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Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) Review

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (starts at $1,649.99: $2,499 as tested) almost sounds too good to be true for a gaming laptop. The slim design makes it just as portable as a mainstream notebook, but the sheer amount of firepower packed inside used to require a hulking gaming rig. And the compact size doesn't compromise on battery life, either, delivering more than 10 hours on a single charge.

The Zephyrus isn't the only 14-inch gaming laptop out there, with fierce competition from the Alienware x14 and the Razer Blade 14, but the Asus has wowed us since it first came out, consistently offering some of the best performance and portability on the market. Even better, this year's model steps things up with more power (thanks to the latest AMD hardware) without changing the impressively slim chassis or shortening the battery life. If you want serious gaming on the go, this is the laptop to get.

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Zephyrus, Upgraded: Compact Gaming Levels Up

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 remains true to form, largely following the template set by the model line over the last couple of years. The slim build is impressively thin and light for a gaming machine, and the lid dazzles with an elaborate array of LED pinpoints (what Asus dubs "AniMe Matrix") that can display custom animations, satisfying the craving for blinking lights without going overboard on RGB elements. The white color looks beautifully clean and sleek, too. This Zephyrus is a far cry from the stereotypical bulky gaming laptops of years past, yet it manages to provide serious gaming power.

(Photo: Brian Westover)

With a compact design that measures just 0.77 by 12.3 by 8.9 inches (HWD), the Zephyrus G14 is impressively slim and light, and that's taking into account the added thickness that's due to the inclusion of the AniMe Matrix feature, which adds a fraction of an inch to the lid. It's one of many features that has seen an upgrade from last year, with an array of 1,449 mini LEDs offering brighter lights for bolder animations.

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The main display is a little bigger and a little brighter, with a taller 16:10 aspect ratio that promises a bit less scrolling and 500 nits of brightness, along with higher 2,560-by-1,600-pixel native resolution, an impressive 120Hz refresh rate, and a snappy 3-millisecond response time.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) Review

The Zephyrus G14 sits alongside some of the most impressive thin and light gaming machines on the market, like the Razer Blade 14. With a weight of 3.86 pounds, it's lighter than most mainstream laptops, while packing far more power. But it's not a featherweight: The slim chassis is made of aluminum, magnesium alloy, and sturdy polycarbonate, giving it strength and substance despite the portability.

(Photo: Brian Westover)

The ultra-slim screen bezels are still enviously thin, but Asus has managed to squeeze a webcam in this time, complete with IR face recognition for Windows Hello biometric logins. Since the webcam handles security, Asus has ditched the fingerprint sensor seen on previous models.

The touchpad is 50% larger than last year's model, as well, with a spacious glass-covered surface that glides smoothly. Touchpads don't usually get much attention on gaming rigs, since an external mouse or controller are better suited to gameplay, but that extra space feels enormous when you're browsing the web or doing productivity work.

About the only complaint we can make about the Zephyrus G14 is that the keyboard backlight, while useful in darker settings, might actually make for worse visibility in normal lighting conditions. It was definitely an issue with our white test model, but you likely won't have the same problem with the darker Eclipse Gray color option.

(Photo: Brian Westover)

When it comes to ports, the slim gaming machine has plenty to offer. On the right side of the system, you'll find a pair of USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB-C port, and a microSD card slot. On the left are an HDMI video output and another USB-C port, this one offering DisplayPort video-out functionality, as well. A headset jack provides audio connectivity, and a power connector is centered in the middle of the chassis. Wireless connectivity gets a boost, as well, with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2.

The sleek laptop is available with or without the stunning AniMe Matrix in the lid, though the lid's perforated texture remains the same whichever version you choose.

Power to Go: Testing the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022)

The 2022 model of the Zephyrus G14 is built around the latest AMD hardware. On our review unit, that means an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS (3.3GHz) processor with a hefty 32GB of DDR5 memory, along with AMD Radeon RX 6800S graphics with 8GB of VRAM.

Even the more modest base model is impressive, with the same Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU. The memory allotment is a little smaller (16GB) and the Radeon RX 6700S GPU is a half-step down, but it also cuts the price to $1,649.

For testing purposes, we compared our unit to some of the best 14-inch gaming laptops you can buy. The Alienware x14 offers similar prices and capabilities but relies on Intel's latest "Alder Lake" processors and Nvidia graphics. The Razer Blade 14, which helped usher in today's slim 14-inch designs, still uses last year's AMD silicon.

For added context, we also included the 2021 version of the Zephyrus G14, and one of our favorite budget gaming laptops, the 15-inch MSI Katana GF66, to illustrate what sort of performance increases the Asus’ higher price really brings.

