The Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 gets a whole new look with a powerful new chip and a showstopping new OLED display -- a first for the brand.
Cool new design
Lovely OLED display
New Intel 14th Gen processor
Speakers distort at max volume
Keyboard a little mushy
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The new year is all about fresh starts. Asus took this to heart with the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16. The second iteration of the company’s G16 series, has some notable firsts as this is one of the first ROG-branded laptops to have an OLED panel and it is a definite sight to behold. The laptop is also in the first wave of laptops to feature Intel’s new Meteor Lake processors which are promising more power, efficiency and a new wrinkle of an AI-forward NPU. Throw in a sophisticated redesign and you’ve got a contender for the best gaming laptops page.
I got my hands on the pre-production model of Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 and I’ve got to say, I’m liking what I’m seeing so far. There are a few small points of contention however, as the speakers could be better and the keyboard could be firmer. But if these, relatively small complaints can be fixed before the system goes on sale, you’re looking at the first member of the 2024 class of best gaming laptops.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 pricing and availability
As of press time, Asus has not divulged pricing for the G16, but the gaming laptop will be available starting sometime in Q1. The laptop will be available in a number of configurations with up to a 5.1-GHz Intel Core Ultra 9 185H processor with a maximum of 32GB of RAM, and 2TB of SSD storage. In addition to integrated Intel Arc Graphics, the G16 has configurations starting with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, topping out at an RTX 4090 GPU with 16GB of VRAM.
Finally, you’ll have two flavors of display to choose from including a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600 OLED Nebula panel with a 240Hz refresh rate or a 16-inch, 2560 x 1600 TFT screen with a 240Hz refresh rate.
My pre-production model has a 3.8-GHz Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU with 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, Intel Arc Graphics, Nvidia GeForce RT
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 design
New year, new look. Instead of the Anime Matrix lid which was comprised of a collection of customizable mini LED lights embedded in the aluminum lid, Asus went for a more understated look. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a light show, as the CNC aluminum lid is bisected by the company’s Slash Lighting array, a customizable set of lights embedded in a glossy strip so you can retain your individuality. A Republic of Gamers emblem resides in the bottom-right corner. The word “ZEPHYRUS” is stamped elegantly in the center-rear with three small status lights right below.
Opening the lid, you get a full-sized RGB keyboard set in between a pair of speakers in the CNC-aluminum deck. You’ll see a trio of media buttons along with an Armoury Crate button in the upper deck. The Power button also resides in the deck, right above the Airplane mode button. A massive trackpad sits below the keyboard. The notebook is available in two colors: Platinum White and Eclipse Gray like my preview unit.
The second iteration of the G16 series, Asus managed to shave some thickness off the 2024 model, making it an impressive 25% thinner. Measuring 13.9 x 9.7 x 0.68 inches, the Zephyrus G16 weighs in at 4.3 pounds, putting it on a par with the HP Omen 16 (5.3 pounds, 14.5 x 9.7 x 0.91 inches).
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 ports
For such a relatively slim profile, the Zephyrus G16 comes has a healthy offering of ports, starting with a USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port, USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A and SD card reader on the right. Look on the left and you’ll see a Thunderbolt 4 port with another USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, a full HDMI 2.1 port and headphone jack. Asus pulled a fast one by including a proprietary charging port which I’m not too pleased with, but que sera sera.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 display
Oh my OLED! After so many years, this marks the first time that Asus is bringing an OLED panel to its ROG-branded gaming laptops. The colors are simply vibrant on the 16-inch, 3K (2560 x 1600) resolution panel. Model Bethann Hardison slayed in and orange-and-black checkerboard ensemble that made her warm mocha skin, dirty blonde cut and bold red lip pop. The details were so clear that I could make out every individual rhinestone embedded in her fashionable sunglasses.
In addition to being OLED, the panel also has Asus’ Nebula certification, which means it has certifications regarding DCI-P3, Delta-E and other measurements. The screen also supports Nvidia G-Sync which when paired with the 240Hz refresh rate made Street Fighter 6 look glorious. I didn’t encounter any stuttering as I fought my way through the roster as Kimberly.
