At CES2020, one of the most exciting announcement was the newest member of the ROG gaming laptop family; the Asus Zephyrus G14. It’s 14-inches, a rarity in gaming laptops, and a totally cool and customizable LED matrix on the lid. But the real headline was the choice of new AMD Ryzen platform, a first in gaming laptops.
Asus has made it official now and the G14 will go on sale from the end of April 2020. What you get for the money is a slim and light laptop with powerful Ryzen processors mated to Nvidia RTX graphics
Ryzen powered gaming
AMD has been killing it with its Ryzen processors that are unmatched for multithreading for a reasonable price. The new 4th Gen Ryzen 4000 series processors are a ROG-exclusive with up to 8 cores and 16 threads. It uses a lower, more energy-efficient 35W power envelope that is designed for this form factor.
This means you’ll get excellent thread ripping performance Ryzens are known for but at a lower cost to battery life. In fact, Asus says up to 10 hours per charge; a claim which I am keen to put to the test. The G14 also dynamically adjusts power to the CPU based on GPU temperature, making changes every second so that you never get throttling in your gaming.
In addition, Asus has used a custom-tuned Nvidia RTX 2060 with ROG Boost up to 1300Mhz at 65W. It’s Turing encoder allows the G14 to game and stream simultaneously at higher stream quality with little impact to performance.
Finally, a 1440p laptop display
The G14 finally brings gamers the favoured resolution, WQHD, widely accepted as the sweet spot between fidelity and performance. I’ve personally been waiting for this for ages. The WQHD display is on 60Hz but if you need faster, there is also a Full HD 120Hz model on offer. Both displays are FreeSync ready which, thanks to the new 4th Gen Ryzen, will work with GeForce GPU’s for the first time.
Asus says that thanks to the smaller physical size of the G14, both Full HD and WQHD versions have equal or greater pixel density than a 28-inch Ultra HD desktop monitor. Pixel perfect is the phrase that comes to mind. The panels are factory calibrated and Pantone Validated to ensure the highest colour accuracy; 100% of the sRGB range. And because of the tiny bezels around the monitor, the G14 boasts an impressive 85% screen to body ratio.
Form and function
The G14 is really small as you’d likely imagine a 14-inch laptop to be. A magnesium-aluminium alloy chassis that’s only 18mm thick and weighs only 1.6kg makes the G14 the new portability champ. Asus says the precisely machined casing is fingerprint resistant, which is good since a lot of people will likely be touching the lid to feel the LED dot-matrix.
Dubbed the AniMe Matrix display, it’s made out of 6,536 backlit perforations that can be programmed to display any number of shapes, text or logos and even animated GIF’s. Additionally, the visualizations can react to music or audio which can be great if you’re a DJ although I suspect many people will use it for much less, appropriate things.
ErgoLift hinge returns
One of the signature design tricks of the Asus Zenbook line is the one-of-a-kind ErgoLift hinge that tilts the keyboard up and towards you as you open the lid. And now, the G14 is the first ROG laptop to adopt the ErgoLift. The bottom of the lid lifts the base of the laptop upwards. Asus has improved on the Zenbook design by cutting vents into the lid bezel to improve exhaust airflow coming out of the new, wider rear heatsinks.
Like previous-gen ErgoLift, the G14 features self-cleaning fans to avoid dust and particle accumulation that will inevitably block the system. Asus is using an improved anti-dust tunnel design that is short and allows space for the same size fan found in Zephyrus 15-inch models.
USB-C Charging and so much more
This is something Apple has been doing for years and now Asus has brought
USB-C charging to the G14. It supports USB Power Delivery powered by up to 65W charging with a Type-C adapter. However, this can only be used for light work while the 180W adapter is required for the discrete graphics to run.
The same Type-C port is capable of driving an external monitor via Display Port 1.4 but you can also use the HDMI 2.0b for 4K gaming on a TV. There’s also two USB-A ports. Being 2020, the G14 comes with 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6(Gig+) connectivity. When paired with a capable router, the G14 users will experience lots of benefits such as reduced latency, less lag and expanded upstream capacity for live-streaming.
The G14 features a new fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button similar to the MacBook Pros. What’s even better here is that on the press, the G14 briefly caches your fingerprint and passes it on to Windows which will automatically log you into your account. If you share the laptop with other users, Windows will automatically detect the right account.
Pricing and availability
Asus expects to start shipping the G14 by end of April 2020 starting at $2,199. Local Aussie models will feature up to AMD R9-4900HS processor, RTX2060 graphics card, 512 SSD, memory of 8GB, 14” WQHD (60Hz) with White / Grey Dot Matrix.