ASUS have just gone crazy this year by updating pretty much their entire gaming laptop lineup with some nice changes, and they’ve also got a brand new model too. They’ve already actually sent me most of the models so we can get a closer look at all of them. Let’s start out with the Zephyrus G14. Now at first glance I could forgive you for thinking that it’s the same laptop, but the changes are actually quite significant. This year the G14 goes full AMD, with up to Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and Radeon RX 6800S graphics, and this means it’s now using AMD’s SmartShift, similar to Nvidia’s dynamic boost.
There’s now liquid metal on both the CPU and GPU, last year it was CPU only, and it’s now got a vapor chamber cooler. This combination means the newer model can run with higher power limits for even more performance.
Ryzen 6000 also means faster PCIe Gen 4 storage, which wasn’t available last gen, and of course new DDR5 memory. The G14 still only has room for one SODIMM memory slot, so there’s some room for upgradeability, but up to 16 gigs will still be soldered to the motherboard. Now I’m sure some of you will still complain about the upgradeability with the G14, and hey I kind of get it, more upgradeability is certainly always better. But at the same time it is still the most upgradeable 14” gaming laptop that you can currently get. Both Razer’s Blade 14 and Alienware’s newly announced x14 have soldered memory, so while not perfect I think it is an advantage that the G14 does still have one SODIMM slot. Otherwise inside we’ve still got the same 76Wh battery down the front as last gen, single M.2 slot, as mentioned, faster Gen 4 now, and the Wi-Fi card under the SSD has been upgraded to the latest 6E. The G14 also gets a MUX switch this year, allowing us to disable optimus for a speed boost in games. This is a good move because Razer added a MUX switch to their Blade 14 this year too, and new Alienware’s x14 has one too, both of which are G14 competitors.
The 14” screen has also moved to a 16:10 aspect ratio, so smaller bottom chin area and more viewable display space. It’s still available with either 1440p 120Hz or 1080p 144Hz options, but apparently the response times have dropped to 3ms and brightness has increased thanks to these new sized panels. There’s just so much change here, you’re definitely going to want to make sure that you’re subscribed for my upcoming benchmarks and full reviews. The screen change to 16:10 also means there’s no longer the V shape cut out underneath it, which was there to let air go under the lid, but apparently ASUS didn’t find that to help too much so it was removed in favor of the bigger 16:10 screen.
Hot air still exhausts below the screen, though the vents are angled out to the sides to reduce hot air blasting the screen. Despite the larger screen, they’ve still managed to finally fit in a camera above the screen. I knew they could do it, and it’s got IR for Windows Hello face unlock too. The front facing tweeters have been moved towards the back to avoid the possibility of your hands covering them, which wouldn’t sound as good, and the touchpad is now 50% larger and takes up pretty much all available space. The clicks still feel nice, but this is an early unit.
Last year the interior of the white model was silver, this year it’s actually white too, and the keys have a single zone of RGB backlighting rather than just being white, so it can be a bit easier to see the key lettering in a well lit room depending on your color choice, but of course still not as good as lighting off, regardless this is an improvement. The G14 is still available with and without the animated lid, but there are some improvements to the lid lighting this year.
There are now 19% more LED lights and more than twice as many holes which are now thinner. Basically more light shining through more holes just makes it look clearer, images are essentially higher resolution now. All of these improvements and the new G14 actually ends up being slightly thinner and not as wide as last gen with weight being about the same. The depth is slightly bigger to accommodate the taller 16:10 screen, but this just means we get a little extra palm rest space, and I suspect this also helps fit the larger touchpad.
The ports are only a little different. The left hand side is essentially the same as last gen, then the right still has the same ports too, but this year’s G14 manages to fit in a UHS-II MicroSD card slot for creators, though the Kensington lock at the back appears to be gone, but again this is an early unit. So some really interesting updates with the G14 that I can’t wait to test out for you. Let’s take a look at the larger and more powerful Zephyrus Duo 16 next, then after the rest of the Zephyrus series we’ll look at Strix followed by TUF.
The Duo is the one with the secondary touch screen below the main screen, and you might have noticed that I said Duo 16 rather than 15. This is because the main screen is now 16 inches with a 16:10 aspect ratio, so more vertical space, and this further helps close the visual gap between it and the lower secondary display. The lower screen has also been updated so that when you open the lid it now slides back as well as raises up, it didn’t move back before. This allows it to get closer to the main screen and again reduces the visible gap between them for more immersion. 16 inch screens are of course nothing new, but check out these panel options. There are 1440p 165Hz miniLED or IPS options, but also the first adjustable refresh rate panel I’ve ever seen. Normally a laptop screen can only run up to one refresh rate regardless of the resolution, but this one has two.
