ASUS introduced the first ROG Zephyrus G14 almost two years ago as an ambitious gaming notebook with a compact 14-inch form factor. The laptop offered a unique design and guaranteed excellent performance thanks to AMD’s Ryzen 4000-series CPUs paired with Nvidia graphics. Fast forward to 2022, and the company has seemingly made the notebook even better. In fact, the latest Zephyrus G14 is so good that it could take the crown for the best gaming laptop to buy in 2022 and having spent some time with the machine, I am tempted to pick one up for myself too.
But there are a few things that need to be addressed, especially when it comes to the pricing. Read on to know if the ROG Zephyrus G14 should be your next gaming laptop.
Design and build
ASUS hasn’t toyed with the form factor of the new G14, but there are several important design updates which address the issues and concerns that reviewers and customers had with the previous-gen models. For starters, the laptop ships with a more consistent colour scheme and while the previous model had a tinge of silver around the keyboard deck, the newer G14 comes in an all-white colourway.
The Zephyrus G14’s display is, in a word, excellent and the panel is a worthy upgrade over the previous generations. The screen measures at 14-inches and offers a 2560×1600-pixel resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. As such, the panel is plenty sharp and offers you more area to play around with. If anything, I wish the company wouldn’t have opted for plastic bezels around the display, as they take away from the unit’s otherwise premium build. On the upside, the bezels are quite thin, which is great.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard on the G14 offers proper spacing between the keys and good key travel and feedback. It hardly takes a day or two to get proficient with typing on the unit. ASUS continues to offer four media keys that are mapped for volume up, volume down, microphone mute/unmute and the Armoury Crate software by default but can be remapped. The keyboard also comes with single-zone RGB backlighting which is bright enough to highlight the key legends and comes in handy when using the laptop during nighttime. The keyboard still lacks a Print-screen key, and there is no Fn (Function) lock option either, but those are minor nitpicks.
Hardware, software and performance
Apart from the design, the biggest change is the updated hardware. The new G14 is powered by the Zen 3+ microarchitecture-based AMD Ryzen 6000-series CPUs, specifically the Ryzen 9 6900HS which is an octa-core processor with 16 threads. With a base frequency of 3.3Ghz, it can turbo boost to 4.9GHz and supports features like USB 4 (40 Gbps), PCI-e Gen 4, DDR5 memory, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and more. It also features an integrated GPU dubbed the Radeon 680M, which is based on the RDNA2 architecture offering 12 CUs (compute units) clocked at 2.4GHz.
Instead of Nvidia, ASUS has paired the Ryzen CPU with AMD’s own discrete GPU options- the Radeon RX 6800S and the RX 6700S. On paper, the RX 6800S is a more appropriate candidate for this machine as the device ships with a 1440p resolution display. However, the RX 6700S is not a bad GPU by any stretch of the imagination. As for the rest of the core specs, the laptop comes equipped with up to 32GB DDR5-4800 (upgradable to 40GB) memory and a 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD. The unit that I was sent by AMD India is denoted by GA402RJ which features the Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, Radeon RX 6700S GPU, 16GB of DDR5 memory and a 1TB M.2 SSD.
Unsurprisingly, ASUS’ sound hardware choices pave the way for exceptional performance. The Ryzen 9 6900HS is a very capable processor that is also quite optimised with a TDP of 35W. The Radeon RX 6700S on this laptop can boost up to 100W and comes with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, 28 compute units and a clock speed of 1890MHz. As a daily driver, the laptop had more than enough power for my day-to-day workloads. The laptop can easily take on creative tasks like photo and video editing like a champ.
Moving on to the gaming performance, the unit isn’t the most powerful gaming laptop out there, but considering the category, the new Zephyrus G14 is as good as it gets. The only other 14-inch gaming notebook available in India is the Alienware x14, which is not only more expensive, but it isn’t as readily available from e-Commerce portals / offline retailers either.
Regardless, titles like Rise of the Tomb Raider and Horizon Zero Dawn averaged at 75ps and 58fps respectively, at the highest settings at 1600p resolution. Moving the resolution down to 1200p offered a jump in frame rates of about 20-25%. Considering the small 14-inch size, I actually didn’t mind playing at the lower resolution. Essentially the performance of the RX 6700S is more or less comparable to the Nvidia RTX 3060 mobile with the exception of ray tracing chops. AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution is not supported by all games as of yet, and the lack of DLSS means that won’t be able to fully appreciate the ray tracing performance.
|Horizon Zero Dawn||76fps||62fps||58fps|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider||95.22fps||87.66fps||75.93fps|
|Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition||35.6fps||27.09fps||16.96fps|
The above results have been tested at 2560x1600p resolution with the performance mode set to Turbo and MUX switch set to discrete GPU.
