video in full screen on YouTube, so consider buying a cooling pad if you wish to use the Asus ProArt for gaming.

Price and Availability

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review

The Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 is a pretty good value. The device we reviewed, and the only configuration now available, costs $1,999 and comes with a 15.6-inch, 4K (ultra-HD) display, an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 32GB of RAM, 1TB storage spread over two 512GB SSDs, and an Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 GPU with 6GB VRAM. Asus sells a related model, the StudioBook 15 Pro, for $3,999. This model comes with a 15.6-inch, 4K display but has an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 48GB RAM, two 2TB SSD storage, and an Nvidia’s Quadro RTX 5000 GPU.

Asus ProArt StudioBook 15 Review: Conclusion

I enjoyed using the ProArt StudioBook 15 to edit photos, watch videos, and browse the web. It has a great 4K display, blowpipe-like performance, and stylish design. I’m also impressed with the specifications you get for $1,999: an Intel’s Core i7-9750H CPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB of fast SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU.

But I can only recommend ProArt StudioBook 15 as an alternative to XPS 15 or MacBook Pro if you don’t care about battery life. Another disappointment is the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port, and the bottom of the laptop ran hot even when we weren’t gaming. That makes the XPS 15 a better all-around notebook.

Anyway, if you can look past some of its conspicuous errors, the ProArt StudioBook 15 has a lot to offer for a fairly reasonable price.

7.5 Total Score
Our Verdict

Asus' ProArt StudioBook 15 is an excellent value for content creators, but only if they don't need long battery life or a Thunderbolt 3 port.

PROS
  • Fantastic 4K matte display
  • Stylish, lightweight design
  • Fast overall performance
  • Competitively priced
CONS
  • Lacks a Thunderbolt 3 port
  • Below-average battery life
  • Runs warm
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