Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 review: A gaming gladiator

1 month ago 14
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(Pocket-lint) - It didn't look that agelong agone that if you wanted a almighty gaming laptop with a large surface you had to enactment up with having a monstrously immense machine. Asus is trying to alteration that with 1 of its latest ROG laptops: the Zephyrus M16. 

The M16 is attempting to bring you the large surface and each the large specs, but without leaving you feeling similar you're carrying a tiny location with you successful your backpack. Is it the eventual gaming machine?

Design

  • Ports: 2x USB-A (3.2), 1x USB-C (3.2), 1x Thunderbolt 4, Ethernet, 3.5mm, microSD, HDMI 2.0b
  • Dimensions: 355 x 243 x 199mm / Weight: 1.90kg
  • 180-degree hinge design

There's a batch to similar astir the mode Asus built the 2021 Zephyrus M16. The ROG squad has realised that the sanction of the crippled is subtlety. You tin marque it look similar a gamer laptop, but don't propulsion it truthful acold that it puts disconnected creatives. Because, aft all, this instrumentality is susceptible of some high-powered gaming and creativity.

That means you inactive get a splash of colour wrong the design, but it's not in-your-face astir it. For instance, the beforehand screen looks similar a subtle matte achromatic aboveground fractional covered successful tiny machined holes. Then you radiance airy astatine it and you spot a flash of rainbow colour coming done from the underside. It's eye-catching yet simultaneously subtle.

Then the hinge that holds that cover/display rotates underneath the assemblage of the laptop truthful that it lifts it up astatine an space arsenic you unfastened it up, giving much country for airflow beneath. What's more, the surface tin support going until it's lying wholly level (if you privation it to), acknowledgment to a 180-degree hinge mechanism.

Once opened up, the surface is surrounded by ace skinny bezels and - due to the fact that it's a 16:10 facet ratio show - that includes the bottommost bezel too. There's nary monolithic 'chin' connected this thing.

What's truly nice, though, is the texture of the laptop's body. Rather than being a cold, hard and shiny metal, the matte achromatic decorativeness has much of a soft, lukewarm and grippy feel. It's a bully soft-touch finish, truthful it's a pleasance to remainder your wrists connected it arsenic you get your crippled on.

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This beast of a laptop besides has beauteous overmuch each the ports you could privation for. Up the left, there's the powerfulness port, full-size HDMI 2.0b, Ethernet, USB-A, 2 Type-C ports, and a 3.5mm input/output for headphones and mics. Up the close broadside you'll find a microSD paper slot and different USB-A, truthful you tin guarantee your plug-in rodent (unless you're utilizing a wireless one) is connected the close broadside for your use.

It's worthy noting, 1 of those Type-C ports is USB 3.2, and the different is Thunderbolt 4. Both enactment DisplayPort for hooking up to monitors and powerfulness transportation for charging it via USB-C. You tin usage either to recharge, if needed, but you'll get faster-charging utilizing the (admittedly precise bulky) powerfulness ceramic into the proprietary charging port, which leaves some those USB-C ports disposable for your use.

Undoubtedly the astir awesome happening astir this laptop's design, however, is the size of it. It's a 16-inch laptop but crammed into the signifier of a 15-inch one. So you get the bigger screen, without having to adhd immoderate bulk. Yes it's inactive chunky compared to the MacBook Pro and akin of this world, but for a 16-inch gaming machine, the Asus is amazingly portable and compact.  

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The keyboard plan is likewise good thought-out. It's not excessively cramped, with well-spaced keys, pleasing travel, and tactile response. It's a large keyboard to benignant connected and 1 that's casual usage day-in and day-out. It didn't instrumentality agelong to get accustomed to touch-typing connected it. Plus, it's not annoyingly large either. So you tin consciousness the definite click, but don't truly perceive it each that much. No much than immoderate different slim-keyed notebook. 

There are 4 dedicated buttons supra the keyboard, making it casual to set volume, enabling/disabling the mic, and launching Asus' ain customisation software, Armoury Crate. The keys are besides backlit utilizing RGB LEDs, with immoderate fig of colour changing effects to take from to suit your mood. 

Display and media

  • 16-inch display, 2560 x 1600 solution (WQXGA)
  • Anti-glare, 100% DCI-P3, Pantone validated
  • Up to 165Hz refresh rate, 3ms response 
  • Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos

While there's nary uncertainty this is simply a fantastic gaming machine, which we'll get into later, the M16 has capable astir it successful presumption of hardware to marque it large for conscionable astir everything. That includes media consumption. 

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A large portion of it, of course, is the display. The WQXGA solution is surely crisp capable for conscionable astir anything. That's the equivalent of 1440p sharpness, but due to the fact that it's 16:10 ratio alternatively than 16:9, determination are an other fewer rows that propulsion it up to 1600p. It's not rather 2160p (4K), but it's noticeably sharper than 1080p (Full HD).

It's not conscionable astir sharpness though, it's astir however it delivers colour and contrast. Watching Netflix Originals delivers superb earthy colours, and it ne'er seems to oversaturate them. It's Dolby Vision compatible arsenic well, truthful immoderate DV contented connected Netlflix - oregon from whichever root - volition look superb connected this machine. It's besides nary astonishment that Asus is keen to boast astir its 100 per cent DCI-P3 colour gamut and its Pantone validation. It's made effort to tune this to high-end, pro-grade standards - and it shows. 

Those qualities besides marque it primed and acceptable for contented creation, for those who request to edit photos and edit video connected the determination and astatine home. Looking astatine a achromatic leafage portion papers editing besides delivers a crisp, white, cleanable look. It truly is precise versatile. And the information it has an anti-glare aboveground means if you're moving successful a agleam situation you won't person to woody with distracting reflections. 

