Among gaming laptops, you can find models that were hardly designed with frequent trips in mind. But some are better designed for travel. However, with the latest trends to increase screens, manufacturers have added additional work on small things to increase not only the size but also the comfort of use and transportation. The ROG Zephyrus line has always had good portable offerings and did not disappoint with its capabilities. How it manages to maintain the parity of portability with power, today we will look at the example of the new model ROG Zephyrus M16, which, among other things, can animate the outer part of the display unit.

ROG Zephyrus M16 specifications

Model ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 (GU604VY-NM035X)
Display IPS, 16”, resolution 2560×1600, aspect ratio 16:10, frequency 240 Hz
CPU Intel Core i9-13900H
RAM 32 GB DDR5-4800
Storage 2 TB
GPU NVIDIA GeForce 4090 (16 ГБ)
Ports HDMI 2.1, 2×USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 4, 3.5mm combo jack, microSD
Wireless modules Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.2
Camera 1080p
Audio Acoustic system with 6 speakers and a microphone
Keyboard Island-type keys with RGB illumination
Battery and charging 90 Wh, main power supply unit 280 W, additional – 100 W
Dimensions 355×246×21.1-22.9 mm
Weight 2.3 kg

ROG Zephyrus M16 package contents

The line has a considerable selection of models with a large difference in price tags. We received a respectable option for testing, which also has a lot of additional things in the package. The large laptop box contains two power supplies (“portable” and “stationary”), a mouse ROG Strix Impact and branded backpack (rolltop). This is a relatively standard packaging option for the manufacturer’s top-end gaming laptops. In other markets, there is also a bundle with another mouse (ROG Gladius III) and even a headset (ROG Fusion II 300).

And although this, of course, is not the entire set of necessary things for avid gamers, the backpack is undoubtedly an important element that will not be superfluous (if the laptop still has to leave the house with the owner). The manufacturer also has most of the other accessories if you want to keep the workplace in the appropriate style. But, as always, nothing prevents you from using other accessories. In any case, there are nice additions to a not-cheap laptop that will make the purchase more pleasant.

AinMe Matrix

In the appearance of the ROG Zephyrus M16 test model, everything could be quite typical for gaming laptops, if not for the most noticeable and truly exotic element — the backlight on the display unit. That’s why we’ll start with it. Those who follow the brand remember the AniMe Matrix trademark. Last year we had the review of ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 2022 which already offered this option on half the outer panel of the screen. And this was not the first such model. ROG Zephyrus M16 inherited this feature with 18,710 slots in the panel, which are illuminated by 1,711 diodes.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

In this way, the Zephyrus M16 can “stand out from the crowd” of ordinary laptops in a rather original way. The manufacturer has prepared several versions of ready-made animations, but if desired, the user can create their version, or simply install a static image (in my case, it is the Mezha logo). Among other things, there are System Mode and Music Mode, which can display information about the state of the laptop’s battery and some notifications (calendar, e-mails, etc.), or the name of tracks from a player with a visual equalizer. There are separate animations for different performance modes, power on/off and sleep mode.

This, of course, is not the most necessary element in a laptop, which is also imperceptible to the user during operation. But when there is a desire (and appropriate funds in the budget) to add originality, it will be a good addition to your laptop. The matrix image will require additional effort and time to get the desired effect, but it will still make the desired accent.

And if you feel bored, the system will also offer several games with Virtual Pet — a small character with which you can play simple games both on the desktop and on the animated panel using the mouse.

Design and usability

The rest of the design of the ROG Zephyrus M16 is similar to the aforementioned Zephyrus G14. But not without additional details, such as the polished frame of the display unit and additional perforation next to the keyboard. But the general shape and most external elements are not new for ROG laptops.

Of course, the M16 is bigger. Its dimensions are 355×246×21.1-22.9 mm with a weight of 2.3 kg (although cheaper models in the new line may be lighter by a couple of hundred grams). It is not the lightest, but also not the heaviest gaming laptop. There are work laptops with similar dimensions, although they are thinner and lighter. And for a gaming model, these are still good dimensions. With such a laptop it is not very difficult to get to the office or other desired destination. Considering the performance, the compromise is quite acceptable.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

The lack of RGB lighting on the case and its black color will also help the laptop not attract too much attention in the office space. Although the dimensions and design of the slots for cooling will reveal its purpose. At the same time, the body is made of magnesium alloy. It is a pleasant material to use, and there are no noticeable flaws in the assembly of the laptop. But handprints after games remain on the surface (they are easy to get rid of with microfiber).

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

At the same time, the manufacturer does not give up the ErgoLift system — a small lifting of the top case with an open display unit. For this, there are a pair of small legs on its frame. Together with the large rubber supports on the top case, they securely hold the laptop on the work surface. Also, they do not interfere if you put the laptop on your lap while working on the road or sitting in a chair.

