I didn't think I'd see the day when a gaming laptop delivered longer battery life than a traditional notebook. But today is that day, thanks to the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. There's almost nothing that this baby can't do — at $1,449, you get the new powerful AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS processor comboed with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU. Top that off with a lightning-fast SSD, a bright, 14-inch, 120Hz display, a comfortable keyboard and strong speakers packed into a gorgeous milky-white magnesium alloy chassis, and the ROG Zephyrus G14 is a near-perfect gaming laptop
OK, there are a couple things this machine can't do. For one, there's no webcam in sight. And two, the keyboard backlighting is bad. However, those minor flaws don't affect the excellence of this machine. The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is without a doubt one of the best gaming laptops to date.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 price and configuration options
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 specs
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q
Storage: 1TB SSD
Display: 14-inch, 1080p, 120Hz
Size: 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 3.5 pounds
The Zephyrus G14 I tested costs $1,449 and is outfitted with an AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS processor, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of VRAM, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 1080p at 120Hz display.
You can pick up the base model for $1,049, and it'll come with a Ryzen 7-4800HS CPU, a GTX 1650 GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 1080p at 60Hz display. If you want to go all out, you can pick up the $1,999 model with a Ryzen 9-4900HS CPU, a RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, a 1440p at 60Hz display and the AniMe Matrix display (more on that later).
If you're looking for something not as pricey, consider taking a look at our best cheap gaming laptops page.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 design
Is it a gaming laptop? Or is it the epitome of bonafide badass machinery? Because damn, I'm in love with this design.
The elegant milky-white color that Asus dubs "Moonlight White" is slathered over the Zephyrus G14's magnesium-alloy lid. Half of the lid is covered in mesmerizing microdots for the mini LED lights called the AniMe Matrix display. It'll display your own images or GIFs, like a little Pikachu running across the lid. Our model didn't have the LED lighting, but the lights weren't necessary to make this baby look good. The metallic Republic of Gamers establishment stamp on the bottom left corner gave the laptop an industrial aesthetic. There's also a small cutout on the lid, revealing the hinge's engraved Zephyrus logo.
The interior regrettably forgoes the Moonlight White design for a gray-silver color (aka Eclipse Gray). It doesn't look bad, just tame. There are race car grill cutouts on the left and right side of the deck for the top-firing speakers, and just above is the keyboard with the worst white backlighting I've ever seen. Heck, I saw the keys better when it was turned off. The bezels on the display are relatively narrow, but there's no webcam. For some additional security, the power button doubles as a fingerprint reader.
At 3.5 pounds and 12.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches, the Zephyrus G14 is both lighter and slimmer than the Dell G7 15 (2019) (5.5 pounds, 14.4 x 10.8 x 0.8 inches) and the Asus ROG Strix Scar III (4.3 pounds, 14.2 x 10.8 x 1.0 inches).
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 ports
The Zephyrus G14 has a decent number of ports, but I would have liked a Mini DisplayPort.
On the left, there's the power jack, an HDMI 2.0b port, one USB Type-C port (DisplayPort 1.4) and a headphone jack. Meanwhile, the right side features a Kensington lock slot, two USB 3.2 ports and a USB Type-C port.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 display
Who ordered a mainstream gaming laptop with a colorful and bright display? The Zephyrus' 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 panel boasts a 120Hz refresh rate with AMD FreeSync, which eliminates screen tearing. Yes, AMD. Even though the Zephyrus G14 packs an Nvidia GPU, its display works with AMD's FreeSync technology, thanks to a driver Nvidia released last year.
In the Jungle Cruise trailer, Dwayne Johnson's undershirt glowed a crimson red and popped on the Zephyrus G14's panel. As Emily Blunt climbed the stairs in a dimly lit area of the jungle, I could still see the details in the surrounding rocks. Even the stubble on Johnson's chin was sharp.
I fired up Doom Eternal and, as I dropped, the rotten hellscape jumped off the screen, with the crystal-blue lightning piercing the orange skies above the ruins of a city. Making my way down dark corridors was no issue for the display, which was bright enough to highlight the zombies around the corner. While bouncing around, blasting each demon I encountered, I could still see the details around the barrel of my shotgun.
According to our colorimeter, the Zephyrus G14 nailed 117% of the sRGB color gamut, surpassing the mainstream gaming laptop average. The G7 15 (114%) and Scar III (110%) fell slightly behind.
At 323 nits of brightness, the Zephyrus G14's display toppled the category average (287 nits) as well as the G7 15 (303 nits) and Scar III (275 nits).
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 keyboard and touchpad
Whether you're typing 2,000-word articles or showing hell who's boss in Doom Eternal, these keys are ready for anything. The Zephyrus G14 even features Asus' Ergolift technology, so you can type at an angle.
I nailed 72 words per minute on the 10FastFingers.com typing test, which is just above my 70-wpm average. The keys provided pleasantly deep travel and a comfortable actuation force, but they could've been a little clickier.
Asus saved some money by going with a white backlit keyboard, and, as I mentioned earlier, it does not look good at all. You might as well keep it turned off at all times. The LEDs only partly light up the clear font on the keyboard so I can barely make out each key. The keyboard font is the same edgy font that Asus uses on the rest of its keyboards.
The 4.1 x 2.4-inch touchpad is soft to the touch, but it offers one of the shallowest clickers I've tested. However, thanks to the Windows Precision drivers, the surface responded well to two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 audio
There's only one detail that could've ruined the Zephyrus G14 for me: the speakers. But hot damn, does Asus deliver. Powered by the included Dolby Access app, these two top-firing speakers blew me away.
