The ROG Flow X13 was one of the best laptop’s to be released last year from ASUS. It showcased plenty of innovation from the company and for 2022, the company has released a larger model called the Flow X16. As the name suggests, it is a 16-inch laptop that packs in powerful internals, a stunning screen and supports the XG Mobile interface. Has ASUS made justified choices in this larger form factor? Read on in my review to find out.
Design and build
The design of the Flow X16 is an evolution of the ROG Flow X13 that we reviewed last year. It has a low-profile aesthetic similar to the Flow X13, only this time in a larger 16-inch chassis. The lid has a gravity design that looks great, and the sand-blasted finish all around adds to the premium look. It also has the additional benefit of adding grip.
There are a couple of subtle design elements that I love, such as the ROG logo in the right palm rest and the ROG plaque in the bottom corner of the lid.
The laptop feels incredibly dense, which is likely due to the large amount of cooling technology built-in. The laptop weighs 2.1Kg, which is not too bad for a 16-inch laptop, especially when it offers this high-level of power. With all its premium materials, the chassis feels rigid with very little flex in the keyboard deck and with the lid.
Being a convertible, the Flow X16 has a 360° hinge that enables the lid to be folded all the way back. The hinge’s tension felt smooth and precise, and I could keep the lid at nearly any angle. The laptop can be used as a tablet, or it can be used in tent mode or as a regular laptop. It really is versatile that way. The display does wobble a bit when you use the touch screen, which is understandable. For a better convertible experience, having a tight hinge would make it harder to push the lid back for tablet mode. So I don’t mind this trade-off.
On both sides of the display, the bezels are thin, and the top bezel houses the webcam along with a Windows Hello IR camera. There are also two microphones in the top bezel for the AI Microphone feature that ASUS offers. In the bottom bezel, which is the same size as the top bezel, there is a “ROG FLOW” branding. Overall, the ROG Flow X16 looks great and is well-built for its price.
Display and Audio
The display is easily one of the best features of the Flow X16. ASUS calls it their ‘Nebula HDR Display’ and it is a 16-inch 16:10 WQXGA MiniLED panel with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, a refresh rate of 165Hz and a 3ms response time. It utilizes MiniLED technology with 512 local dimming zones, enabling a peak brightness of 1100 nits. The panel is VESA DisplayHDR 1000 certified and offers a colour gamut of 100% DCI-P3.
All of this translates to a fantastic display experience on the Flow X16. Colours are vibrant, and the contrast levels are impressive. Viewing angles are great since its IPS. With local dimming, watching content looks amazing and games look brilliant. It comes with Adaptive Sync support too. For a 16-inch size, the resolution is high and the 165Hz makes gaming buttery smooth.
The panel supports Dolby Vision, which works for content on streaming platforms such as Netflix. It is Pantone-validated, which is great for content creators and artists who use the Pantone palette.
Regarding the speakers, the Flow X16 has a quad speaker setup that offers a decent audio experience. It gets moderately loud, and the quality is alright. If you compare it with Apple’s MacBook Pro, the MacBook Pro is miles ahead with much louder bass and clarity. The laptop also supports Dolby Atmos.
Performance and thermals
With a premium product like this, you definitely get premium performance. Our model of the Flow X16 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070Ti GPU. It is paired with 32GB of 4800MHz DDR5 memory and a 1TB M2 2280 PCIe 4.0 SSD from Micron. The Ryzen 9 6900HS is a beast of a processor with 8 cores and 16 threads. It has a base frequency of 3.30GHz and maximum boost frequency of 4.9GHz.
As expected, the laptop offers some of the best performance capable in this form factor. It is powerful and performs well both in games and in productivity applications that are heavily multi-threaded. The NVIDIA RTX 3070Ti is provided with up to 125W of power and with 8GB of GDDR6 memory it has no issues when gaming at a resolution of 2560×1600.
One thing to note is that 125W of power given to the GPU is not the highest amount when compared to other laptops in the market, So if you are looking for pure GPU performance, then do consider other higher-wattage laptops.
