Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 evaluation: AMD drops the mic
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 evaluation: AMD drops the mic
“With an eight-core processor and shockingly small chassis, the Zephyrus G14 is in a category of its personal.”
- Glorious gaming machine
- Skinny, small, and lightweight
- Sport-changing CPU efficiency
- Responsive touchpad
- Distinctive lid design
- Noisy at idle
- Mushy keyboard
- No webcam
The ROG Zephyrus G14 is in contrast to any gaming laptop computer you’ve ever owned. Although it packs an Nvidia RTX 2060, it weighs simply three.5 kilos. It’s not a lot bigger than a 14-inch laptop computer you’d see issued at work.
How’s that potential? One very particular element is on the coronary heart of the G14: AMD’s Ryzen 9 4900HS. This eight-core, sixteen-thread chip is the place the magic is.
The Zephyrus G14 has created a brand new class of gaming laptop computer, and begins at simply $1,050. However is that this new breed of gaming laptop computer what folks need?
Dimension and portability
Asus and AMD need the G14 to be a laptop computer that’s simply as transportable as every other laptop computer — one you possibly can take to highschool, take to work, and play video games on in every single place in between.
Laptops just like the Razer Blade and MSI GS65 have tried slicing out the thickness from their machines, however they’ve maintained a big display screen dimension — 15 or 17 inches, respectively. That’s the place the G14 deviates.
With a 14.Zero-inch show and skinny bezels across the prime and sides, a big quantity of girth is lower proper out of the physique of the laptop computer. Which means the G14 is smaller than most gaming laptops in nearly each measure, together with weight. At three.5 kilos, it’s 19% lighter than the 16-inch MacBook Professional and 24% lighter than the Razer Blade 15. The small dimension helps with weight, as does the magnesium alloy chassis, which is way lighter than full aluminum.
As somebody who primarily makes use of a 13-inch laptop computer every day, I used to be shocked by the G14’s footprint once I opened the field. At simply 12.eight x eight.7 inches, its footprint is round 5% smaller than a 13-inch MacBook Professional.
It’s additionally skinny, although it’s matched by the present Razer Blade at Zero.70 inches. When open, the G14 does really feel thicker than it ought to as a result of lifted hinge, which provides an additional Zero.6 inches and improved airflow.
The one gaming laptop computer that may match the dimensions of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is Razer’s Blade Stealth, which is a 13-inch laptop computer with as much as a GTX 1650 GPU. It’s considerably smaller, however its graphics and CPU choices are rather more restricted as nicely. The Zephyrus G14 is in a category of its personal.
The unit I examined rings up at $1,450, and sits proper in the course of the configuration stack. The Zephyrus G14 is the launch car for AMD’s Ryzen 4000 chips. particularly the Ryzen 9 H-series eight-core chips meant for highly effective laptops and gaming machines.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 doesn’t use the usual 45-watt CPU, however as an alternative opts for a specialised 35-watt variant generally known as the Ryzen 9 4900HS, together with 16GB of RAM (configurable as much as 32GB). The “S” stands for slender, so it may be cooled throughout the small chassis of the Zephyrus G14.
Don’t fear. That doesn’t imply efficiency is handicapped. This Ryzen processor is insanely quick, particularly for those who feed it a job that may use its eight cores and 16 threads. That features content material creation, whether or not it’s 3D modeling or video modifying.
For this sort of workload, it’s hardly price evaluating to different gaming laptops, most of which use a six-core Intel Core i7-9750H. They simply can’t sustain. The eight-core Core i9-9880HK is a greater competitor, although it’s largely reserved for high-end content material creation laptops just like the Dell XPS 15, MacBook Professional 16-inch, or ThinkPad X1 Excessive.
For a laptop computer this small and lightweight, the G14 has record-breaking efficiency.
However right here’s the loopy factor. Whether or not it’s in benchmarking or real-life assessments, the Asus G14 nonetheless wins over laptops with an Intel Core i9-9880HK processor. It beats the 16-inch MacBook Professional in Cinebench R20 multi-core by a whopping 25%. It even encoded a 4K file in Handbrake 11% quicker, matching the efficiency of the Dell XPS 15.
