A convertible gaming laptop? Why? Well I say why not?! Throw in a beautiful 16-inch miniLED touch display, uncompromising hardware and performance to match and you have an innovative, multi-talented laptop.
We’ve tested out a lot of Asus laptops in recent times – and for good reason, they make damn good ones – and a lot of them.
The ROG Flow X16 version we reviewed was the GV601RW complete with AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor, 32 GB DDR5-4800 (2x 16GB DIMMS) with support of up to 64GB. The big selling point of a gaming laptop needs to be the graphics card and the ROG Flow X16 we tested out came equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU.
Design & build
The design of the ROG Flow X16 is incredibly basic. Aside from the keyboard there are no fancy RGB lights anywhere – which is surprising given it is a gaming laptop. It is possible that it signals Asus’ intention that it is much more than a gaming laptop – not just a gaming powerhouse but also a creative laptop.
The lid is subtle with stripes across it and a small ROG logo and name in the corner. Helped by the 360-degree hinges opening the lid is actually pretty easy – easier than many others I have used. Now the problem with the hinges is that I’m not entirely sure they are sturdy enough for the heavy display if you are going to use it as a touch display.
While open to 90 degrees, touching the display would move it and making touching it inaccurate – the hinges weren’t stiff enough to hold the display in place while it was being touched. The hinges are required though to allow for it to be opened the full 360 degrees into a tablet mode.
I quite liked the tablet mode – not especially for gaming but more for creative work such as drawing and marking up etc. The included pen/stylus of course helps with this purpose and is obviously one of the included uses for the laptop. As stated above, the ROG Flow X16 is not just a gaming laptop.
The ports for input and output on the ROG Flow X16 are decent without being comprehensive with the power jack (proprietary), HDMI 2.0b, USB-C port (PD charging up to 100W), headphone jack on the left-hand side of the device. One port we don’t see very often on the left-hand side is the xGM port if you want to attach an external GPU (from Asus) but with the included GPU a high-end NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (8GB) you wouldn’t ever really need this.
The right-hand side of the laptop houses a couple USB-A ports that support USB 3.2 Gen 1 along with a microSD card reader. Strangely enough, the power button is a slim, low-profile button on the right-hand side of the laptop. This is not easy to find, especially in low light situations, but it is hidden and not obtrusive – not very gaming.
There is no fingerprint sensor on the ROG Flow X16 and instead the webcam supports Windows Hello which I actually prefer over the fingerprint sensor. It worked accurately and as designed each and every time.
The ROG Flow X16 offers four speakers with speaker grills on each side of the keyboard along with one on each side of the bottom of the laptop. The resulting sound is quite loud and accurate with little distortion – definitely good enough for gaming.
The keyboard is another thing I loved on the laptop. I prefer a laptop keyboard that has only a small amount of key travel – my desktop keyboard is a Logitech MX Mini such is my love for the small travel keys. The keys on the ROG Flow X16 keyboard offer 1.7mm of travel and are solid and offer little movement or wobble, thus delivering a great keyboard experience, whether it’s gaming or using it for long periods of productivity typing.
Some gaming laptops offer a numpad as well but there is no such thing on the ROG Flow X16 which I actually prefer but if you use the numpad on your gaming then you should be looking elsewhere. The keyboard offers some great RGB lighting options to give you that gaming experience as well – all accessible through the Armoury Crate app included.
Although the display on the ROG Flow X16 is not an OLED display it is very close in quality being a miniLED IPS display. The resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels delivers a great experience whether you are gaming or using the laptop for creative purposes.
The display is a 16-inch 16:10 aspect ratio display that can deliver blacks that are very close to the true blacks we see on OLED displays. This results in contrast ratios much higher than your standard IPS panel.
The refresh rate and response time of the display is what most of the gamers will be looking at and they will not be disappointed to learn that the display offers up to 165Hz refresh rate and a response time of 3ms to deliver a smooth gaming experience. For me, while gaming the colours along with the black blacks and the high refresh rate allowed the game to flow through incredibly smoothly delivering an experience that was thoroughly enjoyable.
You’d expect the ROG Flow X16 to offer great performance thanks to the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and its 8GB of memory and you’d not be disappointed if you did so. Paired with the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and 32GB of dual channel DDR5 RAM the laptop flies – sure it would be faster with the newer Intel chips but the AMD does just fine.
There was no issue pushing intensive games at high refresh rates with, for example, Borderlands 3 running at close to 50fps giving a beautiful smooth experience. Of course to get a full experience with more intensive games you will need to scale down the resolution of the display to enable it to be pushed at its limit and designed rates.
Benchmarks were good but not industry-leading with PCMark10 scoring around 7500 and the 3D Mark Time Spy 8443 with the graphics score at 8166 and the CPU score at 10,459 – this is of course with the laptop plugged in. You will not be able to achieve full power and functionality on battery power unfortunately but this is not unusual for a gaming laptop.
Every single game I threw at the laptop performed well, while it was plugged in but if you are using it remotely and not plugged into the wall then you will need to drop the display resolution to achieve decent frame rates in some games.
The ROG Flow X16 arrives with a massive 90Whr battery and given the high end specs on this laptop it will need every bit of this if you are going to use it to its optimum. While gaming I was able to get around 90 minutes of battery life but for everyday productivity work and web browsing my usage resulted in about 6 hours of battery life.
Remember this is a gaming laptop with specs to match so you are going to have to do some serious gimping of the settings to achieve a full day battery life. If that is required for you, look elsewhere – there are a heap of ultrabooks on the market that you can game on to an extent that will give you much more battery life, many of them from Asus with high end OLED displays too.
Who buys it?
The ROG Flow X16 is an outstanding gaming laptop that is a great gaming laptop and although isn’t able to match some of the more expensive gaming laptops for specs and performance it out performs them as an everyday productivity or creative laptop.
The internals are good enough for the more intense of games and the miniLED display touch display with the included stylus pen allow for accurate markup and creative uses. If you want a gaming laptop but also want to be able to comfortably use it for work (assuming gaming isn’t your work) then this is the laptop for you.