This is my detailed review of the Asus ROG Flow X16 2-in-1 convertible gaming laptop.
There’s no other similar device out there as of mid-2022, a convertible laptop able to marry under the same hood a fairly portable 16-inch format with modern and powerful specs, an excellent thermal module, and a big battery.
Add in a beautiful mini LED touch display option, good IO and inputs, and some punchy speakers, and this Flow X16 is going to be a popular alternative to the clamshell performance ultraportables available in the space at this point, such as the
ROG Zephyrus M16, Razer Blade 15, or the Lenovo Legion Slim 7.
As far as the hardware goes, this Flow X16 series is built on an AMD processor and Nvidia graphics. Our review unit is the mid-tier option with the Ryzen 9 6900HS processor, 32 GB of DDR5 memory, and an RTX 3060 dGPU from Nvidia, while
our review of the 3070Ti Flow X16 configuration is also available here now. Plus, as a member of the ROG Flow series, this is compatible with the XG Mobile external enclosure, in case you’re aiming for even better gaming/graphics performance, which is also a topic for a future article.
In this review, we’ll focus on the Flow X16 as a multi-purpose all-around laptop, with the positives and the quirks that you should be aware of and accept if you decide to go with one of these.
Specs sheet- Asus ROG Flow X16 GV601RM
2022 ASUS ROG Flow X16 GV601RM
Display 16-inch, 16:10, touch, glossy,
IPS with 100%DCI-P3 coverage and 500-nits brightness or
mini LED with 100% DCI-P3 coverage, 1100-nits peak HDR brightness, HDR1000, with single or multi-zone panel backlighting
Processor AMD Rembrandt, up to Ryzen 9 6900HS, 8C/16T, up to 90W TDP sustained
Video Radeon + Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop 6GB (up to 125W TGP with Dynamic Boost)
with MUX and Adaptive Sync (no GSync on internal display)
Memory 32 GB DDR5-4800 RAM – up to 64 GB (2x DIMMs)
Storage 1 TB SSD (Micron 3400 drive) – 2x M.2 PCI 4.0 x4 slots
Connectivity WiFi 6E (Mediatek 7922) 2×2 with Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 2x USB-A 3.2 gen1, 1x USB-C 3.2 (4.0 update later in the year) with data, video and charging, 1x ROG xGM port with USB-C, HDMI 2.0b, micro SD card reader, headphone&mic
Battery 90Wh, 240 W power adapter, USB-C charging up to 100W
Size 355 mm or 13.98” (w) x 243 mm or 9.57 (d) x 19.4 mm or .76” (h)
Weight 2.08 kg (4.58 lbs), + .74 kg (1.63 lbs) for the 240W charger and cables, EU version
Extras 2-in-1 convertible format, rubber-dome single-zone RGB backlit keyboard, HD IR webcam, 4x speakers and 3x mic array, XG mobile support, tri-fan cooling module with liquid metal
Here’s a list of the exact Flow X16 configurations that will be available in stores this year (some might be exclusive to select markets).
ROG Flow X16
GV601RW – Ryzen 9 6900HS, RTX 3070Ti 8GB (up to 125W), 240W charger – reviewed here; ROG Flow X16
GV601RM – Ryzen 9 6900HS, RTX 3060 6GB (up to 125W), 240W charger – listed at BestBuy here; ROG Flow X16
GV601RE – Ryzen 9 6900HS, RTX 3050Ti 4GB (up to 125W ??), smaller 200W charger;
Memory and storage might differ between SKUs, but they all come with the same QHD+ mini LED touch display and 90W battery. A ROG backpack, headset and mouse are also bundled with most configurations, and the series is compatible with the ROG XG Mobile dGPU unit.
Design and construction
The ROG Flow X16 is pretty much a
grown-up Flow X13, as Asus opted for the same design lines, materials, and finishing details on the two, for consistency within the Flow series.
Black pieces of aluminum are used for the exterior chassis, with a grooved texture that provides good grip, while the main chassis and the interior are magnesium alloy, with a smooth finishing around the keyboard and a textured finishing on the palm rest.
All these materials are black, and will show smudges and fingerprints as a result, but they’re quite easy to clean and the various textures help conceal the smudges to some extent. For what is worth, this is how the laptop looked after a few days of use, which is actually better than I expected from an all-black design.
This Flow X16 is also built very well, with almost no flex in both the lid or the keyboard deck, and no squeaky funny noises when grabbing and using it. Except for a slight nit with the left hinge, which we’ll discuss in a bit.
Furthermore, while this is a full-size 16-inch laptop, it’s also quite slim and lightweight for what it is, at about 2.1 kilos and sub 20 mm in thickness. The clamshell ROG laptops of this generation are slightly lighter, but don’t forget this comes with a touchscreen that adds up to the overall weight.
On top of that, compared to the compact Flow X13, the X16’s 16-inch format allows for a more ample arm-rest, a spacious clickpad, and a centered keyboard flanked by speakers. Once more, this internal layout is nearly identical to what Asus offer on their popular
Zephyrus G15 and Zephyrus M16 clamshell models.
