From halcyon days playing Sonic 2 on the Megadrive, to trying to work out how to make the 'TOASTY!' man appear on Mortal Kombat 3, many of Aaron’s fondest childhood memories are associated with gaming. He regrets nothing. First getting into PC gaming through exposure to Drug Lord 2.0 and then the original Half Life, he has been a fiend ever since. If you need to know anything about gaming laptops, he's your guy.
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The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 2022 edition with AMD’s Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU is a much-anticipated return for one of the most popular 14-inch laptops in the game. This portable gaming laptop brings with it some major changes since the last version, in terms of its display (now 2560 x 1600 with improved response time), core components (the new AMD 6000 series CPU, plus the latest AMD mobile graphics), and additional features (finally a webcam!) and comes in two main variants with different GPUs: the AMD Radeon RX 6700S and RX 6800S. The latter is the one we got hold of from ASUS (though hopefully, we’ll also get hold of the 6700S version at some point) and we’ll be putting it through its paces to see how it measures up against the competition. Read on to find out if it’s worth your hard-earned cash.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022)
Specifications & upgradability
The bottom of the laptop is secured with 11 Philips head screws which can be removed fairly easily (be aware some of the central ones have rubber covers). Once you’ve unscrewed these and lifted off the casing, you will see the top section covered by the ‘vapor chamber ROG Intelligent cooling’ system, underneath which lies the CPU and GPU. In addition to the vapor chamber, both CPU and GPU come with liquid metal cooling, all of which means both the CPU and GPU can run at higher power limits. On the center-right, above the battery, lies the one upgradable RAM slot, and to the left of this is the PCIe Gen 4.0 M.2 storage slot (beneath which lies the Wi-Fi 6E card).
As with many ASUS Zephyrus laptops, the G14 comes with half its RAM soldered onto the motherboard, with the other half being in an upgradable DIMM slot. If you’re planning on keeping this laptop for a good number of years before upgrading again, we’d advise making sure you get one of the 32GB RAM options as this will have 16GB hard soldered on-board, plus a slot with an additional, removable 16GB RAM stick. If you opt for the 16GB version you’ll essentially be capped to a ceiling of 16GB dual-channel memory as you won’t be able to remove the 8GB soldered on-board, meaning if you want to upgrade it with a 16GB stick you’d end up with 24GB of uneven non-dual channel memory and cause instability in games. Whilst annoying, this is at least an improvement over the Razer Blade 14 for instance, which is capped at 16GB of soldered RAM with no upgrade slot, as with many laptops of this size.
The RAM that comes with this all-AMD machine is DDR5-4800MHz. CPU options are limited to the powerful AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS Mobile, and you get two dedicated GPU options: either the Radeon RX 6700S or the more powerful RX 6800S, which is the model we have to review. The iGPU (integrated graphics) attached to the processor (which can be fully bypassed using the MUX Switch) is the Radeon 680M.
Like other 14-inch laptops, the G14 lacks an ethernet port, which is an inconvenience for online gaming, but this can be resolved with an ethernet to USB adapter, though your effective connection will cap out at a maximum of 1000 Gbps.
AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS (8C/16T)
AMD Radeon RX 6700S / 6800S (75-105W)
Max Refresh Rate
2560 x 1600
3.7lb / 1.68kg
2x USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2), 2x USB-A 3.2 (Gen 2), UHS-II MicroSD card slot, 3.5mm audio combo jack, HDMI 2.0b
- MUX Switch
- great gaming performance for a smaller laptop
- great response time
- 16:10 screen gives more vertical space
- great color replication
- superb peak brightness
- decent keyboard and great trackpad
- superb battery life
- good array of ports, including MicroSD slot
- decent speakers
- light and portable
- looks great
- refresh rate capped at 120Hz
- keyboard build quality and backlighting could be improved
- difficult to navigate onboard software
- no ethernet caps your internet to 1Gpbs
Whilst ASUS get a lot right, in our experience their in-house software, known as Armoury Crate, is pretty dire, at least from an ease of use point of view. Functionality-wise you get a lot of options to customize your fan speed, the voltage allowance for the CPU and GPU, and setting up keyboard macros, including making your own custom profiles for each game you play. You also get a MUX Switch and various options for saving battery life, which we will go into later. You can customize your keyboard RGB (limited as this is), customize and control the AniMe matrix display on the reverse of your laptop lid (more on this below), and monitor the output and temperature of your components.
