ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 (2024) review: all the right ingredients

The ROG Zephyrus lineup has been one of the most iconic products from ASUS. The standout feature has been its emphasis on portability without compromising on performance. This year we saw a redesign for the popular Zephyrus G14 as well as the larger G16 after almost two years.

Featuring metal chassis, not only are these laptops said to come with vastly improved build quality, but are also among the sleekest Zephyrus notebooks the company has ever made. Of course, you also get next-generation hardware including the latest AMD Ryzen 8000 chips on the G14, while the bigger sibling comes with Intel’s newly introduced Core Ultra series mobile CPUs. Since Nvidia didn’t launch any new mobile GPUs, graphics options are still the same, ranging from the RTX 4050 to the 4090.


The new G14 is expected to launch sometime later this month, but the 16-inch model is available for purchase, and I got a chance to check it out. Now it doesn’t come as cheap as you might think, but I will get into that later. Let’s first talk about the aesthetics.

Design and build

The design and build of the new Zephyrus G16 exudes elegance and premium craftsmanship. Featuring an aluminium unibody case ASUS has clearly followed the likes of the Razer Blade and Apple MacBook Pro.

Available in dark grey (Eclipse Gray) or white (Platinum White), the laptop offers a sophisticated appearance, with the white model being less prone to fingerprints while the dark grey variant maintains a more subdued aesthetic. Unlike previous models with dot-matrix displays on the lid, the G16 opts for a thin diagonal white light strip called Slash Lighting, featuring 28 mini LEDs across 7 zones. This strip can be customised as per your liking and can be handy for notifications.


I found the build quality to be robust and stable. There are no creaking noises, the keyboard deck feel very firm and while the display lid is slightly flexible, it doesn’t seem to compromise durability. Notably, the lid does not open all the way like the previous generation, and you are limited to an opening angle of 135 degrees.

Despite its premium build, the Zephyrus G16 remains compact and lightweight, measuring just 16.4mm in thickness and weighing 1.8kg. However, top-of-the-line models are a tiny bit bulkier to accommodate the powerful hardware and cooling on the inside. Thickness goes up to 17.4mm while the weight jumps to 1.95kg specifically on the RTX 4080 and 4090 variants.


The display has thin bezels while the 1080p camera supports face recognition allowing you to log in via Windows Hello. As for the ports, they are distributed across both sides of the laptop. You get essential connections such as USB Type-C, USB Type-A, a full HDMI output, and an SD card reader. Both USB-C ports support Power Delivery of up to 100W, with the left port also offering Thunderbolt 4 capabilities. ASUS has also gone for a new squarish power connector which is reversible, similar to USB Type-C. For wireless communication, the G16 comes with Wi-Fi 6E as well as Bluetooth 5.3.


In terms of upgradability, the bottom cover of the G16 is fairly easy to remove, but the screws are of different lengths, so do keep that in mind. Apart from the replaceable battery, and the Wi-Fi card, you can only swap or add storage. There are two M.2 slots, both of which support PCIe Gen 4 SSDs. The memory is soldered onto the mainboard, hence it cannot be replaced or upgraded. Notably, as you can see below, the RTX 4080 and 4090 models with the Intel Core Ultra 9 CPU come with a vapour chamber cooling system with two fans. Lower-tier models make use of heat pipes and three cooling fans.


Display

ASUS has done a splendid job with the 16-inch OLED display on the Zephyrus G16. Not only is it great for gaming but it also works very well for professional stuff, especially if you are in the content creation sector. It comes with a sharp 2.5K (2,560 x 1,600) resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio, fast 240Hz refresh rate along with just 0.2ms of response time. One of the biggest issues with OLED has been its ability to integrate Nvidia’s G-Sync technology, but ASUS has managed to pull that off by collaborating with Samsung and Nvidia.

For the ones who prioritise visual quality, the display holds VESA DisplayHDR True Black 500 certification, along with Dolby Vision support, Pantone colour validation, and excellent colour reproduction capabilities. These features make it suitable for tasks such as photo and video editing, creative design work, and more. ASUS also claims 100 percent coverage of DCI-P3 and Delta E colour accuracy of less than 1.