One of the major selling points of this Flow X16 is the convertible form factor. The screen rotates 360-degrees on the back, allowing you to use this device as a notebook, tablet, or anything in between. I guess this format will appeal to some potential users, especially as the display supports pen input, even if I for one would hardly ever use this in tablet mode. If I were to need a tablet, I would just pick up my iPad, this is just too big and lucky for comfortable tablet use.
I do appreciate the ability to easily lean the screen back to any desired angle, and even the fact that this comes with a touchscreen, which is not available on other ROG devices.
As far as the hinges go, I did notice a minor quirk on my unit. The two hinges are well made and do a fine job at keeping the display as set up, without it moving with daily use. However, when you lift up the screen or adjust the angle, it still wobbles in place for a second or two before stabilizing in place, and the left-side hinge produces a slight ticking noise during these seconds. I noticed this noise the first few days after taking the laptop out of the box, but in the meantime, it has mostly worn off and is no longer noticeable unless you specifically put the ear close to that left hinge. I’d expect this will eventually wear off entirely, and hopefully, it won’t affect the retail units.
That aside, no complaints. The front lips and corners of this design are friendly on the fingers and wrists and there are no annoying lights placed in the line of sight. In all fairness, there is an unnecessary always-on light in the power button placed on the right edge, which btw, lacks an integrated fingerprint reader. That is available with the X13’s power button.
That aside, the laptop sits steadily anchored on the desk, despite it implementing some slim-profile rubber feet on the underside. These are a consequence of the convertible format, as thicker feet would have prevented the screen’s ability to fold down flat in tablet mode. However, the low-profile feet also affect the laptop’s cooling to some extent, as we’ll discuss in a further section.
One final aspect I will cover here is the IO. The ports are spread out on the right and left side, so there’s nothing on the back, as that’s reserved for cooling.
The Flow X16 offers HDMI 2.0b, 2x USB-A and USB-C ports, an audio jack, and a micro SD card reader, most of them conveniently positioned on the left. Even the power plug is on the left and towards the back, not in the middle as on the ROG models, as a result of the revamped thermal module with no radiator on that side.
The HDMI port is only HDMI 2.0b and hooked into the iGPU, but you can output video through the USB-C ports to an external monitor. The USB-C port that’s part of the XG Mobile connector is hooked into the Nvidia GPU, while the other one goes through the iGPU.
That aside, I’ll also add that I was told that USB 4.0 support is coming later in the year, once AMD and the USB forums figure out their licensing. It’s not available yet. Furthermore, a full-size SD card reader would have been nice on this 16-inch chassis, and some sort of Lock, but Asus didn’t include any. There’s also no LAN port, but you can get wired connectivity with a USB adapter.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard on this Flow X16 is identical in layout and feedback to what Asus offered with the ROG Flow X13 mode over the last year.
The layout is fine, with proper sized and spaced keys, slightly spaced arrows, and the extra set of multimedia keys at the top left, characteristic of ROG laptops.
I have little to complain about the typing experience here, with good feedback, 1.7 mm of key travel, and nice feeling soft keycaps. I also find the keystrokes to be on the quieter side, even for the Space key. The lack of noticeable flex in the keyboard deck helps the experience as well.
Unlike on the X13, RGB backlighting is available with the Flow X16, but only single-zone RGB as on the ROG Zephyrus models, so no per-key control or fancy effects. The lighting is uniform and bright enough, but it also creeps from under the keycaps with the slim profile design, once more, just like on the Zephyrus models.
On the other hand, the lighting can be reactivated with a swipe over the clickpad once it fades out, and Asus implement a physical Caps Lock indicator.
The clickpad is glass and spacious. The design might suggest that this is textured, but that’s just a decoy: the surface is smooth, but Asus went with transparent glass that shows the textured pattern hidden underneath, in order to integrate with the design of the arm-rest. Nice touch.
This clickpad handles everything smoothly, and even the physical clicks on the corners are smooth and quiet. The surface does rattle a bit with firmer taps, though.
As for biometrics, there’s no finger sensor in the power button with this model, but there’s IR Windows Hello support built into the webcam.
The ROG Flow X16 is available with a 16-inch 16:10 touch display and two-panel options:
QHD+ 16:10 IPS panel with 500-nits brightness and 100% DCI-P3 coverage;
QHD+ 16:10 mini LED Nabula HDR panel with 1100-nits peak HDR brightness and 100% DCI-P3 coverage.
The first panel is identical to the one offered with the
2022 Zephyrus M16, while the second option is also available in the 2022 Zephyrus DUO 16. For the Flow X16, though, we’re looking at glossy implementations with a touch layer, digitizer, and protective Gorilla Glass on top, while the Zephyrus models are all anti-glare and non-touch.
