Asus’ Republic of Gamers (ROG) division is known for its gamer-centric products that standout courtesy of their design and features. Sticking to the same formula, the company unveiled a bunch of new gaming laptops and desktops at CES 2020. Of these, the one that really caught our attention is the new Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. It is claimed to be the most compact 14-inch gaming PC in the world. I got to spend some time with the new laptop at Asus’ headquarters, and here are my first impressions.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Design
The ROG Zephyrus G14 boasts a design that is relatively sober when compared to other hardcore gaming laptops. Without the funky color accents and RGB lighting, the G14 can just about pass off as a professional laptop. But make no mistake, this is a gaming laptop through and through.
If you do however want your laptop to turn heads, there is a ROG Zephyrus G14 variant with a unique ‘AniMe Matrix’ display on the lid. Asus’ designers have essentially placed 1,215 mini LEDs on the laptop’s lid. The individual LEDs emit a white glow with up to 256 levels of brightness. Using a built-in software, you can then choose to display a message or graphics on the lid. It may come across as a gimmick, but it is no doubt fun. The level of customization options it adds to your laptop is practically endless.
As mentioned, Asus claims this is the most compact 14-inch gaming laptop in the world. In the short time I spent with it, the laptop did feel quite comfortable to hold. The regular variant weighs in at 1.6kg, while the one with the matrix display weighs 1.7kgs. The regular variant is also 179mm thin, while the matrix display variant is a shade under 200mm. Asus manages to keep the weight low by using the same magnesium-aluminum alloy seen on the feather-light Asus ExpertBook B9450.
The laptop flaunts a 14-inch screen with extremely slim bezels surrounding it. One can choose from two display options – FHD (1920×1080 pixels) 120Hz and WQHD (2560×1440 pixels) 60Hz. Both are Pantone certified and support AMD FreeSync. Asus also claims that the WQHD panel has a higher pixel density than a typical 4K panel. The Full HD panel, on the other hand, has a similar pixel density as a 28-inch Ultra HD display.
Under the hood
Among the gaming laptop’s is also what you find under the hood. The ROG Zephyrus G14 comes with the latest AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS processor. The 7nm processor features up to eight cores and 16-threads. The company claims this processor will remain exclusive as it has been created as a collaboration between AMD and the ROG team.
You will also find NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU under the hood, which is based on the NVIDIA’s Turning architecture. You get up to 32GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, and up to 1TB NVMe SSD.
All that power at hand will be able to handle graphic-intensive games with ease. But it will no doubt generate a lot of heat. To combat this, Asus has developed a new cooling system. One of the first things you will notice is the ErgoLift hinge, which tilts the keyboard up to give bottom vents space to breathe. Inside, you will find five heat pipes covering the GPU, CPU and VRM. There are also dual fans with newly designed 81 blades to minimize the heat effect. Lastly, the company claims that the newest AMD CPU generates much less heat aiding in better overall performance.
As far as battery is concerned, Asus claims that the ROG Zephyrus G14 can last up to 10 hours on a single charge. The number however goes down with heavy usage and when using the AniMe matrix display. For charging, you get a 180W power adaptor. Alternatively, there’s also a 65W USB Type-C adaptor for when you’re on the move.
I found the keyboard on board to be quite well spaced out with good travel and feedback. The ErgoLift helps in making the overall typing experience quite ergonomic. You get dedicated hotkeys mapped to essential functions such as volume control, mic and more.
The power button is integrated with a fingerprint scanner. One neat feature though is how you just need to touch it once while powering the system. Once touched, the laptop uses it to unlock the PC and also login to your saved accounts.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 initial impressions
There are just a few good gaming laptops available today, and it is rare to find one that is this compact. Asus seems to have managed the art of offering powerful feature-packed products in a compact package. The ROG Zephyrus G14 has a lot going for it. The AniMe Matrix display on the lid may seem like a gimmick, but it will no doubt turn heads. It will be interesting to see when Asus brings the laptop to India, and at what price.