ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 Review

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In this article, I give you my Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 review with specs included. This is the same G15 chassis and I’ve reviewed the G15 a couple of months prior (here is the link so you can check that out too).

It has a 16-inch display instead of 15.4 because it is a 16 by 10 aspect ratio. So they made it a little bit taller upped it by .6 inches. That’s really cool, I like it.

As a side note, the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro that I also reviewed has that aspect ratio and resolution QHD plus display.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 has one of the first Intel 11th generation Tiger Lake H-45 CPUs inside. In fact, it’s a Core i9. You can get it with Nvidia RTX 3050Ti, 3060, or 3070 graphics. I have the 3060 model.

Obviously, this is the successor to the Zephyrus M15 which was an Intel-based platform. Intel 10th generation CPU with RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics for example is one of the options there. And for this one certainly, there’s a lot of CPU improvement.

I was a little bit worried about Intel especially when I tested some other 11th gen CPU that ran awful hot and loud because it was in the thin and light design and it was the overclockable i9.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 does not have the highest-end i9 CPU and it’s also available with the i7 and the thermals here are almost too under control.

Because this is intel we get thunderbolt 4 on board. So if some of you like the g15 but it was a deal-breaker because you needed more than just usbc you needed thunderbolt you get it here. Also, something with this platform is you get PCIe 4.0. So faster PCIe standard. Though in the united states it’s shipping with PCIe 3.0 ssds which are less expensive.

Does that matter for most people anyway. No not so much. For hardcore serious professional content creators people who are working with lots and lots of video clips and doing 4 or 8k video editing then faster 4.0 drives might make a difference. But for the rest of us no. And on top of that we have a fingerprint scanner which actually works okay.

Asus fingerprint scanners on our gaming laptops are kind of dicey usually takes a couple updates. This one works pretty decently not a hundred percent but hey with asus if it’s 90 they’re doing pretty good. You have a single zone RGB backlit keyboard. What does that mean?

Just like our g15, you can pick any color you want in a variety of effects but it’s going to be all one color at a time you just have your choice of what color that is. Obviously, it’s kind of a crossover laptop even though it’s in the Zephyrus gaming laptop line. It’s competing not just against the razer blade 15 the MSI gs66 stealth and even the 16-inch MacBook pro but they’re trying to also address creators here.

And i would say that the m series the m16 versus the g15 Zephyrus. And the m is a little bit more towards creators because you don’t go up as high with the GPUs. In fact in the united states, the first available is the RTX 3060 and then the RTX 3050 ti. We still haven’t seen the 3070 here yet. It is coming and that’s a shame. I’ll also talk about why that is too.

Uh and it’s got that kind of staid look you know. We don’t have RGB bling all over and it’s a nice cool black-looking thing. And that’s the only color right now by the way. So just black. And it’s got a magnesium alloy top and bottom. And the keyboard deck who knows what that’s made of but it has a kind of soft-touch black finish on. It that shows some fingerprints but it’s not that bad.

And you have that big glass trackpad which I like a lot. And i like the coating on a little bit more than the g15s even works great. Keyboard has 1.7 millimeters of travel so nice typing experience. Good for gaming too actually. If you’re going to game directly on the device. So this is sounding pretty darn good right. It’s pretty light that’s the idea thin and light.

They claim it’s 4.19 pounds which is 1.9 kilograms we measured it four and a half pounds a little bit heavier which is two ounces heavier than the g15. And yeah it’s a portable package. It’s less portable when you factor in the 240-watt ac adapter which is bigger than the g15s.

And while I keep talking to the g15 because it is the same casing in the same machine just intel instead of AMD ryzen CPUs inside. I can do a smackdown let me know in the comments if you would like that. Because that would be an interesting smackdown.

Oh and by the way unlike most Asus gaming laptops lately this actually has a webcam. It’s a 720p potato cam. Pretty good microphones though. So yeah it’s not fantastic looking anyway and it’s there though yay. So obviously we have very thin visual bezels all the way around. We don’t have the big chin like we have on the g15 or still the razer blade 15 and a lot of gaming laptops.

That’s what 16 by 10 aspect ratio does for you. And it is a gorgeous display. It has full p3 coverage and almost 90 percent of adobe rgb. You can see the metrics on screen here but wow it’s bright. And I think a lot of people are attracted to that. If you use it outdoors in brightly lit environments then that’s going to matter. If you use it mostly at home or in the office it matters less obviously.