Unfortunately, ErgoLift forces all ports to be placed exclusively on the sides of the case, when usually large gaming laptops also allow for individual ports to be placed on the back. The Zephyrus M16 has a power port, Thunderbolt 4 (with DP 1.4 and PD 3.0 support), USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, and a combo headset port on the left, while on the right there is a Kensington slot, another USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (also with support for DP 1.4 and PD 3.0) and microSD memory card reader (UHS II). In some cases, there may not be enough ports for accessories (if the user needs to connect, say, a mouse, an external microphone, and a receiver for wireless headphones at the same time), so a USB hub may be required.

ROG Zephyrus M16 remains a fairly familiar model of the manufacturer. Stealth design can now be made more visible with a large animated area on the outside or turned off for a more classic look. Also, over all the years of development of the line, ASUS took into account many small things, corrected errors, and improved the user experience. During testing, I did not see any fundamental things that would interfere with work or play. Of course, I would like a slightly different location and more ports, but such a shortcoming is easily corrected by a hub (in the modern world, for example, I have already gotten used to them).

ROG Zephyrus M16 display

As already mentioned and evident from the name, the Zephyrus has also increased the display and is now 16 inches. In our case, the screen has a resolution of 2560×1600 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16:10. There are also relatively thin frames around it, and from below it can be called almost miniature, compared to models without ErgoLift, which in this case hides a large part of the “chin”.

Of course, this is a powerful gaming laptop, so the display can afford a refresh rate of 240 Hz, a response speed of 3 ms, and G-Sync. But this is not the most interesting thing either. The new screens in the top configurations are called ROG Nebula HDR Display, which in particular are equipped with Mini LED lighting technology.

It is such a matrix that we recently saw in the ROG Strix SCAR 16 SE model. The images and features are the same here, so I decided not to repeat myself and left only the main thing: the best for various work options is still the sRGB/Vivid profile, and in the Mini LED backlight mode, you can see halos around the illuminated images on a dark background. The standard mode switch remains, so it won’t be a problem for different work scenarios and user requirements.

The new displays are fast, comfortable to use, and effective. Although there are flaws with color reproduction in different modes, good settings for personal preferences remain. And spectacular backlighting with HDR support will improve the movie and game experience. Well, increasing the diagonal also provides advantages for work and entertainment.

ROG Zephyrus M16 security

A nice addition was the return of the webcam, which has been missing from ROG gaming laptops for some time. Along with this, the Zephyrus M16 received an infrared face scanner that works with Windows Hello.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

For a very long time, gaming models still forced users to use passwords or a PIN code to log in to the system and third-party applications like security managers, which was surprising at this cost. Now the manufacturer has taken care of this, and in most cases, it is enough to simply look in the direction of the camera and quickly log in without unnecessary actions. It doesn’t work instantly, but it’s still faster than entering passwords.

Manipulators and multimedia

The gaming department of ASUS sometimes experiments with some aspects of the keyboard, but mostly its format does not change. ROG Zephyrus M16 did without the NUM-block and an additional row of keys on the right side, where additional navigation keys PgUp, PgDn, and so on were sometimes placed. Because of them, it was sometimes possible to miss the adjacent keys, which in this case will not happen. Accordingly, there will be no need to adjust habits.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

Also here, in my opinion, is a great keyboard for any task. It is quite quiet, great for blind typing, has four additional programmable keys, and, of course, RGB lighting. For some reason, it has slightly fewer effects than some other models, but this can hardly be called a problem.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

The trackpad in the center of the case under the keyboard also remains an excellent substitute for a mouse for normal work. Its dimensions are 130×85 mm, which was always enough for me. There are no problems with the accuracy of work, gestures, and general response, so you can rely on the trackpad outside the workplace. Even its “click” is not very loud, so when working in a quiet room, the user is unlikely to disturb anyone.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

The kit also offers ROG Strix Impact — a relatively basic mouse in the ASUS gaming line. It has small dimensions (115×62×39 mm), a comfortable weight (91 grams without the cable and 112 with it), a PixArt PMW3310 optical sensor, and Omron switches. Fans of symmetrical manipulators should be satisfied with such a mouse, although a couple of additional buttons are a bit lacking. But in general, it is not bad.

ROG Zephyrus M16, like representatives of the “senior” Strix line, has as many as six speakers. It improves the sound, but some flaws remain. Although separate speakers are responsible for low frequencies, I would still like more bass. So in the case of playing music, you want to either wear a headset (which is also the best option for games) or use external speakers. But in other cases, the capabilities of the speakers are quite sufficient.