I found the display to be exceptional, offering plenty of contrast and commendable colour reproduction thanks to the OLED panel. Such displays tend to be glossy, but the company has included an anti-reflective coating to minimise reflections and glare. In SDR, you can expect up to 400 nits of brightness, which to me felt plenty in most situations. It’s a treat for content consumption especially if you are watching HDR movies or videos, but I did feel that the brightness was a bit low when enabling HDR. As with most ASUS laptops, the display can be calibrated to various colour profiles using Armoury Crate, which is helpful while editing photos or videos.

Lastly, I do want to mention how the 240Hz refresh rate feels buttery smooth, which translates well for someone who enjoys fast-paced action games. You can, alternatively, go down to 60Hz to conserve battery.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard on the Zephyrus G16 offers a comfortable typing and gaming experience with its well-designed layout. While it lacks a number pad, the keyboard has a taller design with 1.7mm key travel and a satisfying level of resistance to each key press. Notably, the keycaps are larger compared to its predecessor and are nicely spaced, except for the arrow keys which are shorter stub keys. The RGB lighting can be customised according to personal preferences, and there are four macro keys that can be configured for additional control during gaming, enhancing the overall gaming experience.


The trackpad on the Zephyrus G16 has been significantly improved, boasting a 37 percent increase in size compared to its predecessor. Despite not being haptic, the touchpad offers a premium experience with a firm click, no rattling when tapped, and ample space for gestures. While most gamers may opt for a gamepad or external gaming mouse, the touchpad remains a high-quality option for other tasks and casual use. Its expansive size provides excellent precision for productivity tasks, making it a suitable choice for users seeking a hybrid device that offers smooth and precise gliding.

Performance

ASUS sent over the highest configured G16 which includes the Intel Core Ultra 9 185H and Nvidia’s RTX 4090 mobile. Along with that, there is a 2TB PCIe Gen 4 SSD and 32GB of LPDDR5X at 7467MT/s. This configuration is a bit of an overkill, especially in a chassis that is so thin. But it is commendable what the company has managed to achieve.

Based on Intel’s new Meteor Lake architecture, the Core Ultra 9 185H features six performance or P-cores, eight efficiency or E-cores, two low-power efficiency or LPE-cores and 22 threads. Boost clock speeds can go up to 5.1GHz on the P-cores and 3.8GHz on E-cores. In terms of power, the base TDP is rated at 45W while the chip is capable of pulling up to 115W. One of the main highlights of the Core Ultra series is the dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which is capable of handling longer-running AI workloads at low power.

ASUS lists that the RTX 4090 mobile on the G16 is capable of consuming up to 115W, but I was surprised to see it going beyond that. After tinkering around with some settings I was able to hit a peak power consumption of 142W, which is quite impressive. As for the CPU, the maximum power draw was close to 100W while stressing it using Cinebench R23 and R24 benchmarks.

Considering the hardware, performance is quite good. The laptop doesn’t seem to struggle with anything thrown at it. You can expect a smooth gaming experience at 1440p, at the same time there’s plenty of raw power for content creation. Having said that, the G16 is meant to offer a balance between performance and portability, thus it is not comparable to dedicated gaming notebooks. This was also evident when I ran the usual set of synthetic benchmark tests.

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Here’s a look at the gaming benchmarks:

GAMES at 1600pMEDIUMHIGHULTRA/VERY HIGH
Horizon Zero Dawn116fps105fps101fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider120fps121fps109fps
Far Cry 5124fps119fps110fps
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition42fps34fps22fps


I also tested Cyberpunk 2077, and since it comes with a variety of performance presets, here is an overview of what kind of results you can expect:

2,560 x 1,600 resolution
-41fps – No ray tracing no DLSS High texture
-42fps – No ray tracing no DLSS medium texture
-42fps – No ray tracing no DLSS low texture
-38fps – Ray Tracing Overdrive, DLSS Auto
-54fps – Ray Tracing Ultra, DLSS Auto
-58fps – Ray Tracing Medium, DLSS Auto
-69fps – Ultra preset, No ray tracing, AMD FSR Quality
-81fps – High preset, No ray tracing, AMD FSR Quality
-155fps – Medium preset, No ray tracing, AMD FSR Auto
-124fps – High prest, DLSS Balanced with frame generation, No ray tracing