So we measured 550 nits which for a gaming laptop is unusual but for a creator’s laptop would be very nice. Now as soon as other 15-inch gaming laptops in the premium space there are no slouches either but they’re closer to 350 nits. Which is pretty good among gaming laptops but not as bright. In terms of the display quality the metrics are all there. It’s nice-looking stuff here. Nice and sharp and crispy.

And i know a lot of you are worried about the fans on this because there’s an exhaust vent at the rear with the Zephyrus line and some of the heat exhausts out the sides but also out the rear and it blows on the display. And i know some of you thought the chin on the Zephyrus g15 may be helped because it raises the display up a little bit away from those vents.

Well, Asus claims that they’re using a panel or something that is supposed to be okay with the heat. And yes i did use a temperature gun and measure it and at the hottest points it sometimes did reach 50 degrees centigrade which is a little toasty. How is the longevity of the machine going to be well we’ll have to find out.

This isn’t the first time Asus has used this kind of ventilation system and so far I haven’t heard about displays failing. So I imagine it’s going to be okay and if we do a smackdown with the g15 I can compare how the heat is on each of those displays.

Anyway, it is what it is. So are those little led status lights below the display. I know some of you are driven crazy by that. And I’m not thrilled with it but I kind of tuned it out and it actually didn’t really bother me there’s that. We have six speaker audio on board and it sounds pretty darn good. Just like the g15 and zeus is doing a good job. Not as good as the Strix car scar 15 which is even higher and more expensive and a bit thicker laptop.

Not quite as good as a 16-inch MacBook pro despite all those drivers but it sounds better than the average gaming laptop. But you’re not going to hear them when you’re gaming. Why is that because the fans are so loud on this model. I measured up to 59 decibels and that’s in the turbo mode which is the sweet spot for doing things like gaming or heavy-duty work like blender on Asus Zephyrus and rog machines in general.

Wow, and it’s kind of overkill too. Has it it seems almost like Asus figured okay intel they’re going to be hot right so we better really do a job there with cooling. And even though the cooling solution looks pretty much the same as on the AMD-based Zephyrus g15 these found fans are just loud and spinning up.

And I’m not super sensitive to fan noise I mean I like a quieter laptop who doesn’t but I’m not like. It sounds like a loud whoosh of air it’s not screechy and annoying or anything like that. But what’s interesting is I’m playing cyberpunk with this thing and I’m going strong and it’s keeping the CPU temperature down to about 75 sometimes 80 centigrade.

That’s remarkably cool. So i’d be okay if i let it go to 80 85 maybe you know that would still be fine too. But no GPU temperatures are pretty cool on this too. So it’s a bit overkill. If you put on performance mode you don’t get that built-in little overclocking tweak they do with the CPU and the GPU so that’s not the greatest alternative. Though it does keep it a little warmer and a little quieter. So I went with the manual mode.

And you can see on screen the manual modes that i went with. I would say don’t go maximum for your CPU performance power limits because that will take some away from the GPU and you want to have a balance when you’re gaming.

Speaking again of gaming it’s a big hurt to have a 3060 and a qhd plus display together because at 1080p a lot of people don’t even see the reason why they should go to a 30 RTX 3070 from a 30 60. But when you’re going up to qhd and higher resolutions that’s where Nvidia’s higher-end cards kick in and keep the frame rates good. If you’re looking for something around 60 frames or maybe even better.

This struggles certainly to do that at qhd plus resolution 2560 by 1600. And that’s kind of shame right because you bought the laptop because you want that resolution. Believe me you can see the difference in games too. It’s just like dropping your settings from medium to very high or something like that you’ll see a difference too won’t you.

And yeah so for this if you want to gaming qhd plus resolution you’re really going to want to drop the settings down to high turn off ray tracing that’s sort of a shame. I can’t wait to see the 30 70 because i think that that would be the sweet spot. We’re still going to be loud here but the thermals will probably still be really impressive in terms of core temperatures on it.

All right so what if you’re buying this not primarily for gaming which would be confusing it is kind of a gaming-oriented laptop but okay. If you’re buying this as a creator even with a 3060 totally thumbs up. This is going to make premiere sing the core i9 is very performant eight-core on here.

Now I noticed when gaming and pushing and doing anything like blender all that sort of thing and the core temperatures were kind of on the low side for intel. It is the new 10-nanometer process that certainly would help with that. But the core clocks this clock speed was pretty high on it. I’m gaming and I’m seeing go from 3.5 to 4.2 gigahertz depending and maintaining that.

Which for intel if you’re gaming for an hour in a demanding game you see it usually drop. Now the CPU performance on the Core i9 11900h is excellent. Definite improvement over intel 10th generation and it rivals that of the AMD ryzen 9 5900 hx with which it competes.

