Asus Zephyrus G15 Review
So what happens if you take all of the ingredients that made the g14 great and morphed it into a 15 inch chassis? Well, today, we are looking at the g15 and seeing if it’s, a more compelling package over last year’s portable beast to start with the chassis is very much an evolution of the g14. You still have the perforated back panel and the clean aesthetic remains a prominent theme. However, there are a few things that have changed most, notably the led’s data. Slides, are now much bigger and can be seen even when the laptop is closed and a matrix is replaced by prismatic reflective material which changes color depending on the angle and lighting. The other significant difference is the design of the exhaust outlets. Unlike the g14, these are sculpted much more aggressively and are no longer symmetrical on both sides. The moonlight white, which i have here is also a big improvement compared to the moonlight white paint job from last year. The color tone of the keyboard, deck and lower half of the chassis are now actually a consistent white instead of a silvery finish. These are definite improvements compared to last year’s g14. However, that is as positive as it gets in this area. Firstly, the g15 is now built using a mixture of magnesium alloys and polycarbonate plastic in terms of feel, i think not. Many would be able to tell the difference in quality. However, the fit and refinement is where this thing really struggles.
Freaking sounds can easily be heard when handling the laptop, while that might not be a deal breaker for some. The fact that the same creaking sounds reoccur during typing, as different pressure points are applied to the chassis, makes it a very annoying and cheap experience for a laptop which costs upwards of two thousand dollars. That is simply not the kind of build quality and sounds you would expect to hear. But what you would want to hear is how this thing performs. The model i have here is the highest spec g15. You can get as it features the r9 5900 hs rtx. 3080 and 32 gigabytes of dual channel memory on paper. This is a beast of a laptop, but we also have to keep in mind that the rtx 3080 is capped at 80 watts, with the possibility of reaching 100 watts via dynamic boost. You only get 8 gigabytes of vram, which might be okay for most games currently, but could be a problem if your needs revolve heavily around production workloads. Nonetheless, let’s see how these specs reflect in our gaming benchmarks. Cyberpunk 2077 running at this g15’s native 1440p resolution resulted in less than stellar performances at 1080p. The story changes a fair bit. Raytracing ultra now technically becomes viable, but you will still notice large fluctuations in frames when roaming around densely populated areas. As such, i think rt medium is still the way to go for consistent and smooth experience at 1080p.
Next up we have assassin’s creed valhalla, a game which neither supports ray tracing or dlss. Here we see that at native resolution, the g15 struggles to play at the highest settings and without the help of the lss, we could only turn down the graphics to high before we really have a pleasurable gameplay. The story changes when you switch to 1080p. However, as the game becomes very much playable on ultra high preset, finally, the last game we will look at is f1 2020, arguably the least demanding and most optimized game out of the free with its well implemented edition of dlss. It easily becomes a piece of cake for the g15, even at 1440p, with the lss on max graphics. The game averages a comfortable 120 frames per second. But how does this all look behind the frames in terms of power, consumption, thermals and clock speeds? Well to test this? We are running f1 2020’s benchmark trial across albert park through a 30 minute loop. For starters, we see that cpu clock speeds fluctuate around the 4.3 gigahertz range with frequent dips and circling 3.3 gigahertz. The gpu clock speeds, on the other hand, are a lot more stable with consistency surrounding 1450 to 1500 megahertz. The small dips in clock speeds are caused by the gaps between f1 2020’s benchmark loops, so they’re not a cause for concern. Thermals are quite decent for a laptop this thin and portable, as you can expect. Cpu temps around 80 and gpu temps around 70 to 75 degrees celsius during gameplay power consumption is where things get a lot more interesting, which i’ll explain why shortly the rtx 3080 draws out around 80 watts on a consistent basis with rare surges to the 90 plus Range, the ryzen 5900 hs, on the other hand, draws out roughly 27 to 30 watts of power in game.
