Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: A turning point for laptops

Taiwanese technology giant Asus has just launched its 14-inch flagship laptop, the ROG Zephyrus G14 in the Indian market. Users can head to Amazon India to make the purchase of one of the most anticipated laptops in the market. The company initially revealed the device on the global stage back in January at CES 2020. In fact, we also got the chance to use the device weeks after the launch. Asus launched the laptop in the international market back in March. The initial reviews and feedback of the media highlighted things that seem almost too good to be true.

Almost 5 months after the international launch, the Zephyrus G14 has finally landed in the Indian market. Now, we can test the claims that Asus has made regarding both the performance as well as battery life. Considering that it is likely the first laptop to feature 8 cores and 16 threads in the market. This means that the G14 lineup is likely in a league of its own on paper. The company has already revealed the pricing, availability, and specifications regarding the different variants for the laptop.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review (19)

Asus will compete with the likes of Dell, HP, Acer, Xiaomi, and more in the high-end to premium laptop segment. Considering the specifications and features, you likely have multiple questions regarding the laptop lineup. After about two weeks with the laptop, here is our review for the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 to address all your queries.

Watch: BGR Talks: Dinesh Sharma, Business Head, Mobiles, Asus India

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15: Specifications, different variants, and pricing

The company has launched four different G14 models with different CPU, GPU, display, and battery options. These models include the GA401IV, GA401IU, GA401II, and GA401IH. The GA401IV is the top of the line variant while the GA401IH is the budget variant. We get up to AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU along with Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU. In addition, users can also opt for an FHD display with 1,920×1,080 pixels resolution, and a 120Hz refresh rate. The 14-inch display also offers 100 percent sRBG coverage, Pantone calibration, and support for Adaptive Sync.

Other features include up to 32GB DDR4 RAM at 3200MHz clock speed, and up to Windows 10 Pro. We also get up to 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD, a backlit keyboard, 2 bottom-firing 2.5W speakers with Dolby Atmos support. In terms of ports, we get two USB Type-C ports with USB 3.2 gen 2 protocol support. two USB Type-A ports with USB 3.2 Gen 1 protocol and one HDMI 2.0b port. Asus has also added a Kensington lock port and a 3.5mm audio socket. One of the two USB Type-C ports supports DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery. We also get up to 180W power adaptor, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth v5.0.

All variants are identical in terms of the design. However, the only difference is the presence or absence of the AniMe Matrix option on the top of the laptop. As per the announcement, the base variant with model number GA401IH is priced at Rs. 80,990. Model number GA401II is priced at Rs 98,990. Our review unit featured Ryzen 9 4900HS, Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q, and WQHD (2,560×1,440 pixels) resolution at 60Hz. The company has priced this unit at Rs 1,61,990.

Premiums design and robust build quality

The laptop lineup features an impressive, industrial design with a robust build quality. Asus is offering the laptop series in two color options including the “Eclipse Gray” or the “Moonlight White”. It used CNC milled Aluminum to create the holes on the lid of the laptop for the “dot matrix design”. In addition, the company has also used the “honeycomb” design inside the chassis to create a durable and reinforced body. Talking about the chassis, the company has used Magnesium-Aluminum alloy to create a slightly soft, fingerprint-resistant finish.

Taking a look at the keyboard area, the entire chassis features a uni-body, clean and premium design. The Zephyrus G14 undoubtedly is in line with past Asus hardware when it comes to the overall design elements. However, the somewhat cleaner, and more premium look without any flex or structurally-weak areas is similar to the MacBook lineup. Talking about the keyboard area, we get four multimedia control keys on the top along with three activity indicator LEDs.

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In addition, we also get a prominent power button with an embedded fingerprint scanner. Moving down, we get a familiar laptop keyboard layout that ditches the number pad keys. Beyond this, we also get two upward-facing tweeters on the left and right along with an adequately sized trackpad. The company has also added ample air vents on four sides of the laptop. These include the side around the hinge area along with “ZEPHYRUS” branding, the right side, the left side, and the bottom of the laptop.

To maximize cooling, the company has included its “Ergo-lift” design where the top lid lifts the bottom of the laptop from the table when opened up. This ensures that the bottom side can breathe and exhaust air properly. Overall the design of the laptop is extremely premium and robust.

