The Asus Zephyrus G14 is a fast, compact laptop for both gaming and serious work
- Compact and powerful
- 120Hz QHD+ display is superb
- Generous selection of ports
- Anime Matrix lid display is over the top
- Mediocre webcam
- No biometric login
Windows laptops rarely attract global attention in the same way that MacBooks do, but the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) is one that deserves a little extra attention. As with the 14in MacBook Pro (£2,155), this is a laptop that crams an enormous amount of power into an attractive, compact chassis and, combined with surprisingly strong battery life, it makes a wonderfully versatile all-rounder.
The Zephyrus G14 is a laptop you can sling in a bag and carry around with you without it weighing you down. A laptop that will cope with the grind of the work day with a spring in its step and, when the time comes to let your hair down, will deliver on the entertainment front, too.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: What you need to know
The key difference between the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 and the MacBook is that Asus is the better laptop for gaming. Although you can run some major titles on Apple’s machine, a far greater library of games is available for Windows, particularly on platforms such as Steam and the Epic Games Store.
Cross-platform benchmark testing also indicates that the G14’s core hardware is better suited to gaming than the MacBook. And even more interesting is that the G14 manages this with an all-AMD CPU and GPU combination, instead of the Intel and Nvidia pairing most gaming laptop manufacturers currently favour.
It’s a pretty decent all-rounder, too. It comes with a 16:10 aspect ratio 14in IPS display with a resolution of either 1,920 x 1,200 (144Hz, 100% sRGB) or 2,560 x 1,440 (120Hz, 100% DCI-P3). It’s powered by the latest 6000-series AMD silicon, with a choice of Ryzen 7 6800HS or Ryzen 9 6900HS CPUs (all with 8 cores/16 threads), while graphics are taken care of by either a Radeon RX 6800S or Radeon RX 6700S GPU.
Underpinning all this is either 16GB or 32GB of RAM and a 1TB PCI-E 4.0 SSD; whichever configuration you go for, it’s a serious laptop.
READ NEXT: Our roundup of the best gaming laptops
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: Price and competition
Model tested: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS, Radeon RX 6800S, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, 120Hz 2,560 x 1,600 IPS display (part number: GA402RK-L8032W). Price: £2,000 inc VAT
Asus might be tackling the might of Apple head-on with the configuration, but on price it’s very much undercutting it. The most basic configuration of G14 (GA402RK-L4055W) has a list price of £1,850, which is £200 less than the most basic MacBook Pro 14in: it comes with a 144Hz, 1,920 x 1,200 display, an AMD Ryzen 7 6800HS CPU and Radeon RX 6800S GPU, plus 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD.
This rises to £2,000 for the top model we were supplied with for this review, which comes with a 120Hz 2,560 x 1,600 DCI-P3 display, the Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU, a Radeon RX 6800S GPU, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. Buying a MacBook Pro 14in of equivalent specification to this would set you back £2,499.
On paper it looks like a bit of a bargain, then, certainly compared with the MacBook Pro, so what can other Windows laptop manufacturers muster? In terms of compact laptops at a similar performance level there isn’t much we’ve seen that’s current, so you have to look back to last year’s models.
The closest in terms of performance you’re going to see is the updated 2022 Razer Blade 14 . This is just as compact as the G14, has a 165Hz QHD display, and comes with slightly nippier core hardware (AMD Ryzen 6900HX, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti). However, it’s much more expensive than the Zephyrus G14 at £2,700.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: Design
Probably the main area where the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 departs from the Apple MacBook Pro 14in is in its design. Instead of having a sober, silver finish, the Zephyrus is painted white and, while it isn’t quite as shouty as a full-on gaming laptop, its sharp angles, proliferation of air vents and single-zone RGB keyboard lighting give off a strong gamer-centric whiff.
Despite that and the rather garish pinhole Anime Matrix LED display embedded in the lid – which you can customise with your own text and graphics – the Zephyrus G15 makes a solid workhorse laptop.
