Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 Review: Uncompromised Performance

A long-awaited Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 review is here, an upgrade from its predecessor, the ROG Zephyrus M15. This gaming laptop has unquestionably proven its worth through exceptional performance and immersive experiences, albeit accompanied by a steep price tag that challenges accessibility for many.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 Review

Due to its premium cost, numerous individuals have been unable to partake in the joyous experience this device offers. Their minds wander, wondering about the magnificence it entails, its strengths, and areas that require refinement. Our thorough analysis reveals that the 2023 iteration of the M16 has effectively addressed nearly all shortcomings found in its 2021 counterpart, significantly enhancing its overall weaknesses.

However, it is undeniably unjust for the 2023 Asus M16 to exist in a realm filled with high-end marvels like the ROG Strix Scar 18, slender counterparts like the ROG Zephyrus G14, and more budget-friendly alternatives like the TUF series.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 Review

Design

This year has left us in awe as the M16 introduces the AniMe Matrix system, previously exclusive to the G14, making its debut on this model. The question lingers: why the 2023 ROG M16 and not the G15? We do not possess the answer, yet it is undeniable that the ROG Zephyrus M16, formerly known as the M15 series, consistently garners more attention than its counterpart, the Zephyrus G15.

The AniMe Matrix system replaces the M16 2021’s diagonal color lines on the A-side. We find the AniMe Matrix to be more aesthetically pleasing and customizable. As a 2nd generation feature, it boasts an increased number of LEDs, resulting in a brighter display compared to its 1st generation counterpart.

The second area of improvement in the Asus 2023 M16 lies in its cooling system. Employing three fans with high rotational speeds (all exceeding 5500 RPM under heavy loads), and intelligently designed heat sinks that span the device’s main body, ample space is created for optimal heat dissipation. Additionally, the employment of a liquid metal adhesive system, thinner fan blades, and a dust filter for the fans contribute to an effective cooling solution for the M16, which boasts an exceptional configuration.

When it comes to the realm of high-performance laptops with expansive 16″ screens, the Zephyrus M16 stands out for its relatively lightweight build. Surprisingly, it carries a similar weight of approximately 1.6kg compared to both the 16″ MacBook Pro and its own 2021 iteration.

While this generation has foregone the inclusion of a LAN port, the remaining ports are thoughtfully distributed on both sides. Expect to find Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, a 3.5mm jack, as well as a USB-A port.

In all fairness, among all the ROG laptops, the design of the Zephyrus series captivates us the most. It strikes a delicate balance, boasting a slim and lightweight form factor while delivering outstanding performance. As ROG’s premier laptop line, it sets itself apart from the Strix Scar series, which prioritizes performance at the cost of a bulkier, 2kg+ frame. The Zephyrus series, on the other hand, excels in its lighter weight. The Zephyrus M16 follows suit with the G14’s stunning white color variant, a captivating aesthetic. Regrettably, our ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 review unit arrives in Black.

Display

The screen of the Zephyrus M16 undergoes a significant upgrade as it transitions from IPS LCD panels to the remarkable realm of mini LED technology, marking an impressive leap for ROG. The mini LED panel featured in the M16 2023 is undeniably stunning, showcasing vibrant colors and delivering a visually pleasing experience. However, it is important to note that the blooming phenomenon, commonly encountered with mini LED screens, is present.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 Review

Regarding color accuracy, popular color ranges such as sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI P-3 all exhibit high coverage percentages ranging from 90% to 99%. While ROG boasts a peak brightness of 1100 nits, achieving this level of brightness is rare and limited to specific areas. The overall measured full-frame brightness reaches approximately 600 nits. During nighttime viewing, particularly in dark scenes, a slight halo effect, known as blooming, may become noticeable around subjects—a common occurrence with mini LED screens.

To address this issue, alternative options include utilizing a regular OLED or IPS panel or increasing the number of local dimming zones. While the M16 itself possesses numerous local dimming zones, we don’t have the exact specifics at hand. While the M16 demonstrates notable improvements compared to its 2021 predecessor, it is important to acknowledge that within the realm of laptops equipped with mini LED screens, there are superior options available.

However, there is one aspect in which we firmly believe you will have an exceptional experience with this laptop: playing HDR games and consuming HDR content. With its robust configuration, the M16 undoubtedly handles HDR gaming with ease. Moreover, the screen of the M16 excels in showcasing HDR content, effectively controlling the contrast between light and dark areas better than IPS LCD panels. Windows has long supported HDR, and an array of games and monitors, including the M16, Strix Scar 18, and ROG Flow X16, fully embrace this immersive visual technology.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard and touchpad of the M16 continue to impress, maintaining their exceptional quality. The touchpad boasts a generous size, covered with a smooth glass surface that ensures accurate tracking. Meanwhile, the keyboard delivers a satisfying typing experience, with a sufficient key travel distance and responsive feedback. Though it features a single-zone RGB LED, the M16 offers a plethora of color options, allowing for personalized customization.