Playing Doom Eternal, my ears were blessed with the epic electric guitar that opens the game. The notes were heavy and the speakers added enough depth to give me goosebumps. When I blasted my shotgun in a demon's face, the thick impact of the shell sounded just as meaty as I expected. However, the bassy background music was a little too much for the speakers, as the audio started getting distorted.
I listened to Foo Fighters' "The Pretender," and the opening vocals were soft and melodic — as level as intended. The vocals on the chorus were clear, and the powerful chords from the electric guitar were strong and bright. There was just enough bass to highlight the drums, and the instruments blended well together.
You can mess with audio settings in the Dolby Access app, which provides a whole array of presettings, such as Dynamic, Game, Movie, Music and Voice. For music, go with Dynamic, as it brought life to anything that I listened to. And for gaming, you'll want to go with Game, as it'll highlight the sharper sounds instead of rounding them out with unnecessary bass. There are also custom presets that you can customize with full EQs.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming, graphics and VR
Packed under the hood of the Zephyrus G14 is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU with 6GB of VRAM that ripped and tore through Doom Eternal at 90 frames per second (fps) at 1080p on Ultra settings as I hopscotched with my shotgun up in demons' faces.
On the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Highest, 1080p), the Zephyrus G14 hit 49 fps, sliding past the mainstream gaming laptop average (48 fps). It matched the G7 15's RTX 2060 GPU (49 fps), but it couldn't quite match up to the Scar III's RTX 2060 GPU (55 fps).
The Zephyrus G14 scored 87 fps on the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p), which, once again, climbs above the 86-fps category average and the Scar III (86 fps). However, the G7 15 excelled, hitting 117 fps.
On the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (Very High, 1080p), Asus Zephyrus G14 crushed it with 115 fps, flying over the mainstream gaming laptop average (63 fps), the G7 15 (66 fps) and the Scar III (64 fps).
This machine is also ready for some virtual reality, hitting 9.8 out of 11 on the SteamVR Performance Test, which is above the 9.2 category average, but it didn't pass the G7 15 (11) or the Scar III (10.3).
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 performance
The Zephyrus G14 is touting AMD's prized beast: the Ryzen 9 4900HS processor, which ran through 40 Google Chrome tabs and five 1080p YouTube videos while Doom Eternal ran in the background without a sweat.
On the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, Zephyrus G14's AMD CPU proved to be more than capable, scoring 30,181, which obliterates the 20,995 mainstream gaming laptop average. It also made short work of the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU found in the G7 15 (23,863) and the Scar III (23,196).
When we put the Zephyrus G14 up against our HandBrake benchmark, it took only 6 minutes and 59 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, speeding past the 10:37 category average. The G7 15 (8:05) and the Scar III (10:34) couldn't even come close to the Zephyrus.
Who said gaming laptops have slow SSDs? Asus' 1TB SSD copied 4.97GB of data in just 4.5 seconds, a transfer rate of 1,131 megabytes per second, which basically doubles the category average (493 MBps). The G7 15's 256GB SSD (127 MBps) and the Scar III's 1TB SSD (525 MBps) didn’t stand a chance.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 battery life
Along with the Zephyrus G14's killer performance, what stands out about the laptop is its wild battery life. After the Zephyrus continuously surfed the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, its battery died at 11 hours and 32 minutes. That makes it the longest-lasting gaming laptop you can buy right now. It's nearly three times as long as the 4:26 mainstream gaming laptop average. The G7 15 (3:12) and the Scar III (5:09) were all put to shame.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 webcam
A new Zephyrus laptop with a webcam?
It seems at least for Asus, the days of integrated webcams are coming to a close. Check out our best external laptop webcams page.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 heat
The Zephyrus G14 didn't get too hot under the hood, thanks to its magnesium alloy chassis. After I played 15 minutes of Doom Eternal, the underside merely felt warm to the touch.
On our normal heat test, streaming a 1080p video for 15 minutes, the underside hit 88 degrees Fahrenheit, which is below our 95-degree comfort threshold. On the center of the keyboard and touchpad, it measured 82 and 74 degrees, respectively.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 software and warranty
Like with other Zephyrus laptops, Asus packs in Armoury Crate, which you can use to manage the performance of the CPU, GPU and fans. In the same app, you can also customize the key lighting, aggregate games from other launchers, and create profiles for performance and lighting based on what you're playing or doing.
The GameVisual app adjusts the color of your display, while the GameFirst V app monitors and limits your network bandwidth for certain apps. There's also the MyAsus app, which can run system diagnostics and hardware checks on your system.
Of course, you also get some Windows 10 apps, like Gardenscapes, Candy Crush Friends and Farm Heroes Saga.
Do you want 11-plus hours of battery life and killer performance? Oh, and a bright display topped with a comfortable keyboard and strong speakers? You just can't beat the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. Sure, it doesn't have a webcam, and its keyboard lighting is pretty bad, but those cons are negligible.
However, if you want a bigger display and a higher refresh rate, your best option is to go with the Asus ROG Strix Scar III, which delivers both — on top of great performance. But while its battery life is good for a gaming laptop, it doesn't even compare to the Zephyrus G14.
Ultimately, between its killer AMD performance and epic battery life, the Zephyrus G14 is the gaming laptop to beat.