Who needs a convertible gaming laptop? These were exactly our thoughts when the ASUS ROG Flow X16 arrived on our doorstep in December last year. Is there a future in hybrid laptop gaming? Is a big, heavy tablet what gamers are asking for? These are all good questions, but flexibility isn’t the most important thing when it comes to this gaming laptop. If you’re looking for the best performance, the Flow X16 raises the bar in the ‘work anywhere’ category.
We’ve been putting the ROG X16 to the test for the past two months, and it’s about time we shared our thoughts and made the case for convertible gaming laptops beyond gaming.
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ROG Flow X16 specifications at a glance
The performance specs for the ROG Flow X16 are as follows, a full list can be found here.
|Fashion model||ROG Flow X16 (2022) GV601|
|Price as rated||$4,099AUD|
|Screen size/resolution||16-inch QHD+ 16:10 (2560 x 1600, WQXGA), 165 Hz refresh rate, 3 ms response time, 100% DCI-P3 coverage.|
|processor||AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS mobile processor (8-core/16-thread, 16 MB cache, up to 4.9 GHz maximum boost).|
|Memory||16GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM x 2|
|Pictures||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU|
|Storage||1 TB 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 isn’t a phone.
Where ROG Flow X16 shines
Performance from anywhere
When we’re not gaming at home, we’re working in the office. And when we’re not working in the office, chances are we’re on the road, on a plane, or taking a train to the office. We spend so much time in our lives traveling that maximizing our productivity away from the office is becoming increasingly important.
It’s not all work either, as play is just as important, which is why you’d even consider a gaming laptop in the first place. And if you choose to end the day with a few hours of gaming, the ROG Flow X16 will be happy to meet you with all the graphics, speed and overall “gaming performance” you can imagine thanks to a combination of AMD’s Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU with 32 GB RAM, a 1 TB SSD and integrated 8 GB NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3070Ti GPU. Think Forza Horizon 5 on Ultra graphics settings of performance levels.
What’s really impressive is how the X16 can evolve from a powerful gaming device that outputs 165 Hz resolution and QHD+ (2560 x 1600) graphics to a handy leisure device for watching Netflix, to a portable workhorse that handles all video editing tasks with a piece of cake. It’s the best of all worlds when you’re asking a lot from a single device, and it can do it anywhere.
One of the most important factors to consider with any gaming-focused laptop is ports. Plugging in a monitor only to find that the connection is throttled by poor quality ports or having insufficient USB ports to connect your peripherals is a common problem these days.
Fortunately, the ROG Flow X16 has plenty on the sides of the laptop. Starting with a 3.5mm headphone and microphone 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, the power can be bumper with a slot for the brand’s XG Mobile interface thanks to a socket hidden under a cover, 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 as it is a game changer in very specific circumstances.
For example, when you use the laptop as a ‘third screen’ in your home work setup, when you use the laptop on airplanes where you can put the laptop on the tray and use it as a large screen, and finally, when you game with a controller (e.g. when playing Forza Horizon 5).
What the ROG Flow X16 struggles with
Battery life will take a hit
Since it uses an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU with 32 GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD and an integrated 8 GB NVIDIA Geforce RTX 3070Ti GPU, it consumes a LOT of power when gaming. And while you can lower the performance if you want to save some power from the 90-watt-hour battery while traveling, you’ll need to keep it connected with the included 240-watt power adapter when you’re stressing the system. not at all.
Expect battery life to barely exceed an hour if you’re gaming on the go, but you can get over 4 hours of video playback if you dial down the brightness and performance settings. We even edited 4K social media video posts on our flight from Sydney to Perth (4 hours) and arrived with 20% battery left.
Portability is questionable
You’ll want to take the X16 with you wherever you go thanks to its 16-inch 165Hz-capable QHD+ (2560×1600) Mini LED display, but performance is a trade-off when it comes to portability. Weighing in at 2.1kg, it’s heavy and doesn’t feel any lighter when you fold it in half into a tablet.
This only really becomes an issue if you plan on taking the Flow X16 to business meetings, traveling on planes with it or taking it with you every day. And to be fair, it’s about average for a gaming laptop at this level of performance, but it’s a trade-off when your average tablet-folding laptop weighs nearly half that. 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 a lot of time with it over the Christmas holidays and taking it on a week-long road trip in Western Australia. On the face of it, it’s a powerful gaming laptop that’s portable enough to take anywhere, but we have to question the ‘portable gaming’ aspect when battery life is so limited. It simply draws too much current to also charge an external lithium battery, even at 60 watts.
That makes it a fairly specific device that excels under specific conditions, and while those conditions are exactly what we’re looking for in a gaming laptop, that doesn’t mean they’ll work for you.
In our personal use case, we loved that it doubles as a powerful gaming laptop when set up at home, but doubles as a quality unit on the go while filling the travel gap in between. We could maximize our monitor’s performance and relax with a few games after work before throwing the laptop in our backpack and enjoying tent mode movies on the plane. It just works.
At $4,099 AUD, it’s not 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 folds into ‘tent mode’, pairs with a gamepad and becomes what is essentially a high quality portable monitor .
Watch it (ASUS) Buy it here (Scorptec) Buy it here (JW)
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