I didn’t think I’d see the day when the gaming laptops would deliver longer battery life than a traditional ultrabook. But today is that day, thanks to the Asus’ latest ROG laptop, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. The re’s almost nothing this baby can’t do – at $1,449, you get the new powerful AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS processor combined with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU. Add a lightning-fast SSD, a bright 14-inch, 120Hz display, a comfortable keyboard and powerful speakers wrapped in a beautiful milky white magnesium alloy chassis, and the ROG Zephyrus G14 is a near-perfect gaming laptop. This is our Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review.
Okay, there are a few things this machine can’t do. First of all, the re’s no webcam insight. And second, the backlight on the keyboard is bad. But those little bugs don’t affect the quality of this machine. The ROG Zephyrus G14 is, without a doubt, one of the best VR-ready laptops, best gaming laptops, and laptops with the best battery life so far.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Design
Is it a gaming laptop? Or is it the embodiment of bona fide badass machines? Cause damn it; I’m in love with this design. The elegant milky white color that dubbed Asus “Moonlight White” is smashed over the magnesium alloy lid of the Zephyrus G14. Half of the lid is covered with enchanting microdots for the mini LED lights called the AniMe Matrix display. It displays your images or GIFs, like a small Pikachu running over the lid. Our model did not have any LED lights, but the lights were not needed to make this baby look good.
The metal Republic of Gamers settlement stamp on the bottom left corner gave the laptop an industrial look. There is also a small recess on the lid, which shows the engraved Zephyrus logo of the hinge. Unfortunately, the interior doesn’t match the Moonlight White design for a grey-silver color (also known as Eclipse Gray). It doesn’t look bad, just tame. There are racing car grill cut-outs on the left and right side of the deck for the top-firing speakers, and just above is the keyboard with the worst white backlighting I’ve ever seen.
The edges of the screen are relatively narrow, but the re’s no webcam. For a little extra security, the power button acts as a fingerprint reader. The Zephyrus G14 has quite a few ports, but I would have liked a Mini DisplayPort. On the left, there is the power connector, an HDMI 2.0b port, a USB Type-C port (DisplayPort 1.4), and a headphone jack. On the right side, there is a Kensington lock, two USB 3.2 ports, and a USB Type-C port.
Keyboard and TouchPad
Whether you type 2,000 words or show the hell who’s boss in Doom Eternal, these keys are ready for anything. The ROG Zephyrus G14 even features Asus’ Ergolift technology so you can type at an angle. The keys provide a pleasantly deep movement and a comfortable operating force, but they could have been some clicker. Asus saved some money by using a white backlit keyboard, and as I said before, it doesn’t look good at all. You might as well keep it turned off at all times. The LEDs only partially illuminate the bright font on the keyboard, so I can barely distinguish each key. The font on the keyboard is the same curved font that Asus uses on the rest of his keyboards.
The 4.1 x 2.4-inch touchpad is soft to the touch but offers one of the shallowest clickers I’ve tested. However, thanks to the Windows 10 Precision drivers, the surface responded well to gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Display
Who wants a mainstream gaming laptop with a colorful and bright display? The Zephyrus’ 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 panel has a 120Hz refresh rate with AMD FreeSync, eliminating screen tearing. Yes, AMD. Although the Zephyrus G14 has an Nvidia GPU, the display works with AMD’s FreeSync technology, thanks to a driver that Nvidia released last year.
In the Jungle Cruise movie trailer, Dwayne Johnson’s undershirt glowed crimson and popped on the panel of the Zephyrus G14. While Emily Blunt climbed up the stairs in a dimly lit area of the jungle, I could still see the details in the surrounding rocks. Even the stubble on Johnson’s chin was sharp.
I fired Doom Eternal, and when I fell, the rotten hellish landscape jumped off the screen, with the crystal blue lightning piercing the orange skies above the ruins of a city. My way down dark corridors was no problem for the screen, which was bright enough to illuminate the zombies around the corner. As I bounced around and every demon I encountered, I could still see the details around the barrel of my shotgun.
According to our colorimeter, the Zephyrus G14 has nailed 117% of the sRGB color gamut, surpassing the average of the mainstream gaming laptop. The Dell G7 15 (114%) and Scar III (110%) fell behind. At 323 nits of brightness, the ROG Zephyrus G14’s display fell into the average category (287 nits), as did the G7 15 (303 nits) and ROG Strix Scar III (275 nits).
The re’s only one detail that can ruin the Zephyrus G14 for me: the speakers. But damn hot, Asus delivers. Powered by the included Dolby’s Access app, these two top-firing speakers blew me away.
Playing Doom Eternal, my ears were overwhelmed with the epic electric guitar that opens the game. The notes were crisp, and the speakers added enough depth to give me goosebumps. When I shot my shotgun in the face of a demon, the thick impact of the shell sounded as meaty as I expected. However, the passage background music was a little too much for the speakers because the sound began to get distorted.
I listened to “The Pretender” by Foo Fighters, and the opening vocals were soft and melodic – as flat as I expected. The vocals on the chorus were clear, and the dominant chords of the electric guitar were loud and clear. There was just enough bass to accentuate the drums, and the instruments were well-tuned.
