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The Asus Zephyrus G15 gaming laptop trades straight-line performance for a well-built, thin-and-light chassis, though its lack of a webcam is a downer. Brush Cutter Parts
RTX 3060 struggles for 1440p gaming
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The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 is the opposite of a huge, hulking gaming laptop. Subdued looks and a thin, lightweight design help make it one of the most portable 15.6-inch gaming laptops, and it has all-day battery life to match. It’s the textbook definition of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Of course, there’s no free lunch. Though the $1,499.99 model ($1,249 on sale as of this writing) we tested has a formidable AMD Ryzen 9 processor and GeForce RTX 3060 graphics, it still fell short of the admittedly bulkier competition in straight-line performance. The trade-off can nonetheless be worthwhile, especially if you’re after a more mature laptop that doesn’t sacrifice practicality.
You won’t find any flashy design cues or external RGB light strips on the Zephyrus G15. Though it’s part of Asus’ Republic of Gamers (ROG) line, this 15.6-incher shifts some of its focus from performance to portability and premium materials.
The eclipse gray chassis has a metal lid and palm rest surround; only the bottom panel is plastic. The metal is thick and part of the laptop’s structure. None of the chassis’ surfaces flexed despite my best efforts. This is one strong, well-made laptop. The similarly-priced MSI Sword 15 is all plastic.
Design-wise, though, the Zephyrus isn’t much to look at. Its rounded corners and monotone color don’t move the excitement slider very far. The only time this laptop catches the eye is when its lid is in sunlight or intense lighting. A prismatic film catches light and shines through 8,279 tiny holes for a rainbow-like effect. This looks fabulous in person; photos don’t capture the full effect.
The display hinge is also notable. It not only lets the lid tilt back 180 degrees, but also lifts the back of the chassis for improved airflow and so the keyboard slopes towards you. Asus calls it an ErgoLift hinge, and that seems accurate.
At 13.98 x 9.57 x 0.78 inches and 4.19 pounds, the Zephyrus G15 is noticeably trimmer and lighter than the Alienware m15 R7 (14.02 x 10.73 x 0.94 inches, 5.53 pounds), the MSI Sword 15 (14.13 x 10.20 x 0.98 inches, 4.96 pounds), and especially the Asus ROG Strix G15 (13.94 x 10.2 x 1.07 inches / 6.61 pounds). The Razer Blade 15 (2022) has slightly less depth but is a touch heavier. (It’s 13.98 x 9.25 x 0.67 inches and 4.4 pounds.) All told, the Zephyrus is one impressively portable 15.6-inch gaming laptop.
The Zephyrus G15’s port selection starts on the left, with HDMI 2.0b, Gigabit Ethernet, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a pair of USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports, and a 3.5 mm audio combo jack. The USB-C ports both support DisplayPort and 100-watt power delivery, so they could be used to charge the Zephyrus in case you forget the included barrel-style adapter. (That said, they can’t supply this laptop’s power needs for gaming.)
I don’t like how these ports are bunched against the front corner, close to the palm rest. Leftie mouse users might have some problems with plugged-in peripherals jutting into your external-mouse space.
The remaining connectivity is on the right edge, where you’ll find another USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a MicroSD card reader, and a Kensington lock slot. There are no USB 4 or Thunderbolt 4 ports, though they aren’t typically found on gaming notebooks south of $1,500. (Especially AMD models.)
There are no ports on the front, and nothing on the rear, either, though you can see the formidable-looking cooling vents. These direct air at the display hinge, which then travels up the lid.
Internally, the Zephyrus’ MediaTek MT7921 wireless card supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, not the newer Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 standards, though it should offer plenty of bandwidth. Overall, this laptop has versatile, practical connectivity.
Our Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA503QM-BS94Q review model has an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 graphics, and 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM. The RTX 3060 has 6GB of dedicated GDDR6 memory, a maximum graphics power rating of 95 watts and a 1,425MHz boost clock.
Playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II on the Zephyrus G15, the game recommended a mix of Normal and High settings at a 2560 x 1440 resolution with Nvidia DLSS enabled. I saw frame rates between 80 and 100 frames per second, with occasional dips into the 50 to 60 fps range in heavy smoke or dust. Overall, though, the game played very smoothly. I didn’t experience any performance problems that affected my gameplay.
Saw Trimmer Line I had a similar experience playing Star Wars Squadrons. This game isn’t challenging to run; I observed frame rates between 120 and 130 fps at 2560 x 1440 with Ultra settings. The Zephyrus maintained above 100 fps even during intense head-on passes with lots of explosions and while maneuvering through debris fields. It was smooth sailing.