ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
Gadgets

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

The ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM is a solid gaming notebook. It is slim, compact and features the latest hardware.

The 2021 ASUS Zephyrus G14 is compact 14-inch gaming laptop with powerful hardware that will thrill gamers looking for a portable machine for gaming on the go. The laptop also comes with an eye-catching AniMe Matrix mini-LED display on the lid, which is a set of 1,215 mini-LEDs that can be customized with animated GIFs and other graphics or build custom animations frame by frame, and type text messages with different fonts and a variety of effects.

Our test unit for the review is the GA401QM variant. The display is a 14-inch IPS-level 2560×1440 120Hz panel with a 100% DCI-P3 color coverage and a brightness rated at 300 nits. The new hardware offers excellent performance with the 8-core/16-thread AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU, Nvidia RTX 3060 with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM, 16GB DDR4 3200MHz SDRAM and a 1TB PCIE NVMe SSD M.2 SSD.

As for connectivity, the Zephyrus G14 offers 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with support for display port, power deliver and G-Sync. Wireless connectivity is powered by Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Specifications

The model we received for this review is the ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM.

CPUAMD Ryzen 9 5900HS Processor 3.1 GHz (16M Cache, up to 4.5 GHz)
RAM16GB 3200 MHz DDR4 on board, Max RAM up to 32GB
GPUNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU 6GB GDDR6 with ROG Boost up to 1382MHz at 60W (80W with Dynamic Boost)
Storage1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD
Display14-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) 16:9 IPS-level anti-glare display 100% DCI-P3, pantone validated and 120Hz refresh rate
Ports1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C supports DisplayPort / power delivery / G-SYNC
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) Bluetooth 5.1
CameraN/A
AudioAudio by Dolby Atmos
AI mic noise-canceling
Built-in array microphone
2x 0.7W tweeter 2x 2.5W speaker with Smart Amp Technology
Battery76Wh 4-cell lithium-polymer battery
180W power adapter
Dimensions324 x 222 x 19.9 mm 1.70 kg

Packaging

The ASUS Zephyrus G14 arrives in a black cardboard box with a plastic carrying handle. Inside are two separate boxes, one for the laptop and accessories and one for the ROG laptop sleeve.

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
  • ROG Zephyrus G14 laptop
  • 180W power adapter
  • Manuals
  • ROG laptop sleeve

Design & Build Quality

The ASUS Zephyrus G14 comes in two colors – Moonlight White or Eclipse Gray. The laptop has a magnesium-aluminum chassis with a smooth finish with a slight texture that hides fingerprints.

The laptop lid features a dot matrix design and houses the AniMe Matrix display, which is a set of 1215 mini LEDs that are programable via the ASUS Armory Crate software.  You can import animated GIFs and other graphics, build custom animations frame by frame, and type text messages with different fonts. Visualizations react to music and other audio, creating a unique platform for DJs and other artists. The lid itself is very sturdy and has no wobbling even while typing at full tilt.

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

The Zephyrus G14 is also the first ROG laptop to feature the ErgoLift hinge design – when opening the lid, the signature ErgoLift hinges lifts the laptop above the surface resulting in a 15mm tilt. This helps with heat dissipation, a more comfortable typing experience as the keyboard is tilted and improves the audio performance.

The chassis is quite rigid and feels solid. The lid has very little flex and when you open the lid the hinge lifts the base of the laptop which allows for better airflow.

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

The G14 also features a fingerprint sensor and according to ASUS, is the first gaming laptop to integrate a fingerprint sensor and the first gaming laptop in the world to utilize an single power button that wakes the machine and and uses your fingerprint to log in.

The device is surprisingly light and portable with dimensions of 324 x 222 x 19.9 mm and a weight of 1.6 Kg. It can be easily carried around in laptop bags and backpacks.

Ports

There are no connections at the back, all ports are on the right and left sides of the notebook. Zephyrus G14 comes with quite a good number of ports.

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

On the left side are the ports for the power adapter, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C and the headphone/mic combo jack.

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

On the right are 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A and 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with support for DisplayPort, power delivery and G-SYNC.

