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This laptop with a programmable touchbar is what the MacBook Pro should've been

The Corsair Voyager A1600 AMD Advantage Edition's integration with the Stream Deck means that office and creative professionals can get just as much use out of it as gamers.
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Kerry Wan
Close-up of the Stream Deck buttons and keyboard of the Corsair Voyager a1600
Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

Is Corsair's Voyager A1600 AMD Advantage Edition one of the most underrated laptops out right now? Possibly. This high-end gaming laptop features an AMD Ryzen 7 6800HS processor, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an AMD Radeon RX 6800M graphics card. And while this is a very respectable build for gamers and content creators, where the Voyager A1600 really shines is the integration with the Elgato Stream Deck, a feature that makes the device just as appealing to office and creative professionals.

Above the keyboard on the Voyager A1600 are 10 hotkeys that function as an integrated Stream Deck. (Think fully-programmable shortcuts at your fingertips.) With the Stream Deck app, you can set up almost infinite profiles for everything from streaming and video production to photo editing and even Zoom call controls. You can even bring up the Stream Deck overlay while you're in full-screen programs like games to launch apps or check hardware performance.

Also: 5 ways the Stream Deck can streamline your workflow

The Stream Deck buttons can perform simultaneous functions like unmuting your mic, turning on your camera, and sending a tweet as soon as you go live on Twitch for seamless intros and audience alerts. You can also use each button to nest folders within profiles, so you can set up soundboards, automate social media posts, or RGB ambient lighting that's ready to go when you are. 

Close-up of the Corsair Voyager a1600 display. It shows the Stream Deck overlay and iCUE desktop app.

Here's what the Stream Deck overlay looks like on the laptop.

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

The Stream Deck section of the laptop also has a tiny screen nestled between the buttons which lets you quickly see battery life, CPU and GPU performance, the current time, or custom GIFs and logos to show off branding or personal style. Having the GPU and CPU performance ready to view with the push of a button helps immensely with catching and resolving issues before they can cause major problems with work or gaming sessions.

A composite image of the Corsair Voyager a1600 HUD. It shows the CPU, GPU, time, and battery level

The LED screen can display your CPU/GPU load, battery level, and more.

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

The rest of the Voyager A1600 AMD Advantage Edition is built with comfort and ease of use in mind. It has a Corsair Slipstream chip built-in so you can use wireless mice and headsets without a USB dongle, which is perfect because the laptop only has one USB 3.0 port and three USB-C inputs. It's not a major complaint, especially if you're going to use the laptop for typical office work during the day. But when it comes time to play games, some users may need to invest in a USB hub to connect all of their wired peripherals or in wireless peripherals themselves to take advantage of the built-in Slipstream chip

Also: The MacBook Air alternative weighs less and does more

The keyboard and touchpad of the Voyager A1600 will take some getting used to, especially if you typically use smaller laptops. The touchpad measures a little over 7 inches diagonally, which is much bigger than what you'd see on a more casual or office-use laptop. However, double-tapping the upper-right corner switches off that half of the touchpad, and tapping the upper-left corner disables the entire touchpad. This gives you much more freedom over how you control your laptop while gaming or working. And the ability to disable the touchpad means you're less likely to accidentally delete your work or launch programs with your forearms while typing. 

Close-up of the touchpad and keyboard of the Corsair Voyager a1600

There are two indicators on each of the upper corners for when you'd like to disable the touchpad.

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

And speaking of which: the keyboard on this laptop is one of the most comfortable I've ever encountered. While it doesn't feature a 10-key section, it still feels like a full-sized desktop keyboard with plenty of room for comfortable, sustained typing as well as game controls. The keyboard also features mechanical switches for better reliability while still remaining quiet enough that you won't annoy anyone you share a work or gaming space with. And of course, with the iCUE app, you can customize RGB lighting for both the keyboard and Stream Deck buttons, as well as the HUD screen and Slipstream chip settings. 

Also: The 5 best ergonomic keyboards you can buy

And now we get to the part that everyone wants to know: does it game? And the answer is: it games beautifully. I'm still rocking a GTX 1060 in my custom-built tower, and while it can still handle most titles, the Radeon RX 6800M graphics card in the Voyager A1600 absolutely blows it out of the water. I picked up Sons of the Forest to play with friends, and the laptop handled the very early-access game with zero issues, which means I spent way more time hoarding rocks and sticks and less time rubber-banding into the water and getting eaten by sharks while running from the Four-Legged Woman and Her Very Hungry Friends. 

I also played my go-to hot mess express The Long Drive, which also handled smoothly, procedurally generating landscapes with minimal stuttering and frame rate drops. And to take advantage of the 16-inch, UHD display, I looked to games like Persona 4 Golden, Sayonara Wild Hearts, Katamari Damacy: Re-roll, and Neofeud to get the best visual performance out of each title's dynamic style. 

Close-up of the display of the Corsair Voyager a1600. It shows a scene from the game, Sayonara Wild Hearts

Game: Sayonara Wild Hearts

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET
Close-up of the display of the Corsair Voyager a1600. It shows a scene from the game Persona 4 Golden

Game: Persona 4 Golden

Taylor Clemons/ZDNET

Whether you're looking to invest in a high-end gaming laptop, or you want a machine that can handle transitioning between work and play, you should note that the Voyager A1600 is not cheap. The base configuration starts at around $1,600 through either Amazon Best Buy, or directly through Origin PC and it can cost as much as $4,500 with the more powerful builds. 

However, considering that the Voyager A1600 is a laptop that can serve as a dual work/gaming machine and features Stream Deck integration to give you total control over your workflow as well as your gaming experience, it is well worth its high asking price. Especially considering that the top-tier components and UHD display ensure that the laptop will give you at least five years, if not more, of solid use before you need to start thinking about upgrading.

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