Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 (GU605) review: a sleek Intel gaming laptop with creator appeal

16-inches of 240Hz G-Sync goodness paired up with a powerful GPU

Asus Zephyrus G16 on table beside a mug and potted plant
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The mix of performance, style and portability makes the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 one of our favorite premium gaming laptops, despite a few minor downsides.

Pros

  • +

    Excellent gaming performance

  • +

    Fantastic display

  • +

    Slim and sleek build

Cons

  • -

    Somewhat underwhelming battery life

  • -

    RAM can’t be upgraded

  • -

    Higher-end variants are expensive

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Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 : Two-minute review

Thinner and lighter than it looks, the ROG Zephyrus G16 packs some serious hardware in a stylish 16-inch frame. While there are multiple configurations available, the G16 that was sent to me for this review features an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H CPU paired up with a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 that can boost up to 100W. Sadly the 16GB of LPDDR5X 7467MHz RAM is soldered in and not upgradeable, and 32GB is only available on the Ultra 9 with RTX 4070/4080/4090 configuration for a significantly higher price. The 16-inch IPS screen has a 16:10 ratio, with a 2.5K (2560 x 1600) resolution, up to 500 nit brightness, a 3ms response time and a 240Hz G-Sync compatible refresh rate. You also get a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6 and a large 90Wh battery. 

The G16 has two USB-C ports (one on each side), and while both support PD spec 100W charging and DisplayPort output, the left one is Thunderbolt 4 spec (40Gbps) and the right is USB 3.2 Gen 2 spec (10Gbps). You also get USB-A 3.2 ports on both the left and right, as well as HDMI 2.1, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The G16 includes an array of customizable RGB lighting in the keyboard backlight, as well as “slash lighting” option that runs across the back of the display. 

Performance is excellent, and the G16 has the cooling capacity to let the Intel Ultra 7 CPU sustain high performance. Even with the GPU joining in, heat dissipation isn’t an issue in most scenarios. The RTX 4060 GPU means you will need to turn the details down for most intensive games if you want to take advantage of the high refresh rate – especially at the native resolution. Dropping back to 1080p makes it easy to keep the details high, but still achieve 120+ fps. The laptop scales back performance on battery or USB-C, but it’s still plenty good enough for plugging into a dock at work, without needing to bring along the monster 200W PSU. 

The 2560 x 1600 display is vibrant and bright, while G-Sync, the 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time makes for very smooth gaming. Moreover, the 100 DCI-P3 color reproduction will satisfy creators as well. The 90Wh battery is on the larger side and can be charged to 50% in 30 minutes, but the G16 isn’t too keen to run efficiently when unplugged. In silent mode (and half screen brightness) it struggles to last 4.5 hours for productivity tasks on default settings.

The keyboard is well spaced with deep 1.7mm travel, and the trackpad is large and accurate. The 1080p webcam quality is nothing special but gets the job done, and is equipped with IR that works well for facial recognition. The speakers provide better than expected sound considering the form factor.

Asus Zephyrus G16 displaying Red Dead Redemption II home screen

(Image credit: Future)

Asus ROG Zephyrus G16: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? from $2,899 / £2,299 / AU$3,299
  • Where is it available? Available in different configurations in most markets

Asus gives a price tag of $2,899 / £2,299 / AU$3,299 for the base configuration of the G16, but what hardware is included at that price varies across different markets. 

It's hard to judge the value of the G16, as the base spec (in some regions) isn't overly appealing, and opting for higher-specced models can make the G16 much more expensive and reduces the overall value. I tested a G16 with the bang for buck RTX 4060, but you can opt for a lesser RTX 4050, or bump up to an RTX 4070, RTX 4080 or RTX 4090. While the other options are appealing, the RTX 4060 is well suited to the G16 form factor.

Depending on your location, the specific configurations available vary and can include an OLED or IPS screen, and Intel Core Ultra 7 or 9 CPUs. For example, the G16 tested is available in Australia with an RRP of AU$3,499 (RTX 4060) but, at the time of writing, isn’t available in the USA or the UK. In comparison, the higher end Core i9, RTX 4090 model costs $3,499 / £3,999 / AU$6,999.

Asus also announced a new ROG Zephyrus G16 (GA605) at Computex on June 3, 2024, which will be available later in the year. The new model brings increased AI focus with an AMD CPU and Copilot+ support, but is unlikely to improve gaming performance by a significant amount. The good news is that the new model should help drive down prices of the current Zephyrus G16 (GU605) and make it an even better deal. 

  • Value score:  4 / 5

Asus Zephyrus G16 keyboard side angle

(Image credit: Future)

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 review: Specs

Availability varies widely depending on your location, but overall the G16 has a large number of configurations that include AMD and Intel CPUS, and GPUs from the RTX 4050 all the way through to the mighty RTX 4090. 