It’s just a shame that the whole thing is so needlessly cluttered with pointless visuals (ADHD users RIP) and is such a pain to navigate.
Design aesthetics & RGB
The G14 comes in two color variants: Eclipse Grey and Moonlight White (the version we were sent), and we’re fans of the white finish especially, though how it holds up to dirt and staining over time remains to be seen. Overall we think this is a nice-looking laptop, with the details like the diagonal air exhausts, metallic strip across the back of the lid, and purple metallic ‘Republic of Gamers Est 2006’ logo strip making things look a bit more interesting without being over the top. A good balance between ‘gamer’ aesthetic and a general-use laptop.
You also have the option for the AniMe matrix display across the top of the lid (which we had in our version), which was present in the previous year’s model, but has now been improved. This is essentially a series of perforated dots that contain LED lights, capable of showing an animated light show that you can program from within the laptop’s internal software – now with more lights and dots than before! There are a selection of pre-existing animations you can select from under the Devices menu within Armoury Crate, or you can upload your own images which the software will convert into a pixelated light format (which will meet with mixed levels of success depending on the image). Time delay and speed can be set for each, and multiple animations can be combined.
Besides the lighting on the lid, the only RGB comes in the way of the keyboard backlighting, which is disappointingly dim. Whilst we’re not really fussed about RGB here at WePC, backlighting offers a practical function, enabling you to see the keys better in darker environments, so we would have liked better here from ASUS.
Size, build quality & ergonomics
The dimensions of the base ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 are as follows:
Height: 1.85cm / 0.73″, Width: 31.2cm / 12.28″, Depth: 22.7cm / 8.94″
Note: the version of the laptop with the AniMe matrix display is slightly thicker than the above, that is to say the height is 0.10cm / 0.04” greater on the version with the lighting.
Looking at the weight now:
Laptop: 1.7kg / 3.8lb, power brick & cable: 0.7kg / 1.6lb, combined weight 2.4kg / 5.4lb
This is slightly lighter than the 2021 version of the Razer Blade 14, which came in at 1.78kg / 3.92lb without its charger. Overall this is a highly portable machine, and we found it very easy to carry around in a small rucksack or laptop bag.
In terms of the build quality, the Zephyrus G14 feels decent, though not up there with the all-aluminum build of the Razer Blade 14. The majority of the chassis is made from plastic, with the back of the lid and a portion of the underside being made from aluminum. The build feels sturdy on the whole though, including around key areas such as the hinges, which action nice and smoothly when opening and closing the lid. The one area we thought detracted from the quality feel of the rest of the laptop was the keys of the keyboard, which we felt were a little bit too loose around the edges with a little bit too much wobble.
There are rubber strips/feet along the bottom of the laptop which help to keep it anchored on the desk, though when you open the lid this raises the back ones off the ground, so this only becomes semi-effective.
In a design that we’re seeing across most of the Zephyrus line, opening the screen causes the rear of the laptop to lift off the ground by approximately 1cm at full extension as the bottom of the screen essentially props it up. This improves the typing angle slightly and also the airflow for the intakes on the bottom of the laptop and is a design that has been shown to improve internal cooling and reduce thermal throttling in other machines. The one area of potential concern would be how the structural integrity of this design fairs over time, specifically how the hinges cope with the strain of supporting the weight of the laptop, rather than just the lid.
Keyboard & trackpad
The membrane keyboard of the Zephyrus G14 is pleasant to type and game on, though as mentioned, lacks the quality of the rest of the laptop: the keys felt a little bit too loose and wobbly in their moorings around the edges. If you’re used to the stiffer keyboard design of MacBooks then the keypresses could feel a bit too soft and mushy, but they are still responsive, plus the actuation force is light, meaning you won’t suffer from fatigue over time when typing or gaming. Travel distance is about standard for a laptop membrane keyboard.
