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Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 review

Who needs Zoom when you've got Doom?

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is easily one of the best gaming laptops on the market right now. Thanks to the latest AMD Ryzen 9 and Nvidia RTX 3070 hardware, you get desktop-replacement performance paired with fantastic battery life and a genuinely stylish design, something few gaming laptops can claim. Just don't try to do any Zoom meetings with it.

For

  • Outstanding performance
  • Incredible battery life
  • Great price

Against

  • No webcam
  • Tenkeyless keyboard

Two minute review

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is absolutely one of the best gaming laptops you can find right now thanks to its near-perfect combination of gaming performance, battery life, and design. 

It comes within a hair's breath of true desktop replacements running desktop-quality hardware while keeping the price reasonable (for a high-end gaming laptop) and packages everything in a design that isn't the same old Decepticon-inspired aesthetic that has plagued gaming hardware for the past decade or so. 

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 comes with one of the best mobile processors, the Ryzen 9 5900HS, and is paired with Nvidia's latest mobile RTX 3060, RTX 3070, and RTX 3080 GPUs, offering some of the highest framerates you can get on the go.

And we want to emphasize the "on the go" part. The battery life on the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is approaching Intel Evo-certified Ultrabook territory, which is unheard of with a high-end gaming laptop. No, you might not be able to let Lady Dimitrescu slice you to ribbons over and over for hours at a time away from an outlet, but she'll at least be able to do it a few times before your battery dies.

The ROG Zephyrus G15 sounds great as well, thanks to two top-firing speakers on either side of the keyboard, which is unfortunately tenkeyless. The ROG Zephyrus G15 also lacks a webcam, so for those looking to both work and play on their new machine, you're going to need a separate camera. Essentially, the ROG Zephyrus G15 is a pure gaming machine, none of that crossover business like the Gigabyte Aero 17.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Price and availability

Spec Sheet

Here is the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
Graphics: Nvidia RTX 3070
RAM: 16GB RAM
Screen: 15.6-inch QHD (1440p), 165Hz, 3ms, 300 nits
Storage: 1TB SSD
Ports: 2 x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (with DisplayPort 1.4, Power Delivery 3.0), 2 x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x MicroSD, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x 3.5mm combo jack, 1 x RJ45 Ethernet, 1 x Kensington lock
Connectivity:
Wifi 6, Bluetooth
Camera: None
Weight: 4.19lbs (1.9kg)
Size (W x D x H): 13.97 x 9.59 x 0.78 ins (355 x 243.5 x 19.9 mm)
Battery: 90 WHr with fast charge 

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is available now, starting at $1,499 / £1,599 / AU$2,599. All models come with the same 15.6-inch QHD (1440p), 165Hz, 3ms display. While in the US, each model features the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS, there are some midrange models in the UK that come with Ryzen 7 5800H CPUs, as does Australia's base model. 

There are other configuration differences around RAM and SSD size, with the base models featuring 16GB RAM and 512GB SSDs, with the top-end configurations bumping this to 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD.

The other major difference is the GPU, with the base models starting with the Nvidia RTX 3060 and the top-end loaded up with an RTX 3080, with the RTX 3070 falling naturally in the middle. 

The high end configurations will set you back $2,499/£2,599/AU$3,899, which is definitely reasonable given the level of hardware they are packing. The configuration we tested was just above the base model, coming in at $1,799, though it isn't specifically available in the UK or Australia at the moment.

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Design

For a pure gaming laptop,  the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is gorgeous. Not Dell XPS 13 or iMac levels of gorgeous, but in a marketplace full of gaming laptops that are trying to pass for sports cars and stealth bombers in a clamshell, the ROG Zephyrus G15 is a nice change of pace.

No one is going to mistake it for either a business laptop or a coffee shop Ultrabook, but the design stands out without being a complete rehash of an increasingly stale aesthetic. The lid features an almost grill-like inset that has a prismatic shimmer when opening the lid, which is a nice touch without being garish. There is also a silver strip around the base of the lid that adds some flair as well.

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Underneath, two thick rubber feet lift the chassis up to allow air to flow, though the air intake areas are slightly smaller than you might see on a Gigabyte Aero 17 or similar. Unfortunately, this is also probably why the ROG Zephyrus G15 runs pretty hot, though given the hardware and the form factor, it's going to run hot under strain no matter what you do.

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of form factor, the ROG Zephyrus G15 is pretty thin as far as gaming laptops go. At just under 0.8ins. (20mm) and 4.19lbs. (1.9kg), its pretty portable and won't be the worst thing in the world to carry with you in a backpack. And while it does have a big ol' power brick for a charger, you could get by with just a USB Type-C, so this is definitely a gaming laptop that you could actually take with you out of the house and still play the best PC games without too much of an issue.

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Asus upgraded the audio on this year's ROG Zephyrus G15, with a total of six Dolby Atmos-powered speakers for improved sound quality while gaming. This includes a pair of woofers in the palm rests and top-firing tweeters that sound great for a laptop.

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

The keyboard isn't a full-sized deck with a numpad, unfortunately, but given the option between the top-firing speakers taking up the sides of the keyboard or squeezing in a tenkey on a gaming laptop, we'll take the speakers every time. The keys are comfortable and have good travel, while the trackpad is also very responsive. Chances are, though, that you'll want to use a portable gaming mouse or a controller for actually playing games anyway. 

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Fortunately, there are plenty of ports to plug them into, including two USB Type-C and two USB Type-A inputs. There's also an Ethernet RJ45 port to get the best connection possible and HDMI 2.0b output for external monitor support.

