If you were looking for a compact sub 15-inch gaming laptop, you would have probably shortlisted the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. We did take a look at that before and we’ve got to say that we still have fond memories of our time with it. It’s one of our favorite gaming laptops. So this year, Asus has gone ahead and revamped the G14 and here it is with a slight twist. You see, the previous model paired the incredibly capable AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS alongside the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 and needless to say, that has been a great combo. But this time, there isn’t a green sticker anywhere. Instead, it’s all red. Let’s talk about this.
If you’re familiar with the G14, there are quite a lot more of the same this year but at the same time, different. It’s still going to be quite the gorgeous and compact design in that 14-inch form factor. Pair that with the Moonlight White colorway which blends a primarily white chassis with silver accents and it makes for a really stunning-looking laptop. Personally, this was the laptop that made me want to go out and grab a white laptop for myself.
To top that off, even with all that performance crammed inside it, the entire laptop weighs just about 1.7kg (1.72kg) or about 3.8lbs (3.79lb). Now it is slightly heavier than the previous model but this is still really portable and you can easily slip it into any decently sized bag without worry.
Now there is also a version with the AniMe Matrix Display which allows you to customize to your liking and show various different animations and more. That has been upgraded to feature much more precision CNC milled holes to allow for more mini-LEDs which themselves have been upgraded to be much more vibrant. While we don’t have that version here, this features a prismatic film underneath those holes which reflects a rainbow hue when viewed at certain angles. Paired with the ROG nameplate in the corner with a new lustrous blue hue, it really makes for a minimalistic yet beautiful look.
When you lift open the lid, you’ll also realize that with this generation, it can open up to a full 180 degrees, completely flat on the desk. I’m pretty sure that the previous 110 degrees was more than adequate and no one is going to use this flat, but being able to rest it at any angle in between is definitely a nice touch. As we move downwards, you’ll immediately notice that the keyboard deck, or the internal chassis as you will, is that same Moonlight White like the lid. This is unlike the previous model which featured a more two-toned white and silver design. In my personal opinion, this looks much better and gives the laptop a much more uniformed look.
As for the keyboard itself, it too gets the same treatment and it just feels great. The overall layout is the same as before, with the 4 additional dedicated keys in the top left corner. You’ll also get a choice between white backlight or single zone RGB depending on the model. Though we’ve to say that it doesn’t get all that bright. But the typing experience is stellar and it’s really comfortable for typing or gaming for long hours on end. And as for the trackpad, this gets a huge upgrade. It’s about 50% larger compared to the previous model and this just makes it incredibly awesome to use. There’s so much more space now that you don’t feel constricted and the glass surface just makes gestures really smooth. Two thumbs up here.
Talking about speakers, this is a little weird but also nice at the same time? So Asus has moved the speakers up to the top which means the speakers won’t be obstructed by your hands any longer. But in terms of the quality, it’s still a little short, it could’ve been better. But yeap, at least it’s in a better position now.
Ports wise, you’re going to get plenty. On the right, you have two USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A ports and a USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port which will support DisplayPort output, as well as a UHS-II microSD Card Reader. On the left, you’ll get your power input, HDMI 2.0b, another USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port but this time supporting DisplayPort and Power Delivery up to 100 watts, as well as the 3.5mm combo jack. Goes without saying that since we aren’t on the blue team here, there isn’t Thunderbolt 3 or 4 support. Still, an impressive set of I/O nonetheless.
In terms of upgradability, you don’t get much. There’s just a single DDR5 RAM slot, the other half is soldered onto the motherboard and there’s only a single M.2 NVMe drive that will already be populated. Not the best here for sure. But perhaps one of the biggest upgrades is the display.
Asus has decided to enlarge the display ever so slightly by going with a 16:10 aspect ratio while still keeping the same 14-inch form factor. The higher end option still remains roughly the same, coming in at 2560 x 1600 and running at 120Hz but now boasts a 3ms response time. Best part is that this is part of the ROG Nebula display standard and thus it also covers 100% DCI-P3, is Pantone Validated and can hit max brightness of about 500 nits.
By far and large, this is an absolutely brilliant display. It’s great for consuming content, it’s been vastly improved and enhances the gaming experience. It’s just great. One thing to note is that despite the slightly larger display, Asus has managed to cram in a webcam as well. The webcam isn’t all that great, featuring just a 720p image, and the microphones are passable at best, but the fact remains that it has a webcam now. So if you need, there you have it.
But we now come to the main difference which separates this generation from the previous. The latest G14 is an all AMD system. For our model specifically, this has an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS alongside a Radeon RX 6700S with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of PCIe 4.0 SSD storage. So with it running all AMD components, that also means that the G14 can take advantage of certain features that’s uniquely available to such a configuration, with the most prominent being SmartShift. In particular, the RX 6700S in our model can utilize up to 100 watts with SmartShift.
With that said, let’s start with Cinebench R23. As you can see, the performance in both Performance and Turbo profiles are pretty respectable. The Ryzen 9 draws about 50 watts in the Performance profile and about 72 watts in the Turbo profile. All in all, it performed rather similarly to most other laptops that feature a Core i7-12700H in this form factor. In DaVinci Resolve, it also managed 4K edits pretty well, managing to render out our 10 minute test project in just about real-time.
But let’s talk about gaming because this is a Zephyrus after all. We tested at both 1080p and 1440p and using the Turbo profile. Honestly despite our model only being equipped with the more reasonable Radeon RX 6700S, the results are pretty great and puts it somewhere between the RTX 3060 and RTX 3070 while drawing significantly less power.
Though thermals are on the hotter side of things, it is still well under control with the CPU and GPU keeping below that 90 degrees celsius mark. On the plus side, it doesn’t get that loud at all, even on the Turbo profile. This is mostly thanks to the vapor chamber cooling and the use of liquid metal for both the CPU and the GPU.
All in all, really impressive performance in a compact form factor. Exactly what the G14 is all about. But that’s not all, because thanks to moving to AMD, battery life is surprisingly really solid as well. You could easily get about 8 hours of battery life just with casual use, as long as you set the graphics to hybrid mode and turn on eco.
What’s there to say, the G14 is just a solid laptop and we really like it. But of course, let’s talk about price. For this particular configuration, it’ll set you back about 1650 US Dollars (1649.99 USD) and if you opt for one with the higher-end RX 6800S, that’ll set you back roughly 1900 US Dollars (1899.99 USD). At the time of this review, these two configurations aren’t available in Singapore but there will be a model with the Ryzen 7 6800HS and the Radeon RX 6800S for just under 3300 Singapore Dollars (3,298 SGD).
But to sum up everything, we think Asus has definitely got a winner here with the latest ROG Zephyrus G14. If you’re looking for a 14-inch laptop that’s not only going to perform great, but look awesome, is light enough to carry easily with great battery life to boot, it’s hard to beat this.