Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 review: AMD and Nvidia at their best

Once I examined a yr in the past, I used to be blown away. Not solely was it simply over 3.5 kilos — a weight unprecedented for a system with each a robust processor and a discrete GPU — however it ran even essentially the most demanding video games at a lot better body charges than any gaming laptop computer we’d ever seen at that dimension. After which every part else about it — the keyboard, the touchpad, the audio, the battery life — was additionally nice. The G14 wasn’t simply higher than different gaming laptops in these areas: it was higher than most different laptops at its worth level, interval.

Given the G14’s resounding success, it was solely a matter of time earlier than Asus put it in a 15-inch chassis. The formulation wasn’t damaged, and Asus didn’t repair it — Asus simply made it greater. Whereas I had some questions once I heard the G15 was on the way in which (might it ship the identical mixture of portability, battery life, and efficiency as a 14-inch product? May it try this with out costing over $2,000?), what’s develop into clear all through my testing interval is that the system isn’t simply pretty much as good as its 14-inch counterpart; it’s by some means even higher. Asus and AMD have accomplished it once more.

The G15’s secret weapon is its processor. All fashions have AMD’s monstrous eight-core Ryzen 9 5900HS. My check mannequin, priced at $1,799.99, pairs that chip with Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 3070 (an 80W model, with dynamic enhance as much as 100W), in addition to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. This configuration is a step above the bottom mannequin, which incorporates an RTX 3060 and 512GB of storage. There are additionally two RTX 3080 fashions — pair it with 16GB of RAM for $1,999.99 or 32GB of RAM for $2,499.99. (I believe my check mannequin hits a candy spot: 512GB of storage isn’t quite a bit for a gaming laptop computer, and it looks like the RTX 3080 fashions are and don’t carry out vastly higher than the lower-tier choices.)

One other spotlight, constant throughout all fashions, is the G15’s 165Hz QHD show. We’re lastly beginning to see 15-inch laptops with QHD screens , indicating that that is the primary yr that producers suppose cell {hardware} is highly effective sufficient to make the most of them. Historically, cell avid gamers have had the choice of a 1080p show or a 4K show. (Not solely is the latter fairly costly, however only a few laptops can run demanding video games at playable body charges in 4K.)

So, the large query: Can the Zephyrus G15 run video games at QHD decision? The reply is an emphatic sure.

Some uncooked numbers to begin. The G15 averaged 178fps on CS:GO at most settings — mud particles, fires, and different graphically intensive results seemed simply fantastic. Pink Lifeless Redemption II, additionally at most settings, averaged 58fps. (Come on, that’s mainly 60). Ray tracing was no downside for this machine: the system averaged 61fps on Shadow of the Tomb Raider with ray tracing on extremely, and a whopping 81fps with ray tracing off. Keep in mind, the G15 is operating these at QHD decision, which is already an even bigger haul than conventional 1080p.

These body charges imply you need to have the ability to run no matter recreation you need in QHD with out bumping down any settings. They put the G15 about on par with with an Intel Core i7-10870H and a GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q — the 2 laptops tied on Pink Lifeless and had been only one body aside on Tomb Raider. MSI informed us that the QHD GS66 mannequin prices $2,599 — so the G15 with an RTX 3070 is getting the identical body charges for actually $800 much less. The G15 additionally did higher than the QHD / RTX 3070 Intel configuration of the (53fps on Pink Lifeless, 46fps on Tomb Raider), which prices . These differentials ought to communicate for themselves. Sure, the GS66 has a 240Hz display, however that’s going to be extreme for most individuals at QHD decision. If I didn’t already know the place the G14 was priced final yr, I’d be emailing Asus to verify if $1,799.99 was a typo. It’s an unbelievable worth.

The video games all seemed nice on this display, which covers 100% of the sRGB gamut and 89 p.c of AdobeRGB, and maxes out at 334 nits of brightness. It isn’t the best refresh-rate display you may get at 165Hz — has a 240Hz QHD mannequin, as does MSI’s GS66 Stealth — however it’s nonetheless a major step above the Zephyrus G14’s 120Hz show. Whereas the G15 doesn’t ship the best image I’ve ever seen, it nonetheless seems nice and definitely improves upon the G14’s 1080p panel. Motion was all clean, and not using a stutter in sight, and colours seemed nice. I noticed a small quantity of glare when utilizing the system outside, however it was nonetheless fairly usable at most brightness.

Cooling, whereas typically iffy on the G14, is stellar on this system. The G15’s “clever cooling” system consists of two 84-blade followers and six warmth pipes. It had no downside with any of the video games I threw at it, spending the overwhelming majority of its time between the mid-60s and mid-70s (Celsius) and by no means leaping above 80 levels. That’s a number of the best cooling efficiency I’ve ever seen from a gaming laptop computer, particularly contemplating that this one was operating heavy AAA titles, maxed out, at QHD decision.

