The ROG Zephyrus G14 Is A Portable Pleasure To Play On

The ROG Zephyrus G14 Is A Portable Pleasure To Play On
Image: Asus / Kotaku Australia

Now, I’m no PC tech whiz. In fact, I only started PC gaming recently after getting the Allied Gaming Tomcat-A Gaming Laptop, which is just a magnificent beast of a gaming laptop.

As I mentioned in that review, I’ve always been a MacBook girl. If it runs Stardew Valley, it works for me. But I’m sure I’m not alone in being annoyed when it came to Apple’s big weird decision to make heaps of games on Steam incompatible with their newer operating systems.

In fact, I’d say I’m definitely not alone there. Not only has gaming been hard for MacBook owners in general with many very good games being exclusive to Windows operating systems, but the further barring of games playable on MacBooks made that a lot worse.

The problem is, a lot of MacBook owners who would love to get into Windows gaming are usually scared away by the fact that if you want a piece of hardware that’s capable of playing games smoothly, you’re either looking at something very chunky, very not-portable, very pricey, or all of the above.

And that’s why Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G14, in my personal opinion, is a really great option for MacBook users wanting to switch to a gaming laptop without straying too far from the MacBook design. Hear me out here.

The physicality

The most recent line of MacBooks come in 13”, 14”, and 16”. My work computer, for example, is a 13” MacBook Pro (2020). A laptop of this size is lightweight and easy to take around.

While your average gaming laptop can be quite heavy and reasonably large, the ROG Zephyrus is a nice 14” and weighs roughly 1.72kg. Comparing this to the MacBook Pro which weighs around 1.38kg, it’s not a huge jump up and succeeds in being a great little portable package that packs a punch (that’s a lot of alliteration).

The charger that the laptop comes with is the classic gaming laptop slab charger, which can be an issue for portability. However, the G14 also accepts USB-C charging similar to recent MacBooks, just not to the strength that the provided charger would.

On the topic of USB-C and ports, the Zephyrus G14 definitely provides a bit more flexibility than a MacBook of the same price when it comes to ports. The ports include a headphone jack, HDMI port, two 3.2 USB-A ports, two 3.2 USB-C ports (one of which supports charging), and a microSD card reader.

In terms of aesthetics, here’s where the Zephyrus really shines (literally). If you’re a little bit extra, you’ll love the Zephyrus’ AniMe Matrix.

AniMe Matrix is a set of mini-LED lights on the back of the laptop that are also customizable. You can choose text, pre-made animations, or your very own animations to appear through the Zephyrus’ LED lights, and it’s pretty simple to set up too. It rocks!

The gameplay

The biggest gameplay difference I’ve found between a MacBook and a Windows PC in general is the ability to play 32-bit games, as well as the availability of games in general. Outside of this, MacBooks with an M1 chip run most Apple-compatible games pretty well. But that’s a pretty small pool of games. So if you’re somebody who wants the portability of a MacBook with the power of a quality gaming laptop, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is a clear winner there.

From personal gaming use, this laptop is a powerhouse. The 1440p 120-Hz display means that visuals present pristinely, and I didn’t find myself running into any frame rate issues when gaming. This is all thanks to the AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and AMD Radeon RX 6800S graphics card, which is a step up from ROG’s previous G14 laptops that were capped at an RTX 3060 GPU.

In simple terms, the Zephyrus G14 plays a lot more games than a MacBook does, and it plays them very well considering how compact it is!

The ROG Zephyrus G14 Is A Portable Pleasure To Play On
Image: Asus

The downsides

If you’re wanting to game on the go, you best have your charger on you. While its ability to function outside of gaming will result in a reasonable enough battery life, getting the most out of its gaming performance will require it to be plugged in. However, once you’ve got it plugged in, it runs great.

I also found that the keyboard could’ve been a bit brighter. If your keys are going to be visible solely through the backlights, said backlights need to be brighter.

The placement of the charging port I also found was a bit inconvenient, with the port being directly in the middle of the left side of the laptop. I’ve personally found charging ports either towards or on the back of the laptop to be a bit better, but I’m nitpicking here.

The price

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (2022) sells for $2,999 RRP, which is basically about the same amount of money you’d be spending on the latest 512GB 14” MacBook Pro.

If we compare it to other gaming laptops on the market that are contenders in the realm of portable gaming laptops, the Razer Blade 14 starts at $3,599 RRP and the Alienware x14 Gaming Laptop starts at $2,999 RRP.

So it’s definitely the more affordable small gaming laptop in terms of pure comparison, but also you’re getting the most bang out of your buck.

The conclusion

If you’re looking to become a gamer fresh off of being loyal to the Apple brand, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is probably your best option in terms of portability and pure power. If you’re looking for something even sleeker than this I’d suggest the Razer Blade 14, but the G14 packs a meatier punch in terms of gaming performance while also comfortably sitting in the same price tier as a baseline MacBook Pro.

We don’t do straight number ratings here at Kotaku Australia, but I can comfortably recommend the ROG Zephyrus G14 Gaming Laptop if you’re looking for a good machine to play anything that a MacBook can’t at the same level of portability.

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