ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 (2023) Review: Beautiful Display with Great Performance

Now that systems featuring NVIDIA’s 40-series mobile GPUs are officially available, a new generation of gaming laptops promises even more explosive performance. With the 2023 version of ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 sporting a 13th-generation Intel CPU and an RTX 4090, we should be in for unrivalled gaming performance. ASUS also upgraded the laptop’s display to a magnificent new Mini LED panel this year, and by bringing over the AniMe Matrix cover, the notebook looks better as well, despite the rest of its chassis remaining mostly the same. But, with our fully loaded review product costing a whopping INR 2,87,999, is this system truly providing the same value back?


The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16, with its relatively compact matte black chassis and weight of just over five pounds, does an excellent job of keeping a bit of portability amid all that performance. While it appears nearly identical to last year’s model, the AniMe Matrix LED lid (originally seen on the Zephyrus G14 range) offers a touch of extra style without shouting about your power level. So you can quickly switch off the lights using ASUS’ Armoury Crate app when you want to be more discreet, and then simply flick them back on when you want to surprise some intrigued Saiyans.


In terms of graphics, the M16’s 2560 x 1600 screen is likely more significant than its upgraded CPU and GPU. Not only has the refresh rate been increased to 240Hz, but because it’s a Mini LED panel, you also get significantly more dimming zones, which helps to reduce blooming. It also has much better brightness. The display peaks out at roughly 600 nits in everyday use, but thanks to its VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certification, things seem even better when playing games or watching films. It’s an incredible delight.

My one complaint, which applies to all laptops equipped with Nvidia’s Optimus technology, is that when switching between integrated graphics as well as the discrete GPU, the screen flashes and blacks out, which is a little awkward. Furthermore, depending on your exact settings, you may need to reenable things like HDR or specific colour profiles when it changes modes. This might become tiresome after a while, especially if you’ve set Optimus to switch automatically based on whether you’re plugged in or running on batteries. So, in the end, I set it to always be connected to the GPU and never touched it again.


While the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 performance is far from slow, ASUS fell just short of delivering genuinely outstanding performance. This is due to the fact that, instead of a HX-series chip, you get a significantly slower Intel Core i9-13900H CPU. Meanwhile, ASUS restricts the RTX 4090 in the M16 to 145 watts (or 150 watts according to the NVIDIA control panel), which is lower than the 175-watt cards found in competitors such as the Razer Blade 16.

Granted, this may seem nitpicky because the M16 isn’t exactly slow, especially considering its 32GB of RAM and fast 2TB SSD. But when you pay this much money on a laptop, it’s strange to see ASUS leave a little additional performance on the table. In PCMark 10, the M16 scored 8,624, which is more than 20% higher than the Razer Blade 15 (i7-12800H/RTX 3080 Ti) from last year. That’s a considerable increase, but we’re still waiting for a wider selection of systems to arrive in order to provide a more full comparison for 2023.

However, the M16 easily outperformed the Blade 15 in games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, achieving 144 fps at 1920 x 1080 on top settings compared to the Razer’s 124 fps. In Metro Exodus, the M16 had a similar advantage, hitting 101 fps on Ultra at full HD versus 86 for the Blade 15. Furthermore, if you want to appreciate the Zephyrus’ native 2560 x 1600 resolution, the laptop has more than enough power to sustain a rock solid 120 frames per second in Far Cry 6.


The other disadvantage of a system this powerful is its poor battery life. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 lasted only 5:18 on our local video rundown test when using the less power-hungry integrated graphics. That’s slightly faster than the MSI Stealth 15 m’s time of 4:15, but slightly slower than the 2022 Blade 15’s time of 5:42. And, predictably, things get significantly worse when you rely solely on the discrete GPU, with the M16 dying after less than three hours (2:50).


Overall, while the Zephryus M16 doesn’t seem much different from last year’s system plus its battery life is far from ideal, there’s a lot to appreciate about it as well. It has a sleek and surprisingly subtle style with some hidden flash, and its new 240Hz Mini LED display is stunning. It also boasts a plethora of connections and, in a pleasant improvement to overall quality of life, ASUS upgraded the resolution of its webcam to full HD. With the system supporting a 13th-generation Core i9 CPU and up to RTX 4090 GPUs, virtually everything operates smoothly. I just wish ASUS had included the most powerful versions of Intel and NVIDIA’s top-specced mobile chips.

When you’re already paying 2.8L for a fully loaded machine, you might as well add a couple hundred dollars to assure there are no performance tradeoffs.

However, for my money, I’d prefer one of the M16’s more cheap configurations, which begin at INR 1,59,999 for an i9 CPU and an RTX 4070 card. You receive the same stunning Mini LED screen and AniMe Matrix cover, as well as 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. This way, you’ll have a system that won’t break the bank or hurt your back if you wish to carry it around, without compromising your ability to game in style.

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