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Portable OLED display ASUS ZenScreen in review: Excellent picture quality and color space coverage

OLé OLED. The manufacturer advertises the feather-light (650 g) secondary display primarily with high color accuracy (100% DCI-P3), the high brightness (400 nits peak), fast response time (1 ms), HDR10, and so on. We test what the Asus OLED is suitable for and whether the rates really turn out that good.

Your laptop screen is mediocre at best, but you want to do image or video editing with high color fidelity? Or maybe you need a second display with high color fidelity for the workplace or living room? Raise the curtain on the ASUS ZenScreen OLED MQ16AH.

In September, we reviewed the IPS version of the Asus ZenScreen (MB16AC), and now the manufacturer follows up with a portable, external OLED monitor.

Asus ASUS ZenScreen MQ16AH
Display
15.00 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, glossy: yes
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, USB-C Power Delivery (PD), 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, Audio Connections: Headset, Sensors: proximity sensor
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.95 x 358.7 x 226.15 ( = 0.35 x 14.12 x 8.9 in)
Additional features
36 Months Warranty
Weight
650 g ( = 22.93 oz / 1.43 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
481 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Possible competitors in comparison

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
12/2022
Asus ASUS ZenScreen MQ16AH
,
650 g8.95 mm15.00"1920x1080
08/2019
Lepow Type-C Portable Monitor X0025I0D4P
,
770 g8.8 mm15.60"1920x1080
05/2020
MEMTEQ Type-C Portable Monitor Z1
,
770 g8.8 mm15.60"1920x1080
09/2019
MageDok Atlas Gaming Monitor
,
1 kg8.7 mm15.60"1920x1080
08/2019
C-Force CF015C
,
700 g6 mm15.60"3840x2160

Case & finish - Thin metal

Tripod connection
Tripod connection
Control buttons
Control buttons
The OSD menu
The OSD menu

The case of the 15.6-inch ZenScreen is mainly made of metal, and only the black display frame is made of plastic. Thus, the screen is quite stable. But it is still light - the manufacturer states only 650 g and that is also exactly the value that our own scales show. Thus, it is even lighter than the 780 g of the IPS version.

The display can hardly be twisted, but the plastic frame can crack sometimes. The maximum thickness is just under 9 mm, but that only applies to the lower third of the display. It is even thinner above, we measured about 5 mm.

A new tripod thread is found at the lower, thicker end - very practical! The central threaded connector protrudes a few millimeters from the casing again.

The color is silver-gray, the Asus logo is emblazoned in reflective letters on the back, and the manufacturer has also made a note below the display on the front.

There are now only tiny, narrow control buttons on the left edge. The "hole" for the stand has disappeared; the function is now taken over by an included magnetic case that can be folded into a stand.

Ports and features - 3x USB-C

Proximity Sensor
Proximity Sensor

The ZenScreen does not have its own speakers, nor is there a touch function. On the other hand, the equipment scores with a proximity sensor, for example. This allows the screen to save power by turning off the OLEDs when you move away. However, the sensor can also be deactivated.

The Asus ZenScreen OLED has exactly five ports. Four of them are USB-C ports with different functions. The port on the bottom left supports Power Delivery, but not DisplayPort, so the included USB-C power adapter is connected here (10-18 W).

The other two USB-C ports support DisplayPort, so additional players can be connected here. A mini-HDMI port and a headphone jack in mini-jack format are also found on the right side.

MiniHDMI, USB-C with DisplayPort, 3.5 mm headset jack
MiniHDMI, USB-C with DisplayPort, 3.5 mm headset jack
USB-C with DisplayPort, USB-C with PowerDelivery/Power connector
USB-C with DisplayPort, USB-C with PowerDelivery/Power connector

Accessories and warranty

The warranty period for the product in Germany is three years.

The packaging serves as a hood
The packaging serves as a hood
Does it worth using it like that?
Does it worth using it like that?

Accessories include a classy-looking brown/blue cover or "smart case" on the one hand, and surprisingly, the packaging itself. The latter should be kept because it can be converted into a monitor cover in a few steps. Reflections are then reduced in the dark, black box and the color intensity is strengthened by less incident light.

The brown Smart Case, on the other hand, not only protects the panel from scratches but can be folded and unfolded in various ways to create various stand systems for the monitor. It also adheres magnetically to the display casing and can thus also be removed easily.

However, we had the most problems with the cover. It can be bent in so many places that it is difficult to get the display into an upright position instead of a semi-recumbent one since the cover often bends very easily. It is not particularly stable as a stand.

There is no VESA mount, a tripod is recommended for intensive use.

One side blue
One side blue
The other is brown
The other is brown

Display - Great OLED ZenScreen

Clear OLED subpixels
Clear OLED subpixels

Asus uses a glossy OLED panel in a 15.6-inch format. The brightness of just over 400 nits is very good, and the black value of an OLED panel is beyond any doubt anyway. It is vastly superior to the portable IPS rivals tested in the past at almost all rates.