Our sample is the lower-tier IPS panel. It’s a fine option for daily use and creative work, but inferior in contrast, blacks, and brightness to the miniLED option with zone-dimming capabilities. We’ll discuss the mini led panel further down, but for now, here’s what we got in our tests on the IPS panel, with HDR switched OFF:
Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics AUOC199 (B160QAN02.Q);
Coverage: 99.8% sRGB, 85.1% AdobeRGB, 98.9% DCI-P3;
Type: 8-bit HDR 400;
Measured gamma: 2.17;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 486.40 cd/m2 on power;
min brightness in the middle of the screen: 22.93 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 1118:1;
White point: 6700 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.43 cd/m2;
This is a fine multi-purpose panel, even if the contrast or the blacks aren’t amazing. It also comes well calibrated out of the box.
The miniLED panel option,
which Derek has on his Flow X16 version tested in this article, is something else, though, thanks to the 512 dimming zones and the ability to select between multi-zone and single-zone backlighting. On multi-zone mode and on HDR, blacks and the contrast get nearly as good as on an OLED panel, while the sustained measured SDR brightness is 900+ nits, with peak HDR brightness closer to 1100 nits. This multi-zone mode isn’t made for color-accurate work, though, as zone-dimming interferes with the color and gamma accuracy. Plus, on an LCD panel that gets as bright as this one, blooming and shadowing at the border between dark and bright elements is noticeable, and something that you’ll have to get used to and accept here.
We’ve already reviewed this panel on the Zephyrus Duo,
and I’ll refer you to that article for more details, as well as Derek’s more recent Flow X16 review, with the miniLED panel.
In here, I’ll just reiterate this set of pictures that show the black levels possible with this miniLED panel. On the left side in the next three pics, there’s the mini LED display on the Zeph Duo, and on the right, there’s an OLED panel on the
ZenBook Pro 16X, for comparison. In all images, the OLED is set at max brightness. In the first image, the miniLED screen is set on single-zone backlighting, SDR, and maximum brightness. In the second image, I switched to multi-zone lighting, still SDR, and maximum brightness. The last image is multi-zone lighting, HDR, and max brightness.
You’ll need to watch these on a bright display to tell the differences. The blacks are incomparably better with zone dimming switched ON on the miniLED, and going between SDR and HDR with multi-zone lighting makes a further difference as well. You can also spot the blooming around the Ultrabookreview logo on the miniLED panel, mentioned earlier.
Hardware and performance
Our review model is a higher-specced configuration of the ASUS ROG Flow X16, code name GV601RM, built on an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor, 32 GB of DDR5-4800 memory in dual channel, 1 TB of fast SSD storage, and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 3060 dGPU with 6 GB of vRAM and the
Radeon 680M iGPU integrated within the AMD processor.
Disclaimer: Before we proceed, keep in mind that our review unit is a pre-retail test sample sent over by Asus, and runs on the early software available as of late-June 2022 (BIOS 307, Armoury Crate 5.1.8, GeForce 512.78 drivers). Some aspects might change with later BIOS/software updates.
Update: In the meantime, as of late-July 2022, I’ve rested the laptop with the newer BIOS 310. Nothing significant has changed in terms of performance under load, but I am seeing a slight increase in efficiency on battery use in some loads, with this BIOS. I’ve updated the article where necessary based on the updated test results.
Spec-wise, the 2022 ASUS ROG Flow X16 series is built on the latest AMD Ryzen HS and Nvidia RTX hardware available to date. The Ryzen 9 6900HS is an AMD Rembrandt 6000 processor, with 8 Cores and 16 Threads. It’s the more efficient bin of the standard
Ryzen 9 6900HX found on full-size laptops, with almost the same capabilities as long as provided with enough power. It’s also a revision of the Ryzen 9 5900HS from last year, built on the updated Zen3+ 6 nm technology, with improvements in design, IPC, and efficiency.
The thermal/power design of this Flow X16 allows the processor to run at up to 80W of sustained power in demanding CPU loads, ensuring the maximum multi-threaded performance that this AMD platform is capable of. That’s only possible on Manual mode with maxed-out fans, though. We’ll get to that in a bit.
For the GPU, this series is available with RTX 3000 Ti graphics chips. What we have on this sample is the mid-tier RTX 3060 running at up to 125W in supported games and applications, with Dynamic Boost. RTX 3050Ti and 3070Ti variants are also available.
For the RAM and storage options, the laptop offers two accessible memory DIMMs and two M.2 SSD slots. Our unit shipped with 32 GB of DDR5-4800 RAM in dual-channel and a single mid-level PCIe gen4 Micron 3400 SSD. This is gen4, but only a mid-level performer and not one of the fastest gen4 options available out there.
Accessing the components requires removing the back panel, which is held in place by a couple of Torx screws (careful they’re of three different sizes, so make sure you put them back the right way). Inside you’ll find all the hardware, the big battery, and the thermal module. Everything is packed tightly on this compact 16-inch chassis, without any space left unused.