You can fiddle with the sound settings in the Dolby Access app, which offers a whole range of presets, such as Dynamic, Game, Movie, Music, and Voice. For music, go to Dynamic, because that brought everything I listened to life. And for gaming, you want to go for Game because it emphasizes the sharper sounds rather than rounding them off with excessive bass. There are also custom presets you can customize with full EQs.
Graphics and Gaming
Packed under the hood of the ROG Zephyrus G14 is an Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB VRAM that tore and ripped by Doom Eternal at 90 frames per second (fps) at 1080p on Max settings as I hopscotched with my shotgun up in demons’ faces.
During the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Highest, 1080p), the ROG Zephyrus G14 hit 49 fps, sliding along the mainstream gaming laptop category average (48 fps). It matched the Dell G7 15’s RTX 2060 GPU (49 fps), but couldn’t quite match the Strix Scar III’s RTX 2060 GPU (55 fps). The ROG Zephyrus G14 scored 87 fps on the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), which is again above the average of the 86 fps category and the Scar III (86 fps). The G7 15, however, excelled with 117 fps.
As for the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (Very High, 1080p), the Zephyrus G14 crushed it by 115 fps and flew over the mainstream gaming laptop category average (63 fps), the Dell G7 15 (66 fps) and the Strix Scar III (64 fps). This machine is also ready for some VR, hitting 9.8 out of 11 on the SteamVR Performance Test, which is above the 9.2 gaming category average, but it doesn’t pass the G7 15 (11) or the Strix Scar III (10.3).
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Performance
The Zephyrus G14 is praising AMD’s prized beast: the Ryzen 9 4900HS processor, which ran 40 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p Full-HD YouTube videos, while Doom Eternal ran in the background without any sweat. In the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, Zephyrus G14’s AMD CPU proved more than capable, scoring 30,181, erasing the average of 20,995 mainstream gaming laptop tops. It also did short work of the Intel’s Core i7-9750H CPU found in the Dell G7 15 (23,863) and the Strix Scar III (23,196).
When we set the Zephyrus G14 against our HandBrake benchmark, it took just 6 minutes and 59 seconds to transcode a 4K (ultra-HD) video to 1080p, exceeding the 10:37 average. The G7 15 (8:05) and the Strix Scar III (10:34) couldn’t even get close to the Zephyrus.
Who said gaming laptops have slow SSDs? Asus‘ 1TB SSD copied 4.97 GB of data in just 4.5 seconds, a transfer rate of 1,131 megabytes per second, which is double the gaming category average (493 MBps). The G7 15’s 256GB SSD (127 MBps) and Scar III’s 1TB SSD (525 MBps) did not stand a chance.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Battery Life
Together with the killer performance of the Zephyrus G14, the laptop stands out because of its wild battery life. After the Zephyrus surfed the web continuously over Wi-Fi with 150 nits of brightness, its battery died in 11 hours and 32 minutes. That makes it one of the best and longest-lasting gaming laptops you can buy now. It’s almost three times as long as the average 4:26 gaming laptop. The G7 15 (3:12) and the Strix Scar III (5:09) were all disgraced.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 didn’t get too hot under the bonnet, thanks to its magnesium alloy chassis. After fifteen minutes of playing Doom Eternal, the underside only felt warm. During our regular heat test, during which we streamed a 1080p video for 15 minutes, the bottom hit 88 degrees Fahrenheit, which is below our comfort threshold of 95 degrees. In the center of the keyboard and touchpad, it measured 82 and 74 degrees, respectively.
Price and Configuration Options
The Zephyrus G14 costs $1,449 and is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS processor, an Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB VRAM, 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 1080p at 120Hz display. You can get the base model for $1,049, and it comes with a Ryzen 7-4800HS CPU, a GTX 1650 GPU, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 1080p at 60Hz display. If you want to try it all out, you can get the $1,999 model with a Ryzen 9-4900HS CPU, an RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, a 1440p (Quad-HD) at 60Hz display, and the AniMe Matrix display.
If you are looking for something cheaper, then have a look at our list of Best Cheap Gaming Laptops
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Conclusion
Want 11-plus hours of battery life and killer performance? Oh, and a bright display with a comfortable keyboard and loudspeakers? You can’t beat the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. Sure, it doesn’t have a webcam, and the keyboard lighting is pretty bad, but those drawbacks are negligible. However, if you want a bigger screen and a higher refresh rate, it’s best to choose the Asus ROG Strix Scar III, which delivers both – on top of the excellent performance. But while the battery life is suitable for a gaming laptop, it’s not even comparable to the Zephyrus G14.
In the end, the Zephyrus G14 is the gaming laptop to beat, between its killer AMD performance and epic battery life.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has spoiled us with its 11-plus hours of battery life, great AMD CPU performance and lightning-fast SSD.
- Killer AMD and Nvidia performance
- Lightning fast SSD
- Bright 120Hz display
- Comfy keyboard
- Excellent battery life
- Strong speakers
- No webcam
- Keyboard lighting is poor