You can either run it at 4K 120Hz, or if you want it faster in games but at the expense of a lower resolution you can actually lower it down to 1080p 240Hz. I think the reason that it can’t do 4K 240Hz is because that would require a ton of bandwidth and it just doesn’t have enough, and of course we’d also actually need hardware powerful enough capable of running games at 4K above 200 FPS to benefit anyway. Regardless, 4K 120Hz for creators with the option to turn down to 1080p 240Hz when it’s time for some games sounds like a great combination to me.
Another simple change is the addition of a camera above the screen, something that wasn’t there before, and it’s got IR for Windows Hello face unlock. Now given air comes in below that second screen, I asked ASUS if moving the screen back would reduce airflow, and was basically told no because the air comes in through the sides primarily. In fact ASUS actually said airflow was improved by 10% because they increased the height of the fans by just 0.7mm.
Not to mention it’s still got liquid metal on the CPU just like last gen.
All these cool details and we haven’t even made it to the specs yet! The Duo 16 also gets upgraded to AMD’s Ryzen 6000 processors, right up to the Ryzen 9 6980HX. This also means the two M.2 slots can now benefit from faster PCIe Gen 4 storage. This model also gets a MUX switch with up to Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics, and it’s using new DDR5-4800 memory. ASUS also mentioned that all of these cooling improvements allow them to run with higher power limits than before. So in combination with that new hardware it sounds like this year’s Duo 16 is going to be quite a beast! I believe last year the Duo 15 had an RTX 3080 with a 115 watt power limit but it could boost up to 130 watts with dynamic boost.
This year the power limit is 135 watts and then 15 watts on top of that with dynamic boost, so 150 total. The biggest performance gains will probably come from the RGB lighting that’s been added to the front just below the second screen though. The touchpad is also a little bigger, though there’s only so much you can do there with this sort of design. Keyboard travel has also increased from 1.5 to 1.7mm, so in theory a nicer typing experience.
Now there’s also the popular Zephyrus G15 and Zephyrus M16 gaming laptops, but unfortunately we haven’t been provided with any details about these at CES. However I have asked about them and was told that both models will be getting a MUX switch along with new processors and new GPUs, so no big changes but that still sounds like a pretty decent refresh. Oh and apparently the same goes for the smaller Flow X13 too, so new CPUs and GPUs plus MUX switch there as well. Alright now with the Zephyrus lineup covered let’s talk about Strix! The ROG Strix Scar is another early model I’ve already got here. Unlike the previous machines, this one is based on Intel’s 12th gen Core processors with up to i9-12900H, so a 14 core 20 thread part, with up to Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics. Unlike the Ryzen version of the Scar I reviewed last year, this 2022 version also gets a MUX switch, and the new CPU also means DDR5-4800 memory too, fast PCIe Gen 4 storage and the latest Wi-Fi 6E. For the screen we’re looking at 1440p 165Hz or 240Hz, as well as 1080p 300Hz or 360Hz on the larger 17” model.
Unlike other ASUS models this year, the Scar seems to be the only one still lacking a camera above the screen. I’ve been told that they had very few requests for a camera in the strix series, and it’s one of the few chassis designs that isn’t new for 2022, so maybe we’ll see it in a future redesign. The arrow keys this year are a little smaller, but the tradeoff seems to be that the right shift is larger compared to last gen.
The interior is slightly different, still translucent on the top right so you can see some of the internals, but now there’s a stripe separating it. Apparently the rubber feet underneath are improved, I don’t recall issues last year, but yeah it was difficult to intentionally slide it on my desk. Perhaps most importantly of all, the Scar still has the RGB light bar along the front and some of the left and right sides for maximum FPS in games. Unfortunately the light bar still requires the bottom panel to be attached to the motherboard with two ribbon cables.
I was kind of hoping that this would change because people have told me that when they open their Scar laptop they’ve broken the cables just by pulling off the panel and not being aware of those cables.
I mean even after writing that part into the script I still took this laptop into this room earlier today and pulled off the panel and completely forgot about them myself, so yeah it just goes to show that I don’t think it’s a great design. I think a design similar to say MSI’s GE76 where the lightbar is part of the main chassis would solve this.
But yeah again as mentioned it seems like ASUS didn’t do a redesign of the Scar chassis this year, so maybe next year? Inside the Scar there’s a 90Wh battery down the front, two PCIe Gen 4 M.2 storage slots above on the left with Wi-Fi 6E card underneath the installed SSD, and two DDR5 memory slots in the middle.
This is just an early sample, so ignore that there’s only one stick of memory. The ports on both the left and right hand sides are the same when compared to last gen, while the back is slightly different. This year’s newer model has two Type-C ports, one being Thunderbolt 4, instead of one Type-C and one Type-A like last year.