A 1080p webcam will be noticeably better than many others, not only in greater detail but also in overall quality. Recently, laptops have significantly improved webcams, and the return of such in gaming ROG will not disappoint buyers. Of course, it will not compete with the selfie camera of a smartphone, but with sufficient lighting, it will not let you down.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

The set of microphones also has several modes of operation and can work with different “coverage zones”. In addition, there is an intelligent noise reduction system that processes external sounds quite well. As always, it is not the best solution for games, but for work calls and communication with loved ones, it will work perfectly.

Performance and software

The relatively small body did not become a reason to simplify resources. And, traditionally, there are many configuration options. The test laptop is one of the top ones, working with a 14-core Intel Core i9-13900H processor (6 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores; up to 5.4 GHz; 24 MB of cache memory), and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 (16 GB GDDR6; 1505 MHz; up to 150 W). Also, our configuration has 32 GB of DDR5-4800 RAM (two bars) and a 2-terabyte NVMe storage (PCIe 4.0 ×4).

For communication and wireless accessories, there is support for Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth 5.2. Unfortunately, this time the Zephyrus M16 was left without the possibility of a wired connection to the Internet. Considering the price of the laptop, I would still like to have at least an adapter in the package. And the lack of Ethernet is another reason to buy a hub.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

However, not every user will need it all. But excellent performance in a relatively small body will definitely be an advantage. In synthetic tests, the laptop showed a lot of power. Compared to the previously mentioned ROG Strix SCAR 16 SE, which has a more powerful processor and supplies more power on the RTX4080, the results turned out to be similar, but the Zephyrus M16 is still more compact and, accordingly, more portable. All tests were performed with the most powerful performance preset.

But the maximum battery saving mode when working without a connected power supply significantly reduces these indicators. This is not felt in any way in everyday office work and media playback, but it will be more noticeable for demanding tasks. Of course, hardly anyone plans to play games or engage in 3D modeling at a great distance from an outlet.

Mains Battery
3DMark (TimeSpy) 17 822 1 828
3DMark (CPU Profile, max threads) 9 244 4 607
CineBench R23 (single/multi core) 1 959/18 884 868/10 769
PCMark 10 11 629 3 938

Our usual performance test failed to work again (probably we need to wait for more recent updates). But it was not possible to overheat the system in a couple of hours in the game. However, the temperature in the middle could reach 95°C. It warmed the work surface a little, but not more than “warm”. At the same time, there were no too-hot air jets from the side cooling holes, and the rear ones were generally covered by the display and did not heat things located nearby. In the M16, the manufacturer also uses ROG Intelligent Cooling with three fans, an evaporation chamber, and a thermal interface made of liquid metal (Thermal Grizzly).

What I particularly liked was the operation in Silent mode. During undemanding office work, the laptop completely turns off the active part of the cooling system. At the same time, it manages to maintain the temperature in the middle at the level of 45°C. That is, the case almost does not heat up, and the system behaves quietly and without random “preventive” cases of fans spinning up. That is, it is a quiet gaming laptop.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

For game situations, of course, silence is not provided. The cooling is audible, although it is worth giving credit, these are not the loudest fans in similar laptops. Moreover, taking into account the fact that some other models of the manufacturer may have more powerful components, in gaming benchmarks this configuration showed not much worse results (in some places even better). And considering the good portability, the ROG Zephyrus M16 additionally has a lot to praise.

ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 gaming laptop review

Everything is more or less familiar with the software. Along with the usual applications ARMOURY CRATE (for system management) and MyASUS (with additional settings for battery behavior, updates, etc.), Dolby Access (Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision settings) and the new entertainment application Virtual Pet can be noted here. Also, settings for AniMe Matrix are added to ARMOURY CRATE, because the model supports proprietary animations. For the most part, everything works stably and predictably.

ROG Zephyrus M16 battery life

This model did not have the largest battery (90 W•h), but thanks to the new processors, it still has quite competitive battery life. What should be noted immediately is that the additional lighting should be turned off (it can be automated) when working from the battery, which will significantly increase the working time. For example, the office battery life test showed 5 hours and 41 minutes with animation on the case and almost 7 hours without. Interestingly, the game test showed similar performance in both cases and quite expectedly, this is not a very long time.

Also, for example, my office routine or simple browsing gave about four hours of battery life with the backlight on. After turning it off, the laptop was losing 15% per hour. It’s the same with watching movies: depending on whether the backlight is on or off, a two-hour movie will cost 46% or 25% of the battery charge. And if that’s not enough, through ARMOURY CRATE you can set the number of active processor cores, which should lighten the load on the battery a little more.

Traditionally for ROG, such a set has two power supply units. The first involves stationary use and has a power of 280 W. With it, the system will demonstrate its maximum capabilities. The second is much smaller, it will be easier to transport a laptop with it, but it is also weaker – 100 W. They take 1 hour 35 minutes and 2 hours to fully charge, respectively.