The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 looks almost too good to be true for a gaming laptop. The slim design makes it as portable as a traditional notebook, but the amount of firepower in it required a huge gaming rig. Moreover, the compact size does not come at the expense of battery life, which exceeds 10 hours on a single charge. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is the kind of gaming machine gamers have been dreaming of for years.
Equipped with the latest AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, it packs a lot of power into a small 14-inch chassis. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, model GA402R, is a high-end gaming laptop with a slim and lightweight design. It replaces the 2021 model GA401 with AMD Ryzen 5000-series CPUs and NVIDIA RTX GPUs and competes directly with the Razer Blade 14. The model has many changes: it switches to a 16:10 display and an AMD-only system with Ryzen 6000 CPUs and Radeon RX 6700S and 6800S GPUs.
ASUS also added a MUX switch for improved performance, a 720p webcam, and a MicroSD card reader. Our ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 has an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, AMD Radeon RX 6700S GPU, 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. AMD Ryzen 6900HS is the only option for the CPU. You can upgrade the GPU with an AMD Radeon RX 6800S if you want better performance.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has a relatively clean design. It has a gamer aesthetic, such as the shape of the power button and speaker grilles, but it doesn’t overdo it, so you can use it in a professional work environment without it standing out too much. It has a perforated lid from which LED lights shine through, which ASUS calls AniME Matrix and which you can customize to show whatever you want.
If you prefer, you can also choose a model without AniME Matrix. There are vents on both sides of the notebook, on the back and bottom. The screen raises the back of the notebook when open, allowing for a slight keyboard tilt and better airflow at the bottom. It is available in two color options: Moonlight White and Eclipse Gray.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Zephyrus G14’s input devices turned out to be surprisingly good for a gaming notebook. The Asus keyboard offers pleasantly clear and precise feedback, and the contrast between the dark letters and the light background color of the keycaps is more than sufficient to ensure excellent readability. At night, the keyboard offers a built-in RGB backlight that supports various modes and can be controlled via software.
The keyboard layout is not particularly good, although this criticism is limited to German users who will have to get used to a single-line return key. Also, the press and input keys have had to give way to arrow keys, which are now larger but smaller. The keys themselves are very well sized, with the exception of the arrow keys, F keys, and additional keys above the keyboard (volume, microphone, tuning software), which are nevertheless very useful.
Compared to its predecessor, the laptop’s touchpad has received a major overhaul. At 13 x 7.6 cm (5.12 x 3 inches) in size, it is larger than that of most 14-inch notebooks, and overall it performed very well. Accuracy is great, gestures work beautifully, and the smooth surface allows fingers to slide very smoothly. Compared to other clickpads without dedicated mouse buttons, the clickable areas of this touchpad offer high stability and punchy feedback.
The main display is slightly larger and brighter, with a wider 16:10 aspect ratio that promises slightly less scrolling and 500 nits of brightness, as well as a higher native resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, an impressive refresh rate of 120 Hz, and a response time of 3 milliseconds. The Zephyrus G14 stands alongside some of the most impressive thin-and-light gaming devices on the market, such as the Razer Blade 14, weighing in at 3.86 pounds, making it lighter than most mainstream notebooks while offering much more power.
The thin chassis is made of aluminum, magnesium alloy and tough polycarbonate, giving it strength and substance despite its portability. The ultra-thin edges of the screen are still enviably thin, but Asus has managed to include a webcam this time, complete with IR facial recognition for Windows Hello biometric login. Since the webcam is responsible for security, Asus has omitted the fingerprint sensor used in previous models.
With a pair of 2.5-watt speakers and another pair of 0.7-watt tweeters, the Zephyrus G14 offers robust sound and volume for such a small notebook. Listening to Whitey’s “Somebody, Grab the Wheel,” I was struck by the richness of the sound, whether it was the drum hits or the heavily distorted guitar and vocals. On Chevelle’s “Emotional Drought” you could hear the overpowering guitars and a good amount of bass, but the vocals were also clearly heard and never lost in the mix.
The overall sound is supported by Dolby Atmos technology, which handles audio processing. The included Dolby Atmos app allows users to choose from several preset sound modes optimized for games, movies, and voice-centric media content. The presets are called Dynamic, Video Game, Movie, Music and Voice. You can also create custom presets using the graphic EQ options to tune the sound to your taste.
Graphics and Gaming Tests
We run two 3DMark gaming simulations on almost every machine that comes into PC Labs: 3DMark Night Raid and 3DMark Time Spy. UL’s 3DMark includes a mix of high-end and low-end DirectX-12 tests, with Night Raid providing an easy baseline for all systems and Time Spy more suited to high-end PCs with discrete GPUs. But for a gaming PC we want more than an abstract performance score, so we also ran three real-world tests using built-in benchmarks of F1 2021, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and Rainbow Six Siege.
These games cover several genres: simulation, open-world action-adventure and competitive e-sports shooters, all of which we tested to measure the machine’s ability to handle the specific demands of each. Each test is run twice, with low and high graphics settings (Valhalla with medium and ultra quality, Siege with low and ultra quality). F1 2021 is also run twice, but both times at maximum settings, with and without Nvidia’s performance-enhancing DLSS anti-aliasing.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has excellent battery life. Because the system is able to switch to integrated CPU graphics when the workload is less, you can easily get through a typical 8-hour workday on a full charge. Battery life during video playback is excellent and sufficient to play a few full movies. Battery life during gaming and other strenuous activities is good for a high-performance notebook, but still very short, so you will need to keep the device plugged in most of the time.
The system is in hybrid mode by default, which means it can switch between integrated and dedicated graphics cards depending on the workload. By setting the system to use the dedicated GPU, battery life is reduced to 3.9 hours for web browsing and 2.4 hours for video playback. Models with AMD Radeon RX 6800S have slightly lower battery life. Battery life is highly dependent on usage.
Despite numerous heat-generating components in a thin metal chassis, the Zephyrus G14 had no problems with heat buildup. In our standard thermal test, which involved streaming full HD video for 15 minutes, the bottom of the notebook peaked at 88 degrees Fahrenheit, well below the 95 degrees that make heat uncomfortable.
Temperatures at the top of the keyboard and touchpad also remained cool, at 82 and 74 degrees, respectively. The notebook heats up noticeably under heavy load for an extended period of time (such as 45 minutes of gaming), but the Zephyrus G14 does not seem to have the dangerous hotspots of some gaming systems.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is suitable for multimedia consumption. It is a thin and light notebook that is easy to carry around, and although the power supply is bulky, you probably won’t need it because the battery can provide about 8 hours of video playback. The display is sharp, bright, and colorful, although it is not the best option for dark rooms, as the low contrast makes blacks appear gray in dark environments. The speakers are also quite loud, but lack bass and have a muffled sound.