Laptop, Review

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Alan Walker SE Review: Style & Substance With a Matching Price

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the best gaming laptops in the market now. It is compact, it looks sleek, and it offers really good performance, especially for a machine this size. Naturally, all of these apply to the unique (and even more eye-catching) Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Alan Walker Special Edition – G14 AW SE, for short.

That being said, you do have to pay a premium for this special edition G14, which affects the value proposition of the gaming laptop. But if you’re willing to drop the cash for it, you will get a very unique gaming laptop – with an equally unique packaging that transforms into a DJ deck.

What It Is

Display14-inch QHD IPS (2560 x 1440), 120Hz
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 9 5900HS (8C/16T, 3.1GHz with boost up to 4.5GHz)
GPUNvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB GDDR6 (60W TGP + 15W dynamic boost)
RAM16GB DDR4 3200MHz
Storage1TB M.2 PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD
Dimensions324 x 222 x 19.9 mm
AudioBottom-firing stereo speakers with two tweeters
Ports1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (DisplayPort, G-Sync, Power Delivery)
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1x HDMI 2.0b

As mentioned, the G14 AW SE doesn’t offer the best value for money. After all, for RM7,999, you’re only getting an RTX 3050 Ti GPU. The standard G14, on the other hand, offers a more powerful RTX 3060 GPU for RM7,699. That’s effectively RM300 less for better graphics performance, though it doesn’t have the G14 AW SE’s unique stylings.

You’re basically paying a premium for the aesthetics of this gaming laptop, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Plus, even though its value proposition isn’t particularly appealing, this machine still offers reasonably good performance – let’s get to that in the next section.

The Good Stuff

So how effectively can you game on the Zephyrus G14 Alan Walker SE? Well, pretty darn well. Though its RTX 3050 Ti isn’t the most impressive GPU in the market, it’s paired with a fast Ryzen 9 5900HS processor and 16GB of RAM. This hardware configuration lets the laptop run AAA games without much trouble. Take a look at the benchmarks below.

Games (max settings @ 1920 x 1080)Average FPS
Borderlands 3 (DX11)50.02
Control (DX11)45.804
Witcher 3 (HairWorks disabled)62.768

Although only Witcher 3 went above 60fps at maxed out graphics settings in 1080p, the G14 AW SE can still run graphically demanding games like Borderlands 3 and Control relatively well. With some tweaks to the graphics settings, you can definitely run these games at over 60fps, though not at the screen’s native 1440p resolution.

Naturally, I put the G14 AW SE’s Ryzen 9 5900HS processor through its paces too with Cinebench R20. As the table below shows, its performance is quite comparable to other Ryzen 5000 series chips in the market now in both single-core and multi-core tests. In fact, compared to its direct predecessor, it’s noticeably faster.

ProcessorSingle-core testMulti-core test
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS (Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 AW SE) 5615185
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX (Alienware m15 R5)5634891
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX (Acer Nitro 5)5615042
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (Lenovo Legion 5 Pro)5545116
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX (Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE)5665461
AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS (Asus ROG Flow X13)5724922
AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS (2020 Asus ROG Zephyrus G14)4814173
AMD Ryzen 7 4800H (Asus TUF Gaming A15)4814106
Intel Core i7-11370H (Asus TUF Dash F15)5812749
Intel Core i7-10875H (Acer Predator Triton 500)4833773

Not only does the G14 AW SE have a fast processor, its 14-inch 2560 x 1440 IPS screen is fast too with a 120Hz refresh rate. The 1440p panel looks sharp with vibrant colours as well, and the high refresh rate provides good motion clarity in fast-paced games.

Granted, this screen’s 120Hz refresh rate isn’t as fast as 144Hz or 165Hz panels found on other gaming laptops, but beyond 120Hz, it’s really not that easy to tell the difference between these refresh rates.

Another aspect of the G14 AW SE that’s worth highlighting is its incredibly long battery life. While its 76Wh battery isn’t particularly big, I managed to squeeze out between 10 to 11 hours of use on a single charge outside of gaming. To get this level of battery life, I set the power plan to battery saver with the screen dimmed to a comfortable level.

It’s because of this impressive battery life that I reckon the G14 AW SE can serve as an excellent productivity laptop. On top of that, it has an accurate glass trackpad and a comfortable keyboard to type on too. The latter is especially good with long key travel and reasonably tactile keys.

Last but definitely not least are the unique looks and packaging of the G14 AW SE. I really dig the reflective belt made of actual fabric with Alan Walker’s and ROG’s brandings on the lid of this laptop, not to mention the exclusive “Spectre Blue” lighting for the AniMe Matrix LED array.

There are also some some pretty nice accents on the mod keys of the keyboard, especially the light blue shade on the enter, right shift, and escape keys. This design choice gives the keyboard a good contrast with the alpha keys, and Alan Walker’s logo are also on the A and W keys – it’s a nice, subtle branding, in my opinion.

But what makes the G14 AW SE especially unique is its acrylic packaging, which doubles as a DJ deck. Dubbed ROG Remix, the DJ deck features “conductive pads on the surface that allow users to trigger 18 of Walker’s own sound effects.” This DJ deck even has LED lighting surrounding it.

If you’re curious, we took a closer look at the ROG Remix DJ deck in our hands-on right here.

The Bad Stuff

Without a doubt the ROG Zephyrus G14 Alan Walker SE has plenty of positives, but its few shortcomings can be a dealbreaker to some folks. The biggest one? Its value proposition.

In reality, you’re really paying quite a bit more for the unique stylings and packaging/DJ deck of the G14 AW SE; nothing more. For RM300 less, you can opt for the standard G14 to get better value for money. It is practically the same machine with an even faster RTX 3060 GPU for RM7,699.

Aside from that, the G14 AW SE runs quite hot too. In extended gaming sessions, the CPU and GPU got up to 95°C and 83°C respectively. Do note that I was gaming in an air-conditioned room as well, so you can expect the temperatures to be higher in a warmer environment.

While we’re still on the topic of cooling, the G14 AW SE’s system noise can also get quite loud. While gaming in Turbo mode to get the best level of performance, the fans are very audible. Thankfully, outside of gaming, the fans rarely kick up a fuss.

My last qualm with the G14 AW SE is the fact that it doesn’t have a webcam. For a gaming laptop that can easily serve as an excellent productivity laptop, not having a webcam can really be a dealbreaker to some folks. This is especially the case in this COVID-19 pandemic, where a lot of us are working from home.

Is It Worth It?

It really depends on how much you value the unique stylings of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Alan Walker Special Edition. Personally, I think it looks fantastic, and although the novelty of the packaging doubling as a DJ deck wears off after the initial unboxing, it’s still a very smart and interesting idea.

In short, if you’re a fan of Alan Walker, or you just like how the G14 AW SE looks, then yes, it’s absolutely worth picking up even with its premium RM7,999 price tag. But if you can do without the fancy aesthetics, but still want a capable gaming laptop in a compact form factor – and very long battery life – get the standard G14 instead.

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