So that’s all great to see here. Intel’s doing the job as they should. By the way there is a base model with the RTX 3050 ti on board and that one is available the full hd plus hertz display instead of our 165-hertz qhd plus display.

So that might be a better match too there. It does support g-sync but only out the USB-c port. Oh this is another thing to keep keep your eye on too. So you’ve got a usbc and a thunderbolt port side by side right. So this is the way it works. Thunderbolt always connects to the integrated GPU. So if you want to get the maximum performance in games and using external monitor make sure to plug your monitor into the USB-C port.

Instead, you can use the USB-C to DisplayPort adapter whatever it is to do that and then you’ll get g-sync on an external monitor as well. So about those GPUs again. So if you do get the RTX 3060 then that is 95 watts with boost which is pretty reasonable. It’s stronger than some other laptops we’ve seen. This at the higher end of the max q sort of line equivalent.

We don’t call it an xq anymore according to Nvidia but that’s okay. And it’s 100 watts if you do get the 30 70. With a 30 50 ti it’s 75 watts. So as always the case with the Zephyrus models for some time now you have some ram soldered on board and one ram slot. So we have eight gigs on board and an eight gig dim. There’s also a 16 gig solder plus a 16 gig dim version.

You can upgrade only the slot. And this ddr4 3200 megahertz. The timings on are pretty good so the speed’s fine on it no complaints there. We have two m.2 SSD slots supporting nvme and again pci e4 they’re in the united states you don’t get a PCI e4 drive just a fast PCI e3 it’s really it’s fine for most people that’s okay. One slot is occupied you either get 512 gigs or one terabyte of storage for our us models.

Usually, we don’t talk about the wi-fi card but Asus on the Zephyrus line just like many manufacturers has been using intel wi-fi cards. Which are fine or killer which are really intel cards too so there’s that. Well for some reason they’re using mediatek cards it may have to do with chip shortages that are so rampant these days and some people are reporting problems with some wi-fi six routers.

On our wi-fi five NetGear nighthawk routers it behaves fine but the throughput wasn’t that great. But that is a socketed card so you can upgrade it. One of the things that is awesome about this is the plentiful ports and also one of the reasons why it doesn’t look as clean as say a razer blade 15. It’s easier to have a clean design when you have no holes all over the side right.

So you’ve got hdmi it’s 2.0 b not 2.1 which is oh well you can’t have everything but it’s okay. You’ve got two usb a you got that thunderbolt you got usbc you have a micro-sd card slot. Of course an audio jack. So nicely equipped to deal with anything and even ethernet yay. So lastly there’s battery life.

The rest of it sounds reasonably good unless you want to do qhd gaming with a 3060 then you have to make some compromises. But battery is 90 watt-hour which is pretty huge for a laptop these days. And you have a 240-watt charger which is bigger than the g15 charger because this one does use more power. Intel’s 10-nanometer process it’s still less efficient than AMD’s seven nanometer process.

So how’s battery life. Here’s one thing for some reason when we had a retail level unit out of the box it was set wasn’t set to use auto for the integrated graphics. So basically who knew it could be running on dedicated graphics while you’re doing things unplugged like watching NetFlix which you should never be doing. So i set it into igpu auto mode which means when you unplug it from power it will just use integrated graphics.

I mean you can change that if you need to in case you do need dedicated graphics when you’re going on battery but anyway. The battery life then was about six and a half hours. And that’s at 200 nits of brightness doing productivity and streaming and all that sort of thing.

Obviously gaming or blender or premiere or anything like that or compiling huge programs which this would be great for thanks to the power of the Core i9. Are going to hit your battery life more. So that certainly falls short of the AMD rising competition with similar capacity batteries. It’s not bad for a gaming laptop but it just this is one of the places where ryzen still has the advantage.

So that’s the Asus rogue Zephyrus m16. One relatively speaking clean and good fairly premium laptop gear to creators and gamers. And certainly, for 1080p gaming it is gonna play well for you and the display on this is gorgeous. And 16×10 aspect ratio is just nice. It makes it feel so much roomier you know like you really feel like you’re on your way to a 17-inch laptop without the extra carry.

It’s pretty thin it’s pretty light it’s pretty well put together. I didn’t have any quality control issues on this again this is a retail unit. Some places where the bezel creaks a little bit light bleed though it wasn’t a problem the track pad works good on. All in all i mean they’re doing good stuff here but I’m not sure this beats ryzen as a total package when it comes to things like battery life and fan noise and all that sort of thing.

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Asus ROG Zephyrus M16
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