The specs listed below are for the G16 model tested for this review.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ComponentAsus Zephyrus G16
CPUIntel Core Ultra 7 155H, 14 Cores, 22 Threads, up to 4.8GHz, 80W TDP
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 4060 8GB 100W TGP
Screen16-inch, 2560 x 1600 IPS, G-Sync, 240Hz refresh rate, 3ms GTG, 100% DCI-P3
RAM16GB 7467MHz LPDDR5X (soldered)
Storage1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
Ports1x Thunderbolt 4 (40Gbps) with Displayport and 100W PD charging, 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) with DisplayPort and Power Delivery, 2x USB-A 3.2, 1x HDMI 2.1, SD card reader, 3.5mm audio jack
WirelessWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3
Battery90Wh
Weight1.85kg (4.08 lbs)
Dimensions35.4 x 24.6 x 1.62 – 1.72 cm (13.94 x 9.69 x 0.64 – 0.68 inches)

Asus Zephyrus G16 right-hand side ports

(Image credit: Future)
  • Specs score: 4 / 5

Asus Zephyrus G16 left-hand side ports

(Image credit: Future)

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 review: Design

  • Balanced hardware
  • Customizable lighting
  • Surprisingly portable

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 is sold as a gaming machine that can also fly under the radar and make for a capable workstation. At 35.4 x 24.6 x 1.62 – 1.72 cm (13.94 x 9.69 x 0.64 – 0.68 inches) and 1.85kg (4.08 lbs) the G16 is pretty slim for a 16-inch, discrete GPU-sporting laptop. It’s worth noting that while Asus claims the thickness is up to 1.72cm, I measured the laptop at up to 1.79cm at the thickest point and 2.1cm off the table when including the feet. On the plus side, the width, depth and weight are accurate.

The G16 chassis is CNC-machined (a computerized manufacturing process) from aluminum, then anodized, which makes it stiff and robust without adding to the weight. Overall, the G16 is very portable, but keep in mind it does come with a monster 200W PSU that is needed for full performance. That said, the 100W USB-C charging is relatively capable (more on that later), so the G16 does well plugged into a dock.

I tested the mid-range model featuring a Intel Ultra 7 155H CPU and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 8GB GPU that features a 100W TGP. The 16GB (2x8GB) of DDR5 is low profile, so soldered to the board and sadly not upgradeable. My G16 also had a 1TB Pcie 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD, which is upgradable if needed down the track. The problem here is that if you want 32GB of RAM, then you need to opt for the higher-end Ultra 9 185H-powered G16, with either RTX 4070/4080/4090 and an OLED screen. This is a shame, because 32GB of RAM is well suited to the Ultra 7 and RTX 4060 variants – especially for use as a high-powered workstation. Whereas the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 GPUs are overkill for the cooling capacity of the laptop, and as they are capped at 115W TGP, don’t offer a huge amount of additional gaming performance considering in relation to the price increase. 

On the plus side, the cooling setup is great – and fresh air is drawn in from below and vented out the rear of the laptop, meaning there are no vents on the sides aimed at your hand.

The G16 has a 16-inch 16:10 ratio (2560 x 1600) IPS panel with a very fast 240Hz  G-Sync compatible refresh rate and a solid 3ms GTG response time for smooth gaming at high or low frame rates. The display has up to a 500 nit brightness and covers 100% of the DCI-P3 gamut, so has vibrant, accurate colors. While I wish the OLED was also available on the RTX 4060 variant, the IPS panel is a good match for the laptop overall. 

Wireless connectivity is good, with Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax, triple band 2x2 antennas) and Bluetooth 5.3. The selection of ports is also excellent, and we really appreciate having USB-C PD 100W charging and DisplayPort capable USB-C ports on both sides of the laptop – again making the G16 well suited to use with a dock or USB-C charging.  The full complement of fast USB-C and USB-A ports, HDMI 2.1, SD card slot and 3.5mm audio jack mean the G16 is very versatile without needing to carry any extra dongles.

Asus Zephyrus G16

(Image credit: Future)

The G16 has a Windows Hello-ready 1080p IR webcam with an array of three microphones and noise-canceling tech. It’s a perfectly serviceable setup and better than lower-end laptops, giving about average performance for the price point the RTX 4060 G16 is targeting, but it would be a touch underwhelming on the much more expensive configurations. A fingerprint reader would have been a nice addition rather than the “Premium Glass” power button. The upwards and downwards firing speakers are quite good (for a laptop) and the Asus woofer setup gives noticeable kick to lower frequencies.