Moreover, the keyboard exhibits effective response and seamless performance. As we reflect on the M16’s screen, we still hold a fondness for its remarkably thin bezels. Positioned above the screen is an infrared camera, complemented by a Full HD resolution, enabling convenient face unlock functionality.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 GU604 specifications

  • CPU: 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900H (2.60GHz) Raptor Lake Processor with 14 Cores, Turbo Frequency 5.4 GHz, 24 MB L3 Cache
  • Display: 16-inch IPS panel, 2560 x 1600 (QHD+), 240Hz, WQXGA 16:10
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU, 8GB
  • Memory: 16GB DDR5 4800MHz, up to 64GB
  • Storage: 1 TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD, up to 16TB
  • Communications: Wi-Fi 6E(802.11ax) (Triple band) 2 x 2, Bluetooth 5.2
  • Ports: 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C support DisplayPort / power delivery, Thunderbolt, 1x HDMI 2.1, 1 x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1 x Built-in Array Microphone
  • Audio: 2x 2W dual-force woofer with Smart Amp Technology, Dolby Atmos, AI noise-canceling technology, Hi-Res certification
  • Keyboard: Backlit Chiclet Keyboard 1-Zone RGB
  • Battery: 90WHrs, 4S1P, 4-Cell Li-ion
  • Dimensions: 13.98″ x 9.69″ x 0.78″ ~ 0.88″
  • Weight: 4.63 lbs

Performance

When it comes to performance, it is worth noting that the M16, equipped with the Intel Core i9-13900H Processor, outperforms other models we have tested that also feature this CPU, such as the Zenbook Pro 14 and the Flow X16.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 Review

The Intel Core i9-13900H Processor truly shines when placed in a machine like the Zenbook Pro 14, regardless of any improvements made in heat dissipation. The CPU test scores among these three laptops demonstrate the raw power of the Intel Core i9-13900H Processor.

It is important to mention that the Intel Core i9-13900H Processor is a power-hungry CPU, consuming up to 150W (PL2 Static) and typically peaking at 120W while remaining stable around 90W-100W. To sustain such high power and pulse rates, proper heat dissipation is essential. Achieving clock speeds of 3.3GHz in multi-core and 5.3GHz in single-core across a CPU with 14 cores and 20 threads is undeniably impressive.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 Review

The CPU temperature does run high, reaching 97 degrees Celsius. However, thanks to effective heat dissipation, the palm rest area only becomes slightly warm. We do advise caution, as the heat dissipation area around the laptop’s hinge can become very hot, occasionally reaching temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius.

When it comes to the GPU, the RTX 4070 with a power rating of 140W surpasses the RTX 3070 by a significant margin, offering more than double the performance. Throughout our testing for the ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 review, it became evident that the RTX 3070 pales in comparison to the mighty RTX 4070, even when considering the difference in power. While the RTX 3070 was already impressive for gaming, the RTX 4070 takes it to another level of excellence. The GPU temperature remains relatively favorable, ranging from 80 to 85 degrees Celsius, and the high clock speeds deliver a smooth gameplay experience, especially when playing games at QHD resolution.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 Review

One of the notable advancements of the RTX 4070 over its predecessor lies in the inclusion of RT and Tensor cores. These additions not only enhance gaming performance but also excel in various work-related tasks, particularly GPU rendering in applications like Blender, Premiere Pro, and Photoshop.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 Review

Hence, it becomes apparent that to fully unleash the potential of such powerful hardware, these devices must possess a robust heat dissipation system. Although the Zephyrus M16 may not match the heat dissipation capabilities of the Strix Scar 18 or the Strix Scar 16 (given its slightly thicker and heavier build), the fact that it can handle the Core i9-13900H and RTX 4070 at their maximum capacities is undeniably commendable.

Digging into the specifications, we discovered that the M16’s screen is supplied by BOE, while SK Hynix provides the RAM, and Micron is responsible for the SSD. These high-end components are evident in our ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 review tests, as both the RAM and SSD demonstrate impressive performance speeds, contributing to an overall smooth and enjoyable user experience.

Battery

Regarding the battery, the 2023 ROG M16 retains its 90Wh battery capacity. In our three days of usage, we observed a battery life of approximately 4 to 4.5 hours. This duration is satisfactory for a laptop like the M16. However, our testing period was relatively short as we dedicated one day to testing the laptop, and another day to updating drivers and BIOS, leaving only one day of actual usage until the battery reached 20%.

Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 Review

Ideally, we would have liked to use the device for a longer duration to provide a more accurate estimate. Unfortunately, we didn’t have sufficient time for an extended evaluation. Nevertheless, you can consider our findings as a reference point. If you wish to conserve more battery power, you can actively enable/disable features like the MUX Switch or NVIDIA’s Advanced Optimus. Utilizing only the integrated GPU (iGPU) instead of the discrete GPU can significantly enhance battery efficiency.

Final line

The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 certainly commands attention, but it does come with a significant price tag of over $2000. This places it in a category that appeals to a niche community of users. However, if you are currently using the M16 from 2021 or even 2022, upgrading to the 2023 version is worth considering. The improvements in terms of the screen, performance, and overall aesthetics are substantial. We can assure you that the M16 2023 will captivate your gaze, especially with the addition of the visually striking AniMe Matrix feature. Similar to our admiration for the A side of the M16, we also appreciate the design of the Zephyrus G14.

Price and availability

The Asus ROG Zephyrus M16 2023 (GU604) gaming laptop is available for purchase on online e-shops such as Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Newegg.com. The pricing for the model equipped with the i9-13900H, RTX 4070, 16 GB RAM, and 1 TB SSD starts at $2,299.

About Ankeet Solanki

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