ROG Strix G16 - G614 Review: A Well Designed All-Rounder
In recent times, Republic of Gamers (aka ROG,) ASUS’ gaming arm has gone from strength to strength. They have been on roll, releasing a steady stream of innovative and well-built gaming laptops that are genuinely pushing the market forward in interesting ways. From beasty little laptop/tablet hybrids to sleek and powerful laptops that can easily double as a work system, ROG has really done a lot to fill specific gaps in the market. But what happens when this innovative company wants to release a laptop for the masses, a machine that doesn’t set out to rewrite any rules? The ROG Strix G16 is what and despite it being a laptop for the gaming masses so to speak, it is still an impressive bit of hardware in most ways.
The Strix G16 design brief seems to have been “build a gaming laptop” and nothing more, so as a result, this is easily the most traditional ROG product I have reviewed. That said, I want to stress this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, building and having an all-rounder in the lineup is important, as this is what is going to appeal to the most consumers. So it then comes down to the build quality and feature set, something the Strix g16 has in spades. For review purposes, I was loaned the G614 edition of the model which came with a 13 Gen i7, 16 gigs of DDR5 and a Geforce 4060 GPU, healthy specs without being world-beating and perfect for 90% of consumers out there.
The first thing I noticed was the build quality. This is a solidly built case and screen. It feels sturdy and hefty without being too heavy for daily use. There also seemed to be no edges that can catch on fabric or irritate while using. One of the most impressive things and one that is personally important is the plethora of USB connections. So often these days there are only one or two USB connections on a laptop, forcing users to carry USB hubs with them. With the Strix G16 you get two USB C (one of which is Thunderbolt compatible) and two USB A ports. This means I can connect my mouse, controller, keyboard and still have one spare for charging a device or attaching some external storage, more than enough for when I am on the go or travelling.
Speaking of the keyboard, it is probably the one part of the design that didn’t click with me. There is a lot of unused real estate on the keyboard panel and I really would have preferred the design team use that space to make the keyboard bigger. As it is, typing is a bit cramped, especially for a touch typist and even during gaming I found everything just a little to bunched up. It seems strange to me that the designers didn’t use more of the available space to make typing and gaming just that little bit better. It isn’t a deal breaker, but I can say you will notice it fairly quickly.
Being a gaming laptop, there is a host of flashing LEDS that are all customisable through the proprietary software installed. It is all fairly easy to use and syncs up well with any accessories you may be using. It is all a bit blingy for my personal taste but I know lots of people love LED bling and the Strix G16 does it well. It very much makes the laptop seem like a gaming computer, so you will probably get noticed should bring this bad boy to a serious work meeting, but hey… they are just being judgy.
Performance-wise, the G16 handled everything I threw at it well, though it did struggle a little with high RTX usage. It is clear the 4060 isn’t quite up to the same feats as the bigger desktop cards, but honestly, on the crisp and clear 16:10 screen, it doesn’t really matter. I tested a range of graphically intensive games with it and pretty much the only thing that brought the laptop into below 60fps range was RTX usage. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, Cyberpunk 2077 and Doom Eternal all dropped from 100+fps to around 30fps with RTX turned on. You can see more info in the screens below, but it is safe to say that for a lot of games, RTX might be too much for the laptop. Otherwise, the G16 is more than enough to handle any game thrown at it and I imagine that will be true for quite some time.
One thing I found really impressive (and this seems to be a theme with ROG products in general) is heat dissipation. Despite putting the laptop through the wringer, I never felt heat generation was a concern. Heat is dissipated through vents on the side and back of the laptop, not so much on the bottom, which means that your lap isn’t likely to get 3rd degree burns and putting the laptop on the carpet won’t send it into meltdown (though we still don’t recommend it.) Fan noise seems pretty reasonable too, with only long-term sessions or heavy-use games like Cyberpunk seeming to push them to audible levels. Battery life is also pretty respectable. With a good work day easy to reach on one charge if you are just using office applications or watching video. Gaming obviously drains that much faster but I got a good 4-5 hours out of the laptop before running out of juice while testing. That is a good amount of time, especially for the type of graphics-heavy titles I was playing.
The last thing I want to talk about is audio. Usually, even in expensive, top-of-the-line models, laptop speakers are not very good. That is not the case here. These are some of the best laptop speakers I have ever heard and while they will hardly threaten a good stereo or set of headphones for sound quality, they are the equivalent to JBL or UE Bluetooth speaker, so perfectly fine for playing some tunes on the road or watching an episode or two on Netflix. For someone like me that has to have music everywhere he goes, this is great as it is one less thing to pack while travelling. Gaming will still be much better with a nice headset, but that is always the case, so that isn’t a shock.
When compared to its more innovative and exciting brethren, the ROG Strix G16 may seem a little unexciting. It isn’t pushing boundaries and it isn’t breaking the mould. But for 90% of the population, the Strix G16 is probably the best option. It gives great gaming performance in a well-designed format at a fairly reasonable price. It is a high-quality laptop that will handle anything you can throw at it and thanks to its reasonable weight (around 2.5kg,) abundant connection options and solid in-built speaker it is a great travel companion. The only real issue I had was with the keyboard, but in the scheme of things, throwing a 3/4 keyboard into my travel kit isn’t such a big deal if I have to do a lot of typing. This isn’t the Ferarri of the ROG range, this is not the Tesla. This is a nice, safe and practical Toyota. It is reliable, well-built and gives you everything you truly need, it just might not be as exciting as some other models. The question then is if excitement or practicality is more important to you. If it is the latter, the Strix G16 is the perfect option.
Review System Specs:
- ROG Strix G16 – G614
- 13th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-13650HX Processor
- NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4060 Laptop GPU
- 16GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM
- RRP – $2,899