Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review

Last year we declared the Zephyrus G15 to be the best laptop we’d ever seen. It was borderline ultraportable and yet one of the very best high-performance gaming laptops we’d ever seen. Now here’s the latest Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and, on the surface it looks similar despite being an inch smaller. This partly puts it up against the amazing Razer Blade 14 but its heritage suggests it’s a contender for being the best laptop on the market. It sports some stunning innovations, addresses some of the few failings of its predecessor but some of the old issues still exist. So, just how good is it?

Jump to…

Specs
Design and Handling
Performance
Connectivity
Battery life & portability
Is it worth buying?
Scores and Verdict

Asus ROG G14 Zephyrus specs

14-inch, matte, 120Hz, 2560 x 1600, IPS display; 3.3-4.9GHz AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU; 32GB RAM; 1TB HDD; AMD Ryzen RX6800S 8GB GDDR6 graphics; 76Wh battery; 1.73KG. Dimensions: 31 x 23 x 2cm. SKU: GA402RK. Full specs here.

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ROG G14 Zephyrus Design and Handling

We couldn’t help but be impressed when we unboxed the ROG Zephyrus G14. The diagonal, spotted lid didn’t quite catch the light in a rainbow manner like the previous generation but the regal, purple name plaque in the corner helped make up for this.

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A regal, purple badge subtly adorns the lid.

Then we turned it on and discovered the ROG Zephyrus G14’s party piece: those dull grey dots actually act as a dot-matrix LED ‘screen’ which displays configurable patterns and text. Asus calls the technology, AniMe Matrix We’ve not seen anything like it. We showed it to the kids, and the wife, and all of them went wow. It’s the only laptop that’s impressed them that’s not been shocking pink. Some of the moving imagery is garish, while some of it is more-subdued. We took it to a press launch of LG’s latest OLED TVs – one of which cost $130,000(!) and it damned-near stole the show. The photos below don’t do it justice but it’s worth checking out our TikTok video of it in action (below).

Asus-ROG-Zephyrus-G14-lid-matrix
It’s less-impressive when photographed, but the Zephyrus’ AniMe Matrix lid has a video billboard on the back.
@highperformancelaptops

The brand new Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. Best laptop lid ever! We want one even if the rest of the laptop sucks (spoiler: it really really doesn’t). @asus @_asusrog @jeanmicheljarre #asus #rog #zephyrus #laptop #laptoplifestyles #gaminglaptop #perfectlaptop #amd #radeon #ryzen #ryzen9 #radeon6000 Review coming soon!

♬ Oxygene, Pt. 4 – Jean-Michel Jarre
A video showing off Asus’ AniMe Matrix technology.

Even if you turn everything off it still looks stylish and yet, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is just about sober enough to fit into a stuffy office. If the ‘Moonlight White’ is a bit to garish for you, the ‘Midnight Grey’ variant may suit you better.

Opening it up reveals a white-on-white keyboard and palmrest with a black-bordered screen. The Scrabble-tile keyboard is simultaneously comfortable to type upon while being very accurate for gaming. We did have issues with the predecessor’s white-backlit lighting behind the white keys which, in some lighting situations, meant that you couldn’t see which letters were where. It seems to be better this time and the four levels of lighting help ensure that you can identify keys in all lighting conditions. The lack of width means there’s (understandably) no room for a number pad but we were a little disappointed with the squished arrow keys. The ROG Zephyrus G14’s trackpad is large, accurate, resistant to clammy hands and comfortable to use. The clicking action is audible but comfortable.

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The ROG Zephyrus G14’s keyboard and trackpad are great but we never like squished arrow keys!

Whereas the previous generation of Zephyruses, perplexingly, didn’t have a webcam, this model – mercifully – does. It’s a decent HD unit but it also has IR compatibility for Windows Hello logon and we were impressed at how fast it worked.

Despite the svelte chassis, there are four speakers which offer decent fidelity from top to bottom. There’s even a modicum of bass but we couldn’t help think that everything sounded a little muddy.

The screen itself is excellent but with some caveats. Despite being a smallish, 14-inch unit, the ROG Zephyrus G14 has a UHD 2560 x 1600 resolution. When launching into a Windows Desktop, the laptop “naturally” recommends using 200 per cent magnification which zooms in a bit too much – and omits a few too much screen real estate fro our liking. If you set it to 100 per cent, the fine resolution makes text hard to identify if you don’t have good vision. While 150 per cent acts as a modest compromise, it’s not ideal having to regularly change it. Still, it’s capable of displaying a very bright, very-crisp Desktop that will suit all tastes – even if you need to fiddle a bit.

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Another ROG party piece is the Aura Wallpaper. Several styles are available and they subtly change colour in the background. See it in motion, here.