Backlight bleeding is also not an issue with OLEDs; the organic LEDs illuminate the display evenly. The response times are a fast 1 ms.

PWM (see below) is more of an issue, though. OLEDs typically flicker with 60 Hz anyway, but this model additionally uses PWM with a frequency of 475 Hz from a brightness of 21% and below. The frequency drops to about 120 Hz at even lower brightness values.

OLED frequency of 60 Hz
OLED frequency of 60 Hz
Starting from 21% and below the frequency is 475 Hz
Starting from 21% and below the frequency is 475 Hz
At about 5% we registered only 118 Hz
At about 5% we registered only 118 Hz
411
cd/m²
404
cd/m²
408
cd/m²
409
cd/m²
402
cd/m²
409
cd/m²
411
cd/m²
409
cd/m²
413
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
tested with X-Rite i1Pro 3
Maximum: 413 cd/m² (Nits) Average: 408.4 cd/m² Minimum: 3.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 97 %
Contrast: 13400:1 (Black: 0.03 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.34 | 0.5-29.43 Ø5, calibrated: 4.34
ΔE Greyscale 1.87 | 0.57-98 Ø5.3
95.6% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
99.8% sRGB (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
99.2% Display P3 (Argyll 2.2.0 3D)
Gamma: 2.46
Asus ASUS ZenScreen MQ16AH
1920x1080, 15.00
Lepow Type-C Portable Monitor X0025I0D4P
1920x1080, 15.60
MEMTEQ Type-C Portable Monitor Z1
1920x1080, 15.60
MageDok Atlas Gaming Monitor
1920x1080, 15.60
C-Force CF015C
3840x2160, 15.60
Display
-50%
-50%
-26%
-3%
Display P3 Coverage
99.2
41.31
-58%
42.03
-58%
62.1
-37%
86.1
-13%
sRGB Coverage
99.8
62.1
-38%
63.2
-37%
90.7
-9%
99.9
0%
AdobeRGB 1998 Coverage
95.6
42.71
-55%
43.44
-55%
64.1
-33%
99
4%
Response Times
-1673%
-2950%
-289%
-2775%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
0.8 ?(0.5, 0.3)
30.8 ?(16.8, 14)
-3750%
52 ?(26, 26)
-6400%
10.4 ?(6.4, 4)
-1200%
32.4 ?(19.2, 13.2)
-3950%
Response Time Black / White *
1.6 ?(0.8, 0.8)
23.6 ?(12.4, 11.2)
-1375%
42.5 ?(25.2, 17.3)
-2556%
11 ?(7.6, 3.4)
-588%
27.2 ?(17.2, 10)
-1600%
PWM Frequency
485
1000 ?(23)
106%
1000 ?(31)
106%
4950 ?(99)
921%
Screen
-342%
-123%
-330%
-148%
Brightness middle
402
193.9
-52%
198
-51%
144.9
-64%
205.7
-49%
Brightness
408
192
-53%
198
-51%
146
-64%
201
-51%
Brightness Distribution
97
88
-9%
85
-12%
91
-6%
81
-16%
Black Level *
0.03
0.75
-2400%
0.2
-567%
0.78
-2500%
0.27
-800%
Contrast
13400
259
-98%
990
-93%
186
-99%
762
-94%
Colorchecker dE 2000 *
4.34
6.66
-53%
6.9
-59%
5.79
-33%
5.61
-29%
Colorchecker dE 2000 max. *
8.64
18.75
-117%
15.9
-84%
8.43
2%
10.87
-26%
Colorchecker dE 2000 calibrated *
4.34
3.83
12%
4
8%
2.12
51%
Greyscale dE 2000 *
1.87
7.6
-306%
5.5
-194%
6.7
-258%
4.1
-119%
Gamma
2.46 89%
2.04 108%
1.59 138%
1.96 112%
2.22 99%
CCT
6365 102%
8567 76%
7310 89%
6295 103%
5904 110%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
39.3
40
58.2
88
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
61.8
62.9
90.7
100
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-688% / -550%
-1041% / -674%
-215% / -261%
-975% / -519%

* ... smaller is better

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
1.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 0.8 ms rise
↘ 0.8 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.1 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 5 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (21.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
0.8 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 0.5 ms rise
↘ 0.3 ms fall
The screen shows very fast response rates in our tests and should be very well suited for fast-paced gaming.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.2 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 1 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (33.8 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 485 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 485 Hz (worst case, e.g., utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 485 Hz is relatively high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering. However, there are reports that some users are still sensitive to PWM at 500 Hz and above, so be aware.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 17933 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 3846000) Hz was measured.

Asus primarily advertises the high color space coverage of allegedly 100% DCI-P3 and the Delta E of less than 2. The latter is not specified in more detail, but it is correct according to our measurements for the grayscale, where the deviation is actually below the value of 2.

However, the color deviation is higher and cannot be improved by a new calibration; the panel is almost perfectly adjusted ex-factory.