Display

The ROG Zephyrus G14 has an anti-glare 14-inch IPS-level panel with a screen-to-body ratio of 85%. The display offers full WQHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and a refresh rate of 120Hz and 100% sRGB color coverage. There is also support for Adaptive-Sync technology for smoother gameplay.

Colors are rich, vibrant and really pack a punch with no signs of stuttering or ghosting, and the viewing angles are good. For content creation, photo or video editing, an external monitor is recommended. Sunlight visibility is mediocre at best.

Keyboard & Trackpad

The keyboard is backlit and has a short key-travel. The first row of function keys are smaller in size which allows adjusting simple things like screen brightness, keyboard lighting, fan setting, etc. There also four dedicated keys for volume, mute and armory create. The backlight effects are not the best. There is some light leakage which can make the lettering hard to read and gives each key a dark spot in the center.

The ROG Zephyrus G14 is the first ROG laptop to feature fingerprint login on the power button, making waking up the laptop as simple as unlocking your phone. Typing experience is good and has solid feedback, however there is no numpad here.

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

The keyboard also features ROG Overstroke technology which creates a more responsive gaming experience by triggering higher during keystrokes. Paired with N-key rollover, which allows for multiple simultaneous keystrokes to be registered at once, the keyboard adds precision to competitive multiplayer moments.

Coming to the touchpad, it’s easy to navigate, multi-touch gestures are recognized and handled properly. A minor issue here is that it’s very easy to leave fingerprints on the touchpad surface.

Performance

The ROG Zephyrus G14 is powered by the latest energy-efficient AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS Cezanne processor with 8 cores and 16 threads, NVIDIA RTX 3060 graphics with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM and 16GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM.

For storage, there is 1TB of M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD onboard with an additional M.2 expansion slot.

CPU

The 5900HS has 8 cores and 16 threads running at a base frequency of 3.1 GHz and upto 4.5 GHz in turbo, 4MB of L2 Cache and 16 MB of L3 cache with a TDP of just 35W. These new Ryzen CPUs natively support 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM and up to 4266 MHz LPDDR4.

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

GPU

Graphics is powered by a dedicated NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU for laptops so far with improved raytracing and tensor cores. Built on the 8 nm process, the RTX 3060 offers 6 GB GDDR6 graphics memory with a 192 Bit memory bus and based on the GA106 core with 3840 shaders at a frequency ranging from 817 MHz to 1282 MHz (can overclock up to 1382MHz at 60W with ROG Boost).

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

With the new Ampere cards, there is no more Max-Q variant (the energy-efficient version specially designed for thin and portable laptops for longer battery time) but every OEM can choose to implement Max-Q technologies such as Dynamic Boost, Whisper mode etc. The same v GPU can differ in performance on different laptops based on the thermal design offered and the TGP which varies from 60 to 115 Watt.

RAM

The Zephyrus G14 is equipped with 16 GB of 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM. It can be further upgraded to 32GB.

STORAGE

Our review unit comes with a 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD. However, depending on the region, there may be different SSDs. The SSD offers good read speeds of up to 3,147MB/s but average write speeds of up to 1,713MB/s.

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

BENCHMARKS

The new AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs and RTX 30 series GPUs raise the bar compared to the previous-gen. In multi-core benchmarks, there is no Intel CPU to match the performance.

In Cinebench R20 tests, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS scored 556 in single core benchmark and 5,103 in multi-core benchmark. In PCMark 10 Benchmark, the G14 scored 6,845.

BENCHMARKSCORE
Cinebench R20 single core556
Cinebench R20 multi core5,103
PCMark 10 Benchmark6,845
3DMark Time Spy6,847
3DMark Fire Strike15,026

GAMING BENCHMARKS

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 in combination with AMD Ryzen 7 5900H provides a good gaming experience at 1080p and even 1440p resolution in most games. It can modern games at nearly 60fps on high settings.

BENCHMARKSCORE
Far Cry 576fps
Metro Exodus45fps
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey55fps
Red Dead Redemption 256fps

Temperature & Noise

Heat is dissipated by four heatsinks. Each one is lined with copper fins, allowing higher density and lower air resistance than typical fins. There are 201 heatsink fins totaling 63,606 mm2 of surface area, with larger 1mm gaps that improve thermal performance. The fins are specially shaped and feature a new notch profile that guides airflow and minimizes interference from the ErgoLift design.

