Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 Review: Lots of power in a slim package

    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is a powerful gaming laptop that promises capable performance, good build quality and above-average battery life. We’ve spent a couple of weeks testing this laptop and here are our thoughts.
    By: DAVID DELIMA
    | Updated on: Sep 12 2021, 05:44 PM IST
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is slim and light, compared to other laptops in the same price category. It's also fast and can handle whatever you throw at it. 
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is slim and light, compared to other laptops in the same price category. It's also fast and can handle whatever you throw at it.  (David Delima / HT Tech)
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is slim and light, compared to other laptops in the same price category. It's also fast and can handle whatever you throw at it. 
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is slim and light, compared to other laptops in the same price category. It's also fast and can handle whatever you throw at it.  (David Delima / HT Tech)
    Rating
    4 out of 5
    Price
    INR 229,990/-
    Product Name
    Asus
    Brand Name
    ROG Zephyrus M16
    Pros
    • Powerful performance
    • High quality display
    • 16:10 aspect ratio
    • Compact size
    • Backlit keyboard
    Cons
    • Heating during intensive operations
    • Average battery life
    • Large plug
    Specifications
    • CPU
      Intel Core i9-11900H
    • GPU
      RTX3070 (8GB GDDR6)
    • Memory
      16GB DDR4 3200MHz SDRAM
    • Storage
      2TB SSD
    • Screen
      16-inch 1600p IPS 165Hz (3ms)
    • Battery
      90Whr @ 240W charging

    Asus launched the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 laptop a couple of months ago, featuring top of the line specs and a slim, compact body – which makes it one of the better-looking gaming laptops available on the market today. This laptop costs nearly 2.30 lakh and it is packed with specifications – it was able to handle every game we could throw at it. We’ve spent the past couple of weeks with the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 and here’s what we think about this gaming powerhouse.

    Design and display

    Asus’ ROG laptops come with all the bells and whistles you would expect to see on a gaming laptop aside from a powerful CPU and GPU, such as a large, bright display with a high-refresh rate, an RGB backlit keyboard, ample connectivity options, and so on. You can tell this device is an Asus ROG laptop, thanks to a small logo on the top of the chassis, which sports a dotted design that looks nice when you tilt your head or open the lid without being too flashy.

    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 has a clear, bright display with crisp colours – this image was clicked outdoors at noon on a bright day. 
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 has a clear, bright display with crisp colours – this image was clicked outdoors at noon on a bright day.  (David Delima / HT Tech)
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 has a clear, bright display with crisp colours – this image was clicked outdoors at noon on a bright day. 
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 has a clear, bright display with crisp colours – this image was clicked outdoors at noon on a bright day.  (David Delima / HT Tech)

    The company has included a 15.6-inch QHD display on the Zephyrus M16 with a maximum brightness of 500 nits a 135Hz refresh rate and a response rate of 3ms. The screen is very bright, looks great and a variety of content looks very good – Asus says the display DCI-P3 has 100% coverage, and is Pantone validated. Asus has also included a large number of presets for different modes, and they change different settings. They’re also user-configurable, which is great for power users. It is a relief to see this laptop use the 16:10 aspect ratio, not just for gaming but also when browsing the web.

    All around the laptop are large cooling vents, and the laptop lifts up on the edge of the lid when opened to allow room for cooling when you use it on a flat surface like a desk. With all the components and features that the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is packing under the hood, it is quite surprising to see how compact and svelte this laptop is. It weighs 1.9 kilos, which is much lighter than what Lenovo’s Legion or Alienware and even Asus offer with similar laptops. The charging adapter and cable are heavy and unwieldy and it adds a lot of weight to your bag when you’re carrying it around.

    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with a QHD display and thankfully, a 16:10 aspect ratio.  
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with a QHD display and thankfully, a 16:10 aspect ratio.   (David Delima / HT Tech)
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with a QHD display and thankfully, a 16:10 aspect ratio.  
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with a QHD display and thankfully, a 16:10 aspect ratio.   (David Delima / HT Tech)

    The keyboard on the Zephyrus M16 is LED-backlit and lands at a slight angle when the lid is open, which makes typing a breeze with soft, but noticeable physical feedback. The company is unapologetic with the design, with a range of modes for the lighting. You can control all of this with the Armoury Crate app that has its own dedicated key next to the media control keys at the top. The laptop also lets you unlock with your fingerprint, which is located on the power button. Asus has also included a large touchpad on the Zephyrus M16, and tapping, swiping and using gestures all work like a charm.

    Performance and heating

    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is equipped with the 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11900H chipset (up to 5GHz) paired with a GeForce RTX 3070 GPU (1390MHz) at 80W TGP (with an additional 20W via Dynamic Boost). These are some of the best specs you can get on the Intel side of gaming laptops, and the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 packs a serious punch when it comes to resource-intensive tasks.

    3DMark says that the average score for the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is 9,633 but our tests returned an average score of 8405.  
    3DMark says that the average score for the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is 9,633 but our tests returned an average score of 8405.   (David Delima / HT Tech)
    3DMark says that the average score for the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is 9,633 but our tests returned an average score of 8405.  
    3DMark says that the average score for the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 is 9,633 but our tests returned an average score of 8405.   (David Delima / HT Tech)

    When it comes to benchmarks, the ROG Zephyrus M16 scored 8,636 on 3DMark Time Spy(DirectX 12) and the average score for this device was 9,633 according to the tool. The graphics score was 8,405 with 56.15 FPS and 47.18 FPS in both tests, while the CPU score was 10,234. On Geekbench, the ROG Zephyrus M16 managed a score of 1618 in the single-core test and 9563 in the multi-core test, while the Compute Benchmark for the RTX 3070 returned scores of 1,22,908 and 1,10,866 for CUDA and OpenCL tests respectively. On Novabench, the device scored 4,134, with a CPU score of 2026 and GPU score of 1,392, with 255 FPS at 720p with DirectX 11.

