As technology gets better, modern gaming laptops have started offering exceptional performance with portability. With the ROG Zephyrus M16, Asus has managed to squeeze in an 11th gen Intel Core i9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU into a compact notebook that still offers a 16-inch screen with a refresh rate of 165Hz, terrific keyboard, and great speakers.
The question then is how much will you shell out for a gaming notebook that kills the need for a heavy-duty gaming desktop? I tried to find out the answer in my review of the ROG Zephyrus M16.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 price in India (as reviewed): Rs 2,29,990
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 review: Design and aesthetics
Lately, Asus is bringing subtlety to its Zephyrus lineup, and the M16 is the prime example of that. The Zephyrus M16 is clearly designed to woo both hardcore gamers and creative professionals, and it shows the way this notebook has been designed. This all-black polycarbonate notebook packs in top-of-the-line components into a slim design that’s easy to carry around while still feeling sturdy and premium at 1.9 kg. There are no aggressive edges or bold colour schemes you might find on gaming laptops — just a comfortable-looking notebook capable of running AAA games and “pro-level” applications.
The notebook looks absolutely stunning from the outside. It comes with 8,000 precision-milled holes that reflect light. Despite packing so much power into a surprisingly portable machine, the Zephyrus M16 still manages to include all the useful ports. You get a power port, full-size HDMI 2.0b, Ethernet, USB-A, two USB-C ports (one of those Type-C ports is USB 3.2, and the other is Thunderbolt 4), and a 3.5mm input/output for headphones and mics. On the right side of the notebook, you will find a microSD card slot and another USB-A. So basically, ROG Zephyrus M16 can be transformed into a full-fledged multi-monitor workstation.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 review: Display and speakers
Open the lid of the laptop, and you will notice a QHD 165Hz display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. Asus has expanded the display and shrunk all of its bezels to fit the new 16:10 panel, and it’s a welcome improvement. The 16-inch really stands out because of a refresh rate of 165 Hz, which makes scrolling through webpages and opening apps so much smoother. Games benefit from the high-refresh display.
Beyond silky smoothness, the Zephyrus M16’s display looks great with colours that pop up. Whether you are watching a movie, editing a photo, or playing a game like Forza Horizon 4, the Zephyrus M16 is perfect. The QHD panel covers 100 per cent of the sRGB gamut, 86 per cent of Adobe RGB, and 98 per cent of P3.
Audio quality on the M16 is exceptional. The audio coming from speakers (two tweeters and two force-canceling woofers) delivers an immersive experience, which can be felt while playing Dirt 5 and watching The Dark Knight. And these speakers are much more than being loud.
The top bezel is a webcam that complements the fingerprint reader embedded in the M16’s power button on the keyboard deck, giving users two methods of biometric authentication. The 720p webcam is suitable for video calls but the quality deteriorates in the dark. It’s high time companies like Asus should include a 1080p webcam on their high-end notebooks.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 review: Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard is a high point on the Zephyrus M16. The keys have plenty of travel, offering a superior feel and accuracy while typing. There’s also more space between keys. I would be more than happy to use the Zephyrus M16 as my work machine, and use this keyboard to type lengthy feature articles. The RGB lighting is limited to only one zone, but can be configured in the Lighting section of the Armory Crate app. The trackpad is excellent too. It’s spacious, has a glass cover, and offers excellent smoothness.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 review: Performance and battery
The ROG Zephyrus M16 features an Intel 11th gen Core i9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU with 32GB RAM and a fast 2TB NVMe SSD to speed up transfers and reduce load times — this was the model Asus loaned me for the review purpose. All this horsepower in a machine can run the latest AAA PC games and creative apps like Adobe Premiere Pro. The RTX 3070 option is quite expensive but is the graphics card that assures you are getting a notebook with a two-tier gaming performance. If you can stomach spending a lot of extra for this configuration, the Zephyrus M16 is the laptop to beat.
On paper, these specs look good but what really matters is how gaming laptops perform in gaming and running “pro” applications. Thermals and power delivery also make a profound difference. The Zephyrus M16 performed well across a number of tests. I had enjoyed my time playing Forza Horizon 4 and Dirt 5 running at high settings. What’s impressive is that this notebook remained relatively quiet during demanding gaming sessions. However, the laptop does get a bit hit while playing some games.
Beyond gaming, the Zephyrus M16 can be used as a regular laptop for work. The system never slows down under a heavy load of tasks, when jumping between a dozen apps and 25-30 Google Chrome tabs while Netflix running in the background. Connect an external monitor and you can do most of your multitasking that requires a secondary display.
Its battery life, unfortunately, is disappointing. When enabled in 165Hz mode, the Zephyrus M16’s battery lasted less than three hours, which consists of a mix of work and watching YouTube videos. When I lowered the refresh rate to 60 Hz, the battery improved by half an hour.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 review: Should you buy it?
If you have a lot of money to splurge on a gaming laptop, the Zephyrus M16 is one of the most powerful gaming laptops on the market right now. This notebook will let you play the latest PC blockbuster games, and its 165Hz screen and speakers make the experience a lot more joyful. The Zephyrus M16 battery is a letdown, so keep that thing in mind before you consider this notebook.