ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) Review: Small Laptop, Big Performance

Expectations for the Zen 3 refresh of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) is fairly high since AMD’s new architecture has proven its prowess in the desktop space. This generation’s G14 comes with a top-of-the-line AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS paired with the green team’s NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060. It will certainly have an increased performance but has ASUS refined that formula to justify the new PhP 119,995 (USD 1,799 in the US) price tag?

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

CPUAMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
GPUNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
OSWindows 10 Pro
RAM16GB DDR4 3200MHz
Display14.0-inch IPS-Level, 2560 x 1440, 120Hz, 100% DCI-P3, Pantone Validated
Storage1TB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD
I/O Ports1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C (DP and USB PD), 1x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C, 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x 3.5mm Combo Jack
ConnectionDual-Band WiFi 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1
Battery4-cell 76Whr Li-Ion, USB PD Charging
AudioSmart Amp, Dolby Atmos, AI Mic Noise Cancelling, Array Microphone, 2x 0.7W Tweeters, 2x 2.5W Speakers
OthersAniMe Matrix, Backlit Chiclet Keyboard, Power Button with Fingerprint Scanner
Dimensions324 x 222 x 19.9mm
Weight1.70kg

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) Review – Unboxing

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

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The G14 (2021) comes with a rather large box that contains quite a few bundled items. Aside from the laptops and its default 180W power brick, it comes with a, ROG Sleeve, Webcam Attachment, an ROG Impact Mouse, and surprisingly, a smaller 100W USB Type-C power brick.

Design and Aesthetics

The 2021 refresh of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 sports the same design as other Zephyrus notebooks this generation – like the Zephyrus M16 – with a few alterations. Its chassis is slightly smaller at 324 x 222 x 19.9mm and weight has been reduced to just 1.70kg.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2035) Review

Its magnesium-aluminum outer shell sports the same CNC-design as other notebooks and it feels premium to the touch. Instead of the ROG logo or prismatic effects, however, the G14 has the customizable AniMe matrix lighting design. It works largely the same as before – 1,215 white mini-LEDs are nestled within the holes that can be tailored to specific lighting patterns of your liking. We’ll comeback to its customization options in a bit.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

The notebook still comes with the brand’s ErgoLift hinge that raises the angle of the notebook as the display is pushed back to steeper angles. It works well enough in practice but since the display is part of the hinge mechanism, the rear exhaust now lets hot air just below the screen. We’re not quite sure if the increased exposure to heat will damage the display but we haven’t encountered any issues thus far.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

The bottom chassis is also made out of magnesium-aluminum, which allows for a lightweight yet durable build. There’s minimal sweat and oil build up near the keyboard area while in-use that should avoid any shining in the long run.

Display

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) has a 14.0-inch 2560 x 1440 120Hz IPS display with anti-glare coating. The panel also boasts 100% DCI-P3 and is Pantone Validated. There is an increase here in resolution compared to last year’s model which came with a 1920 x 1080 IPS display.

Its display comes with very little bezels at the sides, and since it doesn’t have with a built-in webcam, the top bezel is kept at a minimum. This allows the display to naturally take more of the real-estate at the front.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

The screen fairly fast at 120Hz, but this refresh rate should be standard for high-end gaming notebooks. There’s minimal ghosting on images though we would have preferred if ASUS increased the refresh rate by a smidge.

Colors on the G14 are good and the display itself is pre-calibrated out-of-the-box. The IPS panel offers good viewing angles both horizontally and vertically with minimal color shifting. Most people should be fine with the default profile, which provided excellent numbers on our testing:

  • sRGB – 99.40%
  • Adobe RGB – 82.30%
  • DCI-P3 – 97.50%
  • Luminance (Minimum) – 15.4 cd/m2
  • Luminance (Maximum) – 326.12 cd/m2
  • Delta E (Average) – 0.11
  • Delta E (Maximum) – 2.45
  • Gamma – 2.2

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

Thankfully, the display in our review unit had minimal backlight bleed at the top and at the sides. There is a bit at the bottom but it is only noticeable at max brightness, nearly-black scenes, and without an external source of light like ceiling lights.

Keyboard and Touchpad

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) comes with a 60% keyboard with a navigation cluster at the bottom right and a few extra keys at the top-right for volume and a quick shortcut for the ROG Armoury. Keys are well-spaced from each other and offer good tactility. They are somewhat flat, however, instead of having slight concave to separate each key from one another.

The G14’s keyboard’s lighting is stuck to white available in three brightness levels, despite having an easily customizable lightshow at the back. It is a shame that RGB lighting wasn’t included in the keyboard to complete the gaming flair most people want.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

Its touchpad is a vanilla affair. Size is good and the finish of the surface is smooth enough for precise tracking. It comes with two buttons at the bottom that deliver a shallow actuation point but sufficiently tactile to let you know that a button has been clicked.

Input and Output Ports

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

The notebook has plenty of ports including a DC-In, an HDMI 2.0b port, a 3.5mm combo jack, and a USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port – that supports DisplayPort, USB PD, and G-SYNC – at the left-hand side.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

The right-hand side offers more USB ports including two USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A and another USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C.

Software

The G14 ships with ASUS’ Armoury Crate software pre-installed. The app acts as a one-stop shop for all its settings and customization. It can change performance profiles on-the-fly or link them to specific apps or games, adjust screen profiles, and monitor system temperature and clock speeds.

Armoury Crate allows for RGB synchronization for compatible peripherals. But since the G14 itself does not have any RGB lighting, the option for RGB effects is disabled.

AniMe Matrix can be customized via the app as well. There are a couple of presets available that focus on the ROG branding and gaming motif of the notebook. It can display text in several lines and fonts. Speed, intensity, and brightness of the lights can be adjusted here as well. You can also group several sets of animations in succession with varying durations.

