ASUS ROG Flow X16 - Pretty Flippin Good
A little while ago I took a look at the small but mighty ASUS ROG Flow Z13. It was a seriously impressive little beast, packing a mighty gaming punch in a well-built tiny package. Well, now it is my turn to go over the Z13’s big brother, the Flow X16, and see if this bigger and beastier model can keep up the high standard and impress me just as much
Here is the layman’s overview: The Flow X16 is a 16” widescreen laptop that features a flip screen, a Geforce 30 series video card, DDR5 memory, and a couple of M2 performance SSD drives to round things off. As with most of these types of gaming laptops, it can be tailored within these specs to suit price and performance desires. The model I used was sporting a 3070 video card so keep that in mind when I talk about the performance.
Speaking of performance, well it is rather impressive. I couldn’t find a game to push it to its limits and for the most part, it matched my gaming rig for performance in the 1080p range. 60fps was no worry at all in games that are known for pushing the limit. Forza Horizon 5, Gears 5, A Plague Tale: Requiem, Doom Eternal, no matter what I threw at it, nothing seemed to slow it down. When I hooked it up to my 4K TV it did have a few little issues hitting 60fps, especially with ray tracing on, but honestly, that is not unexpected and totally fine considering that things run so well at the laptop’s native resolution.
That performance does come at a bit of a cost and that cost is heat. Once this bad boy winds up with a graphically intense game there is a significant amount of heat generated, certainly hot enough to make having it on your lap uncomfortable. Thanks to the very cool and easy-to-use tweaking software that comes pre-installed this heat can be mitigated by adjusting fan speeds and the like, but as always this comes at the cost of a noisy unit. This is certainly not an uncommon issue with a gaming laptop and one that shouldn’t stop you from buying it, but it is worth keeping in mind.
The laptop itself is a sturdy, well-designed beast that feels like it could take some serious mistreatment. Sleek aluminum casing, sturdy hinges, and a Gorilla glass touchscreen make up what is a seriously tough bit of gear that is sure to handle any everyday situation it may come across. It weighs just on 2kg and despite its 16′ screen, it fits into a 15′ laptop bag easily thanks to its slim design. Obviously I couldn’t really test durability with a loaner laptop by throwing it down the stairs or soaking in it in the bath, but it gives me the impression that it could take a serious bit of maltreatment before things go wrong.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the Flow X16 is the flip monitor. It turns the system from a standard laptop, to a fantastic work machine into a gaming monitor depending on the situation. This functionality makes this an incredibly practical design for people that need a work laptop, but still want to be able to run the latest and greatest games. I quite often found myself with the laptop flipped, standing on its own on the coffee table, playing games with my Xbox controller. It adds another layer of versatility and functionality to something that is already quite agile when it comes to working well in different situations.
I also really liked the keyboard here. I know I mention it a bit in these laptop reviews, but a good keyboard is a must, especially if I am looking at a device that will handle both my work (predominately typing) and gaming needs. The keyboard on the Flow X16 was wonderfully tactile, responsive and most importantly, felt appropriately spaced out to make touch typing a breeze and provide a satisfactory feel while gaming. It is something that isn’t mentioned enough, but a good keyboard on a laptop is essential for something you want to use on a day-to-day basis.
While the Flow X16 isn’t quite the revolutionary experience that its smaller brother was, it is probably a more practical one. It makes for the perfect combined work and gaming experience with everything anyone could need to get through the business day and have some gaming fun at the end. It is well built, has some fantastic base specs and its flip screen versatility is hard to oversell. ASUS in recent times have lept so far ahead in their standing in regards to their gaming laptops and now should be considered one of the premium options in the marketplace. The Flow X16 only further cements that well-deserved reputation. I don’t think anyone picking one of these will be disappointed with the end result.