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Now that methods with NVIDIA’s 40-series cellular GPUs are lastly hitting the market, there is a contemporary era of gaming laptops promising much more bombastic efficiency. And with the 2023 model of ASUS‘ ROG Zephyrus M16 packing a Thirteenth-gen Intel CPU and an RTX 4090, we ought to be in for unmatched gaming prowess. This yr, ASUS additionally upgraded the laptop computer’s show to a surprising new Mini LED panel, and by bringing over the AniMe Matrix lid, the pocket book appears higher too regardless of the remainder of its chassis being largely unchanged. However the large query is that with our absolutely loaded evaluation unit costing a whopping $3,500, is this method actually delivering the identical worth again?
That includes a comparatively slim matte black chassis that weighs simply over 5 kilos, the Zephyrus M16 does an amazing job at retaining a little bit of portability alongside all that efficiency. And whereas it appears nearly precisely the identical as final yr’s mannequin, the AniMe Matrix LED lid (which we first noticed on the Zephyrus G14 line) provides a bit of additional type with out screaming about your energy degree. That is as a result of while you favor to be extra discreet, you possibly can simply flip off the lights utilizing ASUS’s Armoury Crate app after which simply flip them again on while you need to shock some nosy Saiyans.
- New 240Hz Mini LED show
- Anime Matrix lighting
- Robust efficiency
- Slick design
- Very costly
- Runs scorching
- Loud followers
- Simply OK battery life
Inside, the Zephyrus options RGB backlit keys and stereo audio system on the left and proper. Typing feels good, although I want the actuation felt a tiny bit stiffer, and it might have been good if the deck was slightly higher at resisting fingerprints. I might have additionally appreciated to see a finger scanner built-in into the ability button. It is a function extensively obtainable on non-gaming laptops, together with these from ASUS, however for some purpose, producers suppose avid gamers do not care as a lot concerning the comfort and safety a built-in sensor gives.
And in terms of connectivity, the M16 has loads of ports together with a number of USB jacks (each Sort-A and Sort-C), a full-size HDMI socket and even a microSD card slot. The one port ASUS did not preserve from final yr’s mannequin is an Ethernet jack, which is likely to be a deal breaker for some, however in 2023, I am not that bothered.
As for visuals, the M16’s 2560 x 1600 display screen is arguably a extra vital improve than its new CPU and GPU. Not solely has the refresh charge been bumped as much as 240Hz, as a result of it is a Mini LED panel, you additionally get far more dimming zones which assist minimize down on blooming. Its brightness is approach higher too. In regular use, the show tops out at round 600 nits, however because of its VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification, issues look even higher while you’re taking part in video games or watching films. It is an absolute deal with.
My one gripe, and that is one thing that applies to all laptops with Nvidia’s Optimus tech, is that when switching between built-in graphics and the discrete GPU, the display screen flashes and blacks out, which is simply sort of clunky. On high of that, relying in your particular settings, when it adjustments modes you could have to reenable issues like HDR or particular coloration profiles. This will get sort of tedious after some time, particularly if in case you have Optimus set to modify robotically relying on when you’re plugged in or working on battery. So ultimately, I set it to remain related to the GPU on a regular basis and by no means touched it once more.
Efficiency and thermals
Whereas the M16’s efficiency is something however gradual, ASUS stopped simply wanting delivering really top-notch efficiency. That is as a result of as an alternative of an HX-series chip, you get a barely slower Intel Core i9-13900H CPU. In the meantime, ASUS limits the RTX 4090 within the M16 to 145 watts (or 150 watts in response to the NVIDIA management panel), which is lower than the 175-watt playing cards you get in some opponents just like the Razer Blade 16.
Granted, this may occasionally really feel a bit nitpicky as a result of it isn’t just like the M16 is sluggish, notably while you consider its 32GB of RAM and speedy 2TB SSD. However while you’re spending this a lot on a laptop computer, it is bizarre to see ASUS depart slightly bit of additional efficiency on the desk. In PCMark 10, the M16 posted a rating of 8,624, which is greater than 20 % greater than what we bought from final yr’s Razer Blade 15 (i7-12800H/RTX 3080 Ti). That is a fairly vital soar, although we’re nonetheless ready for a wider vary of methods to reach so we will get a extra thorough comparability for 2023.
However extra importantly, the M16 solidly beat the Blade 15 in video games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider when it hit 144 fps at 1920 x 1080 on highest settings in comparison with simply 124 fps for the Razer. Moreover, in Metro Exodus the M16 exhibited the same lead when it hit 101 fps on Extremely at full HD versus 86 for the Blade 15. Moreover, if you wish to benefit from the Zephyrus’ native 2560 x 1600 decision, the laptop computer has greater than sufficient oomph to keep up a rock stable 120 fps with all of the graphical bells and whistles turned on in Far Cry 6.
One draw back of placing all this energy in a comparatively skinny chassis (0.9 inches) although is that this factor runs scorching. Temps do not go into the hazard zone, however you are undoubtedly not going to need to be doing any gaming in your lap, even informal titles. Heck, simply resting your palms on the deck could make them sweaty after 10 or quarter-hour. Moreover, the M16’s followers are fairly loud, and in efficiency mode, there’s merely no ignoring them. Fortunately, ASUS additionally gave the Zephyrus some slightly beefy audio system so it is fairly simple to drown out the followers, that’s when you do not thoughts making a ruckus for anybody else within the room (or probably the following room over). And when you’re OK with a little bit of lowered efficiency, there’s additionally a silent efficiency mode within the Armoury Crate app while you need to be much less rambunctious.
The opposite con with a system this brawny may be very mediocre battery life. When utilizing the much less power-hungry built-in graphics (which is what the system defaults to when Nvidia’s Optimus tech is about to automated), the M16 lasted simply 5:18 on our native video rundown check. That is a bit higher than one thing just like the MSI’s Stealth 15m’s time of 4:15, however barely worse than the 2022 Blade 15’s mark of 5:42. And to little shock, issues are even worse while you rely completely on the discrete GPU, with the M16 conking out after lower than three hours (2:50).
All advised, whereas it would not look a lot completely different from final yr’s system and its battery life is way from perfect, there’s so much to love concerning the Zephryus M16 too. It is bought a slick and surprisingly understated design with a little bit of hidden flash, and its new 240Hz Mini LED show appears superior. It additionally has loads of ports and, in a really welcome improve to normal high quality of life, ASUS even elevated the decision of its webcam to full HD. With the system supporting a Thirteenth-gen Core i9 chip and as much as RTX 4090 GPUs, virtually something you do runs tremendous easy. I simply want ASUS hadn’t stopped wanting together with probably the most beastly variations of Intel and NVIDIA’s top-specced cellular silicon. Once you’re already paying $3,500 for a completely loaded mannequin, you would possibly as effectively toss a pair hundred extra to make sure there are no compromises on efficiency.
That mentioned, for my cash, I would slightly go together with one of many M16’s extra inexpensive configs, which begins at $1,950 for an i9 chip and an RTX 4070 card. You continue to get that sensible Mini LED display screen and AniMe Matrix lid together with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. This fashion you will have a system that will not bust your price range or make your again sore when you determine to hold it round, with out placing a damper in your potential to recreation in type both.