Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 was one of the better gaming laptops to come out in 2020, and with a new variant this year, we have the usual set of upgrades. These include more powerful onboard graphics, better processor and a higher resolution display.
However, do these upgrades justify the starting price of Rs 93,990? Moreover, should this laptop aimed at performance and portability be an upgrade if you already have a good-enough gaming laptop? Here’s what we think.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 specs: 14-inch WQHD-120HZ display | AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS | Nvidia RTX 3060-6GB | Anime Matrix back | 16GB RAM | 1TB SSD |
Design: The Zephyrus G14 captures a lot that was good with last year’s model. This includes an edgy design, the signature Asus ErgoLift hinge and specific gaming features like a larger spacebar, a dedicated shortcut key to Armoury Crate and a fingerprint-scanner-embedded power button.
The magnesium alloy chassis feels sturdy, even though there is some general flex to the keyboard and the lid. While we have the Eclipse Grey variant for review, the white one looks equally spectacular.
The weight of the laptop is about 1.6kgs, which is very light considering gaming laptops can often go above the 2kg mark. You also find that pure-gaming aspects like an RGB keyboard are missing, even though the angled vents are present, making this still look like a gaming machine, without being too loud.
The AniMe Matrix is as good as ever and lets users set it up to display anything from a virtual pet to custom animations, texts, system status and more. You also have minute controls over aspects like animation speed and font size, letting you to customise the back to your liking. Note that the AniMe Matrix models are slightly thicker than the classic lid ones.
Display: The QHD screen introduced with the new model this year isn’t just about the numbers. The screen is fast, refreshing at up to 120Hz and image quality is great. You can also drop to the FHD screen variant which will come in at a lower price but gets a higher refresh rate at 144Hz. Both variants will support AMD FreeSync as well.
Keyboard: The compact keyboard here feels well-spaced and has good key travel too. However, the arrow keys feel small and oddly-placed, aesthetically making them look a little out-of-sync with the rest of the layout. The chiclet keyboard also only has white lighting and supports N-key rollover.
I/O: The laptop features two USB 3.2 Type A ports and two USB 3.2 Type-C ports, one of which also supports DisplayPort 1.4 and USB power delivery, making this a pretty versatile I/O setup for a 14-inch machine. This also means there are two ways to charge the laptop now, with the dedicated power port being the faster option. There’s also an HDMI 2.0 port and a combined 3.5mm headphone port.
Performance: The laptop gets a lot right on the performance bit. The 5000-series Ryzen 9 chip is blazing fast, while the RTX 3060 brings in support for DLSS and ray-tracing while packing enough power for the FHD/QHD screen.
Some of the titles we tested at FHD included GTA V (90-120fps) and CyberPunk 2077 (50-55 fps on low graphics, 30 fps on ray-tracing medium graphics) and both the results and the experience was quite good. Thermal performance is also great here and while the laptop did get warm, it never felt too hot.
Battery Life: While not spectacular, the Asus Zephyrus G14 offers better than average battery life given its gaming nature. Expect an uptime of between 5 to 7 hours for normal tasks or a day at the office. These numbers will not hold for gaming sessions, but you will likely be plugged in during games for the best performance anyway.
Other aspects like the quad-speaker quality were also great and the Armoury Crate software helped ease out the tuning as well as setting up the AniMe Matrix panel on the lid.
There isn’t a lot we disliked about the Zephyrus G14 this year. However, a few pointers that demand attention are the small arrow keys and the lack of an ethernet port, both of which are key aspects in a gaming laptop. Wi-Fi 6 support is present, but that may not be something everyone has yet.
The thin bezels around the display look great, but that’s also because Asus has not added a webcam in the machine. You get a bundled ROG webcam, but a built-in one always beats that, not to mention that the accessory will cost you one of the only two USB-A ports.
Verdict: Should you buy the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14?
Yes, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a great buy, even a better one than its older 2020 variant. However, that is if you can ignore the few pitfalls like the lack of an ethernet port, and a webcam, which may not matter to a lot of gamers, but could be important for those planning to use the laptop for office-work and Zoom calls. If these elements aren’t as important to you, the Zephyrus G14 2021 is a solid recommendation.