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Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: AMD Ryzen 6900HS and Radeon RX 6800S Together

Not every PC gamer is deskbound. Sometimes, you want to play with thebest gaming laptopson the go, or even want your laptop to do other work while you're away. (Crazy, right?)The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 ($1,599.99 to start, approximately $2,499.99 as tested) is one of a handful of compact, 14-inch gaming notebooks we've seen in the last few years. Its latest refresh includes AMD's Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU and Radeon RX 6800S GPU. Because the laptop uses all of AMD's parts, Asus can utilize the chipmaker's proprietary features such as SmartAccess Memory and SmartShift Max. But Intel's latest 12th Gen Chips and Nvidia's RTX 30 series are still challengers.With additions like the AniMe Matrix display, which lets you customize the laptop's lid with lights, and the introduction of a virtual pet in its Armoury Crate software, Asus has started to stretch itself a bit thin with the extras. But luckily, the fundamentals, including long battery life, are all still there.And thank heavens, there's finally a webcam. Editor's Note: After the initial publication of this review, Asus reached out and sent us a new unit to test, as ours was far dimmer than expected. The display and battery life sections have been updated to reflect the newer model, which should better reflect the screens on shipping units, the company suggests. While the score has remained the same, we have now granted this laptop our Editors' Choice award.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Review: AMD Ryzen 6900HS and Radeon RX 6800S Together

Design of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

I'm typically all about systems being black or silver, but I must say that the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is striking. The laptop has an almost entirely white magnesium alloy chassis. When I firstsaw this laptop in 2020, I said it was "refined", and my opinion hasn't changed.

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The lid is bifurcated in two diagonally. The bottom left half is solid white, with a Republic of Gamers badge that looks purple or blue, depending on the angle you look at it. The top right half is a series of 14,969 holes (I did not count these, I'm taking Asus' word for it). When the laptop is powered on, these reveal the light from 1,449 mini LEDs, creating what Asus calls the "AniMe Matrix" display. You can customize the lighting in the included Armoury Crate software, including the possibility of a virtual pet. While this might be fun for some, I think that the lightshow is distracting and makes the Zephyrus look like a kid's toy.

Lifting the lid reveals some of the more major changes that Asus has made with the Zephyrus. For one, the laptop now has a 16:10 display. The bezels aren't noticeably thicker than previous versions, but Asus has finally added a webcam, which was sorely missing when the first version launched in time with the beginning of the pandemic.The deck is clean, white magnesium alloy with white backlighting behind the keys. I'm sure some people will wish there was an RGB option, but I think the white-on-white looks classy. There's also a particularly large touchpad for a gaming notebook, which I appreciate. After all, a 14-inch notebook is a good size for occasional productivity usage.Asus' ErgoLift display is in full effect here. A small, curved section on the back of the lid pushes the keyboard up at a slight angle when you have the notebook open, which is designed for better airflow and more comfortable typing.Asus has crammed some useful ports on the Zephyrus' flanks. On the left side, there's anHDMI 2.0 port (not HDMI 2.1, the latest, unfortunately), as well as a USB Type-C port and a headphone jack. You also plug the barrel connector in on this side. The right side is all about expansion, with a pair of two USB Type-A ports, another Type-C port and a microSD card slot.

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