You’ll discover extra energy in thicker workstation-type machines with the Core i9, however for a laptop computer this small and lightweight, the G14 is record-breaking.
Nevertheless, there’s a cause corporations don’t put costly, sweltering Core i9s in simply any outdated laptop computer. Initially, all eight cores can’t be used effectively by most video games, in order that gained’t do you a lot good. Then there’s an apparent thermal downside that Asus and AMD haven’t correctly handled. The Zephyrus G14 is a loud little laptop computer. When enjoying video games or operating heavy purposes, it’s distracting. However that’s forgivable.
My downside is that even at idle (and in Silent mode), the Zephyrus G14’s followers are continually whirring. The result’s an irritating coil whine that by no means goes away. That reduces my want to make use of the G14 as a laptop computer I need to use daily.
My Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 evaluation unit has an Nvidia RTX 2060 for graphics, with choices for the GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1650 in cheaper configurations. The G14 is the smallest laptop computer to incorporate an RTX 2060, a graphics card about as highly effective as a desktop GTX 1070 video card. The result’s fluid, responsive gaming in nearly each title I attempted.
Battlefield V, Fortnite, and Civilization VI all performed at nicely over 60 frames per second (FPS) in 1080p at maxed-out settings. That’s on par with laptops just like the Dell G7 15, which is 2 kilos heavier. It beat the identical RTX 2060 within the ROG Zephyrus M in each recreation, regardless of being lighter and smaller in nearly each regard.
If you flip the settings down a bit, efficiency really shines. Fortnite landed at 118 FPS, whereas Civilization VI hit 132. It’s persistently 10 FPS behind the Razer Blade, which we examined with a extra highly effective GPU, the RTX 2070 Max-Q.
Quick-paced shooters like Battlefield V are an incredible match for the Zephyrus G14, which comes with a quick 120Hz refresh fee show. And 98 FPS on Medium and 70 at Extremely in Battlefield V aren’t a foul look. The G14 even makes a troublesome recreation like Murderer’s Creed: Odyssey playable, managing 64 FPS at Excessive settings.
It could’t be overstated how large of a deal that is for AMD. The corporate isn’t typically featured in laptops this highly effective, nor in a single this formidable.
Design and show
Asus ROG Zephyrus laptops of latest years share a glance. They’re black and chunky, laden with hints of RGB all through.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 stands out. The laptop computer made headlines at CES 2020 with its AniMe Matrix Show design on the quilt, the place LEDs gentle the laptop computer’s show lid with patterns and designs. You’ll be able to even customise them to show textual content, animations, or logos of your selection.
It’s a cool characteristic that’ll value you an additional $500, and my evaluation unit didn’t embrace it. However even the usual white model, with out the AniMe Matrix Show, is gorgeous. The matrix of dots provides a splash of curiosity, and the white colour remains to be distinctive in its personal proper.
That mentioned, the G14’s design doesn’t really feel cohesive. The lid is white, the keyboard deck and chassis is grey, and the bezels across the show are black. It seems like components from a couple of totally different laptops stitched collectively into one machine. The all-gray choice fares a bit higher.
The audio system might have used some extra gusto.
The show is a 1,920 x 1,080 decision IPS panel. It’s nothing particular when it comes to brightness of distinction, however doesn’t have any main weaknesses, both. Following the development we’ve seen currently, it options correct colours and a good colour gamut, exhibiting 77% of the AdobeRGB colour house.
The audio system, although, might use some extra gusto. I had excessive hopes, because the G14 features a pair of upward-facing tweeters and two woofers on the hinge. They’re loud sufficient, however a contemporary iPhone sounds higher. Between the audio system and the coil whine, you’ll need to pair the G14 with a good set of headphones.
