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First impressions of the new ASUS ROG Strix G16 gaming laptop (2023)

Review of gaming and productivity on the ASUS ROG Strix G16 gaming laptop.
Sid Metcalfe

Cartesian Mathematics Foundation


September 11, 2023


As a gamer, I’ve had my eye on the ASUS ROG Strix G16 since its announcement. The promise of cutting-edge performance housed within a sleek design is great. It was recently delivered to my doorstep - below are some of my first impressions.



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Performance and Gaming Experience

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Jumping headfirst into gaming with the ASUS ROG Strix G16 has been an exhilarating ride. I’ve been pushing this beast through its paces, dipping my toes into various genres, and the performance? Well, it’s nothing short of breathtaking.

One of the first things I did was fire up Baldur’s Gate III, and let me tell you, it’s a whole new world when you experience a game like that on ultra settings—for the uninitiated, that’s cranking all the visual settings to the max. With the silent mode on, I’m hitting silky-smooth frame rates without the laptop breaking a sweat, staying in the pleasant 66-69C range. It’s surreal, really.

The ASUS ROG Strix G16 packed with the NVIDIA® GeForce RTX 4060 churns out frames like a well-oiled machine. Even in the bustling streets and magical chaos of the game, I consistently get 80fps. And when the actions’ particularly heavy, the dips aren’t even noticeable, barely flirting with the lower 60s.

I’ve been tempted by the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 as well, primarily to test the limits of the RTX 4060 and the Intel i9-13980HX processor. The open world of Night City with all its neon luster and dystopian charm absolutely pops. I thought there might be a catch; surely the specs are too good to be true, but nope, the Strix G16 delivers. I can vouch for the combo of that i9-13980HX and the 4060; they’re a match made in silicon heaven.

As a curious gamer, I also peek into the esports scene with titles like Dota 2. Expectedly, the G16 handles these with incredible ease since they’re less demanding graphically. The laptop’s 240Hz screen ensures that the gameplay is buttery smooth, making sure that every click, every command is registered and displayed instantaneously. Coupled with the laptop’s 16GB DDR5 4800MHz RAM, multitasking is a breeze. I can swiftly alt-tab between gaming sessions and streams without those annoyingly sluggish delays.

While I usually stick to games, I can’t help but mention how the G16 deals with other graphic-intense tasks. I dabble in video editing and 3D rendering from time to time, and this laptop has enough grunt to handle these tasks without breaking a sweat. It’s a versatile machine, and whether it’s Adobe Premiere Pro or Blender, the G16 is handling rendering times like a champ.

Let’s not forget about the immersive experience. The sound system on the G16 is decent but hasn’t exactly blown me away — albeit, that’s with some pretty high expectations on my part. What it lacks in sound prowess, it definitely makes up for in visual fidelity, with each in-game detail displayed crisply against those bright, punchy colors.

To sum it up, the gaming and performance experience with the ASUS ROG Strix G16 has exceeded my expectations. ASUS has put together a laptop that not only dominates on the gaming front but also serves as a powerful workhorse for any demanding applications. Sure, it’s got its quirks, but when it comes to gaming, it’s nearly flawless. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what every gamer is looking for?

Unboxing impressions of the ASUS ROG Strix G16

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Unboxing the ASUS ROG Strix G16 was an experience I’d been eagerly anticipating. After weeks of meticulous research and comparison, I finally pulled the trigger on this gaming beast. The excitement was palpable as I slid my way through the tape and popped open the minimalistic yet stylish box. There it was, the G16, nestled securely in its foam cocoon, waiting to be awakened for the first time.

Lifting it out, the first thing that hit me was the weight - solid, but not overly cumbersome. It felt substantial, reassuringly so. I can tell you, as someone who’s been through a fair share of tech gadgets, this little detail often speaks volumes about the overall build quality. Flipping open the lid, I was greeted by the matte screen, a subtle ROG logo gleaming back at me, almost with a sense of pride. It’s clear ASUS knows a thing or two about first impressions.

Powering it on, I was immediately drawn to the keyboard. It was backlit with an aura of colors, creating a seductive glow that all but beckoned me to start typing away. The keys themselves had just the right amount of travel and tactility - a real treat for gaming and long typing sessions alike.

The initial setup was a breeze — no fiddly drivers or updates required straight out of the box. Everything was plug-and-play, which I couldn’t be more grateful for. You see, one thing I really don’t fancy is a laptop that needs hours of setup. With the G16, it was a matter of minutes before I was cruising through the desktop, ready to put it through its paces.