AniMe-matrix display: Laptop powered by memes

Inspecting the design, the “AniMe Matrix” display is likely the highlight of the design of the laptop. The company has added 1,215 mini-LEDs in this Matrix display to offer a unique pattern. This pattern divides the top of the laptop into two potions diagonally. The top right half includes the AniMe Matrix display while the bottom half is a regular lid. Beyond this, Asus also added the option to customize what is present on the AniMe matrix display. Users can take full control of the display from the ROG Armoury Crate app.

One can showcase text, animations, or system information on the display with an ample amount of rationalization options. The app allows users to change the text along with its parameters including scroll speed, font, and size. Similarly, in the animation section, G14 users can either select the built-in animation presets or use GIFs or videos.

Taking about the system animation, users can also configure the display to showcase battery percentage, time, and unread emails. Beyond this, one can also configure an equalizer effect that is tied to the music playback on the system. One can also change the behavior of the AniMe Matrix display depending on multiple factors. These include AC power or battery power, idle time, and even the lid open or closed states.

Performance on the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

Finally, we have reached the section that everyone is extremely curious about (including us). In one line, “Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 absolutely creams the competition”. The numbers that we saw during our review are both incredible and unprecedented for a 14-inch laptop. Credit about these numbers and the overall performance goes both to Asus and AMD. Both companies worked together to craft the Ryzen 4000 HS series to offer incredible performance with unbelievable battery backup.

Daily use: A professionally dressed monster

I don’t think we have to write much in this section as the Zephyrus G14 with 8 cores and 16 threads zipped through anything and everything that we threw at it. If you do regular work then it is better to get the Ryzen 7 (six cores and 12 threads) variant. This is because the Ryzen 9 will likely be overkill for regular light, non-demanding tasks.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review Desktop

However, if you want all the CPU power that you want for animation, video rendering, 3D modeling, and more then Ryzen 9 4900HS is the way to go. Our workflow includes a lot of writing, exhaustive web browsing, image editing of Lightroom and Photoshop, and occasional video encoding. It also includes watching videos on YouTube and some Netflix to unwind. The G14 flew past all the tasks while flexing its raw power during video encoding. We did not face any overheating or throttling while observing unprecedented numbers.

Gaming performance

Though the company does not advertise the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 as a gaming laptop, it would be criminal not to test gaming on a ROG device. We tested a number of games on our review unit to check the gaming performance. These titles include Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Far Cry New Dawn, GTA V, and Crysis 3. We did not change any performance settings on the laptop to check the out-of-the-box performance. However, users can change the profiles in the ROG Armoury Crate app.

Asus offers “Silent”, “Performance”, “Turbo”, “Windows”, and a “Manual” performance profile in the app. The UI does a good job of highlighting how each profile affects cooling, CPU and GPU performance, energy-saving, and noise levels. Beyond this, the company also offers the option to overclock the CPU and GPU inside the app after issuing a warning. We did not experience any stutters or lag during extended gaming sessions. However, the fan worked overtime and we could feel the hot air coming out of the vents during the inspection.

Talking about the peak temperature, we did notice it hit as high as 99.8 degrees Celsius. However, beyond these insane temperatures, the more impressive part was how the laptop did not thermal throttle. The exhaust area and the bottom of the laptop did get warm while pushing the laptop. But, it stopped shy of getting uncomfortably toasty. Beyond this, the keyboard and the wrist resting area maintained cool temperatures. Though our review unit featured a 60Hz panel, we are sure that the device can output impressive numbers consistently.

Frames and benchmarks

Talking about the numbers in terms of frame rates and synthetic benchmarks, brace for just pure flex. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 scored 1,188 in the single-core test on Geekbench 5 Pro and 7,687 on the multi-core test. The single-core results may not be impressive while comparing to the latest chips but the multi-core results are in a league of their own. Moving to PCMark 10 we got 5,037 scores, 4,090 in Cinebench R20. We also got 1,800 on the Cinebench R15 CPU test and 96.41 fps in the OneGL test.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review Far Cry New Dawn 2

Wolfenstein II The New Colossus 1

G14 scored 5,674 on the 3DMark Time Spy test, 29,589 in Sky Diver test, and 13,483 in the Fire Strike test. Moving to the games, considering the hardware, both of the GPU and the display, almost all games offers a consistent 60fps. Far Cry New Dawn offered up to 60fps at 2K in High graphics quality. Shadow of the Tomb Raider offered an average of 53fps at 2K resolution on High graphics. Beyond these, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus offered up to  60fps at 720p resolution on High settings. GTA 5 also followed suit with 60fps at 2k resolution on High settings, and Crysis 3 ended with 60fps at high quality on 1080p resolution.