The Flow X16 comes with a MUX switch that enables the full performance of the RTX 3070Ti GPU. It allows the laptop to bypass the integrated Integrated Radeon graphics and directly connect the discrete GPU to the display. It will be available on all models and I really like having this feature.
To cool these powerful internals, ASUS has upgraded their thermal solution for the Flow X16. It’s called ‘Frost Force cooling system’ that features a triple fan setup. The two main fans cool the 5 heat-pipes that bring heat from the CPU, GPU and VRAM. The third fan provides additional cooling to the GPU by redirecting air from it to the Pulsar Heatsink. The air intakes are filtered and, like previous ASUS laptops, they are using Thermal Grizzly liquid metal thermal compound for better heat transfer.
Since this laptop is part of their Flow X series, you get access to their XG Mobile interface too. This allows you to connect to an external XG Mobile, which now offers up to an AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT GPU. While it won’t be a lot more powerful than the 3070Ti that is in our model, it will be useful for the 3060 and 3050Ti variants of the Flow X16.
Here are some benchmarks from the Flow X16:
Keyboard and trackpad
In nearly all the ROG laptops that I have reviewed in recent years, the keyboard has been great. That is still the case with the Flow X16. The keys have 1.7mm of travel, good keycap sizes and adequate spacing between them. They don’t have the same click-y feel as some other laptops, but they certainly don’t feel mushy either. The layout was good, and the key stabilization was good. I quickly got up to my regular speed at typing, and I had no complaints when gaming either.
Like other ROG keyboards, the Flow X16 has a set of 4 extra keys above the keyboard. You can control the laptop’s volume, mute the microphone and launch Armoury Crate.
The extra feature this time around is that ASUS has made their function customizable. Through the armoury crate software, you can now customize them as Macros, which is a useful feature.
Coming to the trackpad, it is large and glass-topped. The tracking was accurate and smooth. The click mechanism was good, and I had no complaints.
Ports and Connectivity
Being a 16-inch laptop, you would expect it to be flush with ports. And that is mostly the case here. On the right side you get a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port that supports DisplayPort and power delivery, an HDMI 2.1 port, a 3.5mm combo audio jack, the charging port, and behind a removable flap there is the ROG XG Mobile interface and another USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port. On the left side there are 2 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A ports, a microSD card reader and the power button.
This is a good amount of ports, although I did miss having an Ethernet port. Thankfully, the laptop supports Wi-Fi 6E, so you can download games at fast rates. I also wish it had a full size SD card slot instead of a microSD slot, as I find those to be much more useful.
Keeping the laptop alive is a 90WHr 4-cell Li-ion battery. The battery life of the Flow X16 is one of the few drawbacks I encountered. With all these powerful internals and a high refresh rate, high resolution display, I wouldn’t have expected strong battery life. However, even with light use, I was only able to get a little over 2 hours of usage. This was a little surprising as the Flow X13 wasn’t this bad. In the PCMark 10 Battery benchmark, I was only able to get a score of 1 hour and 7 minutes, which is quite poor.
There might be a way to extend the battery life through some power saving mode, but putting it on Auto did not work. Charging the laptop with the 240W adapter took a little over 1 and half hours. A nice feature is the ability to charge the laptop via the USB-C port, as it supports USB PD charging.
The ROG Flow series is designed to offer the best laptop experience for those who want a machine that is equally capable of gaming and content creation. The Flow X16 certainly offers this, with its powerful performance, a beautiful display, and well engineered design. The only major drawback was the battery life, which is a little disappointing. If that isn’t a major issue for you, and you want one of the best displays in the Windows gaming laptop, then the Flow X16 has my recommendation.
Pricing and Availability
The ASUS ROG Flow X16 model that we have is priced at Rs. 2,61,990, but the series starts at Rs. 1,71,990. It will be available from Flipkart, Amazon, and Asus e-store, as well as other Multi-Brand retail outlets.