Hands on: Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) review

AMD Ryzen 6000 is finally here

What is a hands on review?
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 on a coffee table
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is an absolutely lovely laptop. It's thin and light while still having enough computing power to easily run all your favorite games. Asus even included a webcam this time around. It's the complete package, but we can't help but yearn for a version with an Intel Alder Lake processor instead.

Pros

  • +

    Absolutely gorgeous

  • +

    Easy to carry

  • +

    Wonderful keyboard

  • +

    Has a webcam this time!

Cons

  • -

    Lackluster CPU performance

  • -

    Kind of expensive

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When the Asus Zephyrus G14 first showed up on our door back in early 2020, we were blown away by the fantastic balance between performance and battery life, while staying in a gorgeous build that was easy to carry around. 

Basically, it checked all of our boxes. But the best gaming laptops have come a long way in the last couple years, and Asus is hoping that AMD's latest Ryzen 6000 chips are enough to keep this laptop at the top of the pile. 

We got our review sample in a bit late due to shipping delays, so we haven't done our full gamut of tests on this little gaming laptop yet, but anyone that's familiar with the older model will immediately recognize it. The gorgeous white colorway is back, as is the LED Dot Matrix on the lid that you can customize with effects. It's not RGB, but it is enough to make it an eye-popping product. 

Unlike the last version, this is an all-AMD affair. Where the 2020 model came with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060, this comes with the new AMD Radeon RX 6800S. This is a low-power version of the GPU, which allows it to fit in this low-profile chassis, and should also extend battery life – that remains to be seen in our testing. 

This is also an expensive device. The model we have in for review will run you $2,499 in the US. That's middle-of-the-road for a mid-high-end gaming laptop. However at that price, it's bumping right against the Razer Blade 14 and the Alienware X14 – and Asus is going to need to prove it has the performance chops to hang out there. 

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 on a coffee table

(Image credit: Future)

Price and availability

The Asus Zephyrus G14 will be available starting February 18 in the US. We don't have a starting price for the laptop, and we'll update this article as soon as we find one. However, if you want the configuration listed to the right, that will run you $2,499 in the US. 

It's a pretty solid price point for this laptop, and it's a bit more expensive than the Alienware X14. However, the AMD Radeon RX 6800S GPU is a bit more powerful than the RTX 3060 in the Alienware portable. 

This laptop doesn't reach the same heights as something would with a full-fat Radeon RX 6800M, but you're essentially getting the performance you're paying for with the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. 

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 on a coffee table

(Image credit: Future)

Design

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is absolutely stunning. The white color way, coupled with the more traditional gaming laptop shape is a sight to behold. This is a gaming laptop that absolutely looks like a gaming laptop, but has a grace that's actually kind of rare – though is becoming a bit more common these days. 

It's also extremely light and portable for a gaming laptop. It weighs in at just 3.86 lb, and is just 0.77 inches thick. This makes it extremely easy to slide into any backpack and take with you on the go. And unlike the Alienware X14, which makes up for its even thinner design by moving some of its ventilation to the back, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 has a more traditional design – which makes it easier to fit into smaller bags. 

The smaller size also doesn't mean that the Zephyrus G14 compromises on ports, either. On the right side of the laptop, you get two USB-A ports, one USB-C, and a microSD card reader. Over on the left, you have the dedicated charging port, an HDMI port, another USB-C port and the combo 3.5mm audio jack. 

In front of the ports on either side of the laptop, you have vents, which serve as exhaust. Under load, it does spit out some pretty hot air, but it didn't get unbearably hot in the testing we've done so far – though we're far from done on that front. 

Unfortunately, the keyboard deck does get a little hot under load, but the keys themselves seem fine. It's mostly just the area above the keyboard, where you're going to find the dedicated audio controls and the ROG Armoury launcher button. 

The keyboard itself is exceptionally comfortable to type on. Travel is nice and deep and even though this is a small laptop, the keys are spaced well, and we're not accidentally hitting buttons. The keyboard also has a backlight, though unlike many gaming laptops these days, it's just white LEDs – no RGB lighting here. 

That might sound disappointing, but it actually fits this laptop very well, especially when you consider the Dot Matrix on the back. 

On the back of the laptop, there are a bunch of little holes, and each one is lit up with a white LED. You can customize the pattern for the back of the laptop with images, and you can even use a gif to have an animated effect on the lid. It definitely makes the laptop stand out. We would love to see this but with RGB lighting, though we understand it would be difficult to pull off. 

The display is also gorgeous, though we haven't spent much time playing games or watching media on it quite yet. It's a 14-inch 1600p display, which means it's incredibly sharp. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes it excellent for gaming, which is good because it is, you know, a gaming laptop

Speakers are mounted on the bottom of the laptop, which is one of our pet peeves, but we really haven't had a chance to test them out quite yet. We'll check it out in our full testing suite, but we don't exactly have our hopes up. 

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 on a coffee table

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

At the time of writing we've only had time to run a few benchmarks on the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, but what we've seen so far has been, well, interesting. 

In raw CPU benchmarks, and especially in multi-core workloads, the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS falls quite a bit short of the Intel Core i7-12700H in the Alienware X14. Now, that's not completely fair, due to the 6900HS being a cut-down version of the 6900HX designed for portability. However, the Alienware X14 is even thinner and lighter, so in reality, they're directly comparable. 

We haven't had a chance to test the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 in any actual games quite yet, but we have had a chance to run 3DMark. In Time Spy, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 gets a score of 8,720 points, which is just about 100 points short of the Razer Blade 15 – which is equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

If the laptop can deliver gaming performance on par with the Blade, that would be impressive, given that the Zephyrus is just so much lighter. But, we'll just have to wait and see on that front. 

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 on a coffee table

(Image credit: Future)

Early verdict

The Asus Zephyrus G14, just like the 2020 version, is an absolute stunner of a gaming laptop. Its a wonder to look at, and it's light enough that you'll toss it in your bag and forget it's even there. It's the kind of gaming laptop that you'll be able to work into your daily life without having to worry about any added back pain or judgement from people at the coffee shop. 

However, with how good Intel Alder Lake-based laptops are right now, the performance on offer does leave a bit to be desired – at least when it comes to raw CPU performance. We will be continuing our testing suite from here, and we can't wait to see where this laptop ultimately lands.

Jackie Thomas is Deputy Editor at Decisionary. Previously, she was TechRadar's US computing editor. She is fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but she just happens to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop her a line on Twitter or through email.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.