Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review (2024)

In the world of High Performance Laptops, the Asus’ ROG Zephyrus range is always popular. It’s Asus’ version of the do-it-all laptop that’s portable, can fit into an office environment and also be used to own the show at a gaming LAN. We got our hands on the 2024 edition of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 – which sports the first 14th-Gen Intel processor that we’ve seen – and immediately noted some contentious design changes. So, just how good will it be? Is this the dream laptop we’ve all been hoping for?

At a Glance

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 Scores
  • Price
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Features, Ergonomics & Design
  • Portability & Battery Life
  • Value
4.4

Summary

While the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 isn’t the standard-bearer we were expecting, it’s still a great, relatively portable all-rounder that can both play games and sit happily in an office.

Pros

Great speakers
Good battery life
Light for a gaming laptop

Cons

Contentious, retrograde design flourishes
Hinge is a little loose
Screen isn’t perfect

Awards

Highly Recommended Laptop Award

Specs

Screen16-inch, glossy, 240Hz, 2,560 x 1,600, IPS display
Processor1.4-4.8GHz Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU
Memory16GB LPDDR5 RAM
Graphics8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
Hard drive1TB
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1 x Thunderbolt 4
3.5mm audio jack
HDMI 2.1
UHS II SD card reader
SpeakersQuad array
Extra SecurityWindows Hello webcam
WebcamFull HD
Battery90Wh
Dimensions354 x 246 x 17mm
Weight1.9KG
SKUGU605
Full specs here.

Features, Ergonomics and Design

The Zephyruseses of recent years have had a genuinely head-turning presence thanks to their LED-matrix lids which could display graphics and messages. Unfortunately, the 2024 version of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 has done away with this and replaced it with an LED-back-lit silver ‘Slash.’ The LEDs can light-up in various, jerky, old-school patterns or match-up with any beats in music that’s playing. It won’t appeal to everyone, though.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review slash light
Its forbears were head turning. But, the 2024 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 feels a bit grey by comparison.

It’s not nearly so show-stopping but it perhaps doesn’t undermine the Zephyrus’ ethos of being a laptop that you could also use in an office, quite so much. It looks stylish and the CNC-milled aluminium is robust, but it’s essentially gone from being a bright-green Lamborghini to a gun-metal grey Aston Martin – the sense of child-like fun has been lost.

Keyboard and Trackpad

Still, at least opening it up greats you with an RGB keyboard to remind you that it can be a gaming great when it wants to be. The Aura software (within ROG’s Armory Crate app) allows you to sync its colours with other devices, make your own patterns or choose from many of the pre-set patterns which include changing colour with processor power and syncing with music. Or you can just use corporate-friendly white. All options are easily adjustable to three brightness levels via dedicated keys.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review keyboard
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G16’s keyboard and trackpad are comfortable and accurate. Those squished arrow keys, though?? It looks very corporate with the lights turned off.

The Scrabble Tile keys themselves are low-travel and very easy on the fingers while remaining very accurate for typing and gaming. There’s no number pad – large speaker grilles take up that space. We’re a bit disappointed with the squished arrow keys, but at least they’re isolated in the bottom right corner. There’s no dedicated Windows CoPilot key, but we’re not sure how much of an issue that will be at this point.

The trackpad is very large. It’s also smooth, accurate and has very pleasing, well-weighted, low-noise, clicking actions.

Screen

The 16-inch screen is one of Asus’ Nebula Displays which means it’s supposed to be fast, colourful, accurate and have good contrast. That’s not always been the case, in our experience, though.

It uses IPS technology and has a UHD, 2,560 x 1,600 resolution which keeps the Windows Desktop looking sharp and clear. Just, note that it has a glossy coating which gets reflective when dark-coloured content is displayed. This undermines its business laptop credentials, somewhat.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review front
There’s a noticeable difference between the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16’s Nebula display and the Nebula HDR display of its siblings.

Colours are generally bright,  but not quite as vibrant as we were expecting. We’ve certainly seen worse. Contrast is generally impressive – it’s not an HDR-compatible screen but it approaches the detail preservation that we’ve seen on some HDR displays – in both bright and dark areas. However, the blacks are a long way off OLED and the best, mini-LED-back-lit IPS screens. They’re rather washed out and this is particularly noticeable when letterbox bars are present because of the contrasting, black, glass bezel that surrounds the screen.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 backlight bleed
We don’t care much about backlight bleed, but the uniformly (relatively) bright backlight on the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16’s screen does wash out true black performance, somewhat.

