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ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 (2024) review: Not just for gamers

A great display and lots of horsepower make this a great media editing machine too.

Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

ASUS’ latest 14-inch gaming laptop is an incredibly versatile and stylish all-rounder. But for those who want something even beefier, there’s the ROG Zephyrus G16. Not only does it feature a more powerful Intel Core Ultra 9 CPU, it supports up to NVIDIA RTX 4090 graphics cards. That’s not all. Its OLED display refreshes twice as fast at 240Hz and it has surprisingly good speakers as well as a full-size SD card reader for quickly transferring files from a camera. So despite being aimed at gamers, the G16 is better equipped to serve as a portable editing rig, which makes this a great system even for people who don’t care about bunny-hopping and fragging.

The G16’s new all-aluminum chassis is simply fantastic. That’s because in addition to being a touch lighter (about 0.1 pounds) and thinner (about 0.2 inches) than the previous model, it feels even sturdier. For 2024, ASUS ditched the dot matrix display on its lid for a single diagonal slash with white (not RGB) LEDs running down the center, which gives the laptop a much more sophisticated look without becoming boring. It’s like a teenager who grew up and learned to dress properly without losing touch with their gamer roots. On the inside, there’s a backlit keyboard with rainbow lighting (though it’s single-zone and not per-key) flanked by some surprisingly punchy speakers with an absolutely massive touchpad below. All told, it’s a beautifully designed system that looks as good as it feels.

Like its smaller sibling, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 combines a vivid display with a super sleek build but with better connectivity and even longer battery life.

  • Vibrant 240Hz OLED display
  • Sleek design
  • Great speakers
  • Solid performance
  • Memory is soldered in
  • A bit pricey
  • Reduced wattage CPU and GPU
  • Amoury Crate app is clunky
$2,700 at Best Buy

ASUS has also included the right blend of connectivity options. The G16 features two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A slots, two USB-C ports (one of which supports Thunderbolt 4), HDMI 2.1, a full-size SD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack. This is the kind of arrangement that lets you travel freely without needing to worry about extra dongles or adapters. Plus, thanks to ASUS’ new Slim Power Jack, you don’t have to hog any other ports while charging. And in a pinch, you can also juice up the G16 via USB-C, albeit at slower speeds (up to around 100 watts) than with the included 240-watt brick.

The G16’s 2.5K (2,560 x 1,600) OLED screen might be the best component here. It’s vivid and supports a huge color gamut (100 percent of DCI-P3), while its 240Hz refresh rate makes it great even for gamers looking to squeeze out every last competitive advantage. Though brightness is just average at around 400 nits in standard definition mode or 450 nits in HDR, I didn’t really have any trouble seeing the screen unless the G16 was in direct sunlight. One last bonus for photo and video editors is that ASUS does include a few calibrated viewing modes in its Armoy Crate app for sRGB, D65 P3 and DCI-P3 so you can more accurately adjust hues or color grade footage.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16's 240Hz OLED display might be one of its best components thanks to vibrant colors and a handful of calibrated presets for photo and video editing.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The G16’s performance is pretty solid thanks to an Intel Core ultra 9 195H CPU, up to 32GB of RAM, 2TB of storage and NVIDIA RTX 4090 graphics. However, here’s where some trade-offs for the G16’s slim chassis factor in. Compared to similarly-sized rivals like the Razer Blade 16, the G16 features a lower overall TDP (total device power), which means even if they appear to have the same listed components, there’s still a difference in capabilities. For example, on our review unit with an RTX 4080, the amount of power sent to the GPU caps out at 115 watts versus 175 watts for the Razer. The G16's RAM is also soldered in, so you can't add more post-purchase.

In Cyberpunk 2077 at 1440p and ultra graphics with ray-tracing on, the G16 hit 68 fps, which is just barely ahead of what we saw from a smaller Razer Blade 14 (66 fps), despite the latter having a lower tier RTX 4070 but with a similar wattage. That said, those figures are more than adequate to keep AAA games running smoothly. And let's not forget that the Blade 14 model I referenced costs $2,700, which is the same price as our G16 review unit. This makes it an apt comparison even if Razer’s laptop has a smaller footprint.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 has a great selection of ports including two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A slots, two USB-C ports (one of which supports Thunderbolt 4), HDMI 2.1, a full-size SD card reader and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

One of the main advantages of a larger system is having extra room for a bigger battery. On PCMark 10’s Open Office rundown test, the G16 lasted 9 hours and 17 minutes versus just 5:12 for the smaller G14. That’s a solid mark considering it’s also better than an XPS 16 (8:31) we reviewed. However, overall longevity depends on your workload, because when I ran the battery test a second time only using the GPU instead of relying on NVIDIA’s Optimus graphic switching feature, that time dropped to just 3:08. That means the system will last all day if you’re using basic productivity app, but for more demanding tasks like gaming or video editing, you’ll want to keep ASUS’ 240-watt power brick close by.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 has a spacious keyboard and a massive touchpad. We just wish it had per-key RGB lighting instead of a single-zone setup.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Just like its smaller sibling, ASUS’ ROG Zephyrus G16 is an almost ideal thin-and-light gaming laptop. It’s got a sleek all-aluminum build, a gorgeous 240Hz OLED display and longer battery life. Granted, it might not be quite as powerful as some of its rivals thanks to lower-wattage components, but it’s still got enough oomph to handle practically anything you can throw at it. And thanks to a full-size SD card reader, it makes for an even better portable editing workstation. But most importantly, with a starting price of $1,750, the G16 is more approachable than many of its high-end (and bulkier) competitors, which makes it a great pick for people who want a larger system that won’t weigh them down.