Power and style collide in this expensive but impressive laptop.
If I had to pick one brand of gaming laptops that I think stands head and shoulders above the rest, it would have to be ASUS ROG. The Republic of Gamers line, regardless of how cheesy its namesake is, has given us some of the most remarkable gaming laptops that pretty much always ooze quality and class. Be it the flexible Flow, the powerful Strix, or the middle of bunch Zephyrus, which also includes the niche but admittedly cool Zephyrus Duo, ASUS ROG has some brilliant laptops. They're expensive, mind you, very expensive, but if you're looking for a device that can be built with the latest technology, while still featuring an appearance that doesn't scream 'Major League Gamer', these are the laptops to pick. And for the 2023 Zephyrus G14, this is once again the case.
The review unit I have got my hands on is powered by an AMD Ryzen 9 7950 HS with Radeon 780M Graphics processor, all clocked at 4001 MHz across its 8 cores and 16 processors. This CPU, on top of being very powerful, opens the door to AMD Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR) to help get an even greater level of performance out of the games you play. And this is on top of boasting an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card, which in itself is capable of tapping into DLSS 3 to enhance your gaming experience further. Then there's also the 32 GB of DDR5 RAM that is dual-channel and clocked at 4800 MHz. Essentially, if you're not familiar with what all this technology jargon alludes to, the Zephyrus G14 (2023) is a beast, one that can tackle pretty much any game you throw at it.
The best part about this laptop is how everything that you play also looks stunning thanks to the 14-inch ROG Nebula HDR display, which operates at a resolution of 2560 x 1600, aka QHD+. This screen is absolutely fantastic and never fails to capture the beauty that is present in modern games, or for that matter, the intricacies of film and TV at 2K quality. For gaming purposes, this display even runs at up to 165 Hz and has a response time of 3 ms. While the response time is solid for a laptop, I can't help but feel like the refresh rate could have benefitted from being higher, when considering the hardware under the hood and the frame rates this device can achieve. But more on FPS values later...
In terms of the build quality of the 2023 Zephyrus G14, there's not much to dislike either. It feels smooth and classy and has a firm heft to it that reminds you of just how much technology this device is packing inside. The keyboard and trackpad fill the majority of the body, and the bezel around the display is only as thick as it is on the top to ensure there is space for the 1080p FHD IR webcam that can be used for facial recognition to unlock the laptop each time you use it. There also are not too many visible and obvious cooling vents, which I find remarkable because this laptop doesn't tend to make that much of a racket even when under stress, but there does seem to be a reason for that.
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The one area that the Zephyrus G14 seems to struggle with is heat dissipation. The laptop's components build up heat and then fail to move that away, meaning when the device is being run at its limits, you'll see internal temperatures of over 80 degrees Celsius. This means you can both feel the heat through the chassis, which is especially uncomfortable on your lap, and see a direct impact on FPS values when in-game. To prove this, during my testing period, I found that the longer I used the device the more frequently the frame rates would drop and stay at around 60 FPS. This still means that you get fluid and smooth gameplay, but when the cooling system is at full strength, the FPS values can reach triple that number on a regular basis. Take the numbers below as an example.
Long story short, if you use all the rendering techniques at this laptop's disposal, you can play some of the latest games at levels that a lot of desktops couldn't reach, but the main issue is of course the self-imposed FPS limits that occur when it overheats. We're not talking about FPS drops to 15 FPS or similar here, just to be clear, but the drops are obvious and a nuisance. But again, considering fan noise is very minimal, you can almost forgive the poor heat dissipation in this laptop - at least I would prefer a quieter, hotter system than one that stays cool but sounds like a Harrier jump jet taking off from an aircraft carrier.
As a final few thoughts, the laptop boasts a 76 WHrs battery, which is fine for regular tasks but will melt away when under stress and high loads, so you basically need to be plugged into the mains if you want to use this laptop for gaming. It does support Wi-Fi 6E as well, and from my testing, this means that multiplayer games are super easy to enjoy without needing an Ethernet connection, which is a good thing because it lacks one of those ports. In a connectivity sense, you get a decent variety, including two USB-As, two USB-Cs (one of which can be used as a power delivery port), a HDMI 2.1, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and a microSD card port.
So, all in all, if it wasn't for the poor cooling, I would say that ASUS has served up a home run with the ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023). It's powerful, feels and looks great, has broad options, a fantastic display, and sports the latest components under the hood. But again, this is when considering the most expensive version of the laptop on the market, and as for the price range you'd be looking at for this device, that would be over £3,200. Essentially, it's very, very pricey, but you won't go too wrong with what you get for that tag.