The glass trackpad for the 2022 G14 is particularly large (which we like) and feels very nice and responsive. It is of an all-in-one design with no separate buttons, and appears well made and we have absolutely no complaints with it.
Webcam & inbuilt microphone
One of the criticisms of the previous year’s G14 was the lack of webcam, but ASUS has taken these onboard and included one this year, which is great to see as it substantially adds to the utility of the machine as a general-use laptop outside of gaming. The webcam has a 720p resolution and is of middling quality, and the same can also be said of the microphone which also has a noise reduction feature that can be turned on.
Ports, sockets, and other features
The selection of ports for the G14 is great for a smaller-sized laptop, and includes two USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, a 3.5mm combi audio jack, and a UHS-II MicroSD card reader, which is a new addition to this year’s model, and again it’s good to see that ASUS are paying attention to the critiques of the earlier version. Such an I/O really supports the utility of the G14 for those looking for a portable workstation machine as well as a gaming laptop.
As this is an all AMD machine you don’t get Thunderbolt support, but ASUS has promised the machine will get USB 4.0 support in a future update. The left USB-C can be used to charge the laptop enough for general usage (i.e. not gaming) and also has DisplayPort support, though be aware it connects to the iGPU so cannot be used to bypass Optimus/MSHybrid Mode with an external monitor. You do get a HDMI 2.0b socket though which connects directly to the 6800S dGPU, so can be used for this purpose.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 comes with a 2560 x 1600 resolution display, which is 16:10 in aspect ratio terms. This gives you more vertical headroom on your screen and makes looking at documents, browsing web articles, or any creative graphic design that bit easier and is a welcome additional bit of screen for a diminutive 14” display. The high resolution, despite just looking better, also improves the utility of the machine if you’re looking to do any video, graphical or photo editing workflows.
The maximum refresh rate of the screen is 120Hz, which, whilst perfectly fine for gaming on, is lower than what we’d have liked to have seen. The Razer Blade 14 for example manages 165Hz on its 1440p screen. People who wish to get every frame they can out of their games for fast-paced competitive online play should look elsewhere rather than be capped at an effective 120 FPS.
The display does have FreeSync covering the 48Hz-120Hz range however, which is what you want. Most impressive is also the very fast (real) average response time of 5ms grey-to-grey that we recorded, which essentially means you will not see any ghosting at all on a screen with this refresh rate. This is the best response time we’ve seen on a 14-inch laptop so far.
ASUS Zephyrus G14 color gamut
ASUS claimed that the G14 color gamut of this display covers 100% of the DCI-P3 space, and therefore 100% sRGB by extension. Though the results of our test were impressive they weren’t quite that good.
We recorded 99.9% sRGB coverage (effectively 100% for all intents and purposes) and 97.3% DCI-P3, which is still very good. Adobe RGB coverage was 88.8%. Effectively this means you can use the laptop for colorwork in the sRGB space and could probably get away with it in the DCI-P3 space as well, assuming the accuracy results (below) meet the requirements. For gaming the color replication is more than enough.
ASUS Zephyrus G14 color accuracy out of the box
Prior to calibrating the display, the color accuracy of the G14 out of the box showed an average delta of 2.94, which is more than ideal and above the 2.5 threshold that marks a respectable level of variance. White point was superb at 6536K, very close to the ideal 6500K result, and gamma was equally good at 2.13. Black depth was decent at 0.1138 cd/m² as far as gaming laptops with IPS panels go (though those used to VA panel monitors may be disappointed), though the contrast ratio was a touch low at 961.8:1, but still serviceable. In summary, a great result for gamma and white point, with a decent black point and a slightly lower than ideal contrast ratio and delta variance.
ASUS Zephyrus G14 color accuracy following calibration
Calibration saw very little change to the results, which suggests that these laptops likely come with some pre-release calibration. Gamma saw the biggest improvement, hitting square on the ideal value of 2.2. Unfortunately, there was only a very slight reduction in the average Delta to 2.86, which is still above the 2.5 result that we deem acceptable. This means it’s possible to see the variance with the naked eye. However, more in-depth calibration could improve this and permit you to do color accurate work in the sRGB space at least. Besides this, there was a tiny reduction in the black point (0.1126cd/m²), and an increase in contrast (1092.8:1), at the very slight expense of white (6485K).
