It’s been some months since I’ve reviewed a gaming laptop, and it’s been good to get that ball rolling again with a unit that has proven itself to be a well-rounded gaming system.
The laptop in question is a ROG Zephyrus M16 GU603H – The review unit was running an i9-11900H processor, backed up by 16GB RAM and a Nvidia RTX3070 GPU; along with a backlit chiclet keyboard and a generously sized touchpad.
The unit is well made, and measures 355mm by 243.5mm, is 19mm thin and weighs 1.9kg. Basically, it’s a 15in chassis size with a 16in screen in, with a 2560×1600 display featuring a 165hz refresh.
Gaming-wise, it handled everything I threw at it very happily; God of War was running at more than 65fps on high settings (and it looked incredible), with Doom Eternal powering away at 100-120fps on Ultra Nightmare (top-level) settings.
The sound was really, really good too – laptop speakers tend to be a bit average, but the ones in the M16 provided very good, balanced, clear sound with a good mix of bass and treble, and – importantly – actual stereo sound (eg you could hear which side of the screen gunshots or car engines were coming from).
From the benchmarks, the system scored 9045 in 3DMark, 6382 in PCMark, and the SSD returned a read speed of 6912MB/s and write speed of 5122MB/s in CrystalDiskMark 8 – solid results all round, given the unit’s positioning.
The screen folds 180 degrees back to be completely flat which isn’t much use for gaming but the option is there if you need it for work. On the back of the lid is another customisable RGB light panel; a nice visually distinctive touch which helps set the unit apart aesthetically.
The fans weren’t especially noisy, although I did experience some heating issues on the keyboard while playing demanding games – not enough to interfere with the game experience, though.
I’ve had almost no issues at all with the ROG Zephyrus M16 during my time testing it – it’s performed very well indeed, played all the games I’ve thrown at it without complaint, and lasted for a very long time on battery for “normal internet stuff” – Asus say up to 10 hours; my testing gave me six to seven hours of streaming TV or about four to five hours of actual work, but that could be extended if you really wanted to play around with screen brightness and power saving features.
It is a different story on battery for gaming – I got about an hour of God Of War before the battery went flat, but that’s an issue with most gaming laptops nowadays and the moral of the story is if you want gaming performance on your laptop, you need to be near a power point.
On that note, the Zephyrus M16 does support 100W USB-C charging; I had it connected to a WD Black D50 gaming dock as part of the testing and it was enough to charge the battery while streaming/internetting (but not gaming, because of the power draw).
The light weight has made it easy to carry around – be it from one end of the house to the other, or out to a café or the park for some “doing work in somewhere besides my house”.
I was also impressed by the relative lack of bloatware on the system – it came pre-installed with McAfee Antivirus and Asus ROG Armoury Crate, the latter of which is somewhat necessary for managing the power profiles, RGB and so on.
Besides the price – a touch high at around AUD$3,399 – the only very minor quibble I have, and it’s entirely a personal preference thing, is that the power jack is on the left-hand side of the unit instead of the rear , and means there’s a power cord in the vicinity of my traditional “Working On Stuff” coffee and/or notepad.
It’s worth noting this is the 2021 version and there’s a newer one that’s come on the market, but if you’re looking for a solid, all-round gaming laptop that can do double duty as a work/general internet device, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 GU603H comes well recommended.