Specs aside, Asus offer the standard four power profiles in the Armoury Crate control app for this laptop: Silent, Performance, Turbo, and Manual, with various power settings and fan profiles between them:
Silent – quite fan-noise at under 35 dB, limited CPU/GPU speeds and power;
Balanced – balanced profile with stock CPU/GPU settings and up to 42 dB max fan noise;
Turbo – High-Performance profile with increased CPU power allocation, faster-spinning fans at up to 45-46 dB, and overclocked GPU (+50 MHz Core/+100 MHz Memory, up to 125W TGP).
Manual – like Turbo, but with the ability to custom tweak the CPU’s PL1/PL2 power levels and GPU’s power/clocks, plus create custom fan profiles based on temperature limits. The fans ramp up to 52 dB in this mode.
CPU sustained TDP
GPU sustained TGP
~50-70W (Whisper M, 60 fps)
80W + 35W DBoost
100W + 25W DBoost
100W + 25W DBoost
TDP + TGP sustained (Crossload)
Noise at head level
max 42 dbA
max 45 dbA
max 52 dbA
Turbo is only available with the laptop plugged into the wall and is meant for gaming and other demanding loads. Performance is a jack-of-all-trades, while Silent is made for light daily use. The system is able to idle the fans on the Silent profile as long as the CPU/GPU stay under 60 degrees C, leading to a mostly noiseless daily-use experience.
Performance and benchmarks
On to more demanding loads, we start by testing the CPU’s performance by running the Cinebench R15 test for 15+ times in a loop, with a 1-2 seconds delay between each run.
with the laptop sitting on the desk, the Ryzen 9 processor stabilizes at ~67W of sustained power on the Turbo setting, which translates in frequencies of ~4.1 GHz, temperatures of ~95 C, and scores of ~2230 points. The fans spin at ~40 dB at head-level in this mode, in this test. The CPU runs hot and slightly thermally throttles, but still performs at nearly its maximum capabilities, as you’ll see in the next testing scenarios.
Next, I bumped the laptop off the desk in order to improve the airflow of cool air into the fans. This raised the sustained power to around ~74W and allows frequencies of 4.2+ GHz, but the CPU still ends up thermally throttled. This mode would also equate to using the laptop in Tent mode or any other mode that allows unobstructed airflow into the fans.
To remove the thermal limitation, I switched over the Manual mode and maxed out the fans. This bumps the noise to 50+ dB at head level, but allows the CPU to run at 80W sustained, 4.3+ GHz, and temperatures in the low 90s.
Thing is, the performance difference between these three scenarios is within a few percent, so the only noticeable benefit of the Manual mode is the fact that it allows a decrease in temperatures, something worth considering if you’re going to run demanding CPU loads for long periods of time on this device.
On the other hand, switching over to the Balanced profile translates in the CPU stabilizing at just sub 60W, with temperatures in the low 90s, and quieter fans at sub-35 dB at head level. The CPU ends up scoring around 2150 points in this mode, which is less than 5% lower than on Turbo, thus this Balanced mode is perhaps the ideal profile for this sort of loads on the Flow X16.
Then there’s also the Silent profile, which limits the sustained power at ~45W, with the fans running at sub 30 dB, and temperatures in the low-80s C. The Ryzen 9 still scores 2000+ points on this profile, roughly 90% of the Turbo/Manual performance, which is definitely impressive for a Silent profile and showcases the AMD platform’s efficiency and capabilities at mid-power settings.
Finally, the CPU runs at ~35 W on battery, on the Performance profile, with stabilized scores of around 1900+ points and fans at sub-35 dB. Details below.
To put these in perspective, here’s how this Ryzen 9 6900HS implementation fares against other mobile platforms in this test, both Intel and AMD.
a detailed comparison between the Ryzen 9 and Intel i9 platforms is available here.
The 2022 Intel i9-12900H available in something like the ROG Zephyrus M16 can run up to 20% faster in this benchmark if supplied with enough power. However, most ultraportable designs are somewhat power limited.
The 2022 Ryzen 9 6900HS is still competitive at higher power, and furthermore, an excellent option at mid to low power on the Balanced and Silent profiles. To further illustrate that, here’s a comparison of this Flow X16 vs the Zeph M16 (i9) and Zeph G14 (R9) on their Balanced and Silent modes.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the more taxing Cinebench R23 loop test and Blender – Classroom, which resulted in similar findings to what we explained above.
We also ran the 3DMark CPU test on the Turbo and Balanced profiles.
Finally, we ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook. 3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and this unit (barely) passed it, which means there’s no performance throttling with longer-duration sustained loads, even if the components heat-up over time.
Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the stock Turbo profile in Armoury Crate, the MUX set on Hybrid mode, and on FHD screen resolution for consistency with our other tests.