Since I’m reporting on a pre-production model, we were unable to benchmark color reproduction and accuracy. But so far, I really like what I’m seeing. The laptop has Dolby Vision preinstalled so people who want to tweak the color temperature a bit can. While Bright will work for most, I tend to like the searing colors from the Vivid preset.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 audio
Asus outfitted the G16 with six top-mounted speakers (two tweeters, four woofers) that had no problem filling my large living room with loud audio. However, as I listened to Tems “Not An Angel,” I immediately noticed the distortion on the highs at maximum volume. However, that didn’t affect Tems unique, inviting alto nor the crisp percussion. I got a better result when I switched the settings in Dolby Atmos from Music to Dynamic. But I switched to Game when I played Street Fighter 6 and enjoyed weighty hits as attacks connected.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 keyboard
Asus made some tweaks to the keyboard, making the keycaps 12% larger than the original. The RGB keys glow seductively, practically calling out to be touched. The backlighting is plenty bright and I had no trouble whatsoever making out which key was which when I brought the laptop into my darkened bedroom for a late-night Baldur’s Gate 3 run.
Despite boasting a 1.7-millimeter key travel, I felt the keys were a little mushy as I wrote my review. Still, I managed to surpass my usual 70 word-per-minute result on the 10fastfingers test at 73 wpm.
The keycaps aren’t the only thing that got a size bump. The touchpad has grown by 37%, which gave me plenty of space to maneuver. The bottom edges deploy with a nice, springy click and Windows 11 multitouch gestures deployed with near-instant results.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 gaming and graphics
When it ships, the ROG Zephyrus G16 will run the gamut of Nvidia’s current 4000-series chips, starting with an RTX 4050 GPU all the way to the RTX 4090 GPU. And while we don’t currently have pricing, it’s a sure bet that anything past 4070 is going to cost upwards of $2,000.
My pre-production unit has a 4090 GPU with 16GB of video memory, so it tore through everything I threw at it including Street Fighter VI, Baldur’s Gate 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 with ease, even on the highest settings. Unfortunately, since this is not a final product, I can’t share with you exact benchmarking numbers. I can say that nothing fell below 60 frames per second. Please stay tuned to this hands-on for full benchmarking results as soon as we receive the final version of this system for testing.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 performance
The G16 is one of the many laptops, gaming or otherwise to make the leap to Intel’s new 14 Gen Meteor Lake processors. These are the first Intel processors using Intel 4 (7-nanometer) manufacturing process, as well the first to feature Intel Arc graphics and Intel’s new NPU (neural processing unit) .
Intel is promising we can expect improvements in two key areas:raw performance and performance per watt. For example, the company claims that its new Core Ultra 7 165H CPU is 11% faster than AMD’s Ryzen 7 7840U chip and 8% faster than the Core i7-1370P, last year’s model when each of the chips are running at similar power in multithreaded tasks. In this match up, you’ll see the performance cores getting the biggest boost with Intel surpassing last year’s mode by 21%. We’ve already seen some of this in some of our early reviews. However, we’ve yet to put a gaming system through its paces, something I’m excitedly anticipating.
I’m also curious to see how the new NPU will come into play in regards to efficiency. This new chip is designed to handle all those fancy AI processes, taking the load of the CPU and GPU making for faster AI results and overall better efficiency. I’ve had the opportunity to see a few demos which were intriguing, but I’m withholding judgment until we do actual benchmarking.
What I can tell you about the 3.8-GHz Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU in my early model ROG G16 is that it’s a beast. Despite opening 90 Google Chrome tabs with a mix of videos, spreadsheets, documents, social media, news and shopping sites, I couldn’t create a slow down. I even tried creating some AI images in Canva, but no dice.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 battery life
The Zephyrus G16 has a 90WHr battery that I’m eager to put through its paces with both our Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness) along with our gaming test (PCMark 10 script) to see what, if any difference the NPU makes on battery life.
Sleek, powerful and bursting with potential, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 has its hat in the running for one of the best gaming laptops page, provided its fancy new Intel Meteor Lake chip can live up to the hype performance-wise. The AI portion is definitely intriguing, but until I see something that will benefit gamers specifically, those are the benchmarks I’m going to live and die by. So far we’ve seen promising numbers, but the verdict’s out until we get our hands on a final production unit.
The redesign is eye-catching and I love a svelte system that I can take with me on the road without fear of inducing back pain down the line that can still kick some ass. Because depending on the already battle-test Nvidia RTX 4000 series, the G16 is a bonafide ass kicker. I just hope the speakers and keyboard are better on the final model, but as it stands, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 holds plenty of promise.
Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for Laptopmag.com since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.