Even the lower Strix G series now gets a MUX switch, and have also been updated to the latest generation of AMD CPUs and Nvidia GPUs. These days the Strix and Scar are mostly the same, just that this generation Strix G is AMD while the scar is Intel, that’s the major difference according to ASUS. At the top end maxed out we’re looking at Ryzen 9 6900HX processor and up to Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti graphics with a 150 watt power limit, so higher power limits compared to last gen here as well. This includes the dynamic boost range of 15 watts or so, but still, not bad at all. Again we’re also now able to get faster PCIe Gen 4 storage and DDR5-4800 RAM with the new Ryzen 6000 processors. Now despite there being new Ryzen 6000 processors and Radeon graphics this year from AMD, unfortunately at this time there are no updates to the Strix G15 Advantage Edition. I’m not sure why that’s the case, but maybe later? Alright let’s get into the TUF series next, which is meant to be their more budget friendly options.
Despite that, ASUS are still going all in on the MUX switch by adding it to their TUF models too. The ASUS TUF A15 has been refreshed with AMD Ryzen 7 6800H processor and DDR5 memory, so faster PCIe Gen 4 storage here too. Unfortunately I don’t have the new TUF A15 here, but I do have the new F15 and the new Dash F15. The TUF F15 is more or less the same laptop as the A15, but Intel based instead of AMD, so this one has a new 12th gen i7-12700H 14 core processor and Thunderbolt 4, again with MUX switch too. It’s really great that these sorts of features aren’t just found in higher end models, but hopefully it doesn’t increase the cost too much. I never had the F15 last year, but on this year’s model the lid logo on the aluminum finish extrudes out a little, and based on pictures of last year’s model, this year’s arrow keys are smaller and the touchpad does away with physical left and right click buttons in favor of a larger press anywhere design.
I/O is a little different too, the right still has one USB Type-A port, and air exhaust and Kensington lock, while the left side has the power input, ethernet port, HDMI, two Type-C ports, a USB Type-A port and 3.5mm audio combo jack right down the front. We’ve also got air intake vents directly above the fans. Inside we’ve got a 90Wh battery down the front, two PCIe Gen 4 M.2 storage slots above on the left and right, with the Wi-Fi 6E card underneath the SSD on the left, and two DDR5 memory slots towards the center. Now separate to the F15 that we just went through I’ve also got the Dash F15, so not confusing at all.. But they are different machines, last year the TUF Dash F15 had a quad core processor that I didn’t review too well. The Dash F15 has a smooth lid unlike the F15, and the Dash is also slightly thinner. This is probably why it’s listed with a 10 core 16 thread i7-12650H processor at best, less than others we’ve covered so far, but still far better than the 4 core 8 thread version of last year.
I mean just think about it, now the Dash F15 has the same 16 thread count as what we’d see in a best case top end gaming laptop from last generation thanks to Intel’s hybrid P and E core architecture. GPU power limits are also boosted, apparently up to 105 watts, higher than the 85 watts I measured with last year’s 3070 model. Anyway the Dash F15 also gets a MUX switch, so that’ll help boost performance too, a 27% larger touchpad, and the keyboard also squeezes in a numpad on the right this year, something last year’s was missing. Like most of the previous new ASUS models this year, there’s a camera above the screen – something that was also missing from last year’s model. Ports are a little different too, similar kind of layout but this year’s newer model adds in a second Type-C port on the left while keeping everything else. The right is missing a Type-A port though, just one compared to two on last year’s Dash F15, but I guess it makes sense that we start transitioning to mostly type-c instead of type-a in future.
Again there are air intake vents directly over the fans on this one. Inside the dash f15 has a smaller 76Wh battery down the front, but then otherwise a similar sort of layout with two PCIe 4 M.2 storage slots above on the left and right with Wi-Fi 6E card under the left SSD, and two DDR5 memory slots in the middle. So definitely some welcome improvements when it comes to the TUF options. Alright, so all of those previous models that we just went through are refreshes of designs that ASUS has already had, but they also have a brand new model this year, the Z13, which is a 13 inch portable tablet design. So kind of similar to the Flow X13 from last year but that was more of a 2-in-1 device. Now there’s a lot of detail that I want to get into for the Z13, so I’ll be covering that in an upcoming dedicated video.
So the key things that ASUS has basically done this year is add the MUX switch to everything, they brought the camera back to everything except the Scar, and something I don’t think I mentioned yet is the HDMI ports now connect directly to the discrete graphics rather than the integrated graphics, so you’ll get a speed boost in games by connecting to a TV or external screen. Oh and I should also note that undervolting in 12th gen is also possible through the BIOS, and ASUS told me that they planned on keeping that functionality, so that’s great to see. Based on what I’ve seen so far it really seems like ASUS have made a lot of nice changes this year. A lot of the improvements address common concerns that you guys have had about these laptops, but of course I still actually need to get them in for testing and review, so make sure you’re subscribed for all of that upcoming content. We don’t just take the word of marketing slides around here. For now you can see what other new gaming laptops are coming out in 2022 with the rest of my CES coverage over here, so I’ll see you in one of those videos next..