There are a number of 14-inch gaming laptops floating around, but the most notable one by far is Asus’s ROG Zephyrus G14. It’s a powerhouse and an easy recommendation to anyone seeking a portable device that can really game.
But this year, MSI has decided to throw its hat in the ring. It’s just announced the new Stealth 14 Studio, which it’s boldly claiming is “the most powerful 14-inch gaming laptop.” That is a tough title to live up to, considering that the G14... exists (not to mention Razer’s Blade 14, which is also a strong, and sometimes even stronger, performer).
The main reason I’m skeptical of this claim is that the Stealth 14 Studio appears to max out at an RTX 4070, while the Zephyrus G14 goes all the way up to the RTX 4090. Its CPU is Intel’s Core i7-13700H, which is quite powerful, but we can’t yet definitively speak to whether it will beat AMD’s Ryzen 9 (which powers the G14). I don’t mean to confidently predict that the Stealth 14 Studio or the Zephyrus G14 will show better framerates or be a better value buy. There’s just, well, some uncertainty on the “most powerful 14-inch gaming laptop” claim.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other potential advantages this device could have over the G14. For one, it’s got an RGB keyboard that looks quite nice in the photos we have so far. The chassis looks fairly subdued (more Razer Blade-y than Zephyrus-y) and might be more appealing to users looking for a gaming laptop that can double as a respectable-looking work or school driver.
There’s also a physical shutter over the webcam (which I enjoy having just for peace of mind) — something the Zephyrus doesn’t have. And the Studio’s top display option is a QHD Plus 240Hz display, while the G14 maxes out at 165Hz. That could lead to a substantial difference in gameplay experience depending on the title.
And then there’s the price comparison. It looks like the Stealth 14 Studio will cost $1,599 for a Core i7 and an RTX 4060, while an RTX 3060 Zephyrus could be purchased for $1,399.99 last year.
We’ll have to see how exactly this stacks up to the G14’s performance when I get a model in my hands. But at the moment, I’m reading the Studio as a more versatile, slightly pricier alternative to the G14, rather than something that’s going to knock its socks off power-wise.
MSI added a number of other Stealth products to its line, including a new Stealth 16 Studio with a six-speaker sound system. A new Stealth 15 will also bring a 240Hz OLED display with less than 0.2ms response time. All are currently expected to release in late February.