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Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Hands-On: 14” Portable Gaming Laptop With AMD’s Latest Ryzen 4000 Series CPU
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has to be the most exciting gaming laptop in the company's newly launched ROG product range. Touted as the 'World's Most Powerful 14-Inch Gaming Notebook', the G14 is powered by AMD's latest Ryzen 4000 series mobile processor featuring x86 8-core and 16-thread with advanced power efficiency.
We got a chance to play around with this exciting gaming machine at the Asus Headquarters in Taiwan. Here's our hands-on experience with the portable gaming machine, which as per the brand, redefines the performance in the ultra-slim gaming notebook category.
Unique Customizable LED Panel
You just cannot miss the one-of-its-kind LED AniMe Matrix display on the back of the G14's lid. The designers have placed 1,215 mini LEDs in 6,536 CNC-machined holes on the surface of the lid that can be customized to display a message or graphics. The individual LEDs emit a white glow with 256 levels of brightness control. A dedicated user-interface allows you to import animated GIFs and other graphics on the back panel.
Additionally, you can build custom animations frame by frame, and type custom text messages to convey a message. Most importantly, the visualizations react to the music being played on the notebook. The GIFS seemed pretty smooth but the running text could use some refinements in terms of speed and fluidity.
LED Matrix Will Soon Display Date, Time And Notifications
We were also sceptic that the LED matrix will take a toll on the battery life; however, Asus mentioned that the ROG engineers have balanced the number of mini LEDs to minimize heat, controller hardware, and power requirements. Asus will add some more features to the matrix display by the end of Q1 2020. The new update will enable email notifications, date, and time and battery level indicator on the LED back panel to make it more useful for users than just to convey messages or showcase art. Whether gimmicky or useful, it certainly looks cool and is an instant head-turner.
Most Portable Full-Fledged Gaming Machine
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 seems like the perfect notebook to carry around for work and play. Despite a 14-inch display, the notebook has a 13-inch form-factor, thanks to the thin bezels surrounding the screen and the lightweight design. The G14 is designed by using the same magnesium-aluminium alloy, which gives the Asus ExpertBook B9450 a feather-weight and compact form-factor. As far as the Zephyrus G14 is concerned, the gaming notebook weighs 1.7kg and measures 19.9mm thin.
Overall, this can be the portable gaming machine you have always wanted from the ROG line-up. The G14 notebook will be available in two color options- Eclipse Grey and the Moonlight White.
Display- Choice Of Full HD or WQHD IPS Panels
The ROG Zephyrus G14 will be available in two display choices. You can choose between a Full HD display that goes up to 120Hz or opt for a higher WQHD resolution panel. We would suggest you go with the 1080p panel as it offers 120Hz refresh rate for smoother, high-intensity action games. However, you must know that both the variants come equipped with ‘Adaptive Sync' technology that synchronizes the refresh rate of the display with the frame rate of the GPU.
The process eliminates visual tearing and also minimizes stuttering and input lag. Both the panels are IPS-type and come with the claim to cover 100% of the sRGB range. Asus mentioned that the WQHD panel has a higher pixel density than typical 4K, and the Full HD panel matches the PPI of a 28-inch Ultra HD display.
Powered By AMD's Latest Ryzen 9 4900HS Processor
Another key highlight of the ROG Zephyrus G14 is the newly announced AMD's Ryzen 9 4900HS processor. The company is banking upon the new chipset and has no plans to introduce the Z14 with an Intel version anytime soon. This is because the ROG team and AMD have worked together to create an exclusive series tuned specifically for the smaller chassis notebooks like the ROG Zephyrus G14. The CPU retains up to 8 cores and 16 threads to manage demanding jobs.
Other important specifications include up to 32GB of DDR4-3200 RAM across dual channels and up to 1TB NVMe SSD. For graphics, you can get the Z14 with up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, which is based on the NVIDIA's Turning architecture. The ROG Zephyrus G14 ships with Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro editions.
Newly Developed Cooling System
The biggest reason for ultraportable gaming machines to fail is the ineffective cooling system due to size constraint. Asus claims to solve the problem by equipping the ROG Zephyrus 14 with an Ergolift hinge. It tilts the keyboard at a certain angle giving the bottom vents more room to breathe. The Z14's vents have been cut into the bezel and the distance to the rear heatsinks has also been widened. Can you believe that this 14" gaming laptop has 209 heatsink fins totalling 68,868 mm 2 of surface area.
The company also claims that the new AMD CPU generates less heat to improve gaming performance on compact notebooks. Additionally, five heat pipes cover the GPU, CPU and VRM plus dual fans each with newly designed 81 blades between 50 mm and 51.2 mm long to minimize the heat effect. A quick tip- enable Turbo mode for maximum performance as it runs the fans at highest speed and frequencies.
Keypad And Audio
The ROG Zephyrus G14 is the first notebook to feature an ErgoLift hinge. It tilts the backlit keyboard at an angle for a more comfortable typing experience. The keys are spaced out quite well, 1.7mm travel distance to mimic desktop layouts. The 14-inch notebook has dedicated hotkeys to let you access essentials functions such as volume controls, mic, etc. The power key comes integrated with a fingerprint scanner.
As far as audio is concerned, the G14 features Dolby Atmos powered integrated speakers. The gaming notebook gets a quad-speaker setup with two 0.7W tweeters positioned above the keyboard while the two 2.5W woofers are positioned beneath to generate deep bass.
Battery Life And Connectivity
Coming on to the battery life, the 14" gaming notebook promise to deliver more than 10 hours of battery life on one full charge. You can charge the Zephyrus G14 with a compatible Type-C charger, which is a bonus if you have fully adapted to the Type-C ecosystem. The company ships the Z1 with a 180W power adaptor, which will be required to fuel the notebook's battery to make the most out of the integrated GPU.
As far as connectivity is concerned, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 offers 1 x USB3.2 Gen2 Type-C with DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x USB3.2 Gen2 Type-C port, 2x USB3.2 Gen1 Type-A, 1x HDMI 2.0b 1x 3.5mm headphone jack and the Kensington lock.
Initial Thoughts On Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
There are very few portable gaming machines in the market and most of them compromise on performance and features. Asus claims to have solved the problem with the new ROG Zephyrus G14. It is compact and brings impressive on-paper specifications with the highlight being the new cooling system and the latest AMD CPU. And how can we forget the LED AniMe Matrix display that makes this 14" notebook stand out among the crowd. Overall, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 seems to be a capable ultraportable gaming machine that we would like to see in the Indian market as soon as possible.