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 20371 (Graphics – 22064, Physics – 26286, Combined – 10651);
3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 4996;
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 8513 (Graphics – 8350, CPU – 9579);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5160;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 15479;
Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 54.84 average fps;
PassMark 10: Rating: 6003 (CPU: 25412, 3D Graphics: 17036, Memory: 2415, Disk Mark: 42594);
PCMark 10: 6873 (Essentials – 9970, Productivity – 9238, Digital Content Creation – 9569);
GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1462, Multi-core: 9261;
CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 2405 cb, CPU Single Core 250 cb;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 5600 cb, CPU Single Core 614 cb;
CineBench R23: CPU 14441 cb (best single run), CPU 14282 cb (10 min run), CPU Single Core 1575 cb;
x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 27.49 s.
And here are some workstation benchmarks, on the same Turbo profile:
Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – CPU Compute: 2m 48s (Turbo);
Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – GPU Compute: 27s (CUDA), 15s (Optix);
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 6m 15s (Turbo);
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 55s (CUDA), 30.5s (Optix);
Pugetbench – DaVinci Resolve: 943;
Pugetbench – Adobe Afert Effects: 728;
Pugetbench – Adobe Photoshop: 985;
Pugetbench – Adobe Premiere: 690;
SPECviewperf 2020 – 3DSMax: 139.98 (Turbo);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Catia: 70.63 (Turbo);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Creo: 88.82 (Turbo);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Energy: 27.91 (Turbo);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya: 362.08 (Turbo);
SPECviewperf 2020 – Medical: 35.62 (Turbo);
SPECviewperf 2020 – SNX: 21.76 (Turbo);
SPECviewperf 2020 – SW: 263.73 (Turbo).
V-Ray Benchmark: CPU – 10335 vsamples, GPU CUDA – 868 vpaths, GPU RTX – 827;
These are some excellent results for a thin-and-light notebook.
For reference, something like a
ROG Zephyrus M16 is going to perform up to 20% faster in the CPU loads, with rather similar GPU results. I haven’t reviewed the RTX 3060 version of the M16, though, for a proper comparison.
Another interesting comparison is with the
2021 AMD Ryzen 7 + RTX 3060 130W implementation in the full-size Lenovo Legion 5 Pro, one of the most popular full-size laptops of its generation, which this Flow X16 outmatches in most tests.
And then there’s also the more portable and more affordable
ROG Zephyrus G14, which actually outmatches this mid-tier Flow X16, especially in GPU performance, but at a slightly higher price. This Flow X16 should also be a close match for the AMD-based ROG Zephyrus G15, but we haven’t properly tested that one in the 2022 edition.
Overall, though, one of the significant advantages of the Flow X16 is the lower noise levels offered by its more advanced thermal module in comparison to the clamshell ROG Zephyrus designs, which we’ll discuss further down.
Another is the excellent Balanced mode, which delivers solid all-around performance at sub 42 dBA noise levels and OK temperatures. Here are some benchmark results on this Balanced mode:
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 19069 (Graphics – 20742, Physics – 26161, Combined – 9481);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 8089 (Graphics – 7854, CPU – 9747);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4670;
GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1403, Multi-core: 8956;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 5252 cb, CPU Single Core 577 cb;
x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 28.55 s.
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 6m 49s (Turbo);
Pugetbench – Adobe Photoshop: 983;
Pugetbench – Adobe Premiere: 667.
We’re only looking at a 5-10% loss over the Turbo mode. That’s more than impressive, and the Silent mode is excellent as well on this laptop, especially for
casual use and light gaming with a 60 fps cap, as you’ll see further down.
Here are some benchmark results on Silent mode, with sub 35 dB fan levels.
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 13568 (Graphics – 13732, Physics – 18900, Combined – 8972);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7149 (Graphics – 6880, CPU – 9193);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4189;
GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1356, Multi-core: 8800;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 4871 cb, CPU Single Core 571 CB;
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 7m 40s (Turbo).
The CPU performance is still alright, at 80-85% of Turbo mode, while the GPU is at about 70-75% of what this configuration can do on Turbo.
Let’s see how this 2022 ROG Flow X16 notebook handles modern games.
We tested several games at QHD+, and FHD+ resolution on Ultra settings, on the stock Turbo and Balanced profiles, as well as on a Turbo mode with the laptop bumped off the desk in order to improve cooling. We’ll also discuss Silent and Manual modes down below.
For these details, the MUX is set on Discrete mode.
AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS
+ RTX 3060 Laptop 100-125W
QHD+ Turbo raised
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 94 fps (73 fps – 1% low)
97 fps (70 fps – 1% low)
87 fps (64 fps – 1% low)
130 fps (61 fps – 1% low)
117 fps (59 fps – 1% low)
60 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF) 33 fps (26 fps – 1% low)
50 fps (41 fps – 1% low)
(Vulkan, Ultra Preset) insufficient memory
184 fps (117 fps – 1% low)
171 fps (114 fps – 1% low)
60 fps (56 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAA) 62 fps (45 fps – 1% low)
57 fps (45 fps – 1% low)
78 fps (62 fps – 1% low)
72 fps (55 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA) 79 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
75 fps (53 fps – 1% low)
103 fps (64 fps – 1% low)
97 fps (60 fps – 1% low)
Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA) 65 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
53 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
89 fps (64 fps – 1% low)
82 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA) 70 fps (44 fps – 1% low)
70 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
64 fps (42 fps – 1% low)
102 fps (64 fps – 1% low)
95 fps (60 fps – 1% low)
60 fps (57 fps – 1% low)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4) 79 fps (62 fps – 1% low)
80 fps (64 fps – 1% low)
75 fps (60 fps – 1% low)
108 fps (78 fps – 1% low)
100 fps (74 fps – 1% low)
60 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
Battlefield V, Cyberpunk, Doom, Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
Far Cry 5, 6, Metro, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on
Those above are rasterization tests, and here are some results for RTX titles with and without DLSS.
AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS
+ RTX 3060 Laptop 100-125W
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF) 51 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
78 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS ON) 56 fps (41 fps – 1% low)
87 fps (62 fps – 1% low)
Cyberpunk 2077 (DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Balanced) 29 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
47 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
Doom Eternal (DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS Quality) insufficient memory
Far Cry 6 (DX 12, Ultra Preset + DXR reflections / shadows) 46 fps (23 fps – 1% low)
52 fps (25 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra) 38 fps (26 fps – 1% low)
63 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
This configuration can handle most of the modern games at FHD+ and QHD+ resolution and Ultra settings. Still, something like Cyberpunk is a tougher nut to crack, and RT performance isn’t much on this RTX 3060-level configuration either. For that, the RTX 3070Ti variant should be the way to go,
which we’ve reviewed here in the ROG Flow X16 GV601RW model.
the i7 + RTX 3060 140W configuration in one of the best full-size laptops in the year, the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro, ends up within 3-10% faster in the tested games than this Flow X16, while also running significantly noisier on its top profile.
With these out of the way, let’s go over some performance and temperature logs, which are going to better explain some of our findings above.
On Turbo, the design allows up to 140W of combined CPU+GPU power in games and demanding loads. The GPU takes up to 125W with Dynamic Boost, and the reminding 15W go to the CPU.
With the laptop sitting on the desk and in the games that scale well with Dynamic Boost, we’re looking at temperatures in the low-80s C on the CPU side, but 85+ on the GPU side, with a slight GPU thermal throttling. This is minor, and doesn’t affect the performance in a noticeable way. The fans ramp up to about 45-46 dB at head-level on this Turbo mode.
However, keep in mind that some titles such as Far Cry 5 or Battlefield V (or other older CPU-heavy ones) might not scale properly with Dynamic Boost, especially at lower resolutions. In far Cry 5, the CPU goggles up 40W in our test and heats up to 95 C, while only 100W are allocated to the GPU, which still ends up overheating at 85+ C. So not only you’re not getting the expected performance in these titles, but the components are also running very hot.
The cooling design on this X16 draws fresh air from the underside, where the three intake fans are positioned, with open-air grills over them. Thing is, the slim-profile rubber feet implemented on this laptop leave little room for proper airflow underneath the chassis, and thus the intakes end up being choked. That’s no surprise and something I was expecting ever since Asus announced the Flow X16, as the slim feet were required in order to allow for the tablet mode convertible format.
Nonetheless, bumping the back of this laptop off the desk significantly impacts the internal temperatures, which end up dropping by 5-8 degrees on both components. This also positively impacts the performance, but only by a small amount.
For what is worth, the readings in this mode would also equate to using the laptop in Tent mode or any other mode that allows unobstructed airflow into the fans.
With that out of the way, let’s explore the other available modes in Armoury Crate. We’ll start with the Manual mode, where I’ve set the fans at 100% rpms in order to test the maximum cooling capabilities of this design, while keeping the CPU/GPU settings as they are by default.
These settings push up the laptop to run much noisier, at ~52 dB at head-level with all three fans ramped to 100% speeds.
With the laptop sitting on the desk, this manual mode translates to similar performance as on Turbo with the back raised, as well as somewhat similar temperatures, in the mid-70s on the CPU and low 80s on the GPU. The crossload CPU+GPU power is still around 140W.
Bumping the back of the laptop off the desk to improve airflow in this mode pushes temperatures down to high-60s on the CPU and low to mid-70s on the GPU. These are excellent temperatures for a Manual mode, but overall this profile is also loud, and pretty much unnecessary considering the Turbo raised profile is already more than adequate. Still, if you’re looking to minimize the internal temperatures and plan to use headphones to cover up that noise, then, by all means, go for this maxed-out Manual mode.
The Manual mode allows for a few other tweaks as well, such as further overclocking options, quieter custom fan profiles, or the ability to set a maximum GPU temperature, with the system able to adjust its behavior based on that cap. Up to you to find the right settings for your requirements.
