Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: Metal 4 life

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8.5 Hardcore

Gaming has never looked so good. Asus has managed to take its flagship Zephyrus G14 and turn it into one powerful portable. The sleek metallic look of this machine, coupled with the LED Matrix display on the lid, makes it one of our favourite gaming notebooks. We still don’t know how they fit all those monstrous components in there, but they did, and we commend that effort. 

  • Performance 9
  • Design 9
  • Battery 8
  • Display 8
  • User Ratings (4 Votes) 7.1

It can’t be an easy task to design gaming notebooks nowadays. Bringing something new and fresh to the table is probably harder than you could imagine. A few years ago, you could just plak a bunch of RGB on it and call it a day. Not Asus, no siree. 

The company’s new ROG Zephyrus G14 loses the overbearing RGB shine we know from previous models but gains a sleek, muted design we can appreciate. You may think: It’s just a metal slab. No, this is THE metal slab. 

Every time we unbox a gaming machine this light, scepticism enters the air. Quite without reason, this time. The new Zephyrus combines the raw power expected from the range, and packs it into a small, robust magnesium alloy frame. It’s nice to see Asus move away from the RGB-laden design into a more mature, albeit badass looking machine that’ll fit into just about any handbag. 

We can’t downplay the attention to detail here, with the top lid featuring small perforations in an angled pattern, and minimal bezels around the 14in display. Those little holes aren’t just stylish accents but are actually an LED Matrix used to display images and animations both while using the device and also with the lid closed. While the sheer beauty of this machine is worth admiring, the G14’s magnesium alloy case also feels incredibly sturdy – to the point that we’d see it outlasting a nuclear apocalypse. 

Gaming in the name of…

Fitted with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q and an AMD Ryzen 9, throw just about any game at this pretty metal slab and it’ll gracefully beef through the graphics. How did they fit the beast of a GPU in this small frame? Black magic, we’re guessing. 

If a grey monolith isn’t your style, the G14 also comes in white. The move toward a more muted design clearly positions it for both gamers and content creators. And the LED Matrix display up top is a mutedly eye-catching way of saying ‘Look at me, I’m a gamer’.

Given the monstrous CPU and GPU combo, we figured it wouldn’t have any trouble reaching high framerates, and boy were we impressed. It seamlessly hits a steady 180-200 FPS, more than enough to keep up with the laptop’s 1080p 120Hz screen. The only thing missing here is a webcam, which we didn’t really miss. If you’re planning on streaming, you’ll need an external webcam. 

Holy Pantone

Not only is the display brilliant and fast, but its Pantone-validated screen also handles vibrant colours and fast motion with ease. It’s clear this machine isn’t only for the gaming-conscious but is a real all-rounder when it comes to design and rendering.

A small body comes with one drawback: growling fans when things get hot and bothered. But Asus’ ergonomic lift design and great cooling system do a decent job at keeping the internals cool. We saw temps reaching 74 Celsius while gaming heavily, which isn’t particularly nasty. Those fans can get somewhat loud so streamers may have an audible white noise issue — because the mics will pick it up. 

Iron Will

This slab of metal will get you through just about any technical predicament, whether game-related or not. Asus’ move to AMD also doesn’t seem to be an issue here, with the Ryzen 7 handling everything from hardcore processing to rendering and gaming very well. 

The G14’s keyboard did a brilliant job of keeping up with our keyboard rambles on a daily basis. Its keys are raised just enough to give you satisfying clicks, and low enough not to feel like too much effort. 

Outside of games, the Zephyrus G14 also proved itself to be a worthy workhorse. Fitted with 16GB of RAM and a speedy NVMe SSD in our review unit, we had no trouble juggling all the Chrome tabs while streaming and rendering video on-the-fly.

Okay, this one’s got you set up for life with enough ports for just about anything. It comes with two USB 3.2 Type-A’s, two USB-C ports, one of which supports DisplayPort, a full-sized HDMI port and of course a headphone/mic jack — coz who doesn’t love the old-school cable sound every now and then? 

Among all of the above-mentioned, we were particularly amazed by the G14’s battery chops. The machine easily lasts up to 13 hours on a charge, with more demanding work chopping down that time. Still though — small packages?

Zephyrus G14 Verdict

Gaming has never looked so good. Asus has managed to take its flagship Zephyrus G14 and turn it into one powerful portable. The sleek metallic look of this machine, coupled with the LED Matrix display on the lid, makes it one of our favourite gaming notebooks. We still don’t know how they fit all those monstrous components in there, but they did, and we commend that effort. 

It’s a metal slab capable of far more than just a battle royale game every now and then. The 16GB RAM model we tested is now available to buy from Evetech from R40,000. Spec it up, and you’ll definitely pay for it. But it’s sooo worth it if you need a monstrous machine in a small package. 

Tech specs

GPU: Nvidia GeForce 2060 Max-Q

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS

RAM: 16GB

Battery life: Up to 13hrs

Display: 1080p 120Hz

Weight: 1.6kg

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Never mind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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