Like most gaming laptops from ASUS, the G14 comes with the company’s Armoury Crate software for fine tuning the laptop according to your needs. You can switch between performance modes, control the lighting effects, and bunch of additional settings to tinker around with. It also lets you enable or disable the MUX switch which, for the uninitiated, disables the integrated GPU to get the best performance out of the discrete GPU.
I don’t really deal with resource-hungry software, so I ran a few benchmark to stress-test the hardware. You can get a number at the benchmark figures below which were achieved by enabling the Turbo performance mode from within the Armoury Crate app.
|Benchmark||MS Hybrid mode||Discrete GPU mode|
|Cinebench R23 (single core/multi core)||1537/11835||1411/111932|
As for thermal performance, the keyboard deck feels fairly good even when the system is being stressed. However the exhaust vents spew out hot air from the sides and under the display, which is something that needs attention as it ends up warming up everything around the laptop, especially the side vents. Despite the machine reaching extreme temperatures of as high as 98-degrees, I didn’t notice any thermal throttling. This proves that ASUS has done a good job with the internal cooling system that includes a vapour chamber and a bunch of copper heat pipes. It was also pleasing to see that the idle temperatures on the CPU and GPU remained around 42-45-degrees.
The laptop supports PCIe Gen 4 SSDs, and while it is listed to come with one, the peak read and write speeds were on the lower side. From what I could gather, the 1TB SSD on the Zephyrus G14 is rated at 3,500Mbps sequential read speeds and 3,000Mbps sequential write speeds. While these are impressive numbers by themselves, it is good to know that you can upgrade to a higher performance SSD going as much as 7,000Mbps read and 5,000Mbps write speeds.
I also wanted to touch upon how good the speakers sound. The notebook comes with two top firing and two bottom firing speakers that combine to deliver clear audio with a nice little thump of bass. While I didn’t have a MacBook at hand to compare, I did find it close to the quad-speakers on my iPad Pro M1.
AMD chips have become somewhat efficient when it comes to battery life and that is the case with the Zephyrus G14. The 76Whr battery is a healthy size for a 14-inch laptop and you can expect about eight to ten hours of battery life if you happen to be using it for light tasks.
In my testing, I managed to squeeze about seven and a half hours where I used the laptop for my everyday work that included juggling between multiple Chrome tabs, watching some videos on YouTube and editing a few photos on Photoshop. You can pull down the brightness and performance mode to Silent from the ASUS Armoury Crate software to get even more juice, making it one of the most battery efficient gaming laptop in its category.
If you ever plan to game without plugging the charger, expect the battery to last about one to two hours max. Speaking of which, the charging brick is rated at 240W and while it isn’t the most compact one around, the laptop also supports USB PD charging like the previous-gen models. This means that you can charge the battery using a third party compatible USB-C based charger. Of course, that would mean slow charging and limited performance.
The 2022 ROG Zephyrus G14 has all the bells and whistles for a compact gaming notebook. I absolutely love the design updates which now make the laptop more aligned to the aesthetics of its larger sibling, the Zephyrus G15. It not only looks good, but is well-built too and should last you for a long time. It is also worth appreciating how ASUS has made an effort to improve and fix the shortcomings of the previous generation models like adding a webcam, updating the speakers, enlarging the touchpad and even adding a microSD card reader.
The switch from Nvidia to AMD graphics was not really necessary, but overall performance is really good. You do lose out a bit on ray tracing performance, as Nvidia still has an edge, but I believe AMD can improve that with future software updates.
It has a brilliant display that is fast, bright and renders punchy looking colours for a great experience whether it is gaming or watching high-quality content. At the same time, the battery life is actually quite good for an everyday laptop.
ASUS is selling the new Zephyrus G14 at a starting price of Rs 1,46,990, and for the price, the laptop comes equipped with the Ryzen 7 6800HS and the Radeon RX 6700S. Unsurprisingly, the laptop is a pricey affair and you’ll have to shell out even more bucks if you want to opt for the Radeon RX 6800S variant. That said, I would advise against the same as the upgraded GPU will only offer a 5-10% boost in gaming performance, whilst bringing up the price by quite some margin. Regardless, the Zephyrus G14 makes for a good buy and is a solid option for gamers looking for a compact, powerful and good-looking machine.
Editor’s rating: 4.5 / 5
- Elegant design
- Bright, punchy display
- Best in class performance
- Great battery life
- Loud speaker system
- Average ray tracing performance
- Runs hot at heavy loads