Asus’ ROG Zephyrus G14 is one of the hottest mainstream gaming laptops around, and its 2023 iteration is sure to be one of the most anticipated releases of this upcoming year. Not only is it one of a few gaming laptops that can provide all-day battery life but also it’s one of very few 14-inch gaming rigs that can achieve competitive frame rates on many modern games.
It’s hard to imagine how Asus could improve on what was already such a successful package. But the company has found perhaps the one thing the G14 was really missing — and frankly, it’s been a long time coming. This year, the 14-inch Zephyrus will have a Mini LED display option.
Mini LED should really be in more laptops by now. Unlike typical LCD screens, which use the same group of lights to project an entire image (or very large portions of it), Mini LED displays include many clusters of tiny diodes (called “local dimming zones”), which can brighten or darken independently as needed. The technology is something of a bridge between LCD and OLED (where each individual pixel is self-illuminating).
You can probably imagine how much of a difference this could make with game visuals, especially when it comes to blacks. I can very much see this display being a huge factor in many people’s decisions to buy the G14 this year.
As it happens, the G14 will be the first 14-inch laptop to include Asus’ Nebula HDR displays (which have previously only been available on the Flow X16 and the dual-screen Zephyrus Duo 16). It has 504 dimming zones, and Asus claims it will reach 600 nits of peak brightness. This, to be clear, would be ludicrously bright for a gaming laptop, so I’m assuming that number refers to peak HDR.
The G14’s insides are also getting some tweaks, though there’s nothing wholly unexpected. Interestingly, it seems that the line has moved back to Nvidia GPUs after being all AMD last year. That means no more AMD SmartShift; the new model does have an MUX switch with Nvidia’s Advanced Optimus. Asus will also continue to sell a model with the silly little animated dot matrix on its lid, which adds an absurd amount of money to the price — but if broadcasting messages to people from your laptop lid all day is an essential part of your life, I respect it.
If you like the look and feel of the G14 but want something bigger, Asus is also launching a brand-new Zephyrus G16. This looks very much like a slightly bigger version of the G14, and I assume it’s replacing the G15 (which Asus doesn’t appear to be refreshing at this time). The new G16 will be an Intel / Nvidia production, however, and won’t have the Nebula HDR display. It will have QHD resolution and a 240Hz refresh rate.
I hope to get my hands on the new G14 shortly so I can see for myself how much of a difference the Mini LED screen really makes. We’ll also have to see what that does to the G14’s price — which has been very competitive in the past. We probably won’t have that information until closer to launch, which is currently set for Q2 of this year.