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The New Gaming Laptop to Beat

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

Who doesn’t love a hero story? Asus’s ROG Zephyrus G14 is the protagonist of AMD’s current resurgence. When the unique mannequin arrived just a few years in the past, it proved Ryzen processors might outmuscle Intel chips whereas delivering class-leading runtimes. For Asus, its symbiotic relationship with Intel’s rival gained it a standout moveable gaming system that struck an ideal steadiness between measurement, efficiency, and effectivity. The ROG Zephyrus G14 was met with vital acclaim and have become so common commercially that it could promote out for months at a time.

This 12 months’s mannequin doesn’t change the successful recipe, however somewhat refines every of the substances. Asus listened to suggestions and aggressively tackled previous shortcomings by enhancing current options just like the touchpad and cooling whereas additionally debuting new ones, together with an RGB-backlit keyboard, a 16:10 show, and an IR webcam.

But for all of the modifications made to the design, the spotlight stays the G14’s twin-turbo engine consisting of an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU and a Radeon RX 6800S GPU. Yes, this 12 months, the G14 wears pink from head to toe. If you have been fearful Asus was taking a threat by leaving out Nvidia, don’t be: The Zephyrus G14, although not excellent, is healthier than ever.

Elegance Can Be Fun

The Zephyrus G14 seems nearly similar to the earlier model, which suggests it’s simply as eye-catching, particularly the Moonlight White mannequin Asus despatched me. (Eclipse Grey is the opposite choice.) I’m impressed by the steadiness Asus struck: The Zephyrus G14 can unfold its feathers for avid gamers who need one thing flashy then dial issues again when a subdued look is extra acceptable, like in a classroom or workplace.

This transformation is dependent upon the options you select when configuring your system. Some are much less delicate than others, just like the bonkers dot-matrix protecting a lot of the lid. Now full of extra LEDs (1,449 to be precise), the AniMe Matrix consists of a grid of white lights that may show customized animations. When disabled, it offers the lid a lovely stippled sample; flip the LEDs on and the individuals round you might be handled to an enchanting gentle present. There is a refreshing lightheartedness that abides by Asus’s “for the hell of it” design method. And surprisingly, it really works.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

Though gimmicks like this aren’t normally my cup of tea, I had enjoyable enjoying with the glowy dots. The minute or so it took to alter the animation from a meteor bathe to an exploding coronary heart on Valentine’s Day was price my spouse’s supportive half-smile once I boldly lifted the lid subsequent to her. I’m a dork, I do know, however hey, at the very least I received her over. If that wasn’t quirky sufficient, now you can place Asus’s Omni digital pet on the lid and problem it to mini-games.

Also on the snow white lid is a reflective pink “Republic of Gamers” emblem simply above a chrome strip. Open the laptop computer beneath the appropriate lighting and also you’ll discover that the keys and deck have a pearlescent sheen that sparkles turquoise blue and pink. While simply ignored, these parts add a sure passive class to the chassis. You must flip the laptop computer round and the wrong way up to identify its gaming origins. There, you’ll discover aggressive contours and slanty angles—the kind of Cyberpunk type synonymous with Zephyrus laptops.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

There are some good quality-of-life parts right here that I didn’t discover earlier than getting my arms on the Zephyrus G14. The entrance lip is angled downward, which makes it simpler so that you can elevate the display with one hand. And when the lid is totally opened, the laptop computer rests on an “ErgoLift” hinge that folds beneath the bottom. This places the deck at a extra snug typing angle and improves airflow. Also, the hinge now rotates 180 levels so the display goes flat—laptop computer makers name this a collaboration function however I personally just like the reassurance of figuring out the lid received’t snap off once I push it again too far.

My favourite design updates will be discovered across the show. This 12 months’s Zephyrus G14 retains the slim bezels of its predecessor however finds area for a front-facing digital camera above the display. Oh, and that display is now in a 16:10 facet ratio, which provides you extra vertical viewing area and makes this already moveable system really feel much more compact. Indeed, the Zephyrus G14 is slim and light-weight at 12.3 x 8.9 x 0.73 inches and three.8 kilos; I barely observed the machine in my backpack once I introduced it to a restaurant.

Larger Touchpad, RBG Keys

Asus listened to complaints concerning the measurement of the touchpad and took them critically. On this mannequin, the floor is each taller and wider, leading to a 50% total measurement improve. The glass rectangle, which has a barely rubbery really feel, is likely one of the greatest I’ve used on a gaming laptop computer and responded shortly to my swipes and gestures.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

The keyboard was additionally tweaked, although the general typing expertise hasn’t modified a lot. Gone is the sci-fi aesthetic and as a substitute is one thing extra conventional. These aren’t the clickiest keys however the beneficiant 1.7mm journey and goldilocks measurement and spacing made me really feel proper at dwelling from the second I began typing. For quantitative proof, I typed at a well-above-average 119 phrases per minute with a 97% accuracy on a standardized typing check. I additionally like how Asus offset the arrow keys into an inverted T and put aside a row of communication keys (quantity, mute) on the high of the deck for simpler entry.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

Gamers will recognize the addition of an RGB keyboard choice. Sadly, my overview unit has white keys (we’ll chat later, Asus) so I can’t present you what I’m certain can be a wonderful gentle present in opposition to this white backdrop. I’ll recover from the omission. What I’m extra offended by is the uneven backlighting, one of many few gripes I’ve with {hardware} that in any other case nails the small print. If you go for the RGB model, these hues will be custom-made in Asus’s Armory Crate software program. And only a fast phrase on apps: Asus’s pre-installed software program is a few of my favourite. The firm does a superb job of mixing helpful options into one or two apps and presenting them with trendy, colourful interfaces.

