Asus recently added one more gaming laptop to their ROG Zephyrus gaming range. This time it is the ROG Zephyrus M16 that boasts of some premium specs. This is an Intel-powered Nvidia RTX 3070-equipped laptop and the unit we reviewed comes with a Core-i9 processor. It comes at a price tag of Rs 2,29,900. We spent some time with the unit and here’s what we think of the product.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 gaming laptop
Asus ROG Zephyrus
M16 comes in a rectangular build, with slightly curved edges. Though care has been taken in construction, it could not be called to have a very robust build, as what the laptop gains in lightness because of the material used, it loses in sturdiness, especially when faced with the danger of something like falling from a good height or being crushed.
There is a dedicated key at the uppermost part of the keyboard and to turn the microphone on and off. Right next to it sits another dedicated key to summon up the Armoury Crate, to help switch between the game modes.
The hinge is a 180-degree one and can be opened smoothly to place the back of the display almost flat against the surface on which the chassis rests. However, you have to be a bit careful with the hinge. The display is attached to the chassis, not at the centre but at the two far ends. When you open up the laptop all the way in a 180-degree manner, a small part of the hinge at the ends curves, which does not allow for a perfect flat lay on the back, but it will not hinder any presentation which you would like everyone to look at while the laptop is laid in a 180-degree manner on the table. While it is easy to open and close the laptop, some care needs to be taken while doing so.
The ports include a 3.5mm headphone jack, one HDMI 2.0 port, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C support DisplayPort/power delivery, one RJ45 LAN port, one microSD port and one Thunderbolt 4 support DisplayPort/power delivery.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 gaming laptop: Display
The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 sports a 16-inch IPS-level 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution QHD display with 100%sRGB and very narrow bezels (about 4mm on the sides and 1cm on the top and the bottom). The refresh rate is 165Hz. The display is very sharp and the icons appear crisp and sharp too. The display panel is a bit on the thicker side but feels quite light and we must say that it could get damaged if the laptop falls from the table or a greater height.
It is an anti-glare display but you might see a bit of reflection when the screen is facing a light source. Otherwise, the IPS-level Pantone-validated panel mostly keeps the glare levels low.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 gaming laptop: Performance and battery
Our unit came with Intel Corei9 11900H processor coupled with 16GB RAM. There are three operable modes you could run this laptop in: Performance, Silent and Windows. Two other modes can also be seen --Turbo and Manual -- which were unavailable for our PC unit.
To see how well the gaming laptop could hold its own in Steam gaming sessions online, we decided to play Company of Heroes in online multiplayer mode with and against friends. At this point in time, it could be called an old game and kind of unsuitable to be used for testing a gaming laptop by some, but checking how it played on high graphics settings was our main goal. So, we applied these settings on the game, settings which in short we would call the Ultra graphics settings to be clear of any confusion that might crop up later.
When we tried to play the game with the highest possible settings, messages appeared in the game lobby saying that using high texture Detail and Model Quality on this system may cause performance and visual problems. We went on with the settings set to Ultra in both anyway, without making any changes. The result was that the screen turned almost entirely black, with the game running in the background. There were specks of light here and there but nothing of the ground in the map showed. There was no audio issue; the Engineers of the US faction were easily deployed from the headquarters, the markers to direct them to a particular part in the field were visible, the voice inputs of the deployed units and the game’s other audio details were clear. The Engineers could build structures and we even got to deploy a machine gunner team in all that blackness. But, as you can see, it was impossible to play. With the screen has gone black for an inordinate amount of time, we decided to lower the graphics settings and then try playing the game. But the same warning messages cropped up with High and even Medium settings. Only with the Low settings did the game permit to be played on the laptop. Here are the settings that were applied next.
This time, the game opened without any glitches and ran smoothly on Steam in an online match. During the almost two hours the game lasted, there were no issues, manoeuvring the infantry and the armoured units were achieved smoothly, the blast and the damage effects of the tanks, mortars, the anti-tank guns and the machine-gun fire from the machine gunners and the upgraded half-tracks were rendered without any delay. Also, sometimes during the intense convergence of the opposing armies, the flying bodies of the soldiers who had been blown up with shells fired from the tanks showed quite clearly on the screen, with the limbs twisting fantastically while the dead bodies were in the air. All in all, the near-visceral experience of World War 2 that Company of Heroes could give you, accurately and immediately rendered in real-time while you see and issue commands to your troops with the topside view.
We played some long matches of Company of Heroes and with the applied low graphics settings, everything went butter smooth. If you refer to the low settings image, the model details have also been kept low. It’s a shame the laptop was unable to render the high model and texture details at Ultra, High and even Medium settings.
Next, we tried Killing Floor on high and medium graphics settings. This game played quite well on both and did not seem to lag at all during the zombie carnage which our protagonist was relishing in on the screen.
Coming to how the other aspects of the laptop felt while in the game, the Performance mode of the Asus Zephyrus G causes a bit of fan noise in the game, some of which is reduced by the gaming environment audio. At Silent mode, the laptop fairs a little better at reducing the fan noise. The heat dissipation is effective, though the left part of the keyboard stays warm the entire time on Performance mode. During the first 15-20 minutes of charging the laptop, the left part of the keyboard turns hot and slowly goes down to being warm. You would do well to expect some discomfort in the first 15-20 minutes of charging, though the situation improves gradually. The keys will stay a bit warm all the time in the game.
There is no Print Screen button to take screenshots on the laptop. But there is a workaround if you are just thinking of taking screenshots in the game. Try the Alt+F1 combination. But it will work in-game only.
The keys sure are silent; it might take you a bit of time to get used to the typing. The trackpad has been given ample space in the centre of the chassis which is welcome. The touch response of the cursor is fluid and the wide area makes it easier to move the cursor around.
Next, the audio response. It is pretty loud for a room at full volume. In the game, the loudness depends a lot on the game audio but the front-firing speakers on both sides of the keyboard do a more-than-adequate job mostly, be it watching some video content on YouTube or voice-chatting with mates online when gaming.
The battery could go on for an average of two hours to two and a half hours on doing some light tasks before dropping to the point where you need to plug the charger in. So, not a very ideal or promising situation if you are thinking of doubling it up as a work laptop, though the looks are certainly meant to disguise for the same. Keep the charger always with you in case you plan to do something on this laptop apart from gaming.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 has a solid construction with a strong hinge design. It also does not scream ‘gamer!’ and has been given sober looks and finish. The gaming is overall smooth though gaming on Performance mode will cause the machine to make some unwanted noise. The audio output on speakers is loud enough for a small room. All in all, the Zephyrus M16 is another quality gaming laptop from the house of Asus with a balance in features.
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