Keyboard and touchpad
The inputs are a blended bag. Let’s begin with the great things. The touchpad is great, which stunned me. A touchpad in a gaming laptop computer this good is tough to search out, since many producers assume you’ll be utilizing an exterior mouse. Not right here. That’s a superb name, for the reason that Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is sufficiently small to make use of as an on a regular basis laptop computer.
Typing on the Zephyrus isn’t a slog, however there’s room for enchancment.
The keyboard can also be spacious, providing the standard ROG format, with keys like quantity management inserted above the operate row. Bigger ROG laptops embrace additional keys alongside the proper facet, however they’ve been overlooked right here. That is sensible, as I’d relatively have a cushty format than a web page up and web page down key.
Whereas typing isn’t a slog, there’s positively room for enchancment. Key presses have quite a lot of journey, however the bottoming out motion is mushy. It makes for an imprecise typing expertise that grows weary over time. The keyboard backlighting can also be restricted. It’s a single-zone and never customizable, which is uncommon in a gaming laptop computer as of late. The backlighting that’s provided is uneven, lighting some keys higher than others.
The ability button is situated above the usual format and features a fingerprint reader built-in. That’s vital as a result of, unusually, the Zephyrus G14 doesn’t embrace a built-in webcam. Which means no Home windows Whats up facial recognition, and no Zoom calls. I get the thought — this isn’t a laptop computer made for video calls. Nonetheless, with its potential crossover enchantment as a content material creation and enterprise laptop computer, it’s an odd factor to depart out.
Gaming laptops aren’t identified for battery life, even once you aren’t gaming. The Zephyrus G14 doesn’t change that, although it does last more than different gaming laptops. The G14 managed slightly below 6 hours underneath a light-weight web-browsing load. That doesn’t evaluate nicely to a contemporary ultrabook just like the XPS 13 or HP Spectre x360, which might last as long as 10 hours on the identical take a look at.
Nevertheless, for a gaming laptop computer, it’s on the prime of its class. It’s a half hour greater than the Dell G7 Gaming Laptop computer and the Razer Blade, and hours forward of laptops which have G-Sync just like the Zephyrus M and Alienware M15.
On extra CPU-intensive assessments, the Zephyrus G14 fares even higher. It lasted four hours within the Basemark battery take a look at, which gives a view of battery life when operating heavier purposes. Add 10 hours of native video playback on one cost and you’ve got the very best battery life you may get out of a gaming laptop computer.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 challenges different skinny gaming laptops, just like the Razer Blade. The G14 provides greater than sufficient energy for many PC avid gamers. On prime of that, because of its eight-core processor, it’s top-of-the-line content material creation and video-editing laptops you should purchase at this value.
Does it additionally work as a laptop computer in its personal proper? The fixed hum of the followers and lack of a webcam aren’t splendid for on a regular basis laptop computer utilization, nevertheless, the G14’s sufficient battery life and show make it a good selection for work and journey.
Are there any options?
No gaming laptop computer is as small and highly effective because the Zephyrus G14. For those who go much less highly effective and even smaller, you possibly can go for one thing just like the Razer Blade Stealth.
If you transfer into the world of 15-inch laptops, your choices broaden rapidly. The Razer Blade 15 and MSI GS65 are as skinny because the G14, although heavier and bigger. They’re additionally significantly extra highly effective, providing graphics choices as much as the RTX 2080 Max-Q. The closest various in value is the, which provides an identical configuration, although with much less processor cores and a far bigger chassis.
Lastly, if you would like a 15-inch laptop computer for content material creation that may recreation on the facet, I like to recommend the Dell XPS 15. It’s not as succesful a gaming machine because the G14, however is a extra balanced choice for content material creators.
How lengthy will it final?
The G14 ought to final no less than three or 4 years of gaming efficiency earlier than it’ll begin to present its age. It’s well-built, up-to-date, and highly effective. Sadly, Asus solely provides a one-year guarantee for protection of defects, together with the battery. After that, you’re by yourself.
Must you purchase it?
Sure. It’s a particularly highly effective laptop computer crammed inside a surprisingly small design.