This brings me to the thermals, which is a point of concern. The pairing of Intel’s Core Ultra 9 with Nvidia’s RTX 4090 is not entirely suitable for such a thin and light machine. I measured CPU temperatures over 60 degrees when hitting the machine with light load and idle temperatures hovered in the lower 50 degrees. Pushing the laptop to its limits results in peak CPU temperatures touching the 100-degree mark, while the GPU peaked at 79 degrees. The upper section of the keyboard deck and the bottom get quite hot to the touch, which is concerning.

Due to the design overhaul, the exhaust vents are much thinner compared to the last-gen model. It also does not have the ergo-lift mechanism anymore, which actually worked well in giving the laptop some breathing space. While ASUS representative assured me that the exhaust vents are well optimised, I was not convinced.

Running on Windows 11 Home out of the box, the new G16 comes with Armoury Crate and the MyASUS software. The former, as seen on all ROG and TUF gaming laptops, helps in controlling the system performance, lighting, display presets, audio and more. MyASUS is mostly for service, device health, warranty and so on.

It is worth mentioning that the speakers on this laptop are probably the best on any Windows notebook on the market today. The sound signature is clear, there’s a good amount of bass and overall it is just one step away from being as good as the speakers on the MacBook Pro 16. Even the 1080p webcam performs well, offering a clear and well-exposed image during video calls.

Considering the laptop comes with the latest hardware, it was disappointing to see ASUS cutting costs with the storage. The M.2 SSD on the new G16 is not the fastest PCIe Gen 4, and as per CrystalDiskMark the read and write speeds average at 3,500 MB/s and 3,200 MB/s respectively. While that’s not slow by any means, I expect the best speeds if I am spending upwards of Rs 2,00,000.

Battery life

The Zephyrus G16 features a 90Wh battery, which is close to the maximum capacity permitted on commercial flights. However, due to the power-hungry nature of gaming hardware, the battery faces challenges in providing extended usage during gaming or demanding tasks. In PCMark 10’s Modern Office test, the laptop delivered 8 hours and 23 minutes of runtime, which isn’t bad at all. Essentially you can squeeze out close to 9 hours if you tune the right settings. In everyday usage, I was getting anywhere between 6-7 hours.


The 200W charging brick included with the laptop can fully juice up the battery on the G16 in two hours. Although I noticed that charging speeds are faster if you completely shut down Windows.

Verdict

The new ROG Zephyrus G16 is definitely one of the best laptops of 2024. It impresses with its sleek design and versatile performance which is suitable for gaming and professional tasks alike. ASUS gets full marks for the redesign as it significantly amps up the appearance and overall build quality.

The 16-inch OLED display stands out as it is not only super responsive but it also offers vibrant colours, high contrast, and accurate colour reproduction. This ensures that gaming visuals are stunning, while it also caters to design and creative work requirements. Other notable features are the speaker setup, the full HD camera, and an optimised keyboard and touchpad layout that maximises usability.

Due to the thin design of the laptop, peak performance is limited, thus I would recommend going for a slightly lower configuration with an RTX 4080 or 4070. This would ensure a better balance between performance and thermal limitations.

Coming to the price, stocks for the Zephyrus G16 are very limited, as I was only able to spot a listing with the Core Ultra 9 and RTX 4070 combo on Amazon India, which is marked as ‘Currently unavailable.’ The only other option is the Core Ultra 7 155H with an RTX 4070 priced at Rs 1,89,990 on the ASUS India store. For that price you could get something more powerful like the Acer Predator Helios 16 or the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, if the extra weight is something you can live with.

Editor’s Rating: 8 / 10

Pros:

  • Fast and colour-accurate OLED display
  • Sleek design
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Best-in-class speakers
  • Respectable performance

Cons:

  • Runs hot, specifically the Core Ultra 9 variant
  • Cannot upgrade RAM
  • More powerful options available at similar price