Colour transitions and gradients are a mixed bag. Monochromatic gradients are actually very good as the display avoids the blocky artefacts and noise that plagues many rivals. Colour gradients are a bit more haphazard in that they can be very smooth or noticeably stepped in different areas of the screen. It’s not too distracting, but it’s not great. Still, designers will like its ability to display 100 per cent of the difficult DCI-P3 colour gamut.

Gamers will like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16’s 240Hz refresh rate which marries with a fast pixel response time to keep fast-moving objects rendered silky smooth. It’s not perfect in that some fine details aren’t as sharp as we’ve seen elsewhere, but we’re nitpicking and it’s still very good for a gaming laptop.

Speakers

Asus describes the speakers as having Dolby Atmos compatibility and a “4-speaker (dual force woofer) system with Smart Amplifier Technology, 2 Tweeters.” We’ve been impressed with thin laptop speakers before, but those in the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 are extraordinary. They get loud, fidelity is superb, vocals are incredibly clear and there’s even punchy bass.

Webcam and Conferencing

In addition to the excellent speakers, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 has a three-mic array that’s configurable for different spatial environments and a Full HD webcam. Both are augmented by the Neural Processing Unit (NPU) integrated into the 14th-Gen Intel processor.

The webcam captures a sharp image which can get a little grainy in low light – we’ve seen much worse though. It also features the NPU-benefits of improved background blur, creepy eyes forced eye contact, and automatic framing which generally improves web conferencing while reducing the power consumption of the processor. It’s pretty much the main benefit of having an NPU at this stage.

All in all, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 is well designed and great to interact with. But the screen isn’t as perfect as we were hoping.

Connectivity and Ports

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review left side
On the left of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 is an HDMI 2.1 video-out port, a Thunderbolt 4 port, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review right side
On the right is a UHS II SD card reader, another USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port plus a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port.

Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. It’s a good complement of connectors but we’d have liked to have seen Wi-Fi 7 included, especially as Asus ROG is already making compatible routers for it.

  • Features, Ergonomics and Design Score: 3.4/5

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 Review: Photo Flourish

The photos in this Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 are taken (mostly) at the Voco resort in the Hunter Valley – two hours north of Sydney. The laptop was actually still running our battery test when we took the shots which is why we couldn’t do much with the screen and lighting at the time. This is why some of the pictures were taken later, in the studio.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review photos
Our review photos of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 were mostly taken outdoors in wine country.

Performance

Inside the 2024 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 is a 1.4 – 4.8GHz, 14th-Gen (Meteor Lake) Intel Ultra 7 155H processor which has six Performance Cores, eight Efficiency Cores and two ‘Low-Power Efficient’ cores that all run across 22 threads. There’s also the new-fangled NPU which helps with Ai-optimised applications which so far appear to amount to web-conferencing and dodgy image-generation, but will surely grow quickly. Windows CoPilot will make major use of it but, for now, it takes Ai-optimised workloads away from the processor which slightly improves power consumption.

The processor is flanked by 16GB of low-power, LPDDR5 RAM and a speedy, 1TB, NVMe hard drive.

The below scores, marked out of 5, are calculated on a sliding scale whereby 1 is the slowest we’ve tested in the past two years and 5 is the fastest.

2D Benchmarks

In the general, PCMark 10 test, which apes general computing usage, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 scored 7,235 which is just ahead of a 12th-Gen Core i7-12800H processor and some way behind an i7-13700H. It’s still above average for most laptops and it should be noted that this Zephyrus range is available with a wide-array of CPUs and GPUs and this particular model sits at the lower end. However, we’re not sure which high-end models will appear locally – the top-tier-specified 13th-Gen model that we reviewed never actually landed on these shores.

In the Cinebench rendering tests, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 scored 2,820 in the rapid R15 test and 18,191 in the longer R23 test. Those are above average scores, but not great if you’re regularly rendering.

  • 2D Performance Score: 3.1/5
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review lid open
This is the extent to which the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16’s lid opens.

