This has been a booming year for portable gaming as we got to see some really awesome gaming laptops that are just relentless. Take the Zephyrus Duo 15 SE and ROG Zephyrus G15, for example. These gaming laptops from Asus demonstrated how much power you can pack in a compact form factor. And now, with their Zephyrus M16, they have taken up the possibilities even further.
We got the chance to get our hands on The ROG Zephyrus M16, which is currently one of the best gaming laptops on the market. We will be reviewing, testing, and giving an honest opinion on whether it truly lives up to its potential.
Design-wise, the M16 has a close resemblance to the Zephyrus G15 gaming laptop. The chassis is made of sturdy plastic that appears quite premium, while the aluminum hood filled with microdots has a gamey vibe to it.
The M16 dimension is 14 x 9.6 x0.8 inches. And one of the crowning features of this laptop is its weight. Despite being a gaming laptop, it weighs just only 4.2 pounds, which is the lightest among all the other gaming laptops found in the market. And for this reason, you can easily carry it in your backpack without any strain.
The lid was quite easy to open with just one hand and could be pushed back as much as 180 degrees to lay it flat on the surface. The keyboard also had a fair share of capacity on the chassis, accompanied by two speaker grills on each side. We can see a total of 4 dedicated buttons. Three for audio control and 1 for Armoury Crate, a one-stop app control for seamless customizability.
We also want to mention the isolated power switch on the top right corner that doubles as a fingerprint scanner for seamless access. And not to mention but, you just need to tap it only once while turning on the laptop, and it will scan your fingerprint at that time. And lastly, on the bottom end, we get to see the ventilation grills along with four woofers for a good overall soundstage.
On the right-hand side of the laptop, we have the power port, 1 HDMI 2.0, an RJ45 ethernet port, a USB Type-A, 2 USB Type-C, 1 being Thunderbolt 4, and a headphone combo jack.
Moreover, there is an additional USB-A port along with a MicroSD slot and the Kensington Lock.
Taking a look at the display, it has a native resolution of 2560 by 1600p with a 100% DCI-P3, 100% RGB, and 86% Adobe RGB color coverage. Combined with Adaptive-Sync support and 444nits of brightness, the screen really makes those particles pop.
Furthermore, the 165Hz refresh rate and three milliseconds response time let you respond more quickly in competitive games such as Call of Duty Warzone and CSGO.
Under the hood, this beast is packing an 11th Gen Intel i9-11900H processor coupled with 16 Gigs of DDR4 3200MHz memory and 1 Terrabyte of PCIe Gen4 NVMe storage. We also have 6 Gigs of RTX 3060 graphics thrown in there, which already has made its reputation for performing brilliantly on most modern AAA titles. It has a default wattage of 85 that can be overclocked at up to 95watts for maximum utilization.
The 16GB memory on this laptop is 8+8 dual-channel, and one of them is baked inside of it. So if you decide to upgrade, you will only have one module to work with. This can be a little problem if you plan to install more than 8gigs on this slot. It will switch back to single-channel once the memory usage exceeds 16GB.
We have tested some recent games on this laptop, such as Forza Horizon 5, Call of Duty Warzone, Fifa 2021, and GTA V.
On Forza Horizon 5, with everything maxed out at 2560×1600 resolution, we were able to hit a constant 70 plus FPS. At 1080p, we got a decent FPS boost that helped us to achieve 90 plus while still in ultra graphical settings.
GTA V also showed remarkably high FPS counts on both QHD and FHD resolutions while cranking the in-game setting to their maximum.
Competitive games like CSGO and Warzone were responsive to play on the 165Hz screen, with the frames per second staying between 60 to 80 on Warzone and 200+ on CSGO in 2K resolution. In addition, the latency was really low, and the temperature stayed below 85 degrees celsius thanks to the Thermal Grizzy cooling solution on the CPU and beasty heat pipes on the inside.
We also did some 4k video editing on this thing, and the render time was relatively low compared to our existing rendering rig.
Keyboard & Trackpad
Although the keycaps appear smaller, they have 1.7mm key travel and satisfying tactile feedback for both typing and gaming. With that being said, the arrow keys are quite tiny, but it won’t matter much as you will be using the WASD keys anyways. Naturally, the keyboard is backlit and completely customizable to cycle through various color profiles. However, it should be mentioned that the laptop lacks per-key RGB illumination.
Although it’s a gaming laptop, its Glass trackpad is considerably large like MacBooks and feels super smooth while scrolling.
The level of the noise this laptop can produce completely depends on the system workload. In idle mode, you are less likely to hear a thing as the fans stay still. However, when under full workloads, such as gaming or a little bit of video editing, the noise level can reach up to 45 weighted decibels. The speakers also produced some admirable bass output, which is rare on so-called gaming laptops.
The 90 watt-hour battery on this machine delivers enough juice to make your way through 4 to 4.5 hours of daily usage. However, keep in mind that this is possible with the discrete graphics turned off.
The included 240-watt charging brick was quite reasonable while powering the laptop up and it also supports charging through USB-C at up to 100 watts. This charging brick will come in handy while you are on the go and don’t have access to a power plug.
We gotta say that the Zephyrus M16 is a thing of beauty with a stunning display, powerful spec integration, and a handsome amount of ports. For its price, these are far greater value compared to already existing gaming laptops on the market.
However, we were concerned about the screen getting heated up due to the exhaust air vent grills. We contacted Asus, and they assured us that it was no big deal.
The Laptop also lacked a Mux switch that lets you switch between integrated and discrete graphics. Although the performance drop is minimal at only 10%, that won’t be an issue while pairing it up with an external monitor as it can do just fine with the discrete graphics.
Still, at this price range, the Zephyrus M16 is quite an affordable RTX 30 series laptop that you can get. We also recommend the Predator Triton 300 SE that happens to have the same RTX 3060 while cutting the cost by almost 500 dollars.