Productivity and Content Creation Tests

Our first stop when testing any system is UL's PCMark 10, which simulates a full suite of productivity tools, from word processing and web browsing to videoconferencing, providing a good measure of overall system performance. We also use the benchmark's Full System Drive storage subtest to benchmark drive performance. But with SSDs becoming standard on so many gaming systems, the latter numbers won't translate as readily into noticeable performance differences.

Turning our focus to the CPU, we use three benchmark tests to rate a PC's suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon's Cinebench R23 stress-tests a processor's multi-threaded performance using the Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene over and over in a 10-minute test run. Primate Labs' Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates real-world applications across several processor-heavy tasks like PDF rendering, speech recognition, and machine learning. Finally, we use HandBrake 1.4 to transcode a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p, comparing how quickly systems handle this demanding task.

Our final productivity test uses Adobe's Photoshop Creative Cloud 22 and workstation maker Puget Systems' PugetBench testing extension, measuring performance as the system runs a script of editing tasks and filters on a test image.

One look at the results says it all. The 2022 Zephyrus G14 leverages its new AMD hardware to deliver stunning performance across the board, beating most of the competition most of the time. It's hardly unusual to see strong performance from a gaming laptop—they're all powerful machines by design. But to see one so adept at photo editing and video transcoding, it's clear that you'll also be able to rely on this laptop for all sorts of media creation, whether you're buying it as a dedicated gamer or a switch-hitter for work and play.

Graphics and Gaming Tests

We run two 3DMark game simulations on pretty much every machine that comes into PC Labs: 3DMark Night Raid and 3DMark Time Spy. UL's 3DMark includes a mix of high- and low-end DirectX 12 testing, with Night Raid offering a simple baseline for all systems and Time Spy best suited to high-end PCs with discrete GPUs.

But for a gaming PC, we want more than an abstract performance score, so we also run three real-world tests using the built-in benchmarks of F1 2021, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, and Rainbow Six Siege. These games cover several genres, with simulation, open-world action-adventure, and competitive esports shooter games all tested to measure how well the machine handles the unique needs of each. We run every test twice, with both low and high graphics settings (Valhalla at the Medium and Ultra quality presets, Siege at Low and Ultra quality). F1 2021 is also run twice but at max settings both times, with and without Nvidia's performance-boosting DLSS anti-aliasing. (In this case, we ran F1 with AMD Fidelity FX Super Resolution, which is AMD's equivalent technology.)

Compared to other 14-inch gaming rigs, the 2022 Zephyrus G14 offers some of the best graphics performance we've seen, and it's the real-world games that show it best. It leads the pack in Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Rainbow Six Siege, delivering the sort of frame rates that other machines could only reach by lowering the presets.

The new Asus also goes toe-to-toe with the best in F1 2021, proving that the AMD Radeon RX 6800S can hold its own against Nvidia's competing GPUs and that AMD's Fidelity FX is a worthy alternative to DLSS.

Battery and Display Tests

Finally, we test laptops' battery life by setting the display brightness to 50%, the audio volume to 100%, and disabling Wi-Fi (putting the system in airplane mode) before looping a locally stored 720p video file (the open-source Blender movieTears of Steel) until the system quits.

To rate notebook screens, we use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite display calibration tool and software to measure their coverage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts and their brightness in nits (candelas per square meter) at 50% and 100% brightness.

Here's where things get truly impressive for the Asus. Despite adding a ton of power, expanding the display resolution, and even ramping up the brightness of both the display and the LED-studded lid, the 2022 Zephyrus came within a minute of the battery life of last year's model. Not only is that essentially a rounding error, it handily beats the competition, whether the budget-friendly MSI or the pricey Razer. The screen also came close to its claimed 500-nit brightness at 444 nits, second only to the Alienware, and its overall color quality and resolution are as good as anything you'll find in the 14-inch segment.

King of the 14-inch Gaming Hill

After years of looking at hulking gaming rigs that were only portable in the sense that they had built-in displays, we're still astonished at the raw power that Asus has crammed into the slim profile of the latest ROG Zephyrus G14. It was an impressive feat when the system was introduced back in 2020, but the laptop maker's partnership with AMD has exceeded our expectations and put the competition on notice.

Regardless of what benchmark or game we threw at it, the Zephyrus G14 delivered, often with category-leading performance that topped the Alienware X14. In gaming, it went above and beyond mere playability, showing serious gaming chops that belie the first impressions of the thin design and fancy lid. And with its 10-hour battery life and impressively low weight, it's portable enough to take anywhere. If you want a gaming laptop without the usual limitations, the 2022 Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is the one to get.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022)

4.5Editors' ChoiceSee It$1,649.99 at Best BuyBase Configuration Price $1,649.99


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The Bottom Line

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 laptop offers blazing performance for gaming and everything else, and pairs it with awesome battery life and great portability.

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