ASUS Zephyrus G14 panel uniformity
We do a panel uniformity test on all laptops we review after their calibration, which tests for both luminance and color accuracy. We start on the centremost point as a reference and then test all the other sections of the screen (25 in total) to see how they compare.
Generally, any average color variation under 1.00 is good and shows up as green in the image above, though the average consumer won’t be able to tell much difference below 3.00. Visual editors who work with color however may have a keener eye.
The results we got on the ASUS Zephyrus G14 were decent but still showed a degree of variation in the one bottom left segment (marked red in the image above), which showed 4.52 cd/m² of average variation – noticeable to even the untrained eye.
If It wasn’t for this one problem area we’d have said the overall result would have been decent, but this level of variance impacts the ability to use this laptop for any color grading or other color-related workflows where accuracy is key (at least on this portion of the screen), regardless of the good results with the color gamut in our earlier test. You may get lucky and get a slightly better display than we did, but equally it could be worse, ultimately we can only review the one we’ve tested. If you’re only after a laptop you can game on then this isn’t really a negative for you – the display will work just fine, though it’s disappointing for those looking for a color-accurate dual-use machine.
We finished off our color accuracy testing by running a luminance test. On the unit we tested, we got a peak brightness of 505.51 cd/m² and a minimum of 25.0 cd/m² which hits the 500 nits of maximum brightness claimed by ASUS and is a very impressive range of brightness. When using the laptop indoors during the daytime we’d recommend matching the brightness to 120 cd/m² which equates to a brightness setting of 31% under the brightness controls for this laptop.
ASUS are one of the few gaming laptop brands that tend to have respectable speakers on their models, and both the volume and the general audio quality on those of the G14 is well above average (though not up there with the likes of the best non-gaming models like the MacBook). There are speakers located just under the screen as well as the usual underneath arrangement, so the sound won’t be dampened by whatever surface you rest the laptop on. There’s a richness to the sound quality, the upper and middle frequencies are well represented, and there is a degree of bass by comparison to most gaming laptops.
Unfortunately, the lower bass frequencies are still pretty absent, so if you’re playing any songs with a lot of sub-bass tones, you’re unlikely to hear them. Similarly, a lot of the low rumbling quality of sound effects in games (explosions and the like) are missing. Still, the speakers are good enough to enjoy Netflix etc. if you aren’t too precious about this sort of thing.
There are a lot of different options within the Armoury Crate software to extend the battery life of the G14. These include Panel Power Saver which automatically switches the display to 60Hz when the laptop is unplugged, as well as a MUX Switch which enables you to disable MSHybrid Mode (i.e. Optimus) and an Eco mode setting that fully disables the dedicated/discrete GPU (dGPU).
With all these settings enabled and the performance mode set to Silent for maximum power efficiency, we conducted our usual battery test: 2 hours of YouTube followed by the remaining time idling with Google Chrome open, at 50% brightness and with background applications switched off.
In this test we got 10 hours, which is very impressive for a gaming laptop of this power, and well above average, though not quite the earth-shattering result some had prophesied from the Ryzen 6000 series CPUs.
Performance, noise & temperature
Set to Silent mode within the Armoury Crate software, the laptop was indeed near enough silent: perfect if you’re using the machine to type documents or web browse in an office or on the move.
Performance mode made the fans fairly audible after gaming for anything longer than 20 minutes as the fan speed ramped up to meet the rising temperature, though nothing above average for a gaming laptop.
Switching the fan speed profile to maximum in Manual mode, along with the power to the core components, the fans were very loud as you’d expect. This is the mode we’d recommend when gaming at home (with headphones) if you are planning on cranking up the CPU and GPU power to the max, to ensure the longevity of your internal components. If you want a quieter time – make sure you turn down the Platform sPPT voltage slider first.