I’ve solely scratched the floor of what the Zephyrus G14 has stepping into its favor. The quad audio system—consisting of two upward and two downward-firing drivers—get loud and sound crisp whereas delivering a shocking thump within the decrease frequencies. The 720p webcam doesn’t take the perfect images or movies but it surely’ll do in a pinch, and the IR sensor that permits facial recognition makes logging into the Zephyrus G14 near-instant.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

Then there’s the beneficiant array of ports for a laptop computer of this measurement. You’ve bought two USB 3.2 Type-A inputs for plugging in peripherals, a pair of USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-C ports cut up amongst both sides, an HDMI 2.0b enter on the left, a microSD card slot on the other aspect, and a headphone/mic jack. I can’t in good religion request an Ethernet port in such a compact machine however I want Asus had at the very least included a dongle. Worth noting right here is that the USB-C on the left aspect, which helps 100W energy supply and DisplayPort, is USB4 succesful however received’t get full performance till a software program replace arrives later this 12 months, Asus guarantees.

A Better Display in Every Way

The 14-inch show on the earlier mannequin was good—now it’s nice. We can say an unceremonious farewell to the 16:9 facet ratio and a wholehearted whats up to a 16:10 panel. I desire the taller, narrower form as a result of it feels extra spacious when viewing a number of home windows side-by-side and when scrolling down net pages. This 2560 × 1600 (WQXGA) IPS panel can be brighter than earlier than and drops the response time from 25 milliseconds to only 3ms.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

The panel checks all the bins. It’s brilliant, colourful, has a 120Hz refresh price, helps Dolby Vision, is Pantone validated to have correct colours, and is licensed for low blue gentle emission to scale back eye pressure. What you actually need to know is: sure, it’s that good in apply. In truth, it holds its personal in comparison side-by-side with an OLED-equipped laptop computer I’m presently reviewing. Obviously, the matte panel isn’t as colourful however there’s loads of pop and I measured a max brightness of 530 nits, which is considerably brighter than the 300-nit panel on the earlier mannequin.

AMD in Harmony

Now, for the principle occasion: Not solely is the Zephyrus the primary laptop computer outfitted with an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, but it surely’s now a part of a uncommon breed of gaming laptops that opts for AMD GPUs somewhat than Nvidia chips. Where the earlier mannequin maxed out at a GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, this 2022 model goes as much as a Radeon RX 6800S—a high-end discrete GPU AMD revealed at CES final month.

Our overview unit was configured with an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU (8 core/16 thread) with 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD. No barrage of Chrome tabs, Twitch streaming, or picture enhancing might sluggish the G14, which did an equally glorious job on our artificial benchmark assessments. The outcomes are fairly staggering.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

On the Geekbench 5 total efficiency check, the Zephyrus G14 scored 1,552 and 10,002 for single and multi-core, respectively. Those outcomes handily defeat final 12 months’s Razer Blade 14 (7,403) and Alienware 15x (9,339) however fall wanting the mighty MacBook Pro 14 (12,663). The earlier G15 with a Ryzen 9 5900 CPU scored within the low-8,000 vary. The solely laptop computer I had readily available with Intel twelfth Gen chips, an Asus ROG Strix SCAR 17 (overview coming quickly) with a Core i9-12900H CPU, scored a scrumptious 12,903.

It took the Zephyrus G14 3 minutes and 15 seconds to transform a 4K video to 1080p decision, a consequence that outpaces practically each laptop computer we’ve examined wanting the Alienware 15x, which accomplished the duty two seconds sooner. The Razer Blade 14 (3:48) and MacBook Pro 14 (3:21) have been shut behind the Asus and Alienware.

Shifting to graphics efficiency: The Zephyrus G14 held its personal in opposition to methods outfitted with Nvidia RTX 3070 chips. In complete, the G14 drives 105W of graphical energy because of the AMD-exclusive SmartShift and SmartAccess Memory options, which allocate energy to the place it’s most wanted. It additionally has a MUX change, a microchip that permits the devoted GPU to bypass the CPU on its technique to the show. This means, it may well push frames on to the display, leading to decreasing latency and boosting framerates by as much as 9%, in accordance with Asus.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

In Far Cry 5 on Ultra setting at 1920 x 1200 decision, the Zephyrus G14 averaged 94 frames per second, falling slightly below the Alienware x15 (106 fps) with an RTX 3070 operating the sport at 1080p. The Razer Blade 14 with an RTX 3070 hit 100 fps.

