Wednesday October 05, 2022

Hot specs and hot air: Asus ROG Zephyrus Review: Asus ROG ZephyrusM16 Review

The M16 is essentially the same as last year’s model, with a few improvements. However, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 last year was a sharp laptop but struggled to perform due to its Intel CPU. Although the lightweight design was a plus, the laptop’s overall performance was disappointing, especially considering its high price.
Asus isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. It offers another Intel-based laptop that retains a lot of the same features as its predecessor, while smoothing out some of its rough edges. These additions are welcomed, but mostly iterative. They offer faster 12th Gen Intel CPUs as well as an RTX3080 Ti graphics card. However, I am more interested in seeing if the M16 is worth its higher price.
It’s worth mentioning that the 2022 version Asus Zephyrus G15 has a webcam. This addresses one of our biggest concerns with the previous model and removes one of the major advantages the M16 had over its predecessor, the G15. The M16’s Intel processor has the potential to give it an edge when creating creative applications.
Alder Lake is the focus of this year’s M16 model. The Core i9-12900H was paired with an Nvidia RTX3070 Ti. It was backed up with 2TB of storage, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and a Core i9-12900H. This configuration is priced at $2149.99 and is considered to be the middle of the road. Asus also offers a higher tier option at $3,199.99. This has the same CPU, storage, but an upgrade to a 3080T GPU and 32GB of RAM. The M16 budget entry is priced at $1649.99 and features a Core i7-12700H with an RTX 3060 and 512GB storage. It also has 16GB RAM.

16-inch 16:10 2560 x 1600 non-touch display, 165Hz
Intel Core i9-12900H
2TB SSD M2 2280 P4x4
HD webcam 720p
802.11ax 2×2, Bluetooth v5.2
90Wh battery
240W adapter with PD (100W).

Asus seems to be on the right track with more configuration options and a more affordable model. Comparatively, the launch price of the previous model was $1,849.99. It had an Intel Core i9-11900H paired to an RTX 3060 and 16GB of RAM and 512GB storage. You’ll find it hard to find a laptop cheaper than the M16 pound-for-pound, even among competitors like Razer Blade 15 and the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro.
The new Intel-based Legion 5i Pro is priced at around $2,300. It matches the M16 in almost every aspect, including the display, GPU, and comes with a slightly less powerful Intel Core i7-12700H processor. The Razer Blade 15’s latest model is similar, but it has a 3070 Ti, slightly less power, and the same amount RAM and storage. The Razer Blade 15 is priced at $2,999.99. The only thing that makes it stand out is the 240Hz display. This is too much for most situations using this type of hardware configuration.
While the trackpad and keyboard do the job, the chassis attracts dust and fingerprints easily.
The specs of the M16 are generally as expected. However, the M16’s integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU, multiplexer, or MUX switch, makes it stand out from its predecessor and other gaming options. These new additions to M16 motherboard allow the laptop to dynamically switch between its integrated and dedicated GPU based on usage. This allows for optimal battery life without compromising performance.
The M16’s battery life was quite poor. It only managed to last about six hours on a single charge. The M16 this year shows at least a slight improvement. I was able get two hours playing Destiny 2 at high settings, and six hours general use with the standard power profile. The MUX switch had a significant impact on the laptop’s longevity. It allowed it to run three times longer than if it relied on a discrete GPU. The M16’s seven-hour battery life isn’t bad for gaming laptops, at least those with Intel chips. However, I wouldn’t recommend taking it too far from an outlet.
The display was a feature we loved about the M16’s previous model. It has remained relatively unchanged. This 16-inch chassis is characterized by a thin bezel screen that ensures that there is no wasted screen space. This laptop has a maximum resolution resolution of 2560x 1600 and a refresh rate of 165Hz. However, it isn’t the fastest or most powerful display available.
The M16 is capable of handling a wide range of modern titles at native resolution, with all sliders turned up, including ray tracing, v-sync, and all other settings. Shadow of the Tomb Raider had some issues with RTX shadows maxed, but still managed a little less than 60fps, while Doom Eternal was able manage well over 90fps using all settings on “ultra horror.” Red Dead Redemption 2 was the only benchmark that caused problems for the M16. It averaged 45fps, but occasionally dropped below 30. RDR2 managed a remarkable 60fps with DLSS enabled in blanched mode.
I also tried less graphically demanding titles, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, to see how far I could push it’s 165Hz display. The M16 also handled the task well — the M16 dipped below 165fps only on a few occasions. The M16 managed to push a maximum speed of 340fps without vertical sync or frame limiter enabled. This is far faster than what the display can render.
These numbers are a significant improvement on the M16’s previous model, which averaged 236fps during our benchmark of CSG and 38fps when we tested Shadow of the Tomb Raider with ultra settings. However, the RDR2 benchmark for an older M16 was similar, with 42fps when everything was set to maximum.
These are just a few examples of the amazing games that the M16 display can play. The resolution of 2560x 1600 provides great clarity, and features such as Dolby Vision or HDR10 give you excellent color depth. The 500 nits peak brightness ensures that you don’t miss any detail and does a great job of reducing glare.
The form factor is almost identical to the M16 last year. However, I hoped that Intel silicon would give me a boost in productivity. I was pleasantly surprised when the hardware was compared to the Puget Systems benchmark tests for Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci. The final overall scores were 1243 & 1047, respectively.
One anomaly that I encountered was with regard to our video export test. It took us seven minutes to complete, with the fastest time at 7:43. Similar hardware laptops, even ones made from Asus, were able to complete the same task in three minutes. I tested the benchmark on several versions of Adobe Premiere Pro. The result was the same regardless of whether the power settings were changed. I’m not sure if this is a hardware- or software-related issue at the moment. I have reached out to Asus for clarification and will update you if anything changes.
Except for the anomaly in our export tests, these results place the M16 in performance brackets currently occupied by more costly competitors with similar hardware configurations such as the Gigabyte Aorus 17 XE4 or the Razer Blade 17. These laptops have larger screens but can cost up to $300-$1,000 more. While comparisons are not necessary, it is worth paying attention to the fact that you can get this level of performance on a machine that costs just over $2,000

