ASUS announced its refreshed lineup of gaming laptops, including the ROG Strix, ROG Zephyrus, and ROG Flow ranges, at CES 2023. In this in-depth review, we will focus on the ROG Zephyrus M16, a powerful gaming laptop that boasts the latest chipsets from Intel and Nvidia, an impressive mini-LED display, improved cooling, and ASUS’s flashy AniMe Matrix LED array. We will examine whether the new upgrades make it superior to its predecessor and determine if the price tag of Rs 2,99,990 is justified.
DISCLAIMER: ASUS HAS SENT US THE PRODUCT FOR REVIEW. HOWEVER, THE COMPANY DID NOT INFLUENCE OR TAMPER WITH THE REVIEW WHATSOEVER, IN ANY MANNER.
Design and Build
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 retains the understated matte black finish from its previous iteration, exuding a sleek and stealthy vibe. While it may not be the flashiest gaming laptop, its refined aesthetics make it suitable for professional environments. The laptop’s construction, featuring aluminum and magnesium materials, is solid and free from creaking or imperfections.
The lid boasts precision-machined holes that have been increased from 8,279 to 18,710, adding a subtle touch of style. ASUS offers the option of the AniMe Matrix LED array, which allows for customizable patterns and shapes on the lid.
However, it’s important to note that the AniMe Matrix version is slightly thicker and weighs 2.3kg, while the non-AniMe Matrix model weighs 2.1kg. The laptop’s lid can be opened up to 180 degrees and incorporates the ErgoLift hinge, raising the chassis for improved cooling. The ROG Zephyrus M16 features chunkier feet at the rear, enhancing grip, but disappointingly removing the RJ45 Ethernet port.
A customizable LED lighting array that adds a cool and unique aesthetic to the laptop.
The ROG Zephyrus M16 offers a range of I/O ports to cater to various connectivity needs. On the left side, you’ll find a barrel charging port, a Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, HDMI 2.1, and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port. The right side houses another Thunderbolt 4 USB-C port, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, and a microSD card reader (though an SD card reader would have been preferable for visual creators).
Notably, both Thunderbolt ports support DisplayPort 1.4, with the left port connected to the integrated GPU and the right port connected to the discrete GPU, providing advanced optimus support and 100W charging. Air vents are also present on both sides and underneath the display, ensuring efficient heat dissipation.
The ROG Zephyrus M16’s display is a major highlight, featuring the new ROG Nebula HDR mini LED technology. It replaces last year’s impressive 165Hz QHD panel and offers notable improvements. The matte-finished display boasts up to 1100 nits of peak brightness, 1024 dimming zones, a 240Hz refresh rate, and support for Display HDR 1000. With up to 100 percent DCI-P3 color gamut coverage, the display delivers vibrant and accurate colors. The inclusion of Nvidia G-Sync, with a response time of 3ms, ensures smooth and tear-free gameplay.
The Pantone validation guarantees color accuracy for visual creators. The visual experience is simply exceptional, with sharp imagery, rich colors, and impressive response times. The mini LED display’s multi-zone backlighting provides deep blacks and enhanced contrast, rivaling the visual quality of OLED displays. Whether for gaming, multimedia consumption, or content creation, the ROG Zephyrus M16’s display offers a visually captivating experience.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard on the ROG Zephyrus M16 features single-zone RGB backlighting, which may disappoint some users at this price point. The lighting itself can be inconsistent, with some key legends exhibiting variations in brightness. There is also noticeable light leakage beneath the keycaps. However, the keyboard offers a satisfying typing experience, with 1.7mm key travel and a clicky feel.
The layout remains similar to the previous model, with four dedicated media keys above the function key row. The large glass trackpad provides smooth and accurate tracking, ensuring precise cursor control. It offers fast and silent click operations, enhancing the overall input experience. ASUS’s efforts to improve the trackpad’s functionality across its ROG lineup are commendable, and users will appreciate its responsiveness.
The ROG Zephyrus M16 is solidly built, although slightly heavy, and features sturdy rubber pads to prevent displacement during intense gaming sessions.
The ROG Zephyrus M16 is equipped with a 1080p FHD IR camera that supports Windows Hello, providing secure and convenient login options. The camera captures clear and detailed video, making it suitable for video calls, streaming, and content creation.
The high resolution ensures that fine details are visible, resulting in an engaging visual experience. Whether engaging in online gaming sessions or attending virtual meetings, the camera quality of the ROG Zephyrus M16 delivers accurate representation and clarity.
The audio system of the ROG Zephyrus M16 impresses with its immersive sound quality. The laptop features six speakers, including dual-force woofers and tweeters, delivering a well-balanced and powerful audio experience. The speakers produce clear and dynamic sound, with impressive bass response and minimal distortion, even at high volumes.
The audio performance surpasses that of many other gaming laptops, making the ROG Zephyrus M16 a suitable alternative to external speakers. Whether gaming or enjoying multimedia content, the laptop’s sound quality adds depth and immersion to the overall experience.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 speakers deliver impressive sound quality, making them a viable alternative to external speakers for gaming and music.
Air Vents and Cooling
Efficient cooling is crucial for a gaming laptop, and the ROG Zephyrus M16 addresses this with its well-designed air vents. The laptop features strategically placed vents on both sides and underneath the display, allowing for proper airflow and effective heat dissipation. The thermal management system utilizes multiple heat pipes and fans to maintain optimal operating temperatures, even during intense gaming sessions.
The improved cooling design, including the addition of a third fan, ensures that the laptop performs at its best without thermal throttling. This not only enhances the laptop’s longevity but also provides a stable gaming experience, allowing users to push the hardware to its limits without sacrificing performance.
The ROG Zephyrus M16 is equipped with the latest 13th-gen Intel mobile processors, offering impressive performance for gaming and demanding tasks. The Core i9-13900H, coupled with Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 or 4090 mobile GPU, delivers outstanding gaming performance. The laptop features 16GB of 4800MHz DDR5 memory in a dual-channel configuration, with user accessibility for future upgrades.
The storage options include an M.2 NVMe Gen 4 SSD, offering fast read and write speeds, and there is an additional M.2 slot for storage expansion. The laptop’s performance is customizable through ASUS’s Armory Crate software, which allows users to fine-tune performance settings according to their preferences. The ROG Zephyrus M16 delivers excellent performance across a range of games, with the mini LED display enhancing the visual experience.
The ROG Zephyrus M16’s battery life may not be its strongest aspect, as is the case with many high-end gaming laptops. The laptop is equipped with a 90Whr battery, which provides decent capacity for its size. However, in practical
usage, the battery backup is limited, lasting around 3-4 hours for light tasks even with optimized performance settings and a reduced refresh rate of 60Hz. The PCMark 10 Modern Office battery benchmark confirmed this with a score of 2 hours and 26 minutes. It’s clear that the laptop is not designed for prolonged unplugged usage, and users should expect to keep it connected to a power source for optimal performance.
In conclusion, the 2023 ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 offers significant upgrades over its predecessor, making it a highly recommended gaming laptop. The standout features include the impressive mini-LED display, powerful performance with the latest Intel and Nvidia chips, solid construction, and improved cooling system. The laptop’s design, though not flashy, strikes a balance between professional aesthetics and gaming prowess.
However, it’s important to note that the price has seen a significant increase compared to the previous model, which may deter some potential buyers. Despite the higher cost, the ROG Zephyrus M16 delivers on its promises, providing an exceptional visual experience, comfortable input with the keyboard and trackpad, immersive sound quality, efficient cooling, and impressive gaming performance. Gamers and content creators who prioritize these aspects will find the ROG Zephyrus M16 to be a top-tier choice.