As mentioned, it's 16:10 ratio alternatively than 16:9, which helps a batch with everything that isn't video-watching. While moving it fundamentally means the toolbars and other bits of outer graphics, specified arsenic tabs and menus, instrumentality up abstraction that would usually beryllium the screen's bezels. It gives you that spot of other abstraction to enactment with, without adding an overly hefty magnitude of letterboxing during video watching. 

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To adhd to its media depletion capabilities, Asus besides built successful a six talker strategy which is genuinely great. Of course, it's not the aforesaid arsenic having a dedicated abstracted speaker, but for a acceptable of laptop speakers it's immersive and balanced.

Performance

  • 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processor (2.5GHz), 32GB RAM (max 48GB)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 laptop GPU, 8GB GDDR6 RAM
  • 2TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD storage

There's a wide quality successful show betwixt utilizing the M16 with the powerfulness adapter plugged in, and erstwhile utilizing it connected battery. At least, erstwhile it comes to its default powerfulness settings. That is mostly expected connected machines with almighty dedicated graphics cards. After all, if you acceptable the instrumentality to its astir almighty mounting and effort to tally it disconnected the battery, it won't past agelong (indeed, it won't adjacent fto you usage that mode without the powerfulness plugged in). 

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Leaving it to its default 'Silent' settings unplugged, if you effort to play graphically aggravated games similar Control the acquisition is practically unusable. In this mode, it deliberately throttles the CPU and doesn't usage the GPU, successful bid to support the laptop moving quietly. Animations stutter and movements are unresponsive.

Of people it's a wholly antithetic communicative erstwhile you've got the powerfulness plugged successful and the laptop switches automatically to 'Performance' oregon the adjacent much awesome 'Turbo' mode (and iGPU mode is power to car oregon off). In this mode the gaming is smooth, speedy and precise responsive. 

Games seldom dropped a framework and whether it was racing successful Forza Horizon 4, oregon shooting enemies successful Gears 5, the M16 kept up with the batch of it, delivering instant responses successful games wherever it truly does request to beryllium quick. 

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With much powerfulness being driven done the CPU and GPU, this past means much cooling is required - and lad tin you perceive it. Once successful Turbo mode and moving Control, the laptop's fans go truthful large that we couldn't perceive the audio oregon dialog successful the crippled and ended up switching connected subtitles and utilizing on-ear headphones. You tin spot wherefore astir gamers usage top-tier headsets.

Given that there's obscurity adjacent arsenic overmuch abstraction wrong a laptop chassis to propulsion aerial around, this is hardly astonishing though. One happening that tin beryllium said erstwhile switching gears, however, is that successful 'Silent' mode - perfect erstwhile you're working, listening to euphony and specified - delivers connected its name: the fans are genuinely arsenic adjacent to soundless arsenic you'll beryllium capable to discern.

If you privation to good tune it to your liking you can. Asus' Armoury Crate bundle - which has its ain dedicated shortcut fastener - volition fto you power betwixt show modes oregon make your ain manual setting.

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Gaming laptops are seldom known for their outstanding artillery life. In fact, adjacent with this laptop successful 'Silent' mode, and the artillery mounting astatine 'Better Battery' it'll hardly past much than 4 hours connected a afloat charge. Which mightiness not dependable large but, actually, arsenic gaming laptops spell that's truly not excessively bad. In 'Performance' mode, arsenic you'd expect, it's astir a 4th of that time, adjacent to an hr successful total.

The aforesaid Armoury Crate bundle is what lets you set the iGPU mode. It has 3 settings: on, car oregon off. In Auto, the graphics paper lone kicks successful erstwhile the strategy decides it's necessary, specified arsenic erstwhile you request a graphics boost during gaming oregon video rendering. If you similar it soundless portion working, you tin conscionable power it to 'On', past it uses the processor to process your graphics, and disables the GPU. 

Being a gaming laptop, it would beryllium remiss to not interaction upon a small benchmarking. And erstwhile we ran this Intel Core i9 mentation of the M16 done the Heaven benchmark, astir of the clip volition it was moving done the graphics trial astatine betwixt 100-125fps, with it seldom ever dipping beneath 100fps. It wasn't excessively antithetic connected Forza Horizon 4's benchmarking trial with solution acceptable to maximum disposable and Ultra settings enabled - it consistently deed 100fps passim the trial contention scene. 

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So portion 'Silent' mode doesn't fto you game, there's a consciousness that it tames the beast, making it a much affable enactment and productivity machine, which is really rather fantastic for a laptop that's chiefly aimed astatine gamers. You get the champion of some worlds.

Verdict

In the past you utilized to person to take betwixt having a large gaming laptop oregon a large laptop for work. With the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 you get 1 that's conscionable arsenic accomplished a gaming instrumentality arsenic it is simply a enactment laptop. 

Granted, determination are elements that marque it not perfect for enactment each the time, the artillery beingness being main among those. But this is simply a gaming instrumentality aft all, truthful its four-and-a-bit hours per complaint maximum is nary surprise. Besides, it's much for those who privation a large gaming instrumentality first, but don't privation an impractical laptop for regular moving arsenic well. 

It's hard to not get excessively carried distant with excitement though. Overall the M16 is simply a stunningly bully gaming laptop, and volition devour up astir games for breakfast, luncheon and dinner. Plus it looks blistery and has a superb display. What's not to like? 

Also consider

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Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

This cheaper offering delivers large physique prime and superb performance. It's not arsenic premium looking/feeling, nor arsenic almighty overall, but it volition prevention you immoderate wealth if that's what's important.

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Razer Blade 15 Advanced

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Writing by Cam Bunton. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 30 July 2021.

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