April 15, 2024

Byte Class Technology

Byte Class Technology & Sports Update

Corsair Voyager a1600 Review: This Gaming Laptop Has It All

Corsair Voyager a1600 Review: This Gaming Laptop Has It All

Corsair makes PC components, gaming accessories and gear for streamers. It also has a line of gaming desktops. The Corsair Voyager a1600 is its first gaming laptop and essentially combines all of the company’s product categories into one device.

The Voyager a1600 includes features from Corsair’s Elgato streaming hardware and software, RAM and storage from its components business and wireless tech from its gaming keyboards, mice and headsets. It’s a unique laptop made for gamers, creators and streamers.

With help from AMD, the Voyager a1600 has strong performance for gaming and creating, which is pretty great considering it’s only 19.8mm thick and weighs 5.3 pounds (2.4kg). The a1600 has also dramatically come down in price since its launch in late 2022, making it much easier to recommend for gamers looking to do it all from one laptop. 

Like

  • Unique compact design
  • Built-in high-speed wireless for Corsair gaming accessories
  • Low-profile mechanical keyboard
  • Useful touch controls

Don’t Like

  • Corsair’s software, system tools can be confusing

Great hardware

Corsair has four configurations for the Voyager a1600 starting at $2,000, with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800HS, AMD Radeon 6800M graphics, 16GB DDR5 memory and a 1TB NVMe solid-state drive. It runs on Windows 11 Home. That’s $700 less than the original price. There are more options, though. 

Origin PC, a custom PC-maker owned by Corsair, also sells the Voyager a1600. If you buy from Origin, the Voyager can be configured to your liking with up to 64GB of RAM and one or two SSDs with a variety of models and capacities to choose from. You can even have its black lid covered with one of 11 patterns. 

The configuration I tested combines the Ryzen 7, the Radeon 6800M, 32GB of memory and a fast 2TB Samsung SSD for $2,420, which includes $65 for the faux-marble lid treatment. That’s more than $600 less than its original price. The better deal, though, is direct from Corsair because you can bump up to the Ryzen 9 for $2,350.

Corsair Voyager a1600 (Origin Pro Edition)

Price as reviewed $2,420
Display size/resolution 16-inch 2,560 x 1,600 display
CPU 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 6800HS CPU
Memory 32GB DDR5 4,800MHz RAM
Graphics 12GB AMD Radeon RX 6800M Graphics
Storage 2TB PCIe NVMe SSD
Networking Wi-Fi 6E + DBS Bluetooth 5.3
Operating system Microsoft Windows 11 Pro

The laptop I tested lived up to AMD’s performance claims. Start up a game and the discrete graphics take over, driving frame rates screaming up over 100 per second on Guardians of the Galaxy and Shadow of the Tomb Raider on high settings at 1440p in our testing. On CS:GO, the laptop can hit over 280fps so you take full advantage of the display’s 240Hz refresh rate. 

Under load and with the fans on full blast, the Voyager stays cool on the left and right sides of the laptop, keeping your hands comfortable while gaming. It does get warm down the middle of the keyboard, particularly toward the top. The fans are loud, but that’s what you get with thin, powerful laptops.

The a1600 has a large 99Wh battery that lasted 5 hours, 4 minutes on our streaming video battery rundown test with both the display brightness and volume through earbuds set to 50{18875d16fb0f706a77d6d07e16021550e0abfa6771e72d372d5d32476b7d07ec}. Though it comes with a 230-watt adapter for gaming power and charging, the Voyager can be charged via USB-C with a 100-watt adapter.  

Close-up of the Corsair Voyager a1600 USB-A, USB-C ports and SD card slot on the right side of the laptop.

The Voyager a1600 has three USB-C ports, one USB-A port, an SD card reader and a combo headset jack. 


Josh Goldman/CNET

All configurations come with a 240Hz, 2,560×1,600-pixel, 16-inch IPS display. It’s a good screen overall, especially if your main concerns are a high refresh rate for smooth graphics and easier target tracking with 1440p gaming. But if you need wide color gamut coverage, it only hits 75{18875d16fb0f706a77d6d07e16021550e0abfa6771e72d372d5d32476b7d07ec} of Adobe RGB and DCI-P3, 69{18875d16fb0f706a77d6d07e16021550e0abfa6771e72d372d5d32476b7d07ec} NTSC and 97{18875d16fb0f706a77d6d07e16021550e0abfa6771e72d372d5d32476b7d07ec} sRGB, and brightness measured at 359 nits. For those times when you need something brighter with better color reproduction, it does have three USB-C ports with Thunderbolt support for an external display or three.

The combo of the big 16:10 display and the oddly tall hinges give the body a peculiar appearance — and unusual dimensions for squeezing into a backpack’s laptop compartment. The cutout below the display is there to accommodate the S-Key Macro Bar, a strip of 10 programmable macro keys with a small color display between them. The bar works with Elgato’s Stream Deck software, letting you create macro keys with simple drag-and-drop programming for everything from using OBS streaming software to opening an app or website to playing a sound effect to triggering a voice changer. 

Top down view of the keyboard of the Corsair Voyager a1600 on a wood desk.

The S-Key Macro Bar above the keyboard is a big reason to consider the a1600 over other gaming laptops. 


