Good battery life
Believe the hype, the Zephyrus G14 is as amazing as it sounds. Not only could we fit this 14-inch laptop into any ol’ bag, but we regularly got 4-6 hours of battery life from casual use and over 70 frames per second on all but the most demanding AAA titles. It beats the likes of the Razer Blade Stealth for raw power, and it’s one of the most distinct-looking laptops right now.
However, as amazing as it is, the Zephyrus G14 is not perfect. It doesn't have a webcam, its 120Hz display isn't very bright, and it gets loud when pushed to its limit. Even so, it offers a near-complete package that nails the balance between performance, price, and practicality.
About the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14
There aren’t too many beefy, svelte gaming laptops that are actually made for portability—most are at least 15.6 inches across, weigh over 5 pounds, or struggle to last more than 2 hours browsing the Internet without an A/C adapter. This year, Asus has given its answer to this conundrum: the ROG Zephyrus G14, a 14-inch gaming laptop that has a great battery life, fantastic ergonomics, and the most powerful hardware in its class.
Unless you need an Nvidia RTX 2080 SUPER (and you can afford to spend $3,000 or more), it’s hard to argue against the $1,499 Zephyrus G14 that we tested. For a 13- to 14-inch laptop in this price range, you can expect a GTX 1650 graphics card and a last-gen Intel Core i7, but the G14 packs an RTX 2060 graphics card, an AMD Ryzen 9 processor, and a 120Hz display. Here’s the full specs of our test model:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen™ 9 4900HS (Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 also available)
- Memory: 16 GB DDR4 3200 MHz RAM (up to 32 GB available)
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX™ 2060 (GTX- series cards also available)
- Storage: 1 TB SSD (512 GB SSD also available)
- Display: 14-inch 1920 x 1080, 120 Hz screen (upgradeable to WQHD @ 60 Hz)
- 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with DisplayPort™ 1.4 and Power Delivery
- 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
- 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
- 1 x HDMI 2.0b
- 1 x 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack
- Wireless: Intel® Wi-Fi 6 with Gig+ performance (802.11ax); Bluetooth 5.0
- Battery: alpha (list other configs available)
- Charger: 180W power adaptor
- Weight: 3.5 lbs.
- Dimensions: 12.76” x 8.74” x 0.7” (W x D x H)
- Warranty: 1 Year Limited Warranty
What We Like
Its white lights are a fresh change to the Gamer aesthetic
While many covert gaming laptops choose to blend in with classic, understated designs like that of the Dell XPS 15 or the Lenovo Legion Y740, Asus has managed to stand out while not looking like a classic “Gamer” laptop.
I immediately fell in love when I first laid eyes on the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, a matte-white gaming laptop with an LED-laden AniMe Matrix™ lid and an RTX 2060 within. The G14 expertly tows the line between looking like a specialty laptop while not falling into the cliches of most gaming laptop’s designs. It’s simultaneously strikingly beautiful and chastely unassuming, a Tesla in a world caught between growling muscle cars and cheery hybrid hatchbacks.
I really do appreciate the classic gamer aesthetic, from the “RGB trash” to the turned-up-to-11 spirit, but I’ve grown tired of the all red and black theme that’s become synonymous with gaming gear over the years.
Not only is the Zephyrus G14’s chassis jaw-dropping to look at, but the outer lid’s AniMe display lets you customize it with white LEDs. If you’ve owned a programmable RGB keyboard before, it’s the same principle: you can set the lights to dim and shine to patterns like waves, stripes, or stars. It manages to catch attention without being classic RGB lighting.
It has the horsepower to handle the games
Don’t let the looks fool you: it’s a gaming laptop first. With a 120Hz screen, a fantastic keyboard and trackpad, an Nvidia RTX 2060, and an AMD Ryzen 9 processor, I rarely saw gaming sessions limited by the screen refresh rate. While I couldn’t push past 60 frames per second on the most intensive AAA titles—On highest quality, Shadow of the Tomb Raider averaged 54 frames per second—it is enough to have a smooth experience.
Less graphically intense games, like League of Legends, Civilization 6, or Hollow Knight, are a fantastic experience with snappy 70+ FPS refresh rates and plenty of central processing power for internal mechanics.
If you don’t need ray tracing or rarely play graphically intensive games, you can downgrade the Zephyrus G14’s RTX 2060 to a GTX- series Nvidia GPU and save a few hundred bucks (the GTX 1660Ti is also a great value). Conversely, if you need a beefier GPU, you’ll have to look beyond the Zephyrus G14 in order to find an RTX 2070 or RTX 2080.
As for the Ryzen 9 processor, there is no better CPU on consumer laptops. It tore through our benchmark tests, scoring a 7735 in the Geekbench 5 multi-core test and a 3931 in Cinebench. For reference, the Intel Core i9-9980HK processor in our Dell XPS 15 scored a 6534 in Geekbench 5 and a 2617 in Cinebench, over 1,000 points less than the Ryzen 9 in both tests.
