Hands-On, Laptop

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 Is a Surprisingly Good Productivity Laptop

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is finally available in Malaysia, and I’ve been using it as my daily driver for a while now. I haven’t extensively tested the gaming performance of the G14 yet, but I have been putting it through its paces as a work laptop. Surprisingly enough, it’s really, really good.

In fact, the Zephyrus G14 is easily one of the best laptops I’ve used for productivity work, which is not something typically said of a gaming machine. Not only is it a powerful laptop, it also has incredibly long battery life. That, in itself, makes the G14 an excellent productivity laptop.

So exactly how good is the battery life of the Zephyrus G14? Well, Asus says that the 76WHr battery can return up to 10 hours of use on a single charge, which is definitely a lofty claim for a gaming laptop. But surprisingly enough, I can actually get this level of battery life. On average, I was getting between nine to 10 hours of use; that’s crazy for a laptop as powerful as this.

Of course, to squeeze this much battery life out of the Zephyrus G14, I switched on battery saver mode with the display dimmed to a comfortable level. Nonetheless, this is a very long-lasting gaming laptop, though it’s worth noting that I’ve only completely drained the battery of the Zephyrus G14 a couple of times at the moment. I’ll need to run the test a few more times to get more definitive results; stay tuned to the full review for that.

Besides battery life, other aspects of the Zephyrus G14 make it an ideal productivity laptop as well. For one, the AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS under the hood of this review unit – the highest-end option available for this laptop – is a fast, power-efficient processor. This chip is the very reason why the G14 has such good battery life, thanks to the fact that it’s fabricated on a 7nm process.

This excellent power efficiency of the Ryzen 9 4900HS is paired with very, very good performance level. It’s an octa-core processor with 16 threads, and in my initial testing, it’s noticeably faster than the Ryzen 7 4800H chip found in the Asus TUF Gaming A15. The latter is already a very capable chip to begin with, which really shows just how good the performance level of the Ryzen 9 4900HS is.

Beyond that, the Zephyrus G14 is also quite a compact machine, which is not something you can say for literally any other gaming laptop. After all, the G14 is the only 14-inch machine in its segment; this lets Asus call it “the world’s most powerful 14-inch gaming laptop.” It simply doesn’t have any direct competitor.

Aside from its compact form factor, it’s a rather minimalist-looking gaming laptop as well. There’s no RGB keyboard, the overall design is understated – provided you switch off the flashy AniMe Matrix LED lighting on the top lid – and it wouldn’t look out of place in a meeting room or professional setting. Basically, it can easily pass off as a productivity laptop.

However, there is one design element of the Zephyrus G14 that can be a dealbreaker to those who are looking to use it as a productivity laptop: it doesn’t have a webcam. That’s right, it has no camera at all, so if you need one for online meetings and teleconferences, you’ll have to get an external webcam.

But if you can look past the absence of a webcam, the Zephyrus G14 really is a competent productivity laptop. Take the keyboard: it’s comfortable to type on with more than enough key travel for a pleasant typing experience, the keys are tactile, and the keyboard layout has no big issues either. I especially like the dedicated volume buttons at the top left of the keyboard.

As for the trackpad, it’s equally good. Clicks feel surprisingly solid, the smooth, glass surface allows my fingers to glide effortlessly, and more importantly, it’s largely accurate as well. However, I do have one small issue with it: I can’t seem to disable the mouse acceleration. Changing the option from the Windows settings did nothing, which is a little annoying.

Anyway, let’s move on to the display. This review unit of the Zephyrus G14 comes with a 14-inch 2560 x 1440 IPS screen with a 60Hz refresh rate, which looks pretty good. It has punchy colours, good viewing angles, and as far as I can tell, it’s properly calibrated as well. If you don’t fancy this 1440p display, there’s a 1080p panel option with a faster 120Hz refresh rate.

There are a lot of gaming latops in the market now with their own strengths and weaknesses, but I’d argue none of them are quite as compelling or as versatile as the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. It is compact, it has incredibly good battery life, and paired with equally good performance level, it’s the complete package. Whether you want a portable gaming laptop or a fast productivity machine, the G14 fits both criteria.

Of course, this comes at a price: this particular variant of the Zephyrus G14 is the range-topping model, which comes with a Ryzen 9 4900HS processor, an RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD for a whopping RM7,699. It’s a steep price tag for an RTX 2060 gaming laptop, and even the most affordable configuration of the G14 costs RM4,499.

There’s no denying the fact that the Zephyrus G14 is a costly product, but it is a premium gaming laptop with a lot going for it. I’ll be putting the G14 through its paces in a full review soon, and we’ll see then if it can really justify costing so much.

Personally, I’m pretty confident the Zephyrus G14 will exceed expectations.

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