Its AniMe Matrix also display images uploaded via the Armoury Crate. Images can be easily scaled up or down or cropped within the app. Simple images or logos would be best as lighting and resolution of the Matrix is limited.

ASUS ROG Zehpyrus G14 (2021) Review – Benchmarks

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) only has one configuration in the Philippines packing the mobile Zen 3-based AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU, 32GB of DDR4 RAM running at 3200MHz. and a 1TB PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD.

The drive comes from SK Hynix with a HFM001TD3JX013N model number. Its spec sheet put it at 3,500MB/s Sequential Reads and 3,100MB/s Sequential Writes. CrystalDiskMark with a 4GiB workload confirms the Sequential Read speeds at 3,592MB/s while actual Sequential Writes are slightly slower at 2771MB/s. Random 4KiB Q32T1 are decent as well at 406.42MB/s read and 510.02MB/s writes.

Now onto our chunk of our benchmark figures: CPU and GPU tests. The CPU will be tested with synthetic test and rendering programs while the latter will be tested with 3DMark synthetics and several games at 1080p and 1440p.

CPU Benchmarks

CPU-Z Benchmark 17.01.64

7-Zip 16.04

wPrime v2.10

Cinebench

Blender 2.82a

Numbers produced by the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS on the G14 is impressive to say the least. It manages to consistently surpass the Core i9-11900H, which of one of Intel’s flagship mobile CPUs found on the M16.

The CPU will boost to 4.0GHz on all cores from its base of 3.0GHz. Once its thermals hit the 95°c thermal limit, it will then reduce speeds on its cores to around 3.8 – 3.9GHz and remain steady on those values.

GPU Benchmarks

3DMark Fire Strike

3DMark Time Spy

Red Dead Redemption 2

Rainbow Six Siege

Far Cry New Dawn

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The Division 2

Metro Exodus

Watch Dogs: Legion

The G14’s RTX 3060 is a midrange GPU and performs as expected. It shouldn’t have any problems running games at their highest settings at 1080p though some titles may have some trouble reaching the standard 60fps unless some graphically-intensive settings are turned down or DLSS is turned on.

The notebook does start to struggle at 1440p especially in big budget games that come with top-notch graphics. Some settings would need to be turned off but competitive titles like Rainbow Six Siege will still run smoothly at this resolution.

Temperature and Battery Life

Two Arc Flow fans with 84 blades each cool the G14, both of which are squished into its 19.9mm frame. They get cool air from both sides and exhaust the at the back near the display. The CPU is coated in Liquid Metal from Thermal Grizzly to improve heat transfer from the IHS to the heatpipes.

At idle, the 5900HS rests at a comfortable 45°c on average. Playing games will raise the temperature to a peak of 78°c. Performing CPU-heavy workloads like rendering will force the CPU to its maximum of 95°c but clock speeds will only suffer 200MHz penalty from its 4.0GHz boost and will remain at a steady 94°c.

Its RTX 3060 fares better in terms of temperature. It sits at a cozy average of 42°c at idle and only shoots up to a peak of 83°c and an average of 79°c at maximum load. Clock speeds climaxes at 1650MHz and bounces at a floor of 1507MHz.

The notebook is powered by a 4-cell 76Whr Li-Ion battery. It is surprisingly power-efficient especially at light workloads reaching around 8 to 9 hours of usage. Longevity will tank down to around 50 minutes while playing Triple A games with the notebook in Performance Mode at medium brightness.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

Charging the Zehpyrus G14 using the included 180W brick charger from 0% to 100% will take around 2 hours. As mentioned, the notebook also supports 100W USB PD charging via the left USB Type-C port but wait time will be significantly longer. Fortunately, you can also use compatible power banks to top up the notebook while on-the-go.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) Review – Conclusion

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

Priced at PhP 119,995, the 2021 version of the ROG Zephyrus G14 feels like a solid contender for an extremely portable gaming machine. While it doesn’t do anything new in terms of design, the update to AMD’s Zen 3 platform and its new Ampere-based NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti delivers a good leap of performance compared to last year’s model.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

The AniMe Matrix might be viewed by some as a gimmick but we can see some people having some fun in customizing the device. It is unfortunate, however, that its keyboard is only available with white backlighting instead of RGB that we have come to expect from ROG notebooks.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021)

It seems that ASUS has also missed the opportunity to fit a more powerful GPU onto the notebook like an RTX 3070 or RTX 3080 to pair with its flagship-class Ryzen 9 5900HS. As of this time, it only comes with an RTX 3060 version – at least in the Philippines.

Regardless of its limitations and some missed opportunities, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) gives a terrific gaming experience for enthusiasts wrapped in a light and small package. It also has a great pre-calibrated display, build quality, and significant increase in performance, which is why we are giving it our seal of approval. If you have been holding out on a small and powerful notebook to take with you, the Zephyrus G14 (2021) might just be what you are looking for.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) Price and Availability

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (2021) is available in two color variants:

  • GA401QM-K2126TS – Moonlight White with AniMe Matrx
  • GA401QM-K2125TS – Eclipse Gray with AniMe Matrix

Both are priced at PhP 119,995 and come with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, an RTX 3060, 32GB of RAM at 3200MHz, and 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD. You can get the notebook via the ASUS Estore, Lazada, and Shopee, as well as participating ROG concept stores nationwide.

For other laptops to consider, check out our review of the ROG Flow X13, a 2-in-1 laptop. You can also check out the ROG Zephyrus M16 and the ROG Scar 17. For a more affordable gaming laptop, look out for the ASUS TUF Dash F15. If you prefer another brand, you can also check out our review of the MSI GE76 Raider here.

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