Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) review: A terrific laptop to experience gaming on the go

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is perhaps one of the most popular gaming laptops out there for its compact size, powerful performance and the signature ROG gaming experience. However, laptops like the G14 2021, which I tried out last year, still weren’t perfect. They lacked a webcam and performance was what you’d expect from a laptop that’s more oriented towards portability, Asus ROG tries to fix these bits in the Zephyrus G14 2022.

That said, we still have what looks the same design from last year, and the same promise of a proper gaming experience in a compact package. Does it make this a good purchase? Find out in my full review below, starting with the specifications.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 2022 specs: 14-inch QHD+ 120Hz ROG Nebula display | AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS | AMD Radeon RX 6800S | 32GB RAM + 1TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD | 720p webcam | 76WHrs battery |

design

The 2022 Zephyrus doesn’t change a lot from last year’s design. You get the same overall aesthetic and until you open the lid, it’s hard to tell them apart. However, this isn’t a bad thing because the design of the older Zephyrus was pretty good. The AniMe Matrix design is also here and there’s more refinement to the dots this year, allowing for crisper texts and images. However, I wouldn’t recommend spending the extra cash unless you really want it as this feature isn’t very useful for a lot of people.

The most useful addition here is the 720p webcam which was missing from last year’s edition. While it isn’t the best resolution you’ll find on a webcam, I’m glad the brand did incorporate one in here. There is also an IR (infrared) sensor that helps with Windows Hello’s facial unlocking, even at night, and I found myself using this method to unlock my screen the most.

The lid of the Zephyrus G14 opens all the way to 180 degrees. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

Note that the lid now also has a sharper bottom towards the hinge which may feel a little uncomfortable if you place the laptop on your lap. This isn’t an issue when it is placed on table, which is where gaming laptops usually sit.

screen

The screen on the Zephyrus 2022 is as good as it was last year and really enjoyable to watch media or play games on. The compact screen delivers crisp colors and to be honest, the 120Hz refresh rate is good enough for most people. The Zephyrus series is targeted at casual to amateur gamers (more serious, competitive gamers have the Strix series) and it does a good job at balancing the power and performance with the cost and usability elements that are useful for everyday content.

The ROG Zephyrus G14 2022 comes with the ROG Nebula display standard. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

Keyboard and trackpad

Just like the Zephyrus 2021, the laptop comes with a nice, compact keyboard. The keys are quick to press and register, and have enough travel to make this a comfortable keyboard to game and type on. There are four macro keys which you can use for pre-defined functions like controlling the volume and jumping to the Armory Crate software, and also customize to help you in-game. The RGB lighting on the keys, however, still feel muted compared to some other RGB keyboards, despite ROG making improvements with the keys to make them more visible when the keys are off; In my opinion, this is a fair tradeoff, as the key-lettering is somewhat more visible this year, on the black variant at least.

The keyboard is great for gaming and typing. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)
The large trackpad is also super-easy to use and doesn’t feel small even on this 14-inch laptop. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

The trackpad is now larger than last year, but it retains the same responsiveness and sleek look. With more area on the trackpad to play around with, I found myself actually preferring the trackpad on the laptop for everyday tasks like browsing over an external mouse, something I don’t do very often. That said, you will still need a mouse to enjoy competitive shooters like CS:GO and PUBG: Battlegrounds.

performance and gaming

The ROG Zephyrus did get warm during extended gameplay with heavy titles, but not uncomfortably hot. The thermals here are well-optimised considering the hardware that has been fit into the 14-inch chassis here, with less room for things like bigger/more fans. Note that when you do bump up the resolution from 1080p, the laptop does heat up significantly quicker.

When there is heat generated, it’s usually around the center of the keyboard, and while it doesn’t make the gaming experience uncomfortable, I’m also glad all the heat stays away from the important gaming keys like the WASD buttons, the left Shift, Tab and Alt buttons, etc. Overall, I’d say the Ryzen 9 chip and RX 6800S GPU make this a powerful machine, but don’t expect the same performance and heat management of higher -tier laptops like the Strix series here.

The laptop delivers the best stable and consistent performance at 1080p, although it can support higher resolutions. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

The addition of a MUX switch on the Zephyrus G14 2022 is really neat, allowing you to make the most of the GPU when gaming and get the most frames. While this does affect your power consumption, that really becomes irrelevant when you consider that the laptop stays plugged in when you’re doing some serious gaming anyway.

I tried games like FIFA 23, PUBG: Battlegrounds and Rise of the Tomb Raider on this machine and can confidently say that there were no gaming issues with the highest settings on any of these games while the laptop is plugged in. When it isn’t , the performance drops significantly like most laptops, and it isn’t surprising. Demanding titles like Rise of the Tomb Raider delivered between 100fps and 120fps at 1080p with the MUX switch set to discrete graphics and the laptop plugged in.

Battery Life and I/O

The Zephyrus G14 2022 can last from 8-10 hours on a full charge when you’re not using it for gaming. That’s pretty good for the 76WHr battery here. The included power brick is still as big as ever, but not a pain to carry around, just like the laptop itself.

The G14 has a good set of I/O ports but misses an RJ45 port. (Image Source: Chetan Nayak/ The Indian Express)

For I/O, the Zephyrus G14 comes with one HDMI 2.0 port, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port and a headphone port on the left, in addition to the power input port. The Type-C port here supports DisplayPort and power delivery as well. On the right side, we have two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports along with one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port (DisplayPort) and even a microSD card slot. I feel that’s plenty of ports for a 14-inch laptop, except for the missing RJ45 port which again, may not be a problem for everyone.

verdict

The Asus ROG G14 2022 is a solid recommendation for anyone looking to buy a compact, powerful machine that can transform into a gaming station on demand, and do it with some flair. I wouldn’t recommend G14 2021 users to upgrade to this, as there aren’t enough changes in here to justify a switch from last year’s model. However, if you were planning to buy your first gaming laptop or upgrading from a much older machine, then the new hardware, MUX switch and IR webcam addition make the ROG Zephyrus G14’s 2022 avatar better than ever.

At a starting price of Rs 1,46,900 though, the G14 isn’t exactly value-for-money for the performance alone (the exact variant we reviewed is priced at Rs 1,91,990). However, if you can spend the bucks for the quality and aesthetics of an ROG gaming laptop, this pricey affair will be worth it.

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