HomeTechnologyAsus' entry-level ROG Zephyrus G14 is the one to buy

Asus’ entry-level ROG Zephyrus G14 is the one to buy

Devoted Edge readers will recall that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the latest ROG Zephyrus G14. The model we received had a lot of good things about it – Asus had improved the aspect ratio, added a webcam, made the touchpad bigger, and fixed just about every other complaint I had about G14s of the past .

But the unit I had for review was the best SKU, and it was just too expensive.

Specifically, the Radeon RX 6800S / Ryzen 9 6900HS model I received was priced at $2,499.99. That puts it in the same price bracket as some of the more premium 15-inch gaming rigs on the market, including Razer’s Blade 15 Advanced – and well above the price of the larger, more capable G15. It wasn’t a good deal. But I noted in the review that Asus intends to sell cheaper models of the G14 and that these models, if they produce similar frame rates, could be phenomenal buys.

Well, I finally got my hands on one of these cheaper models. I’m typing this right now on a $1,649.99 model of the Zephyrus G14 which has the same Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU but swaps out that 6800S GPU for a slightly less powerful 6700S. I’ve had a strong suspicion for months that this configuration would offer very similar performance to its $2,499.99 counterpart.

And folks, that suspicion turned out to be correct. The difference in frame rates, while there, is worth nothing. The battery life of the 6700S model is better. It’s thinner and lighter. The only thing it lacks, which the 6800S has, is an animated light display on the lid. The bright display is very cool, and you can pay an extra $850 if you want, but I’ll say most people should buy the $1,6499.99 model instead. This is by far a better deal.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 keyboard seen from above on a blue table

It’s still one of my favorite keyboards on the market.

For all things G14 chassis, please see the 6800S G14 review I posted in February. There I detailed the keyboard, touchpad, webcam, screen, and other design and hardware aspects. These are all the same on the 6700S model, so I’ll just discuss the performance differences here.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 lying flat on a blue table.

You can flatten it, if there’s a reason you’d want to.

The cheaper G14 averaged 189fps on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at maximum settings and native resolution (2560 x 1600). The previous model displayed an average of 202 frames per second. This difference won’t be noticeable to anyone using these machines since the highest refresh rate the G14’s 120Hz screen can display is 120fps.

You can see an impact on other titles – but not the one worth $850. The 6700S had some issues with ray tracing, which almost halved frame rates – but that’s exactly what we saw from the 6800S too. The cheaper model averaged 63 fps with ray tracing off and 32 fps with ray tracing maxed out, while the older model averaged 70 fps and 37 fps, respectively. Like I said, baby potatoes.

And on Red Dead Redemption 2 with all sliders manually maximized, the cheapest model averaged 45 fps, while the most expensive SKU averaged 49 fps. I promise that four frames will have no impact on your life.

Fan noise and heat were similar to what I observed on the 6800S, which is to say they were fine. The noise wasn’t particularly bothersome while gaming and didn’t interfere with the game audio; when I put the device on the Quiet profile for general work, it did indeed go quiet. Even during a decent workload that included an external display, there was never more than a little heat on the keyboard. The palm rests felt warm while gaming, but not quite uncomfortably.

The lid of a closed Asus ROG Zephryus G14 seen from above on a blue table.

No funky lights here, but still a neat lid design.

The bottom of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 seen from above on a blue table.

The vents do their job.

Where I saw a difference was in battery life. The 6700S averaged eight hours and 55 minutes of general use at medium brightness, a good hour compared to the 6800S. This metric puts the G14 back on the map as one of the most durable gaming laptops of recent years. The gaming battery didn’t show quite the same improvement. I have 46 minutes of Red Dead Redemption 2 gaming with around 39 minutes of playtime, while I got 54 and 46 minutes from the more expensive unit, but it’s hard to draw any conclusions on gaming battery life. load was exactly the same: 60% in 41 minutes.

The only other difference between this model and the 6800S is size. It’s slightly lighter (3.64 pounds versus the 6800S’s 3.79 pounds) and thinner (0.73 inches to 0.77 inches). That’s obviously not the biggest difference in the world, and it’s a fairly light gaming laptop anyway. But this is yet another slight advantage of the cheaper model. It’s much lighter than the Razer Blade 14 and much more compact than larger machines that can deliver those frame rates. I brought this device on an international trip and loved how light it was to load into an otherwise packed backpack.

So the Zephyrus G14 is, once again, one of the best gaming laptops money can buy. You can just go ahead and buy this 6700S model unless you really like nice animated lights. This model is price competitive with the premium sphere, unlike the animated light model: the closest Razer Blade 14 would cost $2,599.99 ($950 more, but with a higher refresh rate screen) and a comparable Alienware X14 (with a lower refresh rate-screen resolution) would be $1,949. And, it far outpaces larger competitors: the Blade 15 Advanced with an RTX 3070 Ti is currently priced at $2,999.99 ($950 more), as is the RTX 3070 Ti Blade 15 Base (with lower resolution) .

And that’s not even taking into account the G14’s other advantages over much of the competition, including its lightweight chassis, premium keyboard, and (most importantly) its 16:10 display. The $1,649.99 price tag makes it much easier (and more justifiable) to appreciate the real innovations Asus has made and continues to make in this space.

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