Asus ROG is one of the most recognised and trusted brands among the gaming community. It has been working on bringing innovative and performance-oriented hardware to consumers with each new iteration of its machines. Continuing the legacy, Asus has launched the ROG Zephrus G14 in India. While the laptop is quite powerful, it is focused more towards creators and less towards the gamers.
ROG G14 is a laptop that is portable yet quite powerful. This means creators can carry this machine around and edit their videos or photos on the go. Whereas, gamers can churn out all of the new games on it.
With the ROG G14, Asus aims to offer a premium build and design, an immersive display and powerful specifications, all while making it as thin and portable as possible.
At a starting price of Rs. 80,990, is this a laptop you should be looking for? Let’s find out in this review.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Specifications
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 comes in various configurations. The unit I received for review is powered by the AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS CPU. It features a 14-inch WQHD IPS panel. The laptop packs in 16GB of RAM and 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD. For graphics, it relies on the Nvidia RTX 2060 with Max-Q Design.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Design and Build
While designing this laptop, Asus kept portability in mind. Unlike a lot of other powerful laptops in the segment, this one weighs in at just 1.7kgs. Even with a 14-inch display, the company was able to use a chassis that is close to a 13-inch laptop thanks to the minimal bezels around the display.
The weight distribution was also done well and I was able to open the laptop using just my index finger. It also comes with the ErgoLift hinge that basically elevates the laptop when kept on a table. It improves the typing position as well as allows the hot air to pass through the bottom vents. However, in the G14, the design of the vents between the hinge, though look cool, are flawed. They basically throw the hot air towards the screen and even your face when the processor or GPU is heavily loaded.
Lately, Asus has been excluding webcams from all of its ROG laptops. It makes sense as most gamers do not require one and the ones who stream anyways opt for an external one. However, considering the COVID-19 situation, most of us are working from home, which means dozens of Zoom calls a day. So, if you purchase the ROG G14 today, you might need to invest in an external webcam as well.
Loosing on a webcam also means loosing on face unlocking via Windows Hello. But that is fixed with the inclusion of a fingerprint sensor placed conveniently on top of the power button. During my time with the ROG G14, I enjoyed avoiding the hassle of entering my password manually every time.
One of the major selling points of the ROG G14 has to be the introduction of the AniMe Matrix. Most ROG laptops feature the ROG logo on the front plat with RGB or Red light glowing it. While that looks cool, the AniMe Matrix on the G14 takes it one step further. The dot matrix display on the front plate allows you to show more than just the ROG logo.
The AniMe Matrix is customizable using the company’s Armoury Crate software. From showing time and battery percentage to using your own logo on the front plate, you get to play with a plethora of options. However, it is more of a gimmick than a useful tool.
At a price premium of around Rs. 10,000, the AniMe Matrix just does not justifies that. The feature is more of something that you would showoff at your workplace for the first few days and then just forget about it. I would rather suggest spending that extra money on a higher-spec variant of the G14 without the AniMe Matrix. As the performance or extra storage is something that will benefit you in the long run.
As for the build quality, the chassis is made out of magnesium alloy and does not have much flex to it. It gives you a certain level of confidence and does offer a premium in-hand feel. The front plate, as well as the bezels around the screen, are made out of plastic and the screen does flex a bit.
In terms of the placements, the ROG G14 two USB Type-A and one USB-Type C port on the right side along with a cooling went and the Kensington lock. The left edge of the laptop sports the DC charging port, an HDMI port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is also another USB Type-C port, which can also be used for USB PD charging via a 65W adapter.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Display and Audio
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 comes with a 14-inch WQHD IPS display. While selecting the variant according to your needs, you can even settle for a FullHD panel model. The panels itself is sharp and crisp. There are minimal bezels around the display providing an immersive content consumption experience.
While the high-resolution display is great for creators, gamers would have liked to see a high refresh rate panel. Thankfully, Asus does sell models with 120Hz refresh rate display that feature a FullHD panel instead of a WQHD one.
In order to help creators further, the company has brought 100 per cent sRGB colour gamut support on the panel. Moreover, ROG G14 also comes with Pantone validation as well as support for AMD FreeSync technology. Overall, the laptop has a great display and should keep almost every type of user happy.
On the audio front, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 sports two bottom-firing and two top firing speakers making for a set of four speakers in total. When compared to other gaming laptops in the segment, the speakers get quite loud and are clear for watching TV shows. However, it does not even come close to the speakers of a MacBook.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Keyboard and trackpad
As the ROG Zephyrus G14 is aimed at creators, the company had to really work hard creating the ultimate typing experience. And I must say, Asus achieved that quite successfully. The Zephyrus G14 has a great keyboard with a decent amount of key travel. While these keys do not come with RGB lighting, I feel white backlight makes the laptop look subtle and it is something you can carry in a board room meeting without grabbing unnecessary attention.
For trackpad, Asus takes advantage of the Windows Precision drivers making gesture controls on Windows 10 seamless. The trackpad itself is smooth and it is one of the best I have used.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Performance
Whether you are a creator or a gamer, if you are looking to buy this laptop, the major area you have been focusing on the performance. That is also where Asus wanted to excel. The Zephyrus G14 is powered by the Ryzen 9 4900HS paired an Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q.
These specs are not only impressive on paper but also offer a great experience in the real world use case scenario. I played a couple of demanding games on this laptop including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, PUBG, Witcher 3 and GTA V. Even at high settings, the laptop did no show any signs of lag.
During my gaming sessions, I missed having a high refresh rate panel. However, with such great hardware on board, I enjoyed playing most of my games at WQHD resolution.
Since this laptop has an aluminium chassis, the gaming sessions can make the temperature of the body warm to the touch. So I would recommend using an external keyboard for long gaming sessions.
In terms of regular usage, I had no problems having three windows of Google Chrome open with at least 10-12 tabs on each window. I even had a couple of apps running in background including WhatsApp, Slack, Spotify, Steam and Microsoft Word.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Battery
When it comes to battery life, I was left really impressed by the ROG Zephyrus G14. During my time with the machine, I was easily able to stretch it to around six hours of usage. My usage consists of using the web, lots of typing and listening to music at all times.
For charging, the laptop comes with a 180W power brick that can fast-charge the laptop from dead to full in less than two hours. Asus has also given the option of charging it via the USB Type-C port. However, it can intake only 65W of power resulting in slower charging speeds.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: Verdict
In a nutshell, the Asus ROG Zephyrus is one of the best laptops you can get for the price. The laptop offers amazing performance, an impressive display, great keyboard and trackpad for a starting price of just Rs. 80,990. However, the heating issues might bring up a second thought.
The good thing here is that the Zephyrus G14, even though gets quite hot, manages to keep thermals throttling away. So, if you can game on the laptop with an external keyboard and avoid touching the laptop’s keyboard while rendering your videos, this is one of the best laptops you can get for the price.