The new cooling system is complemented by two upgraded 84-blade Arc Flow fans that increase airflow by up to 10% and reduce noise by up to 2dB below previous gen designs. The G14 also features ROG Intelligent Cooling that achieves ideal efficiency by switching between operating modes to optimize performance and acoustics for the task. With 0dB Technology, the fans switch off completely when CPU and GPU temperatures are low in the Silent operating mode. This makes cooling truly silent under light workloads.

Liquid metal compound from Thermal Grizzly increases performance by up to 10% compared to standard thermal paste.  This is because liquid metal does indeed lower temperatures of the CPU, but in effect, it allows the CPU to boost to higher clocks for a longer duration. The block that sits on the CPU also has a special internal fence that prevents liquid metal from leaking out over time. Previously this was only available for Intel based CPUs but is now available for AMD CPUs as well.

There is also a self-cleaning thermal module helps maintain strong cooling performance over time. The upgraded design features shorter anti-dust tunnels that leave enough room for full-sized fans while channeling dust away from heatsinks, heatpipes, and other cooling components to ensure long-term stability and reliability.

With typical day-to-day tasks and using the silent profile, the noise and heat remained at very low levels. But during resource-intensive tasks such as gaming and video editing, the noise is very audible and the laptop does gets warm.

Upgradability

Access to the internal components requires loosening the Philips screws holding the bottom panel.

In terms of upgradability, there is one RAM SODIMM slot and a single M.2 PCIe x4 drive. However, some models come with 8GB of soldered RAM, while some are equipped with 16GB.

If you have the 8GB model, you can and another 32GB RAM bringing the total to 40GB. In this case, this would result in only 16GB working in dual-channel. And if you have the 16GB variant, you can add in another 16GB module to bring the total to 32GB in dual-channel.

Software

The ROG Zephyrus G14 comes with several software’s such as GameVisual, Aura Creator and Armory Crate, which provides information on the hardware performance, helps switching between profiles and configure the AniMe Matrix mini-LED display with different content and effects.

You can control the fans with different performance profiles. There are also options to switch between different display modes depending on the content being played.

Battery & Audio

The ROG Zephyrus G14 comes with a beefy 76Wh 4-cell lithium-polymer battery. On paper, it’s rated for about 14 hours of battery life. On a full charge, based on the usage and screen brightness, the laptop lasts between seven to nine hours. When browsing the internet, you can expect around 11 hours of battery time.

Idle (one third brightness, no WiFI)13h 45 min
Web Browsing (one third brightness)12h 50 min
Video Playback (one third brightness)9h 45 min
Gaming (50% brightness)1h 50min

The ROG Zephyrus G14 has a quad-speaker setup comprising of two tweeters and two speakers delivering immersive surround sound optimized by Dolby Atmos technology. The sound quality is good and loud enough with hardly any distortion at high volume. But as with most gaming laptops, we recommend using a headset.

Verdict

The ROG Zephyrus G14 is primarily targeted towards on-the-go gamers and power users. It is slim, compact and features the latest hardware. The Ryzen 9 CPU is a beast and offers desktop-class performance when needed but can also be very efficient when on battery.

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review
ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM Review

There are certain drawbacks like the noise, heat, and lack of a webcam.

With that said, the Zephyrus G14 with the RTX 3060 and 16GB of RAM currently starts at AED 6,799 which is a great deal considering it has the latest Ryzen 9 CPU and the 120Hz WQHD display.

8.8

ASUS Zephyrus G14 GA401QM

The ROG Zephyrus G14 is primarily targeted towards on-the-go gamers and power users. It is slim, compact and features the latest hardware. The Ryzen 9 CPU is a beast and offers desktop-class performance when needed but can also be very efficient when on battery.

THE GOOD
  • Good hardware
  • SSO power button
  • Good build quality
  • Great battery life
  • Good number of ports
THE BAD
  • No webcam
  • Gets loud and warm
  • No Thunderbolt 3 or SD reader
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