ASUS ROG Flow X16 is a Hybrid Gaming Laptop Designed to Change Your Workflow
Who needs a convertible gaming laptop? These were our exact thoughts when the ASUS ROG Flow X16 showed up on our doorstep in December last year. Could there be a future in hybrid laptop gaming? Is a big, heavy tablet what gamers are asking for? These are all good questions, however, flexibility is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to this gaming laptop. If utmost performance is what you seek, the Flow X16 raises the bar in the working-from-anywhere category.
We’ve been putting the ROG X16 through its paces for the last two months and it’s about time we shared our thoughts, making a case for convertible gaming laptops, outside of gaming.
Related: Could an Ultra Short Throw Projector Replace Your TV? We Tried the LG CineBeam HU715Q.
ROG Flow X16 Specs at a Glance
The performance specs for the ROG Flow X16 are as follows, a full list can be found here.
|Model||ROG Flow X16 (2022) GV601|
|Price as reviewed||$4,099 AUD|
|Display size/resolution||16-inch QHD+ 16:10 (2560 x 1600, WQXGA), 165hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, 100% DCI-P3 coverage.|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS Mobile Processor (8-core/16-thread, 16MB cache, up to 4.9 GHz max boost).|
|Memory||16GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM x 2|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU|
|Storage||1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 Performance SSD|
|Networking||Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) + Bluetooth 5.2|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows 11 Home|
Related: ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED Review: The Best Foldable Tech is Not a Phone.
Where the ROG Flow X16 Shines
Performance From Anywhere
When we’re not gaming at home, we’re in the office working. And when we’re not in the office working, there’s a good chance we’re on the road, on a plane, or we’re on our way to the office on a train. We spend so much time in our lives travelling, that maximising our productivity outside the office is becoming more and more important.
It’s not all work either, because play is just as important, it’s why you’d even consider a gaming laptop in the first place. And if you choose to wind down the day with a few hours of gaming, the ROG Flow X16 will happily oblige with all the graphics, speed, and general ‘gaming performance’ you could throw at it thanks to a combination of AMD’s Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU that offers 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and integrated 8GB NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3070Ti GPU. Think Forza Horizon 5 on Ultra graphics settings levels of performance.
What’s truly impressive is how the X16 can go from a powerhouse gaming device that outputs 165hz and QHD+ (2560 x 1600) resolution graphics to a useful leisure device for watching Netflix, to a portable workhorse that handles all video editing tasks with a breeze. It’s the best of all worlds when you’re asking a lot of a single device, and it can do it from anywhere.
Ports a Plenty
One of the most important factors to consider with any gaming-focused laptop is ports. Plugging in a monitor only to find the connection is throttled by poor-quality ports or running out of USB ports to plug in your peripherals is an all too common problem these days.
Thankfully, the ROG Flow X16 features plenty on the sides of the laptop. Starting with a 3.5mm headphone and mic jack, HDMI 2.1 for a monitor, and 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-A ports, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-C port for peripherals. Like other ROG models in the range, power can be bumper with a slot for the brand’s XG Mobile interface thanks to a socket hidden under a flap, but we found no reason to use it with this particular spec.
In Certain Circumstances, Tent Mode is a Real Winner
We have to praise the ‘tent mode’ here because, in very certain circumstances, it’s a game changer.
For example, when using the laptop as a ‘third screen’ in your work-from-home setup, when using the laptop on aeroplanes where you can prop the laptop on the tray table and use it as a large display, and finally, when you’re gaming with a controller (e.g. when playing Forza Horizon 5).
Where the ROG Flow X16 Struggles
Battery Life Will Take a Hit
As it’s running an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU with 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and an integrated 8GB NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3070Ti GPU it consumes a LOT of power when gaming. And although you can turn the performance down if you’re looking to conserve a bit of power from the 90whr battery when travelling, you’ll need to keep it plugged in with the included 240-watt power adaptor if you’re pushing the system at all.
Expect battery life to barely exceed one hour if gaming on the go, but you can eke out more than 4-hours of video playback if you crank the brightness and performance settings down. We even edited 4K social video posts on our Sydney to Perth flight (4 hours) and arrived with 20% battery to spare.
Portability is Questionable
You’ll want to take the X16 everywhere with you thanks to the 16-inch 165Hz capable QHD+ (2560×1600) Mini LED display, but the performance is a trade-off when it comes to portability. Weighing in at 2.1kg, it’s heavy, and it doesn’t feel any lighter when you fold it in half to become a tablet.
This only really becomes a problem if you plan on taking the Flow X16 to business meetings, travelling with it on aeroplanes, or carrying it around with you every day. And to be fair, it’s about average for a gaming laptop with this level of performance, but it’s a trade-off when your average tablet-folding laptop weighs in closer to half that amount. Personally, we had no issues with the weight and the trade-off works in our use case.
Should You Buy the ROG Flow X16?
We really enjoyed our time with the ROG Flow X16, spending plenty of time with it over the Christmas break and taking it on a week of travel in Western Australia. At face value, it’s a powerful gaming laptop that’s portable enough to take with you everywhere you go, however, we have to question the ‘portable gaming’ aspect when battery life is so limited. It simply draws too much power to recharge off an external lithium battery too, even at 60-watt.
That makes it quite a specific device that shines under specific circumstances, and although those circumstances happen to be exactly what we look for in a gaming laptop, that’s not to say they’ll work for you.
In our personal use case, we loved the fact it serves as a powerful gaming laptop when set up at home but doubles as a quality unit on the road while filling the travel gap in between. We could maximise the performance of our monitor and wind down with a few games after work before throwing the laptop in our backpack and enjoying some movies in tent mode on the plane. It just works.
Priced at $4,099 AUD this isn’t the cheapest way to get an NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3070Ti powered gaming laptop, but that’s not the point of the Flow X16. It’s a gaming hybrid that offers all the performance you could ask for while being a travel companion that can fold into ‘tent mode’, combine with a gamepad, and become what is essentially a quality portable monitor.
Check it out (ASUS) Buy it here (Scorptec) Buy it here (JW)
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