If you set the laptop to Silent mode, where the fan speeds are at their lowest, we did notice the keyboard get warm after protracted general use, web browsing and the like, though not uncomfortably so. Under Performance mode, this was much less noticeable and some cooling airflow could be felt coming through the gaps between the keys. When set to the high fan settings under Manual mode, the keyboard remained quite cool.
When gaming, the Silent and Performance settings did cause the keyboard to get noticeably warm after protracted use, though when the fans were turned higher under Manual this became manageable. The sides of the laptop, where the heat exhausts are located, did get very warm however, though this is typical for a gaming laptop of this power (the heat has to go somewhere).
The temperature results above were all recorded during our tests for each game, covering all resolutions and graphical settings. For each test, we’d set the fan speed profile and Platform sPPT to maximum using our own custom profile within Manual mode in the Armoury Crate software.
The results are more or less what you’d expect for a gaming laptop of these specs and size operating at full power, though you should probably expect some degradation in performance over time if performance is maintained to this level. We’d advise tweaking down the Platform sPPT down a bit when you don’t need to squeeze out every FPS possible, and keep the fans powered up as high as you can bear when gaming to improve your laptop’s lifespan.
ASUS Zephyrus G14 benchmarks
We tested the ASUS Zephyrus G14 2022 with RX 6800S in both its native 1600p resolution and at 1080p across a range of titles on different graphical presets.
In the interest of efficiency, we will only be showing the results with MSHybrid Mode (i.e. Optimus) turned off with the MUX Switch, as this is how we recommend everyone has it set when playing games anyway. You can read one of our previous reviews of the XMG Neo 15 2021 to get a better visual idea of the significant uplift the MUX Switch has across different games, but it can be as high as 50% in some titles.
The below benchmarks were all tested using a Manual fan speed profile with the fans set to maximum and also Platform sPPT voltage cranked to the max too. Ensure you do not set the sPPT slider to the maximum without also turning up the fans to compensate, as you may fry your components. Compared to Performance mode (the middle option) this noticeably boosted FPS by varying amounts in each game. Quiet mode is not recommended for a competitive gaming session, as this will impact your FPS substantially.
ASUS Zephyrus G14 gaming performance: the takeaway
Overall we were very impressed with the gaming performance of the ASUS Zephyrus G14 for such a small machine. The new AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU does a lot of heavy lifting on more CPU intensive games such as CS:GO and Assassin’s: Creed Valhalla (expect similar in games like Microsoft Flight Sim), to the point where performance beats larger Nvidia RTX 3070 laptops from 2021 (which are typically a couple of hundred dollars more expensive), even competing with the recent XMG Neo 15 E22 equipped with RTX 3070 Ti and Intel Core i7-12700H in these two titles and for significantly less money.
On your less CPU-focused titles the story was more what you’d expect, with lower-powered, smaller RTX 3070 equipped laptops like the Razer Blade 14 performing around 5% better on average (more on this below), and more powerful RTX 3070 machines showing an uplift of anywhere between 5% and 20% depending on the game and the laptop. When Ray-Tracing, higher graphical settings, and higher display resolutions are implemented, then the comparable outperformance of Nvidia laptops becomes more apparent. The particularly high-powered RTX 3070 XMG Neo 15 for instance (which actually performs as well as many mid-powered RTX 3080 laptops), showed about the same performance in Doom Eternal at 1080p on the lowest graphical settings with Ray-Tracing off, but a 57% increase on the QHD native resolution, on the higher settings with Ray-Tracing on.
Still, the XMG Neo 15 and most other RTX 3070 15-inch laptops released in 2021 are several hundred dollars more expensive than the Zephyrus G14, and don’t have to suffer the same constraints imposed by the small size. Cheaper RTX 3060 laptops just can’t compete with the 6800S of the G14 overall.
Gaming at the 1600p native resolution on the highest settings was actually pretty feasible in some titles like Far Cry 6 (with FSR switched on) and Doom Eternal (with RTX off), if you don’t mind averaging at below 100FPS.
