The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is without a doubt an exceptional gaming laptop amongst those that are currently available. It has a genuinely attractive design, desktop-like speed, amazing battery life, and many other features. But is it worth all the fuss?
• Non-touchscreen 15.6-inch QHD 165hz
• AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor
• RAM: 16 GB (soldered)
• 90-watt-hour battery
• 1TB Storage
• Wi-Fi 6 with Gig+ (802.11ax)
• 200 watts Adapter
• There is no webcam available
A short Background
A year ago, I tested the Asus Zephyrus G14, and I was blown away, for a lack of better words. It weighed just over 3.5 pounds, which is unheard of for a device with both a strong processor and a discrete GPU. Better yet, it ran even the most demanding games at significantly higher frame rates than any gaming laptop we’d ever seen at that size. Everything else about it, including the keyboard, battery life, audio, and touchpad was excellent.
I daresay that the G14 wasn’t just better than other gaming laptops; it was better than most other laptops at its price point. Given the G14’s overwhelming popularity, it was only a matter of time until Asus released a 15-inch version. The formula wasn’t broken, and Asus didn’t fix it; Asus just gave us a bigger option.
When I first heard the G15 was coming out, I was sceptical (could it give us the same combination of portability, battery life, and performance as the 14-inch device? More so, could it deliver all that for less than €2,000? ). Well, what’s become evident throughout my testing is that the device isn’t simply as excellent as its 14-inch version; it’s superior. Asus and AMD have indeed done it again!
The Asus Rog Zephyrus G15 – Features
The G15’s magical ingredient is its processor. All variants are equipped with AMD’s monstrous 8-core Ryzen 9 5900HS processor. My €1,799.99 test unit includes this and an 80W version with a dynamic boost up to 100W (the latest by Nvidia). It also comes with 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. This configuration is a step up from the original model, which comes with an RTX 3060 and 512GB of storage.
There are also two RTX 3080 models: €1,999.99 with 16GB of RAM and €2,499.99 with 32GB of RAM. (I believe my test model is in the sweet spot: 512GB of storage isn’t much for a gaming laptop, and the RTX 3080 models appear to be low-clocked and don’t perform significantly better than the lower-tier alternatives.)
The G15’s 165Hz QHD display is another highlight that is shared by all variants. This year, we’re starting to see a lot of 15-inch laptops with QHD panels. As such, this marks the first year that mobile hardware manufacturers believe these devices are powerful enough to make use of them. Mobile gamers have traditionally had the choice of a 1080p or 4K display. (Not only is the latter pricey, but only a few computers can run demanding games in 4K at playable frame rates.)
So, the major question is whether or not the Zephyrus G15 can run games at QHD quality. The answer is a resounding yes! To begin, some unprocessed data: the G15 averaged 178 frames per second on CS:GO at max settings — Fires, dust particles, and other graphically intensive effects looked great. At the same max setting, Red Dead Redemption II averaged 58 frames per second. (Come on, that’s almost 60.)
You’ll also be glad to find out that ray tracing was no problem for this machine, which averaged 61 frames per second on Shadow of the Tomb Raider with ultra ray tracing and an impressive 81 frames per second with ray tracing disabled. Keep in mind that the G15 is running these at QHD resolution, which is already more demanding than standard 1080p. That said, with those frame rates, you should be able to play any game in QHD without lowering any settings.
Asus compared the G15 to MSI’s GS66 Stealth, which has an Intel Core i7-10870H and a GeForce RTX 3080 Max-Q, and found that the two laptops tied in Red Dead and were only one frame apart in Tomb Raider. The QHD GS66 model, according to MSI, costs €2,599, therefore the G15 with an RTX 3070 offers the same frame rates for €800 less. The G15 also outperformed the Razer Blade 15 Base’s QHD / RTX 3070 Intel setup (53fps on Red Dead, 46fps on Tomb Raider), which costs €400 more.
Those differentials should be self-evident. Yes, the GS66 features a 240Hz screen, however, at QHD resolution, it will be excessive for most people. As a matter of fact, if I didn’t already know where the G14 was priced last year, I would be writing to Asus to see if €1,799.99 was a typo. It’s simply a once-in-a-lifetime kind of deal.
The games all looked amazing on this screen, which has a maximum brightness of 334 nits and covers 100% of the sRGB gamut and 89% of AdobeRGB. Though it’s not the highest-refresh-rate panel available at 165Hz — Razer’s Blade 15 Advanced and MSI’s GS66 Stealth all have 240Hz QHD models — it’s still a big improvement over the Zephyrus G14’s 120Hz display.
While the G15’s picture isn’t the finest I’ve ever seen, it still looks amazing and significantly outperforms the G14’s 1080p display. The movement was fluid, with no stuttering, and the colours were vibrant. When I used the gadget outside, there was some glare, but it was still functional at maximum brightness.