3D Benchmarks

Our review unit of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 came with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 which has 8GB of GDDR6 RAM. Asus states that other variants contain top-end 4090s. Nonetheless, in the difficult 3DMark ray-tracing tests, Port Royal and Speed Way (which ape the latest and greatest games), the laptop scored 6,024 (average 27.9fps) and 2,621 (average 26.2fps) respectively. These scores mean you’ll likely have to drop details and resolutions to keep things running smoothly, but it will cope with them. Score: 2.7/5

In the AAA-game mimicking Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme tests, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 scored 10,855 (average 66.3fps) and 12,326 (average 57.3fps) respectively. These should generally result in smooth game play but you may see some laggy slow-downs occasionally unless you dial-down the eye-candy settings. Score: 3.1/5

In the lesser 3DMark Night Raid test, which apes casual and competitive games, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 scored 57,434 which is an average of 537 fps, so you’ll have no issues playing at high framerates that can match the screen’s 240Hz refresh rate, here. Score: 3.7/5

  • 3D Performance Score: 3/5

Note: We’re in the process of adding UL’s Procyon real-world benchmarks which use MS Office apps plus Adobe’s Photoshop and Premiere. Check back soon and we’ll add them to our Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review.

Cooling and Noise

Putting powerful components into a 17mm-thick laptop rarely works out well. Nonetheless, in Turbo mode, the three fans only ramped-up to a robust whoosh with a hint of high-pitched whine.

It’s not the loudest, but it’s far from quiet. The fans can dial up and down frequently, but they do a good job of keeping the whole laptop cool. Previous models turned into a furnace. If you need silence, you can set it to Whisper mode and disable the discreet, Nvidia GPU to stop it getting too warm.

The main potential issue with a hot laptop is thermal throttling and we’re trying to put a number on this using the Cinebench R23 stability test which runs for 30 minutes. It gives a laptop time to warm up and potentially overheat. However, the score dropped by just 1.2 per cent, so we’ve no concerns here.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review oblique
Somehow, a warm day with a soft, cool breeze seemed apt in this image.

Portability and Battery Life

Considering the components inside, the 17mm-thick Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 doesn’t feel too heavy for a 16-inch laptop, even though its 1.9KG bulk keeps it just outside of our ultraportable limits. The thin-profile power supply and cables only add another 590g – which is low for a powerful games machine – but we suspect that higher spec’d variants will have larger power bricks to feed the processors.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 review underneath
There’s plenty of venting underneath the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16. You can also see that there are plenty of fingerprints, too.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 generally feels well built with a nice, stiff, aluminium chassis but, the hinge was a bit loose. It’s not weak and flimsy, but if you lift the laptop up quickly, expect the screen to flop backwards. It manages to avoid persistent wobbling issues, mind.

Inside there’s a sizable 90Wh battery and this ran our PCMark 10 test for an impressive, 15 hours dead. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come for 14th-Generation laptops.

  • Portability and Battery Life Score: 3.2/5

Price and Availability

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 is available now for a reasonable $3,499.

  • Value Score: 3.8/5

5 Alternatives to the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i Our Best Laptop of 2023 is still a great buy: it’s more powerful and costs less. However, it’s not nearly as portable.

Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 If you want maximum power and can handle a lot more bulk, then the Zephyrus’ big brother provides plenty.

MSI Stealth 16 StudioMSI’s rival might use last-gen components (the updated model is still in transit to us) but it’s a bit beefier when it comes to performance, albeit at the expense of portability.

Asus Vivobook Pro 16X Another Asus sibling offers a bit more for designers – including much more power – while maintaining some gaming abilities.

HP Omen Transcend 16 It’s got similar specs and an amazing, mini-LED screen. It’s less portable but it’s in a clearance sale as we go to press.

Conclusion: Should You Buy the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16?

It’s a very nice laptop but, coming into this review, we were looking at the Zephyrus G16 as being the Asus ROG flag-bearer… but it’s not. There will be more powerful SKUs available but we strongly suspect they’ll develop thermal issues in such a thin chassis. Nonetheless, while it doesn’t excel in as many areas as we hoped, there’s much to like in this all-round package and it’s well worth its Recommended Award.

Tell us what you think in the comments below or on this Reddit thread.

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