Every smart device requires that you agree to certain terms and conditions before you can use them. These are contracts that no one actually understands. We are unable to review and analyze all of these agreements. We started counting how many times we had to click “agree” for devices to be used when we reviewed them, since these agreements aren’t something most people read and can’t negotiate.
Like other Windows 11 computers in Windows 11, the Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 (2022), offers multiple options for you to accept or decline during setup.
These are the mandatory policies that require an agreement:
A request for your keyboard layout and region
Windows 11 License Agreement and Asus Notification
You will need a Microsoft account to sign in (this can be bypassed by not connecting the computer to the internet during setup – in that case you’ll choose a username and password as well as security questions).
There are also a few options agreements, such as:
Connect to Wi-Fi network
Install fingerprint sensor authentication
Privacy settings for devices: Online speech recognition, Find My Device and Inking and Typing. Advertising ID, Location, Diagnostic Data, Tailored experiences
Personalize your computer for entertainment, creativity and gaming.
After you’ve completed setting up Windows, let your computer remind you to connect your Android phone
OneDrive allows you to back up your Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders
Get a free trial version of Microsoft 365
Microsoft can access your location, location history and contacts. Voice input patterns, typing history and search history. Calendar details, messages, apps, Edge browsing history and calendar details can all be accessed by Microsoft. Cortana will provide personalized experiences and relevant suggestions.
For support and protection, please provide your name, address, and region.
Save your email address to your device, and then autofill it in the MyAsus member registration form.
There are six mandatory and 16 optional agreements.

Although the performance is superior to the previous model, the M16 still struggles to cope with the increased thermal load from the new hardware. Although benchmarks were not throttled, temperatures on the M16’s CPU occasionally rose to over 90 degrees Celsius. Although Asus has made small improvements to try to reduce the heat, such as a different thermal paste or small adjustments to the fan blades and fan speeds, the M16 is still extremely hot and loud under heavy loads. This is when the M16 uses its “turbo”, which pushes most hardware to the limits of its performance.
The M16, just like other Zephyrus laptops allows you to switch between performance profiles. This allows you to trade higher performance for more power usage and audible cooling. With the included Armoury Crate software, you can switch between turbo, balanced, or silent modes with a single button. The M16’s silent and balanced profiles are not available while the battery is charged.
Silent mode is a great option. It isn’t silent, but it can still deliver usable performance without sounding like a jet taking flight. It was so quiet that I was able play Destiny 2 in my living area without disturbing my partner who was watching TV a few feet away. Although this did affect performance, there were occasional drops in frame rate and temperature spikes that sometimes reached as high as 85° Celsius. However, it was still amazing how long the laptop was able to maintain that level of performance without being too audible.
A laptop that can get this loud will be competing with its speakers, which feel very weak. The M16 has six speakers total, which, while not terrible, aren’t great either. The sound was dull and very limited in its presentation. Although I tried turning up the volume several times, it was not enough. In most cases, I found myself reaching for headphones rather than putting up with the poor sound quality. I tried the Dolby Atmos feature to try to fill in, but it was not enough.
This is how a gaming laptop looks now. Cool.
The 720p webcam is back from last year. Although it has been proven that a gaming laptop does not necessarily need a webcam, it is now a feature that you can expect from any laptop, especially if you need it for school or work. Although the quality of this camera isn’t exceptional, it is sufficient to make Zoom calls. The noise-canceling microphone array was effective in filtering out background noise.
Despite the hardware changes, the M16’s chassis still looks great. The M16 will look familiar to anyone who has used a Zephyrus laptop within the last year. The aesthetics of the M16 are my favorite, especially the reflective highlights at the lid. The Ergolift hinge is also a welcome addition. It lifts the chassis slightly to increase airflow. Although the matte black finish is striking, I was disappointed by how quickly it picked up fingerprints. The M16 measures just 4.4 pounds and weighs 14x10x1 (HWD). Although the 240W adapter is heavy, it isn’t too heavy. This makes the whole package very portable, even though it may not be particularly light.
The M16’s keyboard and touchpad layout is almost identical to other Zephyrus models, with dedicated volume keys and RGB lighting. The trackpad measures 5.1 x 3.4 inches in size and, while it is larger than most, felt very minimal. The M16’s keyboard and trackpad both provide a satisfying click, giving it excellent haptics, whether you’re gaming or typing.
It also offers a variety of connectivity options. In addition to the more basic dual USB-A and HDMI hookup, it also includes a pair of USB-C ports, one of which is Thunderbolt-compatible (something you don’t get on the AMD-equipped G15). A microSD card slot is also available. The laptop supports a wired Ethernet connection and 3.5mm audio cable, as well as other under-the-hood improvements like Wi Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.
The port selection is good and Thunderbolt 4 compatible.
The Asus Zephyrus M16 is a good package. Asus has done a great job keeping the M16 competitive in terms of performance. The battery life and audible noises it makes when it is under load are still issues that we had with the older model. We would recommend the M16 if it weren’t for the updated G15. This laptop is still in our top ten list of gaming laptops, based on its performance in previous versions. The M16 is a better choice if you are looking for a laptop to use in a variety creative applications. The M16 is a great choice if you are looking for a gaming laptop. It comes with a Ryzen-equipped RTX3070 and a RTX3080 for $1,849.99. This makes it a more affordable option for gamers.

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