On the Total War: Warhammer II benchmark, the Zephyrus G14 maintained 68 fps, edging out the Predator Triton 300 SE (66 fps) with an RTX 3060 GPU however solely notched a body above its predecessor.

And in Metro Exodus on Ultra, the AMD GPU averaged 68 fps, just a few frames above the earlier mannequin (66 fps) and Razer Blade 14 (65 fps) however wanting the Alienware x15 (75 fps). The Alienware m15 R5 with a Ryzen 7 CPU and RTX 3060 GPU stopped effectively wanting its rivals, averaging solely 50 fps.

Still Runs Warm

Asus gave me a—rely ‘em—77-page reviewer information, a lot of which talked concerning the new cooling system. It felt like I used to be studying an engineer’s technical whitepaper. I’ll spare you the gory particulars and provide the TL;DR model: extra fan blades (84 up from 71) with a novel tapered design, 4 warmth pipes, a vapor chamber; and liquid metallic, a compound from Thermal Grizzly for higher conductivity than commonplace thermal paste. It can be the primary ROG laptop computer with mud filters to stop grime from clogging issues up. Asus’s personal testing confirmed the filter stored CPU and GPU temps at about 4 levels under the identical unit with out the filter whereas permitting these elements to attract extra energy.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

For all the trouble Asus put in, the Zephyrus G14 nonetheless prefers heat climates. The laptop computer was perpetually lukewarm all through my on a regular basis workflow and fairly toasty throughout gameplay. That mentioned, the temps by no means reached worrying ranges, although I wouldn’t preserve the G14 on my lap when enjoying Crysis.

One profit of those new thermals is one thing Asus calls 0db mode, which turns off the followers when the laptop computer is beneath a standard load, making it pin-drop silent. That a lot, I like. At least, till the keyboard bought sizzling whereas the followers remained dormant. I measured a lukewarm 104 levels on the keys when just one window was open. The followers finally kicked on after I pulled up one other few dozen tabs—which the Zephyrus loaded in a flash, by the way in which—however even then, the keyboard had risen just a few levels.

Battery Life in a League of Its Own

The Zephyrus G14 has earned many honors because of its efficiency and measurement, however what has actually set it other than the pack is its implausibly lengthy battery life. It was the primary moveable gaming machine to hover across the 10-hour battery life mark throughout precise use. This 12 months’s mannequin continues the development, lasting 9 hours and 21 minutes on our video playback check with the display set to 200 nits.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

During a standard workday, the G14 lasted for about eight hours earlier than battery saver mode kicked on. Keep in thoughts that this was with the display brightness set to 75% (about 200 nits)—cranking that as much as the max 500 nits will end in a major drop. Either means, the Zephyrus G14 stays one the longest-lasting gaming laptops available on the market, and because of this, can double as a piece or journey laptop computer.

Price Remains a Question Mark

Asus and AMD are being frustratingly coy about pricing. Here is what I do know: The Zephyrus G14 will begin at $1,599 and go as much as $2,499. The system I examined, which has a Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a Radeon 6800S GPU, prices $2,499 (I’m confirming this value as there appears to be some confusion). That pricing is according to its foremost rivals: the Alienware x14 and Razer Blade 14.

Asus despatched me some configs that needs to be showing on Best Buy quickly. A $1,699 mannequin comes with a 14-inch QHD show, a Ryzen 9 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and da Radeon RX 6700 GPU. Spending one other $300 upgrades you to an RX 6800S GPU.

Is the Asus Zephyrus G14 Worth Buying?

Yes, and I’d simply beat you to it. I usually desire non-gaming laptops with discrete GPUs, just like the Dell XPS 15 or HP Spectre, as a result of they have a tendency to ship the efficiency I would like with out sacrificing measurement or endurance. For that cause, gaming rigs haven’t been on my radar. The Zephyrus G14 modifications that by delivering the perfect of each worlds: elite efficiency and all-day battery life in compact (albeit, barely thick) chassis.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Photo: Phillip Tracy/Gizmodo

The Zephyrus G14 is probably the perfect all-purpose laptop computer for individuals who want a laptop computer able to enjoying the newest video games at excessive frames per second. This newest mannequin is especially compelling in that it fixes a lot of the issues plaguing the earlier variations. It provides a webcam, shifts to a 16:10 show, and sports activities a a lot bigger touchpad. What would possibly flip you off are the thermals, which stay an issue regardless of all the flamboyant new engineering. And whereas the Zephyrus G14 begins at $1,599, the top-end config goes for a not-so-budget-friendly $2,499.

You might await different choices to enter the market, just like the up to date Razer Blade 14, however I received’t blame you for assuming the Zephyrus G14 would be the greatest gaming laptop computer of the 12 months—it certain feels prefer it to me.