Grayscale
Grayscale
Saturation
Saturation
ColorChecker
ColorChecker

Allegedly, the ZenScreen achieves 100% DCI-P3 coverage, which we can also confirm. Even AdobeRGB is covered by about 96%, and sRGB with the DCI-P3 is covered almost completely. Thus, the OLED is also suitable for professional photo or video editing.

99.8 % sRGB
99.8 % sRGB
99.2 % Display P3
99.2 % Display P3
95.6% AdobeRGB
95.6% AdobeRGB

Of course, the glossy surface is annoying outdoors, but the good brightness and the strong black level make up for that a bit. However, you should find a shady spot and make sure that the viewing angle is direct.

Emissions & Energy - 11 W consumptiom and cool case

Temperature

The ZenScreen stays cool without a fan in all situations. Even the power supply barely heats up at around 30 °C.

Max. Load
 22 °C
72 F
22 °C
72 F
22 °C
72 F
 
 22 °C
72 F
23 °C
73 F
22 °C
72 F
 
 23 °C
73 F
26 °C
79 F
25 °C
77 F
 
Maximum: 26 °C = 79 F
Average: 23 °C = 73 F
23 °C
73 F
23 °C
73 F
22 °C
72 F
24 °C
75 F
24 °C
75 F
23 °C
73 F
25 °C
77 F
25 °C
77 F
22 °C
72 F
Maximum: 25 °C = 77 F
Average: 23.4 °C = 74 F
Power Supply (max.)  30 °C = 86 F | Room Temperature 18 °C = 64 F | Fluke 62 Mini
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 23 °C / 73 F, compared to the average of 31.2 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 26 °C / 79 F, compared to the average of 36.9 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 25 °C / 77 F, compared to the average of 39.1 °C / 102 F
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 26 °C / 78.8 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(+) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.8 °C / 83.8 F (+2.8 °C / 5 F).
Front panel
Front panel
Back panel
Back panel
The USB-C power supply
The USB-C power supply
Asus ASUS ZenScreen MQ16AH
 
Lepow Type-C Portable Monitor X0025I0D4P
 
MageDok Atlas Gaming Monitor
 
Heat
-54%
-52%
Maximum Upper Side *
26
39
-50%
39.6
-52%
Maximum Bottom *
25
39.4
-58%
38
-52%

* ... smaller is better

Power consumption

Only 1 USB-C for power and DisplayPort needed on the laptop
Only 1 USB-C for power and DisplayPort needed on the laptop
Display can also be operated with powerbank
Display can also be operated with powerbank

Besides its size, the power consumption of an OLED mainly depends on the displayed content. The LEDs virtually turn off in black, so unlike IPS panels, dark content consumes less than very bright content.

When browsing via script in the normal, white Windows theme, the screen consumes about 11 W at a brightness of 100 percent. Asus itself states that the consumption is below 15 W, which we can confirm.

Connected via USB-C to a DisplayPort-capable USB-C port of a notebook, the ZenScreen does not need an additional power supply and is powered by the notebook.

And those who need a truly mobile display can even power the ZenScreen with a sufficiently strong power bank. The display can handle 5 to 12 V at 2 A.

However, it might be tight at 5 V and 2 A in view of the consumption. It still works, but the brightness is reduced to 80 percent when connecting to another PC via USB-C.

Too little power: Connected to laptop via USB-C
Too little power: Connected to laptop via USB-C
Brightness cannot be set above 80
Brightness cannot be set above 80
Power Consumption
Idledarkmidlight 11 / 11 / 11 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Currently we use the Metrahit Energy, a professional single phase power quality and energy measurement digital multimeter, for our measurements. Find out more about it here. All of our test methods can be found here.

Pros

+ excellent picture quality
+ wide color space coverage
+ very short response times
+ light, thin metal housing
+ Tripod thread

Cons

- somewhat wobbly cover as stand
- no speakers

Verdict - Great picture quality

Asus ZenScreen MQ16AH, provided by Asus
Asus ZenScreen MQ16AH, provided by Asus

The Asus ZenScreen MQ16AH, not to be confused with the IPS variant Asus ZenScreen MB16AH, is beyond reproach in terms of display. Contrasts and colors are brilliant and blacks are really black instead of the pale gray of standard IPS displays - great! The color space coverage is also impressive, so the screen can also be interesting for professionals. It is also particularly light.

Criticism can hardly be found with the OLED ZenScreen. The casing is not overly stable as a stand and the UBS-C cable to the power supply could be longer. Otherwise, the only complaint is the high price compared to other devices in this class. However, you also get top picture quality in return.

The Asus ZenScreen primarily convinces with great picture quality and high color space coverage. It is also incredibly light and has a tripod connection.

Price and availability

Directly from Asus' webshop, the ZenScreen MQ16AH costs $399. It doesn't get any cheaper at the moment, Amazon carries it for the same price.

Pricecompare

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > Reviews > Portable OLED display ASUS ZenScreen in review: Excellent picture quality and color space coverage
Christian Hintze, 2022-12-10 (Update: 2022-12-14)