Asus’ ROG Zephyrus have been some of our most recommended gaming laptops for years — and now, for CES 2024, the Zephyrus G14 and G16 are getting thinner, faster, and even more versatile for non-gaming tasks. I’ve been testing them out for a couple of weeks, and so far, it seems like a winning update.
For 2024, Asus is redesigning the G14 and G16 with new aluminum builds, a smaller and sleeker hinge that doesn’t elevate the deck, 16:10 OLED screens (2880 x 1800 / 120Hz for the G14 and 2560 x 1600 / 240Hz for the G16), larger trackpads and keyboards, a new fast-charging port with reversible plug (separate from their USB-C charging), new six-speaker audio setups (even in the smaller 14-inch), new chips ranging from AMD’s Ryzen 8000 series in the G14 to Intel’s Meteor Lake in the G16, up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM, and a very sleek strip of customizable white lighting on their lids.
What isn’t new for the Zephyrus G14 and G16 are their GPUs, which are still using last year’s class of Nvidia discrete graphics cards. The G14 can be configured with up to an RTX 4070, while the G16 goes up to the 4090. That’s totally fine, as I’m sure we’ll be waiting a while for laptops with Nvidia’s 40-series Super GPUs, and the quality-of-life benefits of the Zephyrus redesign far outweigh most year-over-year chip improvements. The 40-series cards in both laptops support DLSS 3.5, Frame Generation, and Ray Reconstruction.
I’ve had the chance to spend some time with early preview models of both the ROG Zephyrus G14 and Zephyrus G16 (both of which were configured at or near their top-level specs), and I’ve found the new designs very impressive. Both laptops are built better than previous models, look even better, and are much, much sleeker — with noticeably thinner sizes that, at first blush, don’t seem to make any worrisome sacrifices on thermals or usability. The G14 weighs in at just 3.31 pounds / 1.5kg, and the G16 is a very manageable 4.3 pounds / 1.95kg in its 4080 or 4090 configuration (thanks to a custom vapor chamber used with those GPUs).
The respective 14-inch and 16-inch OLED screens on both laptops are vivid and crisp. The new speaker array surprised me with how good they sound (especially coming from a 14-incher). The keyboards were already quite good before, but now they feel like some of the best around. The trackpads are very good — they’re large and spacious, if still a little stiff and not very clickable toward the top third. And I even dig the slash lighting on the lid, which, by default, turns off when you’re on battery but lights up in preset or custom lighting patterns you can finely tune in Asus’ built-in Armoury Crate software. It’s a nice bit of flair that isn’t too attention-grabby, and I’d wager you could even sneak through some in-office meetings without anyone noticing you’re on a gaming laptop (unless, of course, someone looks close at the REPUBLIC OF GAMERS stamp at the bottom of the lid).
Port selection on both new Zephyrus laptops is more than adequate for such thin laptops (the G14 is 0.64 inches / 1.59cm at its thickest point, and the G16 is 0.69 inches / 1.64cm at the same). The G14 has one left-mounted USB 4 port (which you can use to charge at slower speeds), one USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 on the right, two USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 (one on each side), HDMI 2.1, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a microSD card slot. The larger G16 is mostly the same, but its left-side USB port is Thunderbolt 4, its right-side USB-C also has Power Delivery, and its card slot is a full-size SD with UHS-II speeds.
While at the Asus press briefing, I overheard some chagrining about these laptops opting for a proprietary charge connector in lieu of a barrel plug, but as someone who dislikes the latter, I’m fine with the slim and reversible power cord here. I have mostly been using USB-C for charging both laptops when just doing work or browsing on them anyway, and that’s been totally fine. The chunky 180W and 240W power bricks can be kept on reserve until it’s time to fire up some graphically demanding games.
Said games do look and perform well on both the G14 and G16. Much like previous Zephyrus models, firing up some graphics-intense titles feels like you’re waking a sleeping beast — both in regard to performance and audibility. One of the best tricks of these laptops for years has been that their somewhat demure looks might make you think they’re closer in line to productivity laptops that are not capable of such gaming performance. And then, they just sing, with both the graphics on-screen and their fans. A lot. Yes, the fans on the new Zephyrus pair can really kick in quite loud, but that’s always been the tradeoff for the thin and light design.
While these are far from final review-ready models, Asus seems to have this one ready for a knock out of the park, pending finalized pricing. (Asus declined to share exact pricing for the new models before publishing time.) The usability and feature set are excellent, and gaming performance seems very good. We’ll have to see how they fare in full reviews (and in the more modest configurations that more people might be likely to buy) when they launch in February.
Elsewhere in Republic of Gamers land, Asus is giving much more modest updates to the ROG Strix and Strix Scar. The new 2024 Strix and Strix Scar, each with 16-inch and 18-inch models, respectively, are now equipped with 14th Gen Intel processors up to the 14900HX. They’re otherwise much the same as last year’s models, with 16:10 QHD screens that hit 240Hz and Nvidia GPUs configurable up to an RTX 4080 (Strix) or 4090 (Strix Scar). They’re fairly beefy laptops, launching later in January, with the higher-end Strix Scar starting at $2,899.99 for a 16-inch and $2,999.99 for the 18-inch. But of course, it can be specced to the stars and back to prices upward of $4,000. (Asus did not share pricing for the ROG Strix before publishing time.)