It’s light enough at 1.7kg to sling in your bag and cart around all day, and it’s compact enough at 312 x 227 x 19.5mm (WDH) that most laptop bags will swallow it comfortably. The MacBook Pro 14in is lighter and slimmer, but only by 120g and 4mm margins respectively.
What’s more, the G14 is exceptionally well endowed with ports and sockets. On the left edge you’ll find single HDMI, USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbits/sec) and 3.5mm headset sockets, while on the right edge are a pair of USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, another USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 port and a microSD card reader.
In terms of all-day keyboard and touchpad comfort, I have few complaints. There’s plenty of travel for each key, and the action is light yet positive, while the touchpad is both spacious and responsive. And I really like the fact that, as you open the lid, the hinge tucks under the rear of the laptop, tilting it up at a slight angle, improving the typing angle and facilitating airflow around the G14’s various vents.
The only thing I don’t like about the G14 is its 720p webcam, which generates well-exposed but rather soft, artificial-looking images. The speakers are decent, however, and the microphone captures reasonably full-bodied vocals.
READ NEXT: The best laptop for you to buy
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: Display
The good news continues with the Zephyrus’ display. There are two choices on offer when you buy this laptop: the 144Hz 1080p screen appears on the cheaper models and the 120Hz 2,560 x 1,600 display on the more expensive variants. The latter is the screen I’ve tested for this review, and it’s a corker.
It’s a wide gamut display, tuned to the DCI-P3 colour space (the 144Hz screen is limited to sRGB) and is capable of reproducing 102.4% of that gamut, 99.6% of the Adobe RGB gamut and 144.6% of sRGB.
While you don’t get the multiple professional precalibrated colour profiles of the MacBook Pro, it is very colour-accurate within both the sRGB and DCI-P3 gamuts, and it’s plenty bright, peaking at a luminance of 538cd/m² with a respectable contrast ratio of 969:1.
And in a bonus you don’t see frequently on consumer laptops these days, the screen has a matte finish that effectively banishes distracting reflections from overhead lighting.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: Performance
Performance, as we’ve come to expect of AMD-powered laptops over the past couple of years, is very impressive. With the new octa-core 6000-series Ryzen 9 6900HS at the helm of my review laptop, the Asus ROG Zephryus G14 comfortably beat all its 14in Windows rivals in both our 4K media benchmarks and the cross-platform Geekbench 5 test. It’s not far off matching the 10-core Apple M1 Max in the much dearer Apple MacBook Pro 14in I reviewed a few months ago, either.As far as gaming goes, it’s a strong performer here as well. The new AMD Radeon RX 6800S delivers a performance that’s just behind Nvidia RTX 3070-based systems in our demanding Hitman 2 test and just in front of them in older games such as Metro: Last Light and Dirt: Showdown.Storage performance is decent, too, once again beating its Windows rivals but lagging behind the MacBook Pro machines.What’s perhaps more impressive, however, is that the laptop runs relatively cool while under load – particularly in the wrist rest area – and that the fans, even at maximum Turbo load, aren’t overly intrusive.
The one disappointment is battery life. The Zephyrus G14 lasted a mere 7hrs 40mins in our video rundown test with wireless communications and the GPU disabled. That’s not bad for a Windows laptop with this level of hardware, and it will get you through a decent chunk of work before you need to recharge, but it’s a long way behind the MacBook Pro 14in’s 13hrs 11mins.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 review: Verdict
The battery life situation means the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 can’t quite stand side by side with the MacBook Pro. There still isn’t anything that can match Apple’s M1, M1 Pro and M1 Mac laptops for power and stamina combined.
However, if you’re a gamer and you want a laptop you can carry around without giving yourself a hernia, the Asus Zephryus G14 is the best option you have right now. Its Ryzen CPU and Radeon RX GPU combine to deliver superbly rounded performance, and the price undercuts both Windows and Apple rivals.