The G16 has a large RGB backlit keyboard with 1.7mm keyboard that opts to do without a numpad in favor of larger keys. The keyboard is very pleasant to type on, and we had no trouble with extended work sessions or gaming. The trackpad is also very large, and the premium feeling surface was very accurate – even with clammy hands. I just wish it included the fantastic light-up numpad in the trackpad as featured on some other Asus models. 

The keyboard RGB lighting has a reasonable amount of customization and can be turned white to blend in. The rear of the laptop screen has what Asus calls Slash Lighting – a strip of LEDs that can be used to create customized lighting that can run through 15 different animations, match sounds or give notifications. The latter is not very useful when using the laptop (as you can’t see the lights) and isn't very bright. While I liked the concept, the Slash Lighting could have done with more options for customization.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 review: Performance

  • Excellent RTX 4060 performance
  • High sustained CPU wattage
  • Impressive cooling system
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16: Benchmarks

Here's how the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Speed Way: 2,602; Port Royal: 5,912; Time Spy Extreme: 5,058; Fire Strike Ultra: 6,222.
GeekBench 6.2: 2,324 (single-core); 13,546 (multi-core)
Cinebench R24: 996 (multi-core); 102 (single-core)
PCMark 10: 7,690
CrystalDiskMark 8 NVMe: 5,046 MB/s (read); 3,638 MB/s (write)
Red Dead Redemption II: (Ultra 1080p) 65 fps
Cyberpunk 2077: 1080p, (Ultra) 51 fps; QHD, (Ultra) 39 fps
F1 2023: 1080p (Ultra): 50 fps
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 4 hours and 45 minutes
1080p video playback battery life: 6 hours and 27 minutes

As a thinner and lighter laptop, the G16 faces some minor cooling restrictions that mean it doesn’t run the GPU or CPU as hard as possible. When using the 200W AC adaptor, the Intel Ultra 7 155H is limited to 80W (down from 115W) and the RTX 4060 has a 100W TGP (Total Graphics Power, reduced from a possible 140W). These limits tend to have very little impact on gaming performance, as the CPU isn’t running at full load, and the 100W GPU TGP is plenty to reach the point of diminishing returns on RTX 4060 performance vs power use.

The overall result is a gaming laptop that gives performance just as good as most other RTX 4060-based machines, but in a thinner and lighter form factor. The G16 will happily run any modern game at high frame rates, but you will need to turn down the details (or reduce the resolution) if you want to push beyond 100 fps or try to make use of the full 240Hz screen refresh rate. Intense games such as Cyberpunk 2077 will push the RTX 4060 to its limits, but turning on Nvidia DLSS can give a big boost – taking frame rates from 51 fps to 83 fps at 1080p Ultra settings. With a bit of tweaking it's possible to get reasonable quality results at over 100 fps, but a higher-end GPU would be needed to go much further without major reductions to quality.

The Zephyrus G16 is available in configurations equipped with high-end RTX 4080 or 4090 GPUs. While these models will give improved performance, the GPUs are capped at 115W, and so won’t give the same result as the same GPU in a thicker gaming laptop using a higher TGP.

Asus Zephyrus G16 underside

(Image credit: Future)

The G16 is positioned as a gaming machine that is also a very capable creator or productivity workstation. Thanks to the high-power cooling system, the G16 can run the CPU at the full 80W TPD (Thermal Design Power) most of the time, and even under extended heavy load can sustain 70W. This means performance in CPU-heavy tasks that is as good as, or better than, most productivity-only focused laptops. 

On battery, Asus limits the CPU and GPU to 40W. If plugged in via 100W USB-C (such as a charger or dock), the G16 uses the same power limits. For most productivity work this doesn’t have much of an impact, but sustained CPU or GPU heavy workloads do suffer a little. For example, I saw about a 10% reduction in PCMark10 score on USB-C or battery vs AC. But in sustained Cinebench24 testing or long encodes, CPU performance can be up to 30% lower if not plugged in with the AC adapter. GPU-heavy loads suffer similar reductions if using the RTX 4060.

I would have preferred to see the G16 use smarter power profiles when on battery or USB-C that could route more than 40W to the CPU or GPU, depending on the total load. For example, if the RTX 4060 is not in use, making 70W available to the CPU would give near identical performance on USB-C or battery compared to the AC PSU. While it’s reasonable that gaming needs the AC PSU plugged in, plugging into a 100W PD dock (or using a power bank if away from the wall socket) is very common for productivity work. While performance is still good, it could have been even better.

