Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: AMD has set the new benchmark for notebook computing
It is not often that one gets to review a gaming laptop which just raises the bar for the industry as a whole. Perhaps, the last time that happened was when Apple launched the 2nd generation MacBook Air which represented the apex of general-purpose computing for most people. This time around it is a notebook that is fully centred on performance, gaming and general-purpose computing. This is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 which is powered by the new AMD Ryzen 9 4900 HS chipset which has been making waves for a while. The G14 is the first notebook in the world to trot this leviathan of an 8-core processor. But on top of this, it also has the Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU which ain’t no spring chicken for the sake of serious gaming. The promise is that of crazy gamer-centric performance, a compact size and great battery life. These are three things that never go hand-in-hand. Hell, ask Apple, that’s why they are moving over to their own Apple Silicon away from Intel’s chips. Turns out, AMD believes that it can plug this hole, and that’s where the Zephyrus comes in.
- By any measure, it is one of the fastest notebooks to be launched. The AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS chip is thunderous. It is faster than an Intel Core i9, cheaper and more power-efficient. When coupled with the Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU, the sky’s the limit for this machine. The advantages of this chipset are obvious because of the 7nm process, the dynamic clock speeds that can go well beyond the base clock of 3GHz to upwards of 4GHz. This means it can easily play games like Gears 5 without breaking a sweat while also being more powerful than a MacBook Pro 16-inch model for even creative tasks like heavy-duty video editing with multiple 4K streams. This is facilitated by the fact that it has the Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU that leverages the CUDA cores on Premiere Pro and has a fast SSD to whittle down the render times to nothingness.
- Generally, this is a really adept computer for all kinds of basic purposes. It has a lovely chiclet-style keyboard which is a pleasure to type on. I was clocking more than 60 words a minute on this which is highly acceptable. The keys are wide, clicky and spacious. At the same time, even the trackpad is very responsive, even though it is not the largest one around. It is easily the smoothest Windows-based trackpad with precise tracking, clicky buttons and responsive gestures. For people who are coming from a Mac, this will make sure an easy transition. This makes it a great general-purpose computing device.
- The design of this notebook is sleek, flashy and pragmatic. Three things that don’t go hand-in-hand. It is sleek for a notebook that crams so much firepower. It is totally light and easy to lug around. It is flashy because it is a ROG device at the end of the day. It gets this cool dotted pattern which houses these LED lights which can be configured in whatever arrangement you want. So for warpcore, we had the top lid, flashing, warpcore, instead of some branding. This is a cool way to personalise the notebook. In addition to this you get, 2 USB Type C ports on each side which can do fast charging and can handle thunderbolt. There are two USB Type-A ports for good measure, while there is a standard charging plug and HDMI on the left. So, it is compact, snazzy and there is dongle life is not a thing with this notebook.
- With all of the above happening, usually, the thing that takes a hit is battery life. That’s also not the case. I found that I could get easy 7–8 hours of battery life from this notebook. This is certifiably excellent battery life. Even with heavy workloads like gaming and video editing, on the go, the laptop will give you around 3–4 hours of battery life and retains the ability to get charged fully in 2 hours, through numerous ways.
- You get two display options — either a 14-inch 2k panel with a 60Hz refresh rate which was the one I tested or a full HD 120Hz screen. This screen has good viewing angles, it is also bright enough and has accurate colours which is very important for a creator from a colour correction point of view. Look, this is a very usable screen, but it isn’t something that’s in the ballpark of the MacBook Air screen. This is going to be fine for most people as most Windows notebooks have abysmal displays. I also like the fact that it has a matte finish which will make it even more useful for work purposes.
- It is made out of plastic — this just doesn’t feel as plush, even though it is a ROG branded product. Asus uses great plastics, which is fine, but considering the firepower, it has it also can reek of burnt plastic when you start pushing the system to its limits. Of course, the plastic isn’t burning or melting, but you do get this disconcerting smell at times.
- Because it packs such a thunderous punch, this machine can get loud and noise like a vacuum cleaner running in the background at all the time. It also can get a little hot, but nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that seriously impacts performance.
Should you buy it?
For general-purpose computing, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is now the best laptop in the world. It has that balance between sublime pro-grade performance, portability and battery life that no other laptop in the world has. It is also based on Windows, which is definitely the preferred operating system of choice for most consumers which also helps its case. The best bit, it is so affordable for what it offers — starts at Rs 80,990, which makes this AMD powered notebook the new giant killer in town.