Asus ROG Flow X16 Review: Hulk without the bulk

    The Asus ROG Flow X16 is an incredible achievement for the future of beastly gaming laptops. Should you buy it now?
    By: AMRITANSHU MUKHERJEE
    | Updated on: Oct 05 2022, 17:23 IST
    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 offers an option to equip a Mini LED display.  (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 offers an option to equip a Mini LED display.  (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    The greatest thing about innovation is that it pushes people to perfect silly ideas and achieve what has been previously assumed to be unachievable. In the world of PC gaming, this pertains to gaming laptops increasingly wanting to lose all that fat, all while managing sufficient cooling. Sadly, that is a brittle balance to achieve since the laws of physics are hard to defy. Asus, however, isn't giving up. After showing us the ROG Flow Z13 gaming tablet, it now lets us try the ROG Flow X16.

    The Asus ROG Flow X16 is simply a slim gaming laptop what allows its display to swivel in a range of 180 degrees. Sounds simple, right? Wait until you see what's inside – a Ryzen 9 CPU, an NVIDIA RTX 3070Ti GPU, a Mini LED display, and some smart cooling arrangement. Starting at Rs. 1,71,900, that is no bad deal and for those wanting a slim-n-trim powerhouse, this ROG laptop makes a lot of sense. But should you buy it?

    Asus ROG Flow X16 Design

    The Asus ROG Flow X16 is one of the most beautifully designed convertible laptops I have seen in a while. Sleek lid, slim profile, and a carbon fiber like texture spread all across makes the Asus ROG Flow X16 a stunning laptop to behold. Since the focus is on slimming down, you don't see any RGB lighting carnival on the lid or around the laptop's body. This is a handsome looking laptop but I wish it brought in some razzmatazz from its fatty siblings. The inside has a typical ROG keyboard layout with dedicated keys and stylised letter face. It is built extremely well too.

    Not sure which
    laptop to buy?
    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    The slim design translates to lesser port variety, which means you have to contend with an HDMI 2.0b port, two USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-A ports, two USB Type-C ports (with the ROG XG Mobile Interface), and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Weirdly, no SD card slot for creators but you have a micro SD card slot at disposal.

    Asus ROG Flow X16 Display

    A great laptop has to have a great display and this Asus ROG Flow X16 proves the point. No, no OLED panel yet but Asus packs in the next best thing – a Mini LED display. Essentially the best form of IPS LCD tech, this is a gorgeous display to look at. It measures 16-inches, has an aspect ratio of 16:10, QHD+ resolution, 165Hz refresh rate, and 100000:1 contrast. With all the creator wooing certifications, this is one of the nicest displays I have seen on a gaming laptop. It is vivid, has an excellent dynamic range to show, offers great contrasts, and superb brightness. Moreover, it has touchscreen input and the touch is responsive as well. At its price, this is one of the best, if not the best display you will see on a creator/gaming laptop.

    Asus ROG Flow X16 Performance

    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Performance is never an issue on ROG machines, especially if you go for the top-end variant like I have. A combination of the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HZ processor, 32GB DDR4 memory, 2TB PCIe SSD storage, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070Ti is a tempting one in any machine. All of these combine together to give the best performance you can expect from a slim laptop.

    Okay, let's get something cleared right from the beginning – the ROG Flow X16 heats up fast and by a lot. The laws of physics come into play within 10 minutes and if you have it set up in the tent mode, boy you will face a lot of the heat this machine endures. Asus' cooling solution does its best to blow out all the hot air as fast and as quietly as possible. However, some of that heat eventually starts throttling the performance a bit, especially if you are gaming like a maniac for 3 hours at a stretch (sorry Mom).

    For the most part though, the ROG Flow X16 is a fantastic gaming laptop to enjoy. I threw some of my favourite titles at it, such as Forza Horizon 5, F1 22, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Mafia The Definitive Edition, and it handled it all beautifully. Forza Horizon 5 was able to run in full resolution in a combo of high- very high settings while maintaining 50-60 fps; impressive by all means. F1 22 was initially struggling at QHD+ resolution with High graphics but with NVIDIA DLSS enabled, it all became a creamy smooth 60 fps affair. Similar case was applicable on the Microsoft Flight Simulator as well as Mafia. Simply put, the ROG Flow X16 can manage AAA games in High graphics with ease at “higher than 1080p” resolution but watch for the laptop heating up.

    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    Other than gaming, you are likely to use the ROG Flow X16 for editing purposes and that's where the nicely spaced out keyboard comes into play. It has substantial key travel and even if you need to type, the experience is good. The trackpad is fairly responsive too.

    I was also impressed with the audio performance on the ROG Flow X16. You have a quad speaker setup here, the two extras as the subwoofer. As a result, the audio quality covers a lot of frequencies, and feels open along with being loud. There's a good amount of low end grunt as well, however the speakers are not as nice as the ones on the Apple MacBook Air M2. Nonetheless, for casual gaming and movie sessions, these are good enough speakers.

    As for the software, the ROG Flow X16 comes with Windows 11 pre-loaded, and you get all of Asus' apps to monitor the system, and even tweak system settings. I never found the use for any of this, and I guess most users would leave it unattended. McAfee antivirus suite is also present as an irritating piece of bloatware, constantly ruining the mood with its notifications.

    Asus ROG Flow X16 Battery

    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    All that firepower and a Quad HD+ Mini LED display is expected to gulp battery stamina, and the ROG Flow X16 doesn't surprise. The 90Whr battery can only manage at most 5 hours of use under light workloads, and the figure goes down to 1 hour if you are gaming. You get a 240W adapter to fill up the battery quickly, and extract the best performance as well. That said, such sockets are hard to find outdoors and the USB-PD charging at 100W works as long as your workload is restrained to simple office stuff (writing, browsing).

    Verdict

    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)
    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Asus ROG Flow X16 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

    I am usually not a fan of slim and lightweight gaming laptops for the sole reason – they compromise on performance a lot. The Asus ROG Flow X16 changes that conception – it is brilliantly fast and capable, all while flaunting that lean chassis. Yes, it runs hot all the time but the gains are massive in areas that matter. In fact, I doubt if most creators and gamers will ever need to invest in the ROG XG Mobile unit, if you pick up the top-end variant with RTX 3070Ti and Ryzen 9 processor.

    At Rs. 2.8 lakhs, the Asus ROG Flow X16 in its top trim is eye watering expensive. For this price, you can get several conventional gaming laptops with RTX 3080 GPU from Asus and Acer. Creators can even consider the Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch with the M1 Pro chip, where the raw performance is simply unbridled. However, none of these laptops are as versatile as the ROG Flow X16, which offers a Mini LED display, top-notch performance, a convertible laptop form factor, and the benefit of the Windows ecosystem. If you are spending between 2-3 lakhs, this ROG Flow X16 is worth checking out.

    Rating
    4 out of 5
    Price
    INR 278,999/-
    Product Name
    Asus ROG Flow X16
    Brand Name
    Asus
    Pros
    • Versatile and portable
    • Great performance
    • Superb display
    Cons
    • Heats up fast
    • Battery Life
    • Expensive
    Specifications
    • Display
      16-inch QHD+ Mini LED 165Hz
    • Processor
      AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS
    • RAM
      32GB
    • Storage
      2TB PCIe 4 SSD
    • OS
      Windows 11
    • GPU
      NVIDIA RTX 3070 Ti
    • Battery
      96WHr
    • Power
      240W charger, 100W PD

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    First Published Date: 05 Oct, 17:16 IST
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