Thanks to its improved cooling system, the Zephyrus G14 ran much quieter than the 2020 model, even when I was on it for long periods. Hello Infinite Big Team Battle Sessions. The CPU never goes above 85 celsius, while the GPU usually stays around 75 celsius under load. Best of all, the “Quiet” fan mode lives up to its name, which is a big deal if you need to bring your gaming laptop into a quiet coffee shop or meeting room.
When I’m playing games, watching videos or just casually surfing the web, I really appreciate the G14’s revamped “ROG Nebula Display”. Aside from faster refresh rates and Dolby Vision support, it’s also now a 16-by-10 aspect ratio, which gives you more vertical space to scroll through documents. Hello Infinite’s war-torn maps look vibrant and detailed on the G14, and I appreciated the presence of Dolby Vision as I watched some Netflix shows. The computer’s HDR support is a bit confusing, though. Windows 11 doesn’t detect it as an HDR-capable display, and I can’t see any HDR YouTube videos. Yet somehow, I can still watch Netflix with Dolby Vision HDR enabled. I have asked ASUS for clarification on the issue and will update this review as I learn more.
While I love the idea of a 14-inch gaming laptop, its cramped keyboard often overwhelms me. An uncomfortable finger can mean the difference between winning or losing in a multiplayer match. Thankfully, the G14’s keyboard, while small, handled my fast-moving digits well. There’s a satisfying amount of travel too, which helps both during gaming and general typing. While I certainly wouldn’t mind a larger keyboard, the G14 felt friendlier to my game-pounding digits than the Alienware x14 or Blade 14. But seriously, folks, if this company could make a fancy wide keyboard for a 13-inch ultraportable them, why can’t they do the same for gaming hardware?
I was even more impressed with the Zephyrus G14’s new trackpad, which is 50 percent larger than last year’s. I think you can never have a trackpad that’s too big, so I appreciate having more room to swipe and use finger gestures. I’ve never accidentally hit the wrist pad, that’s all I ask for in a notebook these days.
Unlike other thin machines, the G14 comes with all the ports you need: two USB 3.2 Type-C ports, two USB 3.2 Type-A connections, a full-size HDMI 2.0 socket, a combined audio jack and microSD. card reader. The laptop’s 240-watt power supply also pushes more juice than last year, which means you’ll see faster charging than ever before. (You can also charge via USB-C in a pinch, but that won’t provide enough power while gaming.)
During our battery test, which involved looping HD video, the G14 lasted nine hours and 46 minutes. That’s almost two hours longer than the Alienware x14 lasted. And during my normal workflow of juggling dozens of browser tabs, editing photos and jumping on a Zoom call, the G14 typically lasted for over seven hours. That’s not impressive when an ultraportable has well into the double-digit battery life, but that’s the price you pay for having a thin but powerful machine.
Pricing is where things get sticky with the Zephyrus G14. It technically starts at $1,600, according to ASUS. But the cheapest model you can get at Best Buy right now costs $1,650 with a quad HD display, a Ryzen 9 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a Radeon RX 6700 GPU. You can also get a Radeon RX 6800 GPU for $1,900. While that price isn’t unreasonable when it comes to gaming laptops, it’s a lot higher than the $1,050 starting price of the 2020-era model. Our original review unit came in at just $1,450 with an RTX 2060, Ryzen 9 4900HS, and 16GB of RAM.
Although it started out as a very affordable 14-inch gaming laptop, the G14 is now firmly in mid-range or even premium notebook territory. Chalk it up to the global chip problem, price inflation (which, admittedly, affects all PC makers) and all the other supply chain issues we face in 2022. If you’re looking for pure power, the Blade 14 starts at $2,000 with a Ryzen 9 6900HX, RTX 3060, and a 1080p 144Hz screen. The Alienware x14, meanwhile, starts at $1,600 with a Core i7-12700H GPU and an RTX 3050 (go up to $1,900 and you can add an RTX 3060). ASUS is still your best choice if you really need a quad HD display, but if you only care about high frame rates, you have better options.
And when it comes to our review model, you’re basically just paying a hefty premium to get decent hardware in a flimsy case. Personally, I’d go for the heavier $2,500 Razer Blade 15 Advanced, which has an RTX 3070, Core i7-12800H and a 15-inch 240Hz quad HD screen. But that’s admittedly an unfair comparison – I realize some people don’t mind paying more for mobile.
The Zephyrus G14 is still a very attractive 14-inch laptop, especially if you’re aiming for one of the cheaper models. It’s powerful, slim and it finally have a webcam. But it also loses a lot of what makes the 2020 model so special. I guess that’s progress, though. ASUS started the trend, but now it’s racing to keep up with the competition.
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