ASUS Zephyrus G14 Vs Razer Blade 14
At the time of writing, third party tests of the 2020 series of the Razer Blade 14 with Ryzen 6000 series CPUs have not been made available, specifically the RTX 3060 model which prices for $100 more than the G14, but we can compare the ASUS laptop against the existing RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 models with Ryzen 9 5900HX CPU.
Comparing gaming results to the Razer Blade 14 with RTX 3080 and Ryzen 9 5900HX you get variable results depending on the game and what sort of hardware it favors. Certain games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Microsoft Flight Sim (not visible above) favor the ASUS machine by 5% FPS or more, as the first tends to work best with AMD GPU tech and the latter is a CPU-focused game, so the later AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS pulls its weight. On titles like Doom Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077, and Control you can expect 15-25% uplift in favor of the Razer Blade 14 however, given these are all GPU-focused games, particularly if you increase the resolution above 1080p. Doom Eternal and other Ray Tracing titles will also benefit from the dedicated RX cores of the Nvidia graphics card if you want to turn this feature on. All this will cost you an additional $900 at MSRP however, which is simply not worth it in our opinion just looking at the gaming performance. The RTX 3070 version of the Razer Blade 14 costs an additional $300 MSRP at the time of writing compared to the ASUS G14 2022, however, expect further underperformance in those CPU-heavy titles and a smaller lead for the GPU ones.
With the all-aluminum chassis Razer laptops you do get superior build quality (though with sharp edges near the trackpad), a 165Hz refresh rate display with somewhat better color replication and contrast, and superior Ray-Tracing support, but on the downside, you do not get the taller 16:10 display of the 2022 ASUS Zephyrus G14 nor do you get a MicroSD card reader; you also get a slower 9ms grey-to-grey response time, worse brightness, and notably inferior speakers compared to the ASUS model.
Everything considered, both the RTX 3080 & 3070 Razer Blade 14 are overpriced compared to the ASUS Zephyrus G14 2022 in raw FPS terms, though they do have the edge in certain other areas. It remains to be seen how the 2022 versions of the Razer Blade 14 will measure up, particularly with their inclusion of the MUX Switch feature.
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is the best performance per $ 14-inch gaming laptop released in 2022 so far, with the overall title still going to the previous RTX 3060 equipped version. The RX 6800S version we tested performs about as well as last year’s Razer Blade 14 equipped with RTX 3070 in FPS terms on average in most titles (The Blade 14 having the edge in those that are more GPU focused, but the G14 winning in the more CPU-leaning ones), though is available for substantially less money. Although we didn’t get chance to test the RX 6700S equipped version, which is available for a couple of hundred dollars cheaper still, we’d be interested to see how this fares against RTX 3060 machines.
The keyboard of the G14 may be a bit cheap and plasticky looking for our tastes (though it is still nice to type on), and lacking in backlighting, but the build quality as a whole on the plastic and metal chassis is decent, though not up there with the Razer Blade 14. We would also like to have seen a higher refresh rate on the display that the 120Hz, which may be a bit of a turn-off for those interested in competitive gaming, and in this area the 165Hz Blade 14 again has the edge.
Besides this though there’s little to complain about in this laptop, and a lot to be impressed by. The Zephyrus G14 looks great, is light and portable, and the extra vertical screen space afforded by the 16:10 screen makes it ideal for web browsing/working/reading on the move. The screen’s 5ms response time (with Overdrive enabled) is the best you will find in a laptop of this size, and effectively removes all ghosting at this refresh rate. The high-resolution 1600p display looks superb, is nice and bright, and its color gamut covers 100% of the sRGB space – slightly better than the Razer Blade’s even – combine this with the powerful AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU and it’s a great choice for creatives. The addition of the 720p webcam and MicroSD card reader in the 2022 model is a welcome update from ASUS and it’s good to see a brand that listens to its consumers.
Couple this with an excellent 10 hour battery life, well above average speakers (for a gaming laptop), and a good array of ports, and the ASUS Zephyrus G14 is an excellent portable gaming laptop. If you want a more stripped-down, budget-friendly experience, then the previous version Zephyrus G14 is also now available for more than $400 cheaper.