Aesthetically, the laptop hits a sweet spot between being an unassuming piece of tech and a gaming powerhouse. If you were to take it into a coffee shop, you wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb amongst the sea of minimalistic notebooks. But at home, with the RGB flaring and the screen blazing, the G16 knows how to switch into its alter ego - the gaming juggernaut.

Diving into the interfaces, the generous selection of ports made me nod with approval. How often have I had to juggle dongles and adapters because newer models skimp on connectivity? Too many, I tell you. But ASUS did not disappoint - whether it’s USB, HDMI, or ethernet, they’ve got it covered.

Using it felt intuitive; the trackpad responsive and accurately capturing my swipes and clicks. And the screen? A window into the vivid landscapes of the gaming worlds I was about to explore. Plus, the bezels were so slim it seemed like the display stretched endlessly - a nice touch I must say.

I wrapped up my unboxing session feeling quite content with my choice. The ROG Strix G16 radiated a vibe of power restrained - as if it was whispering, “Just wait until you see what I’m capable of.” And I, for one, was all too keen to find out.

In all, I’d give a big thumbs up to ASUS for the harmonious balance struck between form and function right from the get-go. The unboxing itself was an event - almost ceremonial. I’d recommend potential buyers who value attention to detail and a strong initial user experience to give this setup more than just a passing glance. The G16? So far, it was shaping up to be the worthy companion I’d been searching for.

Build Quality and Design Aesthetics

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When I first laid my hands on the ASUS ROG Strix G16, I knew I wasn’t just holding a gaming laptop; I was holding a statement piece—a marriage of power and aesthetics that ASUS seems to have mastered over the years. I’ve always appreciated when a device doesn’t just perform beautifully but also turns heads, and the Strix G16 does exactly that in spades.

Let’s talk about the build quality first. The chassis feels incredibly sturdy. I’ve lugged it around quite a bit already, and it’s stood up to the challenge without so much as a creak or groan, which speaks volumes about the durability. I get why some people might be put off by the use of plastics in the build, but honestly, it’s not your run-of-the-mill flimsy stuff. It’s high-grade, robust plastic that feels like it can take a beating.

Moving on to the design aesthetics, this machine has got an understated yet aggressive look that I just love. The brushed metal finish on the lid with that subtlety illuminated ROG logo? Pure class. Open it up, and you’re greeted with a more muted interior which I prefer way more than loud, in-your-face gaming rigs. The keyboard’s RGB backlighting is, of course, customizable and adds a nice touch without being overpowering. I can set it to match my mood or just turn it off for a clean, professional look during the day.

Another thing that caught my attention was the attention to detail in the design. The vents are not just there for cooling; they’ve been crafted like a feature element that enhances the overall look. And the way the chassis is contoured? Absolutely intentional, improving grip and portability.

I often find myself marveling at the screen’s slim bezels; they’re not the thinnest out there, but they strike the right balance between form and function. By that, I mean they’re just enough to house the critical components without making the screen feel boxed in.

While the Strix G16 is built like a tank, it doesn’t feel like one. The weight distribution is on point, making it easy to pick up and play anywhere. I’ve been at coffee shops, friends’ places, and even used it for a presentation at work (yes, it can multitask), and I’m never feeling like I’m dragging around a behemoth.

And I have to mention the lighting bar at the front of the chassis—pure genius. It’s such a fun way to express the laptop’s and by extension, my own personality. Sometimes I have it pulsing softly like a relaxed heartbeat, and other times it’s bouncing lively to my playlist.

If I haven’t made it clear yet, I’m smitten by this laptop’s look and feel. To me, the ASUS ROG Strix G16 stands out in a sea of gaming laptops because it finds that sweet spot between looking like a premium device and a capable gaming machine without going overboard. It caters to those who seek performance and don’t want to compromise on design. And while opinions on aesthetics are subjective, I truly think ASUS has nailed it here, and I’m proud to show off this beauty wherever I go.

Thermals and Acoustics Under Load

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When it comes to gaming laptops, thermals and acoustics can often be the Achilles’ heel, turning an otherwise beastly machine into a noisy, overheated disappointment. However, my experience with the ASUS ROG Strix G16 has been nothing short of a cool breeze on a hot day – literally.

I’ve stress-tested this bad boy during prolonged gaming sessions, hurling it into the fiery pits of graphically demanding titles. And let me tell you, it handles heat like a champ. While playing Cyberpunk 2077 on ultra settings, I was expecting the laptop to sound like a jet taking off, but the acoustic management was surprisingly subtle. The fans certainly kick in, but they do so in a way that’s far less intrusive than I was braced for. It’s like they’re whispering: “Hey, I’ve got this, no sweat.”