This is worth noting, as this year’s g15 is capable of 100 watt power delivery. So technically it has a lot more headroom in terms of gaming powered by usbc, as opposed to the g14, for example, which is only capable of 60 watt pd. This is something i’ll do a more in depth, video on so stay tuned. For my findings, if you want to know if gaming is feasible on the g15 via usbc for those that work with 3d and animation, the g15 does amazingly well in render times compared to my g14. For example, i found that, depending on the scene, the g15 is able to render at two to three times the speed. A blender render of junk shop resonated those findings with a massive 6 minute save rendering at 150 samples at 4k resolution. Both animating and gaming was also very pleasant on the g15s 1440p 165hz display. Not only do you have a higher refresh rate and a sharper display, but the response times has been dramatically improved too. The ufo test illustrates exactly what i mean connectivity is fairly decent on the g15. On the left hand, side you will find a hdmi port rj45 usb a 3.2 and 2 usb c’s, which both support power delivery and display port 1.4. The right hand, side features a kensington, lock, micro, sd card slot and another usb a 3.2. Something that is greatly overlooked. Here is the separation of the usb a ports on either side of the laptop being right handed.
It has freed up a lot of space when using a mouse and i’m really grateful asus thought about the ergonomic details here. The keyboard is also something asus seems to have heavily considered. The layout is logical and the fact that it has home and page up and down shortcuts is a great addition that i’m sure most of us would appreciate outside of gaming. Backlighting on the white models at least are unperceivable in everything other than low light situations. If rgb lighting is a must, your only option is going for a clipped grey, and this is how typing sounds just like with the keyboard. The touchpad is fantastic to use as well. It has been enlarged to six inches this year and that extra space honestly makes gestures so much more comfortable. What’S rather uncomfortable, though, is getting into the internals. Ten outer screws hold the back panel in place with the top ones longer than the bottom. There are additional three screws underneath some rubber covers, which are very finicky to extract asus recommends using a flat, headed screwdriver, but it still isn’t the easiest thing to do while trying not to scratch the paint but once open the usual upgrade. Capabilities of gaming laptops apply to the g15 there’s space for two m.2 ssds access to the battery and wi fi card, as well as a single slot for ram supporting dim. Thankfully, though, every g15 comes soldered with 16 gigabytes of ram, so you can still upgrade it to 32 gigabytes dual channel later down.
The line battery is massive at 90 watt hours, which got me around 8 hours of continuous youtube playback. What you will also find internally is a six speaker setup. The sound is surprisingly full for gaming laptop and for most people will be more than enough for casual content consumption. I personally have not experienced the speakers popping at higher volumes, but this is an issue which i’ve commonly seen reported on reddit. Nonetheless, this is how they Music sound speakers are not the only thing asus has improved on the g15, as microphones have also seen some upgrades suitably in place during the current pandemic, so the built in microphones are available with three different presets for noise cancellation. This is how my voice currently sounds with the low preset. This is how my voice sounds with the medium preset enabled, and this is how my voice sounds when i have the hind preset selected now for comparison. This is how my voice sounds with the ai noise cancellation. Completely turned off a webcam is still missing, which may be a deal breaker for some, especially during these trying times. However, i would still prefer slimmer bezels over a webcam, especially because most laptop webcams have very poor image quality anyway. What the g15 also misses is the constant fan noise that the g14 inherently had. The g15 can operate fanlessly during light workloads, which is a nice change compared to the g14, which was only capable of the same via third party apps.
Now, then, what do i really think of the g15? Well, there are definite improvements in areas that the g14 struggled last year in terms of the display and noise levels. I think the overall package is not as solid as what the g14 had brought to the table. The rtx 3080 on the g15 quite simply, is a misleading name for massively detuned variant of the rtx 3080 mobile for those unaware they could easily fall into the marketing trap without realizing the true performance behind the gpu that they are purchasing, although to be fair, this Is a problem on nvidia’s behalf, and i really appreciate that asus at least tries to make it clear to us consumers by pointing out tgps on their website for gaming. The rtx 3080 is decent, but will likely fall short of your expectations due to the desktop 3080 type, and it also doesn’t quite have enough video memory for me to confidently recommend it to professional 3d artists. Furthermore, it seems that the performance gap between the rtx 3070 version of this laptop makes the 3080 almost a useless upgrade. Most importantly, the constant creaks when handling the device detracts an otherwise beautiful laptop, which is a great shame and having spoken directly to asus chassis noise is not something that they are aware of and as such isn’t on their agenda to fix. So, unless asus addresses these quality issues, the g15 unfortunately, is a wonderful laptop that i really struggle to recommend.