    In real-world game testing, the ROG Zephyrus M16 was able to handle titles like Genshin Impact and Fortnite on the highest settings effortlessly with an average of 67 FPS and 69 FPS respectively. We played titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, Saints Row 3 Remastered and while they ran fine at 1080p resolution, we saw performance drop while playing Red Read Redemption 2 with around 54 FPS. 

    Content creators will be happy to know that encoding and transcoding videos is extremely fast –  we were able to transcode a 4K video recorded on an iPhone 11 to 1080p resolution using the open-source Handbrake tool in under 10 minutes. The 1TB built-in PCIe 4 SSD also helps, and we noted a peak transfer speed of about 735 MBps, which is slower than the Lenovo Legion 5, but still fast enough for daily use. 

    When we ran the PCMark 10 benchmark, the ROG Zephyrus M16 scored 7,055, with a productivity score of 9,511 and a digital content creation score of 12,181. In real-world usage, this laptop is able to handle everything you throw at it, without any hiccups or stutters, which is expected, given the hardware it is packing.The one component which is holding it back from its AMD-equipped competition like the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition or the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, is the CPU and not the GPU.

    Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 can handle any game you throw at it with high settings at FHD resolution. However, with heavier games, you might want to pick medium or lower settings.  
    Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 can handle any game you throw at it with high settings at FHD resolution. However, with heavier games, you might want to pick medium or lower settings.   (David Delima / HT Tech)
    Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 can handle any game you throw at it with high settings at FHD resolution. However, with heavier games, you might want to pick medium or lower settings.  
    Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 can handle any game you throw at it with high settings at FHD resolution. However, with heavier games, you might want to pick medium or lower settings.   (David Delima / HT Tech)

    Heating is a concern on all gaming laptops, and the ROG Zephyrus M16 is no exception. Whether you’re running the latest games or exporting a 4K video – any resource-intensive task on this device makes it heat up considerably. We tested the ROG Zephyrus M16 in a room that did not have air conditioning, and the laptop exterior touched 64 degrees at the bottom of the device while gaming, with around 40-42 degrees during regular use. While this is expected, the ROG Zephyrus M16 does a good job of getting rid of that extra heat with all the vents on the device – we first noticed how warm our table was only after we powered off the device.

    Battery life and connectivity

    The ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with an iGPU mode that switches to the built-in Intel graphics when you don’t need the raw horsepower of the RTX 3070 GPU. This can be enabled and disabled using the built-in Armoury Crate app on the ROG Zephyrus M16. We managed to get around five and a half hours of battery life when performing different tasks at around 40 percent brightness, with Wi-Fi turned on and a wireless mouse and headphones connected to the laptop. If you’re running on battery and gaming, that number is a lot lower thanks to the CPU and GPU, but it’s best to leave the device plugged in for other high intensive tasks as well. You can extend battery life for regular tasks by enabling the system’s power-saving mode in a pinch.

    Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with a variety of ports on the left side, on the right is a USB port and a MicroSD card reader. 
    Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with a variety of ports on the left side, on the right is a USB port and a MicroSD card reader.  (David Delima / HT Tech)
    Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with a variety of ports on the left side, on the right is a USB port and a MicroSD card reader. 
    Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 comes with a variety of ports on the left side, on the right is a USB port and a MicroSD card reader.  (David Delima / HT Tech)

    When it comes to connectivity, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 doesn’t disappoint. On the right side is a USB 3.2 port and a MicroSD card reader alongside the vents, while the left side has a 3.5 mm headphone jack, a Type-C port that supports Thunderbolt 4 charging and another USB 3.2 Type-C port that comes with DisplayPort support, an HDMI 2.0 port and even an RJ-45 ethernet port if you prefer wired gaming. 

    The Thunderbolt 4 charging support can come in very handy when you’re outdoors and need a quick battery top-up. In addition to WiFi 6 support, the ROG Zephyrus M16 also comes with Bluetooth 5.2 support, which means compatible Bluetooth 5.2 devices like earphones will be able to save precious battery life thanks to the LE (Low Energy) Audio support.

    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 displays colours accurately, and gaming and content look great on this display, especially bright and colourful games like Genshin Impact. 
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 displays colours accurately, and gaming and content look great on this display, especially bright and colourful games like Genshin Impact.  (David Delima / HT Tech)
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 displays colours accurately, and gaming and content look great on this display, especially bright and colourful games like Genshin Impact. 
    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 displays colours accurately, and gaming and content look great on this display, especially bright and colourful games like Genshin Impact.  (David Delima / HT Tech)

    Verdict

    The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 packs in a lot of power, with very few downsides. It comes with a high-resolution display, powerful GPU and capable CPU, good connectivity options, all packed into a compact design. The addition of dedicated media keys, biometric unlocking and Thunderbolt 4 charging support is nice to have. The compact build quality is rare in this category of laptops, even among Asus’ other offerings.

    When it comes to performance, the ROG Zephyrus M16 can handle most of the games available today, while day to day tasks are also a breeze. The ROG Zephyrus M16 starts at a price tag of 1.44 lakh and while those variants might be capable enough, if you want a gaming laptop with an Intel i9 11th Gen chipset and powerful graphics and can afford the 2.30 lakh price tag, then you should pick the high-end variant instead.

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    First Published Date: 12 Sep, 04:00 PM IST
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