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

The vents for the laptop are predominantly along the top and with one each on either side to help bleed some of the heat off your lap from all that ray traced Lady Dimitrescu. 

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Performance

Benchmarks

Here is how the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
GeekBench 5: 1,377 (single-core); 7,144 (multi-core) CineBenchR23: 11,506
PCMark10 Home: 7,162
3DMark Night Raid: 43,645; Firestrike: 21,211; Time Spy: 9,333
Total War: Three Kingdoms (1080p): 164 fps (Low); 65 fps (Ultra)
Metro: Exodus (1080p): 125 fps (Low); 73 fps (Ultra)
Battery Life (PCMark10 test): 8 hours 56 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 8 hours 22 minutes

Between the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS and the RTX 3070, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 just crushes it in our benchmarks for both graphics and CPU performance.

Compared to its more affordable cousin, the Asus TUF Dash F15, the ROG Zephyrus G15 puts out a much greater level of performance for not a whole lot more money. The TUF Dash F15 sells for about $1,449 (about £1,060, AU$1,890), compared to $1,799 for the ROG Zephyrus G15. They both run an RTX 3070 GPU, with the TUF Dash F15 powered by an Intel Core i7-11375H to the ROG Zephyrus G15's Ryzen 9.

In 3DMark, which pushes the laptop GPU to the limit, the TUF Dash F15 scores 30,505 on Night Raid, 17,025 on Firestrike, and 7,546 on Time Spy. The ROG Zephyrus G15? 43,645, 21,211, and 9,333, respectively. A lot can be said for different drivers and settings, but this is still far and away the best performance we've seen from the mobile RTX 3070 yet.

Against the Gigabyte Aorus 17G, running an RTX 3070 with Max-Q, the ROG Zephyrus G15 came out ahead by a couple hundred points on all three 3DMark tests (43,645 to 42,646; 21,211 to 20,024; and 9,333 to 9,078, respectively).

The Ryzen 9 5900HS also puts up very respectable CPU performance scores, beating out some higher end gaming laptops running Core i7 processors that cost more money. It's a harder comparison to do apples-to-apples, but at least in the US, even the base model comes with the Ryzen 9 5900HS and is very well priced.

In our Total War: Three Kingdoms benchmark, the ROG Zephyrus G15 pushes out 164 fps on low and 65 fps on ultra. In Metro Exodus, it scores an average of 125 fps on low, 61 fps on ultra without ray tracing, and 52 fps on ultra with ray tracing turned on. This is only just a few fps behind the Gigabyte Aero 17 running an RTX 3080.

In Dirt 5 on ultra low settings without ray tracing, the ROG Zephyrus G15 hit 125 fps on average, 73 fps on average with ultra settings and no ray tracing, and 61 fps with ultra settings and ray tracing turned on. 

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Battery life

In our PCMark10 Battery test, the ROG Zephyrus G15 lasts for eight hours 56 minutes, while it lasted eight hours 22 minutes in our HD movie test. Granted, with a 90 WHr battery, we would expect the laptop to last for a while, but these scores are honestly Ultrabook-level battery life, which we aren't used to seeing in a gaming laptop.

The exception is the Asus TUF Dash F15, which lasts eight hours 43 minutes in PCMark10's Battery test and nine hours 43 minutes in our HD movie test (which is simply shocking). 

Meanwhile, the Gigabyte Aorus 17G lasts just over 6 hours in the PCMark10 Battery benchmark and 6 hours and 23 minutes in our HD movie test. For the Aero 17, we're looking at 6 hours 7 minutes for the PCMark10 Battery test and just 3 hours 39 minutes for our HD movie test.

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Webcam and microphone

And this is where we hit a potentially deal breaking snag with an otherwise phenomenal gaming laptop. The microphone is fantastic, with different sound profiles like omnidirectional and cartoid for streaming, recording a lecture, or in-game chat.

What it doesn't have is a webcam. This is purely a gaming laptop and isn't meant to be a work device, but especially for creatives or software developers, that line is getting really blurry, and a lot of professionals in these industries like to have the best of both worlds in one machine. You can still do that with the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15, you'll just need to pick up one of the best webcams if you want to do any video conferencing or Twitch streaming.

Software and features

Unfortunately, without a built-in webcam, there's no chance to use something like Windows Hello out of the box, but the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 does have fingerprint log-in built into the power button.

It also doesn't have a whole lot of bloatware, with McAfee being the only real offender - and a removable one, at that. The only other major software feature of note is the ROG Armoury Crate, which lets you control various performance settings for the hardware as well as the RGB lighting for the keyboard.

Asus Zephyrus G15

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You want a high performance gaming laptop
This is one of the most powerful gaming laptops going right now, without a doubt.

You want a great value
While the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 isn't a budget laptop by any means, it's performance for the price is phenomenal.

You want to actually be mobile with your gaming laptop
The excellent battery life on the ROG Zephyrus G15 means that you can actually, truly game on the go, rather than game wherever there's an outlet handy.

Don't buy it if...

You need a webcam
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 doesn't have a built in webcam, so if you need to do Zoom classes for school, you'll have to buy it separately. 

You want a budget gaming laptop
While the price of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is phenomenal given its hardware, that hardware still isn't cheap, and neither is this laptop.

John Loeffler

John (He / Him / His) is a writer, programmer, gamer, activist, metal head, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. When not multi-boxing Linux installs for his computer science graduate program, you can find him online at all hours of the night retweeting cute animal photos or gaming. Find him online on Twitter at @thisdotjohn


Currently playing: Valheim, Elite Dangerous Odyssey,  Mass Effect Legendary Edition