With all these high-performance profiles out of the way, if you’re
looking for even quieter noise levels when running games without mingling with the manual settings, your options are either the Balanced or the Silent default modes.
On Balanced, the fans spin at around 42 dB, the GPU is limited to up to 100W of power with Dynamic Boost, and the framerates take a 10-20% hit compared to the Turbo mode.
Internal temperatures are alright though, in the high-70s on the CPU and low-80s on the GPU with the laptop sitting on the desk, and 5-7 degrees lower if you bump up the back. In fact, this raised-up Balanced mode is what I’d end up using most of the time on this laptop, it’s just an excellent middle-grounder profile, just as its name suggests.
The Silent mode is also an option to consider if you’re aiming for a sub-35 dB gaming experience with cool internal temperatures in the 60s to low-70s, but this profile limits the GPU power. You’ll probably want to opt for FHD+ resolution in this case, and even trim down the details in the most recent titles.
Lastly, this laptop can also run games on battery power on the Balanced profile. The GPU stabilizes at 55W in this mode, with 70W crossload power, which ensures 60++ fps in most games at FHD+ resolution and Ultra settings. Don’t expect more than one hour of gameplay at full details, or perhaps longer with a 30 fps cap and lower settings.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
Asus implements a complex thermal module on this laptop, different in a few ways from what they implement on their other portable designs.
This cooling module uses a multitude of heatpipes and three fans. Two of them are placed as you’d expect, flanking the components, with a single radiator on the CPU side and a dual-radiator on the GPU side.
However, there’s an extra radiator that spreads alongside the entire rear edge, with a heatpipe connected to that radiator. And here’s where that extra middle fan comes in, designed to pull in fresh air over the components and heatpipes and push it out through that back middle radiator.
Furthermore, Asus implemented a handful of foam elements designed to channel the flow of air from the middle fan, over the middle of the heatpipes, and onto the back exhaust. Foam elements are also used on top of the main fans, in order to isolate them from the reminding of the components and ensure that the fresh air goes into the fans and out to the back through the radiators – this way, dust is somewhat prevented from getting over to the motherboard and components, although the image above shows that dust will still eventually gather inside.
All these combined allow Asus to cool the components in this chassis with lower noise levels than on other designs. For comparison, the similarly powered Zephyrus M16 runs much louder on both Balanced (46dB – M16 vs 42 dB – X16) and Turbo (51dB – M16 vs 46 dB – X16), with lower temperatures on the M16 when the two laptops both sit on the desk, but with higher temperatures on the M16 when both laptops are bumped up from the desk. That’s because those slim rubber feet on the X16 choke the fans, as mentioned already in the previous section, while the taller feet of the M16 and its Ergolift hinge design do not.
In conclusion, this thermal design works, just don’t keep the Flow X16 on a desk, put it on a cooling pad, or at least bump up its back from the desk in order to allow proper airflow into the fans.
That aside, the fans rest idly with basic use on the Silent profile. They do occasionally kick on with multitasking, but are mostly inaudible even in this case. Despite the rather passive implementation, the laptop only runs warm with daily use, with the warmest areas reaching high-30s around the middle-top part on both the interior and on the back.
I’ll also add that I haven’t noticed any electronic noises or coil winning during my time with this sample. Keep in mind this unit is not the miniLED display option, so there’s no winning coming from the screen either.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Silent profile, fans at 0 dB
The exterior temperatures rise up with demanding loads and games. With the laptop sitting on the desk, the hottest parts reach low-50s on Turbo and high-40s on Balanced, in the middle of the laptop, above the keyboard, and in the same spot on the back. That’s just on top of the CPU and GPU. Bumping the back of the laptop off the desk lowers the internal temperatures and helps shed 1-3 degrees of the chassis temperatures as well. Placing the laptop in tent mode while gaming with external peripherals or a gamepad would do the same thing.
Regardless, the arm-rest, WASD and arrows keys remain within comfortable levels at sub-40s in all conditions, so this laptop is never going to feel too hot to the touch, despite implementing a heat-conductive metal chassis.
It’s also important to mention that this design blows the hot air away from the user through the exhausts positioned behind the screen, thus hot air never blows into the display, unlike on the clamshell ROG Zephyrus designs of the past years.
*Gaming – Performance – playing Cyberpunk 2077 for 30 minutes, fans at ~42 dB
*Gaming – Turbo, on desk – playing Cyberpunk 2077 for 30 minutes, fans at ~45dB
For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 through a Mediatek chip on this unit, the same offered on other AMD 6000 ROG laptops. It performed well on this unit, and I see no reason why I’d want to exchange that for something else – that’s nonetheless possible if you want to, the M.2 format wifi module is hidden under the main SSD drive.
The audio system on this laptop includes 4 speakers, the dual-side audio solutions borrowed from the Zephyrus G15/M16 . The extra tweeters available on those ones are missing here, but overall the audio quality is still above average for the class, with volumes above 80 dB at head level, good mids, and even some decent bass. The chassis doesn’t vibrate in a noticeable way at high volumes, but I’d still keep these speakers at around 50-60% volume for the best-balanced audio quality. And I’d still check the Enhanced Audio option under Speakers, in Windows 11.