Zephyrus G14: Display, and speakers

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The company claims that the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 features 99 percent coverage of Adobe RGB. It also offers 96 percent coverage of PCI-P3 color gamut and 100 percent sRBG coverage. However, these numbers are only limited to the 2k panel present on our review unit. The color accuracy will take a hit on higher refresh rate panels. Talking about the experience while using the display, G14 offered adequate brightness levels and we used it at about 75-85 percent of brightness indoors.

Though, the brightness levels are not the best in class while working in direct sunlight. It is worth noting that we do an anti-glare coating on the display to make the experience comfortable. Beyond that, the color accuracy was decent with slightly cooler hue out of the box. Though one would want to dial it in for color-critical work. Moving to speakers, we get decent audio reproduction but you need to invest in a good pair of earphones or headphones to drown out the fan noise while gaming. Beyond this, it is ideal to invest in good Bluetooth speakers if you want to use the laptop as your primary media consumption hub.

Keyboard, trackpad, and more

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Moving to the keyboard, Asus has managed to include an impressive keyboard and trackpad experience on the G14. The full-sized keys offer ample space for comfortable typing. The company has also added a fingerprint login with a cache mechanism. This means that the sensor will cache the fingerprint data when you turn on the device with the power button. As soon as the laptop reaches the login screen, it uses the cached-data to login with the help of the Windows Hello-powered authentication system. Though it is worth noting that the reliability of the sensor can be improved with future firmware updates and it did not cache the data sometimes.

We also get dedicated hotkeys to control the volume, mute the microphone and access the ROG Armoury Crate app. Beyond this, the ErgoLift design also helps the overall typing experience as it pushes the keyboard up at an angle. The back-lit keyboard is good but we would appreciate more brightness from the LEDs in the keys especially on the Silver finish. Moving to the touchpad, we get support for Windows precision drives with smooth, good operation. The device offers enough ports for easy connectivity along with the option to charge with the help of USB Type-C. You can also upgrade the RAM inside the machine as the company has left one slot free for the user. The company has not added a webcam on the laptop or in the box so you will have to buy it as an additional accessory or use your smartphone for video calls.

Asus software on G14

MyASUS app

MyASUS app

Asus has also added a number of in-house apps on Windows along with some bloatware that can be easily removed. The apps include the MyASUS app to manage the warranty, system driver updates, and a new “Link to MyASUS” feature. The feature allows users to connect and stream their smartphone directly to the laptop. Users also get the option to make calls and send SMS messages directly from the Zephyrus G14.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review Link to MyASUS

One can also share files between the laptop and the smartphone or set your smartphone as the extended screen for the laptop. Though, the smartphone streaming (Synchronize) option is only limited to Android. As part of the Synchronize feature, we can also see smartphone notifications directly on the laptop. Finally, we also get the ROG Armoury Crate app that allows users to switch between performance profiles. We can also control lighting effects on ROG devices, overclock, control AniMe Matrix display, game-specific profiles, and more.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14: A dark house in battery backup

Now, let’s talk about the battery on the G14, the second aspect beyond performance that makes it stand apart. Our review unit came with a 180W power adaptor with the usual barrel connector. Beyond this, we also get support for up to 65W charging through the power delivery protocol on the USB Type-C port. This Type-C port is located on the left side of the device near the barrel power charging port.

Asus has added a 76Wh battery in the device which lasted about 8.5-9 hours in our regular usage with brightness locked at 65 percent. Moving beyond, while gaming, the device lasted about 2.5 hours due to the power requirements. The device took about 1 hour 45 minutes to charge from 0 to 100 percent with the included charger. The highlight of the device is likely the near 9.5-hour battery back which is surprisingly in line with the claims.

Verdict: Should you buy the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14?

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Asus has created an anomaly in the laptop space with the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. The company has teamed up with AMD to create a performance monster that is best in its class. Beyond the performance, the second thing that takes the laptop and pushes in a league of its own is the battery life. Previously, a battery backup of 9-10 hours was only seen in claims on large thin-and-light notebooks.

However, offering this impressive battery backup in a mainstream, powerful content creator-focused laptop is a first. If you are looking for a laptop with unparalleled performance and long-lasting battery then you can get G14 with AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS. However, if you are don’t need that much power than you can get the Ryzen 7 variant. If you are looking at alternatives then we doubt that there is anything this unique or impressive in the market.


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