ASUS is offering one of the most exciting gaming notebooks of 2021! This is primarily due to the combination of a powerful AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU and GPU from the Nvidia RTX 30X0 series. The Zephyrus G15 is comparatively slim and compact! Even the battery life should be decent thanks to the 90Wh battery.
The Zephyrus G15 a dream for every gamer who places a certain value on portability, especially since the notebook is not even too expensive. The only question is what compromises did ASUS have to make for the slim design? Are there any problems or is the Zephyrus G15 really the world class notebook it wants to be? Let’s find out in the Review!
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 is a pleasantly small and “compact” notebook considering its Performance. This is just 19.9mm thick and weighs 1.9KG! This makes the Zephyrus G15 smaller than a Razer Blade 15. Impressive!
Fortunately, the Quality of the notebook is good! No, we are not yet on the level of an Alienware notebook, which looks even more massive, but the G15 is not a cheap plastic bomber either. But on the contrary! The base of the notebook is made of aluminum, which gives the notebook a certain stability and value.
In terms of design, the G15 is relatively simple. Only the lid of the notebook has an interesting hole structure, which reflects light in rainbow colors. This sounds “interesting” at first, but looks chic in practice.
In terms of connections, we have:
- 2x USB A 3.1
- 2x USB C 3.1
- 1x HDMI 2.0
- 1x Gbit LAN
- 1x 3.5mm headset plug
- 1x microSD card reader
The port equipment of the Zephyrus G15 looks quite neat. Unfortunately we don’t have a Thunderbolt (not to be expected with an AMD computer either) and no large card reader. Apart from that, I have nothing to complain about.
But that’s not entirely true, because the ports on the G15 are very close to the front of the notebook so that the air outlets can be further back. This bothers me a bit, as cables can get in the way of the mouse.
My Zephyrus G15 has a 15.6 inch display with a 2K resolution! This is a special feature, but the 2K display also has 165Hz!
The G15 strikes a successful balancing act between a fast, but less sharp Full HD panel and a sharp, but power-hungry 4K panel.
Even if there were 4K panels in notebooks with more than 60Hz, even an RTX 3080 would hardly be able to provide more than 60 FPS in modern games. So, in theory, the 165Hz 2K display is a great choice!
The display can also score with great sharpness in practice. Subjectively, the colors are not as saturated as, for example, on my Dell XPS 17, but this is largely due to the matte coating.No, the Zephyrus G15 certainly doesn’t have the best display ever, but of the high refresh rate panels I’ve seen so far, this is clearly one of the best.
In my experience, speakers are only a limited strength of ASUS. The speakers in the Zephyrus G15 are the best I’ve heard in an ASUS notebook!
These are pleasingly full and valuable. The maximum volume is not gigantic, but okay. However, we are not yet at the level of the Dell XPS or Apple MacBook Pros! But there is a little lack of clarity and brilliance.
In short, good speakers, but not the “very best” either.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard in the G15 is okay. ASUS did not experiment with the key mechanism, which I welcome! We have a very classic “ chiclet” keyboard in front of us. This has also been implemented well so far. The keys feel stable and valuable. The keyboard deck also doesn’t give in when typing.
If I had anything to complain about, it would be the layout and key size. These are a bit narrower than on my Dell XPS, which takes a bit of getting used to.The layout isn’t quite perfect either. The Enter key is only halfway up and the F keys are shifted a bit, which takes some getting used to. The Touchpad is good, there isn’t much more to say. This corresponds to the expectations I have for a notebook in 2021.
The TDP is the Zephyrus G15’s problem! TDP stands for Thermal Design Power , which means stupidly translated for the amount of energy your CPU / GPU can absorb.
More power consumption = more cycle = more power = more load on the voltage converters and the cooling structure
ASUS has reduced the TDP of the Zephyrus G15 for both the CPU and the GPU and thus effectively throttled the built-in components!
- CPU – AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS (also with the Ryzen 9) TDP = 35W , 45W would be normal
- GPU – Nvidia RTX 3080 (also in the smaller versions) TDP = 80W
You can get the RTX 3080 with a TDP range from 80W to 150W. The RTX 3080 with 150W will have a good 50% more power compared to the 80W version. I can’t tell you exactly at the moment due to the lack of a notebook with the “full” RTX 3080.
An RTX 3080 can have massive performance differences depending on the notebook! The smallest version of the RTX 3080 is installed in the Zephyrus G15.
Processor and Performance
The Cpu of the Zephyrus G15 is an AMD 5000 generation processor. I would advise you to use the Ryzen 7, the Ryzen 9 will usually not be worth the extra chargefor 0.2GHz base clock. Both the Ryzen 7 and the Ryzen 9 have 8 cores or 16 threads. On the GPU side, there is the G16 with RTX 3060, 3070 and 3080.
At Full HD resolution (apart from cyberpunk with ray tracing) the Zephyrus G15 can exceed the 60 FPS limit in every tested game. This even applies to very performance-hungry titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or Cyberpunk 2077.
At 2K resolution, we can easily achieve 40 FPS + and in most titles still 60+. I haven’t tested e-sports titles like Overwatch or CS GO, but 100+ FPS are clearly to be expected here.
The gaming performance of the G15 can of course be classified as very good, but if you expect a huge leap from the RTX 20X0 generation, then you might be a little disappointed. The frame rates are good, but not absolutely outstanding either, even compared to the desktop RTX 3080.
On the SSD side, ASUS has installed an SK Hynix BC711 “HFM001TD3JX013N”. This is a current PCIe SSD, which interestingly only consists of a memory chip with an integrated controller.
The WLAN card is also extremely exotic. The MediaTek MT7921 WLAN card is built into the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15. I had never heard of the existence of the MediaTek MT7921 before this test, as 99.9% of all current notebooks rely on the Intel AX200 (201).
The MediaTek MT7921 is also a WLAN 6 card, with a 2 × 2 design and apparently up to 1204 Mbit. The 160Hz channel width is apparently not supported, or it did not work in combination with my WLAN 6 router.
This means that the MediaTek MT7921 is, in theory, slower than the Intel AX200 . In practice, however, the card worked well under Windows . There were no dropouts or similar problems.
The Zephyrus G15 has a 90 Wh battery, which is nice and big in itself. However, how good the runtime is depends more on the hardware optimization. The first AMD Ryzen notebooks were not as good here, but this has apparently changed!
The battery life of the Zephyrus G15 is great! With normal web surfing, I was able to achieve a running time of 6.5-8 hours! When watching videos, we scratch the 10 hour limit.
Of course you put the notebook under load, then the battery literally melts. We’re talking about runtimes in the 1-1.5 hour range.
Interestingly, the Zephyrus G15 can be charged via USB C. You can also charge this on the go with a suitable power bank with up to 100W. When gaming, however, you have to use the original charger, which is a bit more powerful at 200W.