• Intelligent Cooling System
While cooling on the G14 was inconsistent at times, it is excellent on this device. Two 84-blade fans and six heat pipes make up the G15’s “intelligent cooling” system. It handled all of the games I threw at it with ease, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-70s (Celsius) and never exceeding 80 degrees. That’s some of the finest cooling I’ve ever seen on a gaming laptop, especially considering it was running full-fledged AAA games at QHD quality at the time!
What’s more impressive is that the fans did so without being deafeningly loud. Whenever the system was under load, I could hear them, but it was ordinary gaming laptop noise, and I had no trouble hearing game audio. In Asus’ Armoury Crate software, you can also select the “Silent” profile. That toggle did exactly what it said it would and entirely muted the fans, without producing any heat or performance issues.
The G15’s speakers sound fantastic. That’s certainly expected given the number of speakers, which include two front-facing tweeters and force-cancelling woofers hidden beneath the palm rests. They produce crystal-clear audio with heavy bass and pounding percussion. I don’t get to say that about laptop audio very often, especially when it comes to gaming computers.
Furthermore, the G15 comes preinstalled with Dolby Access, which allows you to quickly switch between equalization presets for gaming, movies, and music. Even better, 3 microphones picked up my voice with ease. They also have pre-set options for conference calls, music recording and game streaming, as well. These features are useful, but they aren’t enough to make the G15 a viable remote work laptop because it lacks a webcam.
The G14 also lacked a camera, as Asus appears to believe that webcams aren’t required on Zephyrus devices. It’s the only serious flaw in a device that is otherwise near-perfect. It’s also strange to have such a sophisticated microphone setup but no webcam to accompany it.
• G15’s chassis
There are a few other points to mention concerning the chassis of the G15. The G15, like many other Asus laptops, includes an ErgoLift hinge that folds beneath the deck and raises the keyboard over the ground when the laptop is open. This is meant to make typing more ergonomic, but I can’t say I’ve ever noticed a difference. However, if you’re using the laptop on your lap, it digs into your legs a little.
Additionally, the G15’s hinge isn’t as sharp as some other hinges, but it’s still not my favourite sensation as a frequent couch user. The keyboard and touchpad are particularly excellent. One of my favourite keyboards of 2020 was the G14, and the G15’s is very comparable. With 1.7mm of travel, the click is pleasant to use, and the separate volume keys (a Zephyrus staple) are really useful.
The power button, which is on the top right of the keyboard deck, has a fingerprint sensor built-in. The touchpad is 5.1 x 3.4 inches, which is 20% larger than the previous G14 model. It’s so large that while I wasn’t typing, large amounts of both of my hands rested on it rather than on the palms of my hands. rests. This was inconvenient, but to the G15’s credit, it didn’t result in palm rejection. It’s also a little loud, and the click isn’t the easiest or deepest, but those are just minor quibbles – the touchpad works just fine.
• Battery Life
I have to say that it’s the G15’s battery life that has wowed me the most. This is a creature that never dies! I averaged eight hours and 32 minutes using it as my daily driver with an office workload on Asus’ Silent mode and around 200 nits of brightness. That’s just a little less than the G14, yet the G15 has a bigger, higher-resolution screen to power it.
As a result, the G15 joins its smaller sibling as one of the most long-lasting gaming laptops we’ve ever seen. Although it features a big 90Wh battery, many gaming systems with similar bricks can only last a few hours on a charge. We’ve seen some of the longest-lasting gaming laptops, and the G15 is one of them.
Of course, gaming drastically reduces the G15’s lifespan. I was able to play Red Dead for an hour and 21 minutes on a single charge. Surprisingly, the game remained playable for the majority of that time, with no stutters or performance difficulties. It wasn’t until the G15 was down to 10% with six minutes left when the game dropped below playable rates.
The 200-watt charger also charges the G15 quickly, bringing it up to 60% in 37 minutes during mild Chrome use. The G15 also supports 100W Type-C charging if you don’t want to carry that huge brick about and aren’t undertaking GPU-intensive chores.
Final Verdict: Impeccable Gaming Laptops — G15 Joins The Few
At the end of the day, there are some flaws with this device that I can point out. The lack of a webcam is particularly obnoxious. Besides this, there are several reasons why it won’t be suitable for everyone. Those searching for a higher refresh rate screen, for example, might consider the Blade 15 Advanced or the GS66.
Asus’ Strix Scar 15 may also be a better choice for those who like a more colourful look. While €1,799 is a terrific price for these specifications, those on a tighter budget should choose Lenovo’s Legion 5.
Nevertheless, practically every aspect of this laptop is great. It’s not just great, but it’s also great for hundreds of dollars cheaper than its QHD competitors. If you don’t need a 240Hz screen and are prepared to utilize an external webcam, there’s no reason to buy any other QHD laptop in the thin 15-inch class. The G15 outperforms the competition in terms of battery life, power, weight, and pricing. It is simply the best!