The ROG Zephyrus G14’s screen really comes into its own with multimedia performance, though. Colours are very bright and vibrant, both colourful and monochromatic transitions exhibit minimal banding and contrast is very impressive. The 120Hz refresh rate and fast pixel response time is impressive and there’s very little ghosting evident in fast-moving objects which will please gamers. Designers will love that it’s also Pantone Validated and supports 100 per cent of the tricky DCI-P3 colour gamut. There are few people it won’t please.

Performance of the Asus ROG G14 Zephyrus

Inside the ROG Zephyrus G14 is a 3.3-4.9GHz AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor, 32GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive. These combined to score 7610 in the general PCMark 10 test which is well above average. It rivals MSI’s GS76 Stealth and is only beaten by the big, overclockable flagship gaming laptops from Aorus and MSI. In the Cinebench CPU rendering tests it scored 2320 in the R15 drag Race which is better than all Intel i7 rivals but behind the latest, 12th Gen Core i9 processors. The same went for its R23 score of 13,866. This is incredibly fast for any laptop, let alone a svelte, quasi-ultraportable like this.

The Zephyrus G15 partnered an AMD CPU with an Nvidia RTX 3080 and we were impressed with how well it performed. The ROG Zephyrus G14 is all AMD and uses an AMD Radeon RX 6800S GPU with 8GB of GDDR6 RAM. In 3Dmark Time Spy it scored 9308 (an average of 56.4fps) which is equivalent to a mid-range, Nvidia RTX 3070 laptop. In FireStrike Extreme it scored 11,902 (average 57 fps). This is only a few fps behind some 3080-sporting laptops. We didn’t expect too much from the Port Royal ray-tracing test as it heavily favours Nvidia GPUs. Still, it scored 4260 (average 19.72fps) which impacts its overall score a little. While it may struggle with extreme, triple-A gaming titles at full resolution and texture quality, for a 14-inch laptop, this is still impressive performance.

As usual with Asus’ high-performance laptops, performance can be influenced the Armory Crate application. To be frank, it’s still a bit of a hot mess. There are many settings and monitoring tools available within it – which deal with performance and lighting – but finding them takes time and it’s not a great user experience. Still, once you discover the performance-profile settings that switch between Performance and Silent you’ll have access to the main elements.

ROG Zephyrus G14 Armory Crate
There are many settings and monitoring tools in Armory Crate. But, the main performance modes are hidden in the bottom left of this screen.

Under a high load the ROG Zephyrus G14 makes an audible, constant, low swoosh – which we’d expect from any rival laptop, but this is particularly impressive for a model with an almost-ultraportable body. Also, as with rivals, you can ramp-up performance via the max-fan ‘Turbo’ settings and these aren’t too noisy (relatively speaking).

Just note, you would not want to rest this laptop on your lap after any period of high performance computing – the enhanced, heat-sink-like base will toast your unmentionables. So, while it’s respectably cool on the top (keyboard and palm-rest) it, calling the ROG Zephyrus G14 a laptop is a bit of an oxymoron.

Connectivity of the ROG Zephyrus G14

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On the left is an HDMI 2.0b port, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port with power delivery, a 3.5mm audio jack and an awkwardly placed power adapter.
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On the right are two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a USB-C port 3.2 Gen 2 port and a microSD (UHS-II speed) card reader.

Inside the ROG Zephyrus G14 there’s Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. While we’d like a faster HDMI port and an Ethernet port, the key connectors are generally top notch.

Asus ROG G14 Zephyrus battery life and portability

A 14-inch laptop that’s just 2cm thick and weighs 1.73KG is borderline ultraportable. The power brick is not insignificant but the 785g weight is not high for such a high performance laptop. The ROG Zephyrus G14 might not rival Razer’s robust chassis, but we’re impressed with the build quality and expect it to comfortably survive life on the road.

Asus-ROG-Zephyrus-G14-underneath
The metal plate on the bottom is a great heatsink… but means you can’t rest the ROG Zephyrus G14 on your lap when it’s performing.

The 76Wh battery enabled the G14 to run PCMark 10’s Modern Office test for an incredible ten-and-a-half hours. For such a powerful computer – and with so many bells and whistles – that’s astonishing.

Should I buy the Asus ROG G14 Zephyrus?

The smallish, 14-inch size might be a little limiting for some but we expect a new 15-inch G15 to appear very soon. But that’s about our only complaint. It’s almost everything you could want from a laptop – powerful, portable, superb ergonomics and features – and even the $3499 price tag is palatable: it’s one-and-a-half grand cheaper than a Razer Blade 14!

Quite simply, if you want a high performance laptop but balk at the astronomical prices and sizes of the company flaghips from the likes of Razer, MSI and Aorus, this is the model to choose. The ROG Zephyrus G14 is a phenomenal feat of fabrication. See where it ranks on our Best Laptop list, here.

Asus ROG G14 Zephyrus results
  • 2D Performance
  • 3D Performance
  • Ergonomics
  • Stability
  • Portability
  • Value
4.4

Summary

The ROG Zephyrus G14 is a phenomenal feat of fabrication.

One Response

  1. Michael June 5, 2022

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