Josh Goldman/CNET

For the keyboard, Corsair used ultralow-profile Cherry MX mechanical switches. The clicky switch gives you nice tactile feedback for typing and gaming. Even though the keys are clicky, they aren’t so loud that you’d disturb anyone around you. And, naturally, there are lights. The keyboard has per-key RGB lighting, completely programmable with Corsair’s iCue software.

The smooth touchpad below it is gigantic. So large, in fact, that tapping the upper right corner of it two times shuts down the right half of the touchpad so you don’t accidentally move your cursor with your palm while gaming. A double tap in the upper left corner shuts the pad down entirely. 

Corsair Voyager a1600 gaming laptop closed on a purple background.

The cutout between the hinges allows the S-Key Macro Bar to show when the laptop is closed. 


Josh Goldman/CNET

However, if you don’t want to use either, a receiver for Corsair’s Slipstream Wireless-compatible peripherals is built in. It supports up to three devices at once so you can connect a mouse, keyboard and gaming headset without having to connect three separate USB receivers. It’s like having the convenience of Bluetooth but with the low-latency speed and stability of a 2.4GHz wireless receiver. 

Software to match

All of the great hardware packed in the Voyager wouldn’t be nearly as strong if it didn’t have some handy software to go with it. The AMD Radeon Software: Adrenalin Edition, for instance, has several options to get the most from the CPU and integrated and discrete graphics. Activate AMD SmartShift Max and the laptop will automatically balance power between the components depending if you need more performance from the GPU or processor. 

Similarly, SmartShift Eco saves battery life by using the integrated graphics when the laptop’s unplugged and moves back to the discrete graphics when connected to the power adapter. There are several other features to experiment with to improve performance on or off battery power, reduce input lag and sharpen image detail. 

Corsair Voyager a1600 gaming laptop screen displaying the laptop's Elgato Stream Deck software.

The included Stream Deck software lets you drag-and-drop shortcuts to apps, websites, sound effects, tools or whatever else you might want a shortcut to while you’re gaming, streaming or working.


Josh Goldman/CNET

Joining the Elgato Stream Deck is Corsair’s iCue software from its gaming peripherals. This app is used for changing the keyboard lights, making key assignments and connecting Corsair wireless mice, keyboards and headsets. Then there’s the Elgato Camera Hub that lets you get control of the built-in 1080p webcam so you can adjust brightness, saturation, exposure and white balance. All of this software, while helpful, can be a bit much to manage, and it doesn’t feel cohesive.  

The camera’s image quality is good, a little on the noisy side, but sharp with good detail. (There’s also an IR camera for unlocking the laptop with face recognition and a sliding privacy shutter to block the camera entirely.)  Audio in and out is solid. The upward-firing speakers that flank the keyboard are supported by Dolby Atmos processing and have a pleasing, clean sound. They’ll be fine for casual listening or conference calls. But for anything else, you’ll want external speakers or a headset (a pair by Corsair, perhaps). The integrated mics delivered impressive results, so streamers will sound good without an external mic. 

The Corsair Voyager a1600 is more than just a pure gaming machine. It’s an all-in-one portable solution for gamers and streamers, sure. But even if you’re not planning to stream gameplay or be a creator, the Stream Deck software and assignable macro buttons come in handy for everything from ending a Zoom call to launching Spotify. Plus, it includes a one-year warranty and lifetime 24/7 tech support service. 

The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computer-like devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device’s aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both those objective and subjective judgments. 

The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we’re currently running on every compatible computer include: Primate Labs Geekbench 5, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

A more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it can be found in our How We Test Computers page. 

Geekbench 5 (multicore)

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 Gen 7

Corsair Voyager a1600 (Origin Pro Edition)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R23 (multicore)

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 Gen 7

Corsair Voyager a1600 (Origin Pro Edition)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

PCMark 10 Pro

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 Gen 7

Corsair Voyager a1600 (Origin Pro Edition)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Online streaming battery drain test

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 Gen 7

Corsair Voyager a1600 (Origin Pro Edition)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Wild Life Extreme

Corsair Voyager a1600 (Origin Pro Edition)

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 Gen 7

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Guardians of the Galaxy (High @1920 x 1080)

Lenovo Legion Slim 7 Gen 7

Corsair Voyager a1600 (Origin Pro Edition)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

System Configurations

Corsair Voyager a1600 (Origin Pro Edition) Microsoft Windows 11 Enterprise; 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 6800HS; 32GB DDR5 4,800MHz RAM; 12GB AMD Radeon RX 6800 Graphics; 2TB SSD
Lenovo Legion Slim 7 Gen 7 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 3.3GHz AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX; 16GB DDR5 4,800MHz RAM; 8GB AMD Radeon RX 6800S Graphics; 1TB SSD
Asus ROG Flow X16 GV601 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 3.3GHz AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX; 16GB DDR5 4,800MHz RAM; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Graphics; 1TB SSD
Origin PC Evo17-S Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.5GHz Intel Core i9-12900H; 32GB DDR5 4,800MHz RAM; 16GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080Ti Graphics; 1TB SSD
Razer Blade 15 (2022) Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-12800H; 16GB DDR5 4,800MHz RAM; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070Ti Graphics; 1TB SSD