Asus always deliveries high-quality build, sleek design elements, great cooling tech and comfortable keyboard ergonomics in any of its recent laptops. So if you’re after any of those qualities, the M16 offers them in a lightweight housing. It also looks great while promoting decent gaming chops on an internal level.
Sometimes the ‘cool kid’ is forced to go to a school function in decent clothes, and everyone’s shocked to see them all cleaned up — but you know what’s under the pretty dress or the spiffy suit. That’s the exact feeling we got from the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 gaming notebook.
We had the opportunity to test the fully specced out variation of the newly launched in South Africa ROG Zephyrus M16. Under its fancy hood, an RTX 3070, an Intel Core i9-11900H and a whopping 32GB Dual-Channel RAM. Backing up all of the above was a 2TB SSD and a myriad of ports to keep everyone happy.
The main selling point, however, is the fact that Asus managed to squeeze a 16in display into a 15in chassis. This makes for a slim, light piece of tech aimed at portability and style. Its design is also tremendously toned down from the established bold Zephyrus — and it makes for muted, almost plain variation for the other half.
Off to church
If your current gaming rig is garnished with RGB from top to bottom — the M16 may not be your optimal portable gaming notebook choice. Unless you have a muted side to your personality that you tend to flaunt outside the house. Then go for it.
Most of this laptop’s lid is made up of dots CNC’d in a diagonal pattern that, thanks to the prismatic film behind it, displays a silver wave-like pattern depending on the angle from which you look at it. It’s very reminiscent of the Zephyrus G14, but this time there aren’t any lights in ‘em.
Its sides have large and noticeable vents and also feature the bulk of the ports. It’s covered in dark grey plating all-around which makes for the muted look, but look closer and you’ll notice a lot of thought went into the design of this machine. Refined speaker grilles, air vents and a sleek keyboard/touchpad combo make it clear that this is a gaming machine.
Power it on, and you’ll know for sure — the keyboard lights up in full-spectrum RGB (all programmable, of course) and you’re greeted with the large 16:10 display putting out a decent 2560 x 1600 resolution.
Plug it real good
While MacBooks and their competitors keep removing ports to make space for the laptop accessory industry, we commend gaming notebooks for sticking with the ports — the same is true of the M16.
Almost all the ports are isolated to the machine’s left: here you find the charging port, an HDMI 2.0 connector and an RJ-45 ethernet port. There’s also a USB-A 3.2 port, a 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack, a Thunderbolt 4 charging-capable port and a USB-C 3.2 that can also handle DisplayPort output.
The only very weird addition here is a micro-SD card port. Why? We don’t want to increase the machine’s storage. So we would’ve loved to see a full-sized SD card slot here for content creators, photographers and videographers.
As a nice gesture, the M16 comes with two chargers — one bulky 240W power brick used for gaming, and a smaller 100W USB-C charger that’s ideal for travelling. If you’re not gaming while out, that is.
Performing its best
When it comes to internal hardware, the Zephyrus M16 does not skimp. That is true for our review unit at least, and it is available in other specced versions.
Firstly, that large IPS display caps out at a massive 165Hz, which is perfect for gaming. On the other hand, content creators and design folk who may need help with heavy lifting will be happy to know it also features 100% DCI-P3 and sRGB coverage. The 16:10 format doesn’t do much to improve either the gaming or editing experience, but it’s a nice-to-have.
We put the M16 through a few benchmarks in which it performed fairly well and on-par for its internals. The RTX 3070 is no small fry when it comes to GPUs. The expansive RAM allocation definitely helped during memory-loading tasks.
But of course, you’re here for the gaming bits — so here goes. We booted Metro Exodus on the M16 and found it could run it at around 70fps consistently on the highest setting and no RTX enabled. Switch on RTX and you lose a bunch of frames, and may have to deal with sub-60 frame rates.
Considering the price of the Zephyrus M16 — there are notebooks in (and under) its price range that’ll perform better thanks to AMD-branded internals. The M16 will, however, run anything you can throw at it really — if you’re a gamer on the go, that frame rate may not be much of an issue anyway.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 Verdict
We know some gamers despise the overly-saturated RGB fad and are maybe after something toned-down that still whispers ‘GAMR4LIFE’ every chance it gets And that’s the M16.
Asus always deliveries high-quality build, sleek design elements, great cooling tech and comfortable keyboard ergonomics in any of its recent laptops. So if you’re after any of those qualities, the M16 offers them in a lightweight housing. It also looks great while promoting decent gaming chops inside.
The ROG Zephyrus M16 is available in South Africa right now, and can be purchased from Evetech starting at R34,000 for the RTX 3050ti model and R48,000 for the RTX 3070 model reviewed above.