Extra impressively, the followers managed to do that with out being deafeningly loud. I might definitely hear them whereas the machine was below load, however it was normal gaming-laptop noise, and I had no downside listening to recreation audio. You may as well swap to the “Silent” profile in Asus’ Armoury Crate software program. That toggle lived as much as its title and fully silenced the followers, with out inflicting any warmth or efficiency issues that I noticed.

Talking of audio, the G15’s audio system additionally sound nice. That’s to be anticipated — there are actually six of them, together with two front-facing tweeters and force-canceling woofers below the palm rests. They ship clear audio with very robust bass and highly effective percussion. I don’t typically get to say that about laptop computer audio, particularly on gaming laptops. The G15 comes preloaded with Dolby Entry, which you should use to leap between equalizer presets for gaming, films, and music, and it makes an enormous distinction.

There are three microphones, which had no hassle selecting up my voice. In addition they have presets for recreation streaming, music recording, and convention calls. These are helpful, however they’re not sufficient to make the G15 a good selection for distant work as a result of it doesn’t embody a webcam. The G14 additionally didn’t have a digital camera — Asus appears to have determined that webcams aren’t needed on Zephyrus merchandise. It’s the one important knock in opposition to a tool that’s mainly excellent in any other case. It’s additionally very odd to have such a sophisticated microphone setup and not have a webcam to go along with it.

There are a pair different issues to notice concerning the G15’s chassis. Like many different Asus laptops, the G15 has an ErgoLift hinge, which folds below the deck when the laptop computer is open and lifts the keyboard above the bottom. That is speculated to create a extra ergonomic typing place, although I can’t say I ever seen the distinction. It does dig into your legs a bit when you’re utilizing the laptop computer in your lap, although. The G15’s hinge isn’t as sharp as another hinges, however as a frequent sofa person, it’s nonetheless not my favourite feeling.

The keyboard and touchpad are each nice as nicely. The G14 had considered one of my favourite keyboards of 2020, and the G15’s is sort of comparable. The clicking is comfy, with 1.7mm of journey, and the devoted quantity keys (a Zephyrus staple) are fairly handy. There’s a fingerprint sensor constructed into the facility button, which is on the highest proper of the keyboard deck.

The touchpad is very large, at 5.1 x 3.4 inches — 20 p.c bigger than that of the prior G15 technology. It’s so massive that giant parts of each my arms had been resting on it once they weren’t typing, fairly than on the palm rests. This was a bit annoying, however to the G15’s credit score, it didn’t trigger any palm-rejection points. It’s additionally a bit loud and not the simplest or deepest click on, however these are nitpicks — it’s a fantastic touchpad.

However what impressed me essentially the most concerning the G15 is its battery life. This factor by no means dies. Utilizing it as my every day driver with an workplace workload on Asus’ Silent profile round 200 nits of brightness, I averaged eight hours and 32 minutes. That’s slightly below what I obtained from the G14, and the G15 has a bigger and higher-resolution display to gas. The end result places the G15 proper up there with its smaller sibling as one of many longest-lasting gaming laptops we’ve ever seen. It has a big 90Wh battery inside, however loads of gaming with comparable bricks can solely make it just a few hours on a cost.

Gaming considerably shortens the G15’s life span, in fact. I obtained an hour and 21 minutes of Pink Lifeless out of 1 cost. Impressively, although, the sport was fairly playable for a lot of that point, avoiding stutters and efficiency points. The sport didn’t drop under playable charges till the G15 was right down to 10 p.c with six minutes remaining. The 200-watt charger additionally juices the G15 decently quick — throughout very gentle Chrome use, it obtained the system as much as 60 p.c in 37 minutes. In case you don’t need to carry that heavy brick round and aren’t doing GPU-intensive duties, the G15 additionally helps 100W Sort-C charging.

On the finish of the day, there are issues I can nitpick about this system. Specifically, the shortage of a webcam is egregious. And there are causes it gained’t be for everybody. Of us who’re searching for the next refresh-rate display might want to spend extra on a Blade 15 Superior or a GS66. Those that need a jazzier design might discover a greater match. And whereas $1,799 is a good worth for these specs, anybody on a tighter price range has choices like on the desk.

However virtually every part about this laptop computer is unbelievable. And never solely is it unbelievable, however it’s unbelievable for a number of a whole bunch of {dollars} lower than its QHD opponents. In case you are keen to make use of an exterior webcam and you don’t want a 240Hz display, there’s actually no purpose you need to be shopping for every other QHD laptop computer within the skinny 15-inch class. The G15 is superior on battery life, superior on energy, superior on weight, and superior on worth. It’s simply the best.
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