There’s more to the G14 than its processors
If you’re into games that demand great keyboards and mice, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the Zephyrus G14 keyboard’s deep keys and clicky-feeling response. There are dedicated media buttons above the standard tenkeyless layout, so you can quickly toggle audio, visual, and other settings without worrying about Fn keyboard shortcuts.
When you open the laptop, the lid actually extends below the bottom half of the laptop to create a small stand, which keeps the keyboard elevated at a slight angle. This is a wonderful feature that both allows better air flow and a more comfortable typing experience. If you forget your gaming mouse at home, the trackpad is buttery-smooth.
It has more battery life than most gaming laptops
The Zephyrus G14 clocked in with a respectable battery life of 5 hours 16 minutes on our Chrome battery test (our Dell XPS 15 with an Nvidia GTX 1650 GPU and an Intel Core i9-9980HK processor scored a little over 6 hours), which cycles through 40 popular websites until the machine dies.
Many other gaming laptops, such as the MSI Raider or the HP Omen X2 S, struggle to last 2 hours browsing the web. However, while the Zephyrus G14’s web-browsing battery life is impressive, it’s important to remember its battery drains much faster if you’re gaming.
When playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I got about 1.5 to 2 hours of life out of the Zephyrus G14. That’s not bad for a heavy load, but if you see yourself spending a whole work or school day far away from an outlet, you may want to consider gaming at home, instead.
This laptop is an outstanding value
If you want a laptop with one of the most powerful consumer CPUs, a well-regarded GPU, and a 14-inch or smaller form factor, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is the best laptop available; no other 13-inch or 14-inch laptop has an Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU (or better) or an AMD Ryzen 9 CPU.
The best part is that it’s not even the most expensive gaming laptop in its size category—that distinction belongs to the $1,999 Razer Blade Stealth, which packs an Intel Core i7 CPU, an Nvidia GTX 1650Ti GPU, and a gorgeous 4K Touch display.
By comparison, the ROG Zephyrus G14 only costs $1,499 and has a better CPU / GPU configuration. Now, the G14 isn’t strictly superior to the Blade Stealth, seeing as the Blade Stealth has a better display and a proven track record, but it’s hard to argue with the comparative value the G14 offers.
What We Don’t Like
There is no webcam
If you have a lot of video calls, you may want to steer clear of this laptop. You can hook up an external webcam, of course, but that's much more effort for a feature that is widely considered standard in laptops these days.
The laptop’s screen is too dim for some circumstances
Unfortunately, the ROG Zephyrus G14’s dim screen inhibits dreams of gaming on a sunny porch. At its brightest, the laptop display is about 200 nits, which is fine for a moderately lit indoor space. However, that’s only half as bright as the Razer Blade Advanced and the Dell XPS 15, which both produced up to about 400 nits in our lab tests.
I wouldn’t call this a dealbreaker, however, seeing as the Zephyrus G14 also has 120 Hz refresh rate and WQHD resolution options for its screen. Its contrast is good enough for everyday use, and it doesn’t have a problem with weird screen angles, either.
If your priority is photovideo fidelity, I’d look elsewhere, but if you want something that’s reasonably nice to look at and really comfortable for gaming, then the Zephyrus G14 is still a great option.
You miss out on RGB lighting and quiet fans
Other than that, there’s not anything major to be concerned about. It’s a bit sad to see that there is no built-in RGB lighting, just white lighting, but I’d hardly call that a definitive failing.
There’s also some of the more typical trappings of gaming laptops: it gets hot and loud when gaming, it could be a bit thinner (although it’s only 0.1 inches thicker than a 13-inch Macbook Pro), and it hardly blends into an office or a classroom.
However, the Zephyrus G14 is still one of the cooler, more fashionable laptops in its class. If these features are deal breakers, then a gaming laptop probably isn’t for you.
Should You Buy It
Yes! It’s one of the smoothest executions of a highly portable gaming laptop out there. Performance-wise, it packs an insane amount of power for only $1,499: an AMD Ryzen 9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card that can render the most demanding AAA titles at 60 frames per second.
The ROG Zephyrus G14 has the most powerful hardware of any sub-15-inch gaming laptop on the market. Whether you’re a gamer looking to take your laptop to work or a creative professional who needs an uber-powerful machine that travels easily and doesn’t look like a gaming laptop, you’ll probably love the Asus Zephyrus G14 as much as we do.
Should you want to take advantage of the G14’s 120Hz display, you may need to turn the graphics settings down for a game like Shadow of the Tomb Raider. However, you’ll easily make 120 frames per second on games like League of Legends or Fortnite. You will also have no trouble firing up something like Adobe Premiere or just browsing Twitter for five hours.
But there’s so much more to the Zephyrus G14 than its performance. Its keyboard and trackpad are very enjoyable, its battery life is enough to get you through 5 hours of remote work, and it just looks really cool and unique. Its biggest flaws are that it doesn't have a webcam and that its 120Hz display is a bit dim for bright environments. However, if you’re looking for an ultraportable, powerful, sexy machine you can practically use in a classroom or office setting, you can’t do better than the Zephyrus G14.
Meet the tester
Emily is a staff writer for Reviewed, mainly focused on reviewing laptops and other consumer tech. During her free time, she lives in Hyrule and draws about her adventures.
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