Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

3
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
8

£1,199.99

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Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
£1,199.99
Excellent compact design
Impressive sound quality

The new crown prince of 14-inch gaming laptops

WE HAVEN’T SEEN a compact gaming laptop with this level of power for a while. 13 and 14-inch laptops built with gaming in mind seemed to be becoming a thing of the past, paving the way for two extremes; beefy gaming rigs with desktop-scale GPUs, and super-thin notebooks running on upgraded integrated graphics.

Gaming laptops with a thin form factor are largely compelled to use of lower-power GPUs, like the respectable GTX 1650. Not the Zephyrus G14, though. Here, we’ve got the slender Max-Q model of the RTX 2060 6GB, joined by AMD’s shiny new Ryzen 4900HS CPU, the current pinnacle of the mobile Ryzen processor line (although we wouldn’t be surprised if a 4950 arrived at some point).

The 14-inch QHD screen means that the overall chassis is very compact and lightweight, so it’s easy to fit in a bag when you’re out and about. An ergonomic hinge tilts the keyboard toward you when you open the laptop up, making for a more comfortable typing angle and creating space underneath for air to be vented out.

The Ryzen 9 4900HS in our model is a powerful chip, easily capable of chewing through demanding CPU workloads at speed thanks to its eight cores and 4.3GHz boost clock. AMD’s auto-overclocking works better than ever here, keeping CPU performance at peak levels whenever possible. It seems that Intel may still have the edge when it comes to CPU bound games, though. Our model comes with 16GB of high-speed RAM, although a 32GB version is also available. The GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q in our review unit is a smidge less powerful than an ordinary desktop model of the 2060, but the smaller design enables the G14 to remain compact. It powers through most games at 1080p, with the graphical oomph to handle some titles all the way up at 1440p max settings.

Ray-tracing is available here but is not really viable; the hit to frame rate isn’t worth the improved lighting and reflections. Even without RTX on, though, the games we tested looked fantastic on the 14-inch display. Let’s talk about that screen. It’s a 1440p IPS panel, validated by Pantone, with good colour density and brightness. The big downside here is that it’s only a 60Hz display, which is fundamentally not enough for skilled gamers who favour twitch shooters and racing games.

An alternate model of the G14 comes with a 1080p 120Hz display, but if you want the improved resolution you’ve got to accept the loss with the refresh rate. One part of the G14 that’s surprising is the quality of the quad-chamber speaker setup. A symmetrical layout of two main speakers and two tweeters means that this tiny gaming laptop can pump out clear sound that’s on a level with far larger systems. In stark contrast to the speakers, the webcam is, uh, non existent. Yep, there’s no webcam here, although the G14 does have a simple microphone setup for calls and recording. That compact chassis is beautiful to behold, and the build quality is a cut above previous Zephyrus models.

The body is mostly composed of aluminium alloy and feels extremely robust when picked up. We were initially intrigued by the new thermal venting design seen on this Zephyrus; twin fans pump hot air out of the system through a three-way split channel that vents heat from the top, bottom, and sides of the chassis, away from the screen. However, it doesn’t seem to quite be enough. The Zephyrus G14 got very hot during testing, especially when we ran games at 1440p, to the point where the fans were working flat out to keep the system from overheating. The noise isn’t too bad, but we’d be wary of gaming on this laptop for extended periods. Adjusting the power profiles in the ROG Armory Crate software helped a little, but at the cost of performance.

For all this criticism, we actually really like the G14. It’s a sleek little number, packing impressive graphical oomph into a tiny casing—perfect for the gamer who is often on the move. It’s not cheap, but we challenge you to find a smaller laptop that can match it for performance. Our review model doesn’t include the “AniMe Matrix” of over 1,000 tiny LEDs on the back of the screen, but that’s a gimmick at best. Even without it, this is a solid effort from Asus;

8 Total Score
The new crown prince of 14-inch gaming laptops

Solid all-round performance; excellent compact design; impressive sound quality.

PROS
  • Excellent compact design
  • Impressive sound quality
CONS
  • Get Hot
  • Screen only 60Hz
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