At full tilt, the G16 does have to vent a lot of heat (I pulled 160W from the AC PSU when running flat out), requiring the fans to run at a dull roar. Scaling back the performance settings gives relatively quiet usage with less than a 15% hit to performance or game frame rates. The G16 has a large rear vent, which can reach a toasty 50ºC / 122ºF. The underside of the laptop peaks at 46ºC / 115ºF, whereas the keyboard is a warm but not uncomfortable 37ºC / 98ºF, and the trackpad a cool 24.1ºC / 75ºF.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Asus Zephyrus G16 keyboard

(Image credit: Future)

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 review: Battery life

  • 4 hours and 45 minutes of use when unplugged
  • 6 hours and 27 minutes of video playback

The G16 has a large 90Wh battery but the power-hungry hardware takes a toll even on efficiency mode. I could manage 4 hours 45 minutes of work unplugged, or about an hour of gaming. If playing video with the screen brightness set to 50%, I could make it 6 hours and 27 minutes before needing to charge. This is a below-average result and, as a comparison, the Alienware m16 R2 with the same 90Wh battery (but a Ultra 9 CPU) can reach over 8 hours of video playback or light office use, and the Gigabyte Aorus 16X manages similar. At the time of writing, Asus does not give any battery life figures on the G16 product page, but I'm hopeful that a future software update will improve power management and help extend the battery life.

If charging from the AC PSU, the G16 can hit 50% in just 30 minutes, making quick top-ups easy. Charge speed drops as you approach 80% and a full charge takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes. I saw up to 93W of power when using a 100W USB-C charger, and total charge times around 1.5 hours. 

  • Battery life score: 3.5 / 5

Should I buy the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16?

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Asus ROG Zephyrus G16
AttributesNotesRating
ValueExpensive at full price, but good value when on sale3.5 / 5
SpecsOverall quite good despite a few downsides 4 / 5
DesignWell concieved and executed aside from minor power issues4 / 5
PerformanceGreat performance plugged in but slightly hamstrung on USB-C4 / 5
BatteryLower than expected runtime unplugged despite the large battery3.5 / 5
OverallA premium gaming machine that can do double duty as a portable workstation4 / 5

Buy it if...

You want solid gaming performance in a very portable package
The G16 is all about being slimmer than most gaming machines, which makes it ideal for those who need portability without sacrificing too much performance. 

You want a workstation as well as a gaming machine
The design and spec of the G16 makes for a great gaming laptop, but it’s even better if you need a powerful laptop for productivity or creative needs. 

You want to stand out but also blend in when needed
The G16 has plenty of customizable RGB lighting options to satisfy your inner gamer, but can also quickly tone it down to hide in plain sight. 

Don't buy it if...

You want bang-for-buck gaming
The Zephyrus G16 is a standout premium option but, for pure gaming, the FPS per dollar lags behind chunkier dedicated gaming laptops.

You want an unplugged productivity laptop
Over 4 hours on battery is useful, but if you want to make it through a work day without a charger, the G16 is not the right choice. 

You want to be able to upgrade your laptop in the future
The slim nature of the G16 means it uses low profile RAM soldered to the motherboard, limiting future upgrades to just the SSD. 

Also consider

If this Asus Zephyrus G16 review has you considering other options, here are some other gaming laptops you can take a look at.

Image

Lenovo Legion Pro 7i
A 16-inch screen coupled to a RTX 4080 makes for an excellent higher-end gaming machine – though without the slimness of the G16.

Check out our full Lenovo Legion Pro 7i review

Image

MSI Stealth 16 Mercedes-AMG Motorsport A13V
With a more compact frame and RTX 4070 GPU, the MSI Stealth 16 is a slightly higher-end but still affordable gaming option. 

Check out our full MSI Stealth 16 review

Image

Razer Blade 16
It doesn't have the big 18-inch display, but depending on the variant, the Blade 16 offers similar performance for a lower price.

Read the full Razer Blade 16 review

How I tested the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16

  • I tested the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 for two weeks
  • I used it both on a desk, and put it in a backpack for travel
  • I used it for gaming, as well as office productivity work and video editing

I ran the Asus ROG Zephyrus G16 through our usual comprehensive array of benchmarks, as well as using it for actual day-to-day work.

I used a range of synthetic gaming and productivity benchmarks, real-world gaming benchmarks, and battery and power testing.

I used the TechRadar movie test for assessing battery life during video playback, as well as productivity battery benchmarks. I logged power use in a variety of scenarios, including when charging from USB-C. I also tested charging the G16 with a power bank. 

Read more about how we test

[First reviewed May 2024]

Lindsay Handmer
Senior Writer – TechRadar Australia

Lindsay is an Australian tech journalist who loves nothing more than rigorous product testing and benchmarking. He is especially passionate about portable computing, doing deep dives into the USB-C specification or getting hands on with energy storage, from power banks to off grid systems. In his spare time Lindsay is usually found tinkering with an endless array of projects or exploring the many waterways around Sydney.