Asus always get us to talk about its laptops with world-beating innovation. Well, Asus is at it again. The last time around, it was the Zenbook 14x Space Edition with OLED tech. This time, it is the new Asus ROG Flow X16, a 16-inch gaming beast that’s also a two-in-one tablet, has a big battery, an astonishing mini-LED touchscreen, a monster AMD processor, and supports the Asus’s ROG XG Mobile external graphics.
It seems like a full-time job keeping up with Asus’s laptop output of late, let alone the remainder of the industry. Anyway, let’s explore this beauty in a little more detail. It is powered by AMD’s hot and latest Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, an eight-core and 35W variant of AMD’s latest mobile CPU. That’s coupled with a 125W version of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU and a MUX switch to ensure the highest graphics performance.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS|
|Graphics||Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti 8GB|
|Display||16-inch 2560×1460 IPS touch|
|Storage||1TB NVMe SSD|
|Ports||2x USB Type-C, USB-A 3.2,|
SD card, HDMI 2.0.
3.5mm audio jack. MicroSD
card reader, ROG XG Mobile
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2|
|Size||13.98 x 9.75 x 0.76-inch|
Factor in the 32GB of DDR5 RAM, not to mention a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, and you have a portable computer that’s seriously up there regarding raw specs. Sure, there are faster CPUs and GPUs, though not by much. Of course, many laptops present high-end chips, but most of them can’t compete with the X16’s display. It’s a 1440p panel with 2,560×1,440 pixels with a refresh rate of 165Hz, which is pretty much the ideal combo for coupling with the 3070 Ti graphics—4K would be overkill in visual terms and also whip the frame rates.
You’re right if you’re assuming that many laptops offer high-refresh 1440p panels these days. But do they push out 1,100 nits of brightness, deliver 100 percent coverage of DCI-P3, support HDR 1000, and pack 512 mini-LED dimming zones? Simply, no. The screen on this machine is epic—painfully bright if you want it to be, but also exceptionally well calibrated.
It’s one of, if not the most delicate full-array local dimming executions we’ve seen, much more refined than any full-array desktop monitor. With HDR turned on, you get none of the backlighting weirdness that torments desktop monitors. It is just eye-popping HDR performance, plus superb SDR rendering when in HDR mode. So there really are no flaws. In addition, you can change the overall brightness level in HDR mode, which is not usually achievable with a monitor. In short, this is HDR done right, and it’s changed our mentalities around full-array local dimming. It can really perform, after all.
From an overall performance viewpoint, this machine is solid but not utterly breathtaking. Employ the optional Turbo mode in the Asus pre-installed app, and there’s small to no CPU throttling under sustained loads. While playing games, frame rates are excellent but inevitably a degree behind the best gaming laptops with RTX 3080-based GPUs. Also, the battery life isn’t too shabby, with over six hours doable in terms of light usages, such as basic web surfing or watching videos.
Moreover, it’s well built, a mix of plastic and premium alloys, and relatively thin and light for something so powerful. The keyboard is solid, which we’ve expected from Asus, and the trackpad is a decent size.
|Cinebench R23 (pts)||14,773|
|3DMark Firestrike (pts)||24,193|
|PCMark 10 (pts)||7,070|
|Metro Exodus 1080p Ultra (fps)||74|
|Total War: Three Kingdoms 1080p Ultra (fps)||80|
|Crystal Disk read (MB/s)||6,753|
|Crystal Disk write (MB/s)||4,999|
|Crystal Disk 4K read (MB/s)||64|
|Crystal Disk 4K write (MB/s)||164|
|4K x265 encode(fps)||8.6fps|
|Battery Life (1080p video playback)||7h13m|
But indeed, there has to be something wrong with it. We could probably live without a 360-degree hinge and two-in-one tablet functionality in return for a lower cost. Likewise, the same goes for the ROG XG Mobile support. The Flow X16 already has an excellent GPU, and that whole external graphics thing is niche and physically cumbersome in real-world usage. That minor nit-picking aside, this is a convincing mobile rig if you require a 16-inch gaming laptop.