One final aspect to mention here is the camera, which is placed at the top of the main display, where it should be, flanked by a set of microphones. The image quality isn’t much, as this is just an HD shooter. IR functionality is baked in, with support for Hello for quickly logging into Windows.
There’s a 90Wh battery inside this Flow X16, just like on all other 2022 ROG Strix and Zephyrus models, which is excellently sized for a portable design.
The system automatically switches the screen’s refresh to 60 Hz when using the laptop on battery, to increase efficiency, which explains the quick screen flicker when you disconnect the laptop from the wall. Also, if you’re looking to maximize runtimes, make sure you’re using the laptop with the MUX set in the Hybrid mode and not on discrete GPU.
Here’s what we got on our review unit in terms of battery life, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness) and on Hybrid mode. Don’t forget this is the IPS screen option and not the miniLED model.
Update: I’ve updated these findings as per BIOS 310 available as of July 2022. I’d still recommend taking the result with a slight grain of salt, but now the X16 faired closer to the other Ryzen 9 6900HS models we’ve tested so far.
14 W (~6-7 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
12.5 W (~7+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
11.5 W (~8+ h of use) – Netflix 4K fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
17 W (~6-7 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON;
85 W (~1+ h of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, WiFi ON, no fps limit.
I’ll still further update this section if/when I get to retest a retail unit.
I’ll also add that the laptop ships with a 240W power brick, fairly compact for what it is. The battery fills up in 2+ hours, with fast charging for the first half an hour, and USB-C charging is supported, up to 100W.
You won’t be able to use the laptop on Turbo/Manual while hooked over USB-C, but that’s enough for everyday multitasking and occasional heavy workloads on Balanced, in case you don’t want to bring along the heavier main brick when on the go.
This article better explains USB-C performance and behavior on AMD-based ROG laptops. The 100W ROG USB-C charger is not included in the box with this model, but Asus says you will be able to find it in stores at some point.
Price and availability- 2022 ASUS ROG Flow X16
At the time of this article, the 2022 Asus ROG Flow X16 is listed in some stores around the world, but not yet shipping.
This RTX 3060 model reviewed here is
listed at BestBuy for $1999, while the RTX 3070Ti versions are listed at around $2500 in a few places. EU prices are even higher at 2600 EUR for the 3060 model and 3000 EUR for the 3070Ti configuration in Germany, both with the miniLED panel.
That’s expensive compared to the Zephyrus G15 and M16, which are both several hundreds of USD/EUR less for similar specs. Take these with a grain of salt, though, as prices might go down once the Flow X16 actually becomes available in stores.
We’ll update once we know more, and in meantime,
follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time you’re reading this article.
Final thoughts- 2022 ASUS ROG Flow X16 review
Looks like the Flow X16 is going to demand a premium over the existing clamshell ROG Zephyrus designs of this generation, and that’s getting you the convertible form-factor with a touch-enabled mini LED display, paired with a sturdily made chassis, uncompromised inputs and ports, and the excellent balance of performance, cooling and noise levels for a
thin-and-light performance ultraportable.
Of course, as explained throughout this article, I advise you to place this laptop on a cooling pad or use i in tent mode or at least bump it up from the desk in order to favor proper airflow into the fans, as otherwise the cooling is choked up by the slim rubber feet implemented on the bottom of this design, required in order to allow the screen to fold back into a tablet mode. This is the single significant compromise that you’ll have to accept with the Flow X16, and I think it’s something most should be fine with, considering the whole package offered here.
Thing is, there’s no other such laptop out there. On one side, the convertible form factor is a major selling point of the Flow X16, although a 16-inch tablet isn’t necessarily that useful, and I’d expect most potential buyers to end up using this in laptop mode anyway. For me, more appealing is the balance of performance, excellent temperatures for this class, and quiet fan noise levels that you’re getting with this series on the Balanced mode, with the chassis bumped off the desk. That tri-fan thermal module with the extra back radiator just works as advertised and allows this Flow X16 to outmatch every other ultraportable we’ve tested so far, and I hope other OEMs will follow on this path and pursue a similar or even superior balance on their products.
For now, though, as long as you’re OK with the particularities of this series and you’re willing to pay the kind of money Asus are going to demand for it, this Flow X16 is the multi-purpose laptop to get in its segment and earns my full recommendation.
Just a heads-up, I haven’t considered the runtimes on battery in my final decision, because I expect the retail versions to last longer than this early sample. I’ve also accounted for the miniLED display, based on my experience with that panel from the Zephyrus Duo. I’ll update the article if required once I get to retest a retail X16 with the finalized software and the miniLED touch display.
That’s pretty much my review of the 2022 Asus ROG Flow X16 model. Looking for your thoughts, feedback, and questions on the series in the comments section down below.
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