The triple-fan cooling system really makes its presence known, not through noise, but through lack thereof. Pair that with the liquid metal compound on the CPU, and you’ve got a thermal performance that’s rock-solid. Peek at the temperature statistics and what pops out? Remarkable digits, with the GPU rarely batting an eyelash past 72°C and the CPU staying comfortably in the low 80s, even under duress.

What surprised me the most though, was how manageable the thermals are when not on a cooling pad. Sure, propping up the backend of the laptop for better airflow helps, but even without that, the G16 doesn’t turn into a miniature stovetop. Of course, for anyone keen on squeezing out the best performance while keeping things chill, a cooling pad does make a noticeable difference.

But be careful not to just trust any pad; go for something that aligns well with the G16’s intake vents. There’s no need to overcomplicate this though – a good notebook cooler will do just fine. I remember reading about optimal cooling setups on hardware forums, where folks would get technical with fan sizes and placement. If you’re into that, you might find this Reddit thread handy.

Switching over to quiet mode, it’s like entering a stealth operation. The laptop becomes perfect for those late-night gaming sessions where you don’t want to wake your roommate or significant other. It’s seriously quiet. I joked with a friend that the fans on this beast are like ninja warriors – efficient and silent killers of heat.

I’ve heard some reports of coil whine in some units, but it seems like I lucked out in the silicon lottery, as I’ve experienced none of that. And the best part about all this? You don’t have to be an engineer to manage the thermals and acoustics effectively. The pre-loaded software makes it easy, but if you want the optimal balance without the bloat, third-party apps like G-Helper pull it off elegantly.

In my time with the ASUS ROG Strix G16, thermal performance has been like that dependable friend who calmly assures you they’ve got everything handled while you’re freaking out about an impending apocalypse. It’s been a cool and hushed companion, allowing me to lose myself in virtual worlds without distraction.

Software Suite and Battery Life

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I’ve had my fair share of swings at various software ecosystems and battery management platforms on laptops, and I have to say that my experiences with the ASUS ROG Strix G16 have thrown a pleasant curveball in the mix. I’m a sucker for machines that give me a sense of control without overcomplicating things, and ASUS pretty much hits the nail on the head with this one.

Now, let’s talk about the software suite. Out of the box, the ROG Strix G16 comes with this software called Armoury Crate, you’ve probably heard of it. It’s meant to be this all-in-one thing to manage your system, but I’ve seen it mentioned online that it can be a bit of a resource hog. My solution? I swapped it out for G-Helper. Believe me, the difference it made is like night and day. G-Helper’s feather-light compared to Armoury Crate’s heavyweight presence, and my laptop runs smoother for it. It’s a sweet little app that lets me tweak what I need without the slow-down, and the best part? It didn’t cost me a dime, just a quick download and I was set. You can find it on GitHub, and it’s a total breeze to use.

The switch to G-Helper alone made a noticeable difference in how battery life handled on my G16. I’m consistently hitting five hours while surfing the web and up to seven when it’s more about Word docs and less about cat videos. This kind of longevity’s not something I took for granted, especially considering its powerhouse internals. I mean, it’s not “work from dawn till dusk” away from a plug kind of battery life, but for a machine that packs this much punch? It’s solid.

It’s worth mentioning that these figures represent usage in eco mode—I always appreciate a good battery-saving feature. When I need a bit more oomph, the dGPU’s there and still gives me a respectable 3.5 hours of running time. For those lengthy gaming sessions—okay, or even the work marathons—I’m ready to be tethered to an outlet, anyway.

As a daily user who switches between work tasks and the occasional gaming break, the way the ROG Strix G16 handles power management is nothing short of impressive. We’re talking a gaming laptop that doesn’t just become a portable heater at the first sight of a battery icon. It’s that balance between performance and power consumption that shows ASUS didn’t just throw hardware into a chassis and call it a day—they actually thought about the user’s day-to-day experience.

So, wrapping things up, I really think ASUS has provided a thoughtful software solution and respectable battery performance, especially given the beastly nature of the ROG Strix G16. Tinkering with the software and optimizing the power plan gave me a smooth, responsive system that doesn’t die on me if I dare to unplug it for a meeting. Would I recommend it? For anyone who wants to get the most out of their laptop without being a permanent desk fixture, absolutely. Riding the cutting edge with the ASUS ROG Strix G16, for me, has been all about breezing through tasks with speed and without constant power anxiety, and that’s a win in my book.