Asus morphs this year’s ROG Zephyrus G16 into a more likeable gaming rig - Hindustan Times

Asus morphs this year’s ROG Zephyrus G16 into a more likeable gaming rig

Mar 05, 2024 10:45 AM IST

A lot making up this gaming rig, has played its part in delivering performance. It’ll only make HP and Lenovo’s task difficult, as they prepare a response

Asus has been on point, and in form, with gaming laptops for quite a few years now. The very first upgrades for this year, led by this year’s Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 laptop, simply carry forward that lengthening legacy. Except that Asus has given this a lot more personality, and not just a visual cacophony of colourful lighting aglow. Though the cross running LED on the lid, is a nice touch. Of course there are many claims about artificial intelligence (AI) figuring within Windows scheme of things (a factor of Intel’s approach, with an AI neural processing unit), but more than anything else, a fantastic OLED display and thermal smarts to make the laptop cool(er).

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 laptop. (Asus official image)
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 laptop. (Asus official image)

For a serious gaming laptop and then some, pricing is in the expected ballpark – 1,89,990 or thereabouts, depending on the spec you choose. As a base, you’ll get the latest generation Intel Core Ultra 7 processor (the Core Ultra 9 variants should be arriving soon too) with 16GB RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics and a 1TB SSD. It’s a configuration that, whilst you may keep a close eye on optional upgrades, is more than powerful for most AAA gaming titles at broadly just lower than the highest of visual settings.

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The Core Ultra 7 Processor 155H more than holds ground with gaming, and that is indicative enough of what you may be expecting – it simply gets through other tasks (obviously, less intensive than gaming) without breaking a sweat. Throw a deceptively heavily loaded array of Chrome tabs at it, batch processing images in Photoshop or multi-tasking to the more careless extreme multitasking, yet the 2024 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 only occasionally has to put the fans into a higher gear to keep things cool.

Mind you, Asus bundles the adapter with a cable that has a plug suitable only for a 16-amp plug (a gaining trend with newer computing devices; something I just cannot fathom). Though the power in use is much lesser than what you’d usually associate with larger plugs – an air-conditioner or a geyser, for example. Do you have a free 16A plug in your room?

With the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics leading the charge for gaming, Asus has in place necessary smarts to keep internals cool, thereby holding higher levels of performance for longer. It’s a different architecture for the 4070 compared with the RTX 4080 or RTX 4090, but there are three key elements. First, the keyboard itself has been redesigned to allow for more passive air intake. Quite how these vents handle dust in the long term, is a question only the passage of time will answer.

Secondly, three cooling fans tasked with drawing in cooler air whilst pushing out the warm air, have been redesigned to push more air with each rotation. The underside of the 2024 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 is designed with a seemingly less than adequate gap between the table and the chassis’ underside – that means the fans have to work that much harder to get circulation going. A slightly more prominent rubber feet design towards the back, may have helped (additionally giving the laptop a gentle angle for more comfortable typing).

Finally, the combination of liquid metal compound instead of standard thermal paste and a new fiber mesh heat-pipe purportedly keeps things cooler than its previous design. While I don’t have last year’s Zephyrus on hand, improvements do figure well enough because this generation holds performance for a significant amount of time even in ambient temperatures that aren’t exact winter territory now and there’s no air-conditioning. The only observation – fans are of course, quite audible, for the most part.

F1 2023 and Forza Motorsport can be played at close to maximum visual settings, while Starfield needs a bit of work to solve the slight judder in some scenes – hit and try with resolution settings, is the way forward. Games a notch lower in hardware requirements, can play with complete settings. With ray-tracing unlocked, the level of details you get through every sequence and visual in games, is the biggest step forward for this generation of Nvidia’s RTX chips.

Most impressive is this 16-inch QLED display, topping off its capabilities with 240Hz refresh rate. It’s a 2.5K resolution, but more than that, the crispness of what you see on this screen tells us the pixel density is on-point. Text clarity, detailing and the finer visual elements won’t get lost. Quite impressive is the colour tuning out of the box, and with support for the Dolby Vision HDR standard, this versatility further enhances the appeal of this laptop beyond gamers, to being content creators also into the fold of consideration.

That said, this OLED screen has limited sweet spot for viewing angles, and if you aren’t exactly sitting mostly within a straight enough arc, there will be loss of contrast and colour shift.

As I had mentioned, there is a definite improvement to Asus’ approach to this line of gaming laptops. The 2024 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 has a slimmer than usual profile, is designed with conventionality in mind and that should increase appeal with those on the fence about gaming laptops but eyeing powerful specs nonetheless. You can turn off a lot of the colourful lighting, though I’d suggest keeping the one on the lid enabled – that’ll get a few folks enquiring what laptop you’re using. This 16-inch aluminum chassis laptop is lighter than you may have imagined (still needs fair effort at 1.85kg) and an OLED display that is a pretty canvas to work on.

While keeping the price tag over the horizon, little has been sacrificed on the spec sheet and there are no attempts to over-tout the capabilities of Intel’s new Arc iGPU integrated graphics (hence the no-nonsense Nvidia RTX route). This combination delivers on performance. There are new cooling techniques in place, and some seem to have worked in instances. We aren’t exactly in the middle of winter (ambience takes care of the cooling) or the summer (when aircons are a rule), which left the 2024 Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 in a sort of mildly cool or somewhat lukewarm ambient climate through parts of the day – it held up, but the fan noise a constant companion.

The 2024 gaming laptop ecosystem will surely see a refresh in the coming months, as HP and Lenovo respond. Asus has set an undeniably strong performance and experience benchmark with the ROG Zephyrus G16. That combination whilst not unmatchable, will take some effort to surpass.

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    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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