For a gaming laptop, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 almost sounds too good to be true. The slim design makes it as portable as a standard notebook, but the sheer amount of power packed inside used to necessitate a massive gaming rig. Furthermore, the small size does not compromise battery life, which lasts more than 10 hours on a single charge.The Asus Zephyrus isn't the only 14-inch gaming laptop on the market, with fierce competition from the Alienware x14 and the Razer Blade 14, but the Asus has consistently wowed us since its debut, offering some of the best performance and portability on the market. Even better, this year's model adds more power (thanks to the latest AMD hardware) while maintaining the impressively slim chassis and battery life. This is the laptop to get if you want to do serious gaming on the go.
We tested the $2,500 model, which includes an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and an AMD Radeon RX 6800S graphics card, for gaming. This gives you performance that falls somewhere between an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 and an RTX 3080 graphics card. That's a significant improvement over previous G14 iterations, which were limited to an RTX 3060 GPU. On this 1440p 120-Hz display, this results in frame rates of around 60 fps and above at Ultra settings. To get all 120 fps out of this laptop, you'll have to play FPS games like Apex Legends on low/medium settings. All of those frames and pristine graphics look fantastic on the 16:10 QHD display. With accurate colors and vivid contrast, both realistic and stylized images look great. It isn't perfect, however, because the display lacks a little brightness. In many situations, you won't notice, but away from gaming, this reduces the laptop's portability slightly. For those who want creative freedom as well as gaming power, the specs make it a capable editing machine. For these creators, this laptop competes with some of 2021's top-tier devices while also remaining competitive with larger powerhouses from this year. In short, all but the most power-hungry professionals should be fine with this machine, though its read and write speeds fall short of those of larger competitors. It is not slow, but it lags far enough behind that anyone who frequently transfers files should take note.
The G14's battery life continues to stand out, but I'm not as impressed as I have been in previous years. I worked for seven hours and fifty minutes on average. The test consisted of using the device as my daily work driver, hopping between a dozen Chrome tabs with occasional slacking, video calls, and Spotify streaming on top, with the screen set to around 200 nits of brightness. That's not as long as last year's G14 (which lasted over nine and a half hours on the same workload) or the G15 (which has a 90Wh battery versus this unit's 76Wh battery). Nearly eight hours of use is still much better than many gaming laptops and close to a full workday, but exceptional battery life has been a big part of the G14's value thus far, and this result erodes that advantage.
There is currently no other laptop comparable to the Zephyrus G14 in terms of performance in a compact form-factor and premium build. Nonetheless, this is a niche product with three potential turnoffs: the screen options, the silver keyboard on the White model, and the high internal temperatures. There is nothing we can do about the screen options unless Asus can source a brighter and faster 120 Hz FHD display to fill this void for competitive gamers. When it comes to choosing between existing FHD 120 HZ and QHD 60 Hz panels, I'd go with the former because it's brighter and comes in significantly more affordable models. Regarding the silver keyboard, you can either accept it or opt for the Space Gray model, which I recommend. Asus, on the other hand, could certainly do something about those temperatures by offering a Gaming-optimized power profile that would limit the overpowered CPU, allowing it to run cooler with games. That should not be difficult to implement because the profile appears to already exist, but it only activates automatically when playing games on an external monitor with the laptop's lid closed. But will it happen? I certainly hope so, but I'm not holding my breath. In terms of choosing between the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 processors, the Ryzen 9 is slightly faster in CPU-heavy loads, but only by about 5-10% at best, and most likely less than 5% in CPU-heavy loads. As a result, in theory, the Ryzen 7 model offers better value for money. However, if you're looking for a specific screen, GPU, or amount of memory, which varies by region, you might be forced to buy the Ryzen 9.