The entry-level ROG Zephyrus G14 from Asus is for you

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The entry-level ROG Zephyrus G14 from Asus is for you

devoted edge Readers will recall that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the latest ROG Zephyrus G14. The model we received had a lot of great things – Asus had improved the aspect ratio, added a webcam, enlarged the touchpad, and basically fixed every other complaint I’ve had about G14s in the past.

But the device I had to review was the top SKU, and it was just overpriced.

Specifically, the Radeon RX 6800S / Ryzen 9 6900HS model I received was priced at $2,499.99. That puts it in the same price bracket as some of the highest-end 15-inch gaming rigs out there, including Razer’s Blade 15 Advanced — and well above the price of the larger, more powerful G15. It wasn’t a good deal. But I did note in the review that Asus intended to sell cheaper models of the G14, and if those models produce similar frame rates, they could be phenomenal buys.

Well I finally got my hands on one of these cheaper models. I’m writing this on a $1,649.99 model of the Zephyrus G14, which has the same Ryzen 9 6900HS processor but swaps out that 6800S GPU for a slightly less powerful 6700S. I’ve had a strong suspicion for months that this configuration would offer very similar performance to its $2,499.99 counterpart.

And folks, that suspicion turned out to be correct. While the difference in frame rates is there, it’s not worth paying for. The battery life of the 6700S model is better. It’s thinner and lighter. The only thing missing from the 6800S is a fancy animated light display on the lid. The light display is very cool, and you can pay an extra $850 for it if you want, but I’ll say that most people should buy the $1,6499.99 model instead. It’s undoubtedly a better deal.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 keyboard from above on a blue tabletop

This is still one of my favorite keyboards on the market.

For anything related to the G14’s chassis, please read the review of the 6800S G14 I posted in February. There I detailed the keyboard, touchpad, webcam, screen, and other design and hardware aspects. These are all the same on the 6700S model, so I’ll only cover the performance differences here.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 lies flat on a blue tabletop.

You can lay it flat if there is a reason for it.

The cheaper G14 averaged 189 fps Counter Strike Global Offensive at maximum settings and native resolution (2560 x 1600). The previous model averaged 202 fps. This difference isn’t noticeable to anyone using these devices, as the highest refresh rate the G14’s 120Hz screen can display is 120 fps.

You might see impacts on other titles – but none worth $850. The 6700S had some issues with ray tracing, almost halving frame rates – but that’s exactly what we saw with the 6800S as well. The cheaper model averaged 63 fps with ray tracing disabled and 32 fps with ray tracing maxed out, while the older model averaged 70 fps and 37 fps, respectively. Like I said, small potatoes.

And further Red Dead Redemption 2 With all sliders manually set to maximum, the cheaper model averaged 45 fps, while the more expensive model averaged 49 fps. I promise four frames won’t affect your life in any way.

Fan noise and heat were similar to the 6800S model, meaning they were fine. Noise was not particularly bothersome during game play and did not impede game sound; When I put the device on the silent profile for general work, it actually got quiet. The keyboard never got more than a little warm, even under heavy load with the external display. The palm rests were hot during gaming, but not entirely uncomfortable.

The lid of a closed Asus ROG Zephryus G14 seen from above on a blue table top.

No funky lights here, but still a neat lid design.

The bottom of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 seen from above on a blue tabletop.

The fans do their job.

Where I did see a difference was in battery life. The 6700S model averaged eight hours and 55 minutes of normal use at medium brightness, a solid hour more than the 6800S. This metric puts the G14 back on the map as one of the most durable gaming laptops in recent years. The gaming battery didn’t show quite the same improvement. I have 46 minutes Red Dead Redemption 2 Gaming with around 39 minutes of playable time, while I squirted 54 and 46 minutes out of the more expensive device, but gaming battery life is hard to draw any conclusions from. The loading time was exactly the same: 60 percent in 41 minutes.

The only other difference between this model and the 6800S is size. It’s slightly lighter (3.64 pounds to the 6800S’s 3.79 pounds) and thinner (0.73 inches to 0.77 inches). This obviously isn’t the biggest difference in the world, and it’s a fairly lightweight gaming laptop either way. But there is another small advantage that the cheaper model has. It’s so much lighter than the Razer Blade 14 and so much more compact than larger machines that can deliver those frame rates. I took this device on an international trip and loved how light it was in an otherwise packed backpack.

So, once again, the Zephyrus G14 is one of the better gaming laptops you can buy. You can just buy this 6700S model unless you’re really into pretty animated lights. This model is competitively priced with the premium Sphere in a way the animated light model isn’t: the next Razer Blade 14 would cost $2,599.99 ($950 more, albeit with a higher refresh rate screen) and a comparable Alienware X14 (with a lower resolution screen) would be $1,949. And it clearly undercuts larger rivals: the Blade 15 Advanced with RTX 3070 Ti is currently listed for $2,999.99 ($950 more), as is the RTX 3070 Ti Blade 15 Base (which has a lower resolution).

And that’s not even factoring in the other advantages the G14 has over most of the competition, including its lightweight body, premium keyboard, and (notably) 16:10 screen. The price of $1,649.99 makes it much easier (and more justifiable) to appreciate the real innovations that Asus has made and continues to make in this area.

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