The Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG) division introduced a number of new gaming laptops and desktops at CES 2020. The company presents numerous outstanding designs and ideas. These game-centric PCs emphasize the look and of course there is a lot of gambling, but the company promises that every new product has been carefully considered and that it will reflect the evolution of the gaming market and laptops in general.
Before CES 2020, Gadgets 360 was able to spend some time pre-producing two of these devices, the ROG Zephyrus G14 and the TUF Gaming A15. Here you will find everything you want to know about Asus' products and strategy.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 first impressions
The highlight is of course the brand new ROG Zephyrus G14, a compact gaming notebook with a unique AniMe LED light show on the lid. This feature is optional and we couldn't see it in action on our prototype. However, we have a good idea of how it will work. First of all, there is the device itself.
Asus simplifies its naming scheme so that the ROG Zephyrus G14 is the new public name for the GA401 – however, this model number is still used in some places. The device is actually designed to look like a sober, professional laptop if you don't show off, and it really looks like it could fit anywhere. It doesn't blend in with the background, but it doesn't scream "cheesy gamer" with red lighting and aggressive accents. Even the ROG logo is relatively subtle.
Everything that goes out the window when you turn on the AniMe display. This is a grid of 1,125 tiny mini LEDs that can be controlled individually and are visible through a precisely cut grid. The LEDs are white, not RGB, but you get 256 levels of brightness that open up a whole world of animation possibilities.
Buyers get software that enables them to create animations quickly and easily by simply importing a GIF file. You can also create a frame by frame or just enter text and select effects. The visualizations can react to music or game events and display information such as notifications or the time.
Of course, we asked Asus what impact this has on heat development, battery life and, above all, costs. If you want this feature, the device is 2mm thicker and a little heavier and we don't know the price difference yet. Company officials admitted that operating a very heavy battery would affect battery life, but indicated that some precautions were taken, such as: We also asked if there would be third party integrations or a way to develop and share animation profiles that the company didn't want to comment on.
The other big news is that Asus has opted for the 4 just announcedth Gen AMD Ryzen's mobile APU, however, has taken this step further by adapting it to operate with a 35 W TDP rather than the standard 45 W TDP. Asus informed us that this version of the new Ryzen APUs will be exclusive to Asus products for some time and that the two companies worked together to develop it specifically for the slim Zephyrus G14.
We don't have a lot of details about the CPU yet, but it's a 7nm part based on the Zen 2 architecture with up to eight cores and 16 threads. According to Asus, this is more than enough not only for games, but also for professional workloads, and the company believes that this model has a wide appeal beyond the usual game market.
We also don't know what the configuration options will look like when the ROG Zephyrus G14 comes to India, but the device can handle an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 GPU, 32 GB DDR4 RAM and a 1 TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. There will also be display options – you can choose a 1920×1080 120Hz panel for gamers or a 2560×1440 60Hz option that is more geared towards content creation. Both are Pantone certified and support AMD FreeSync (which works with the discrete Nvidia GPU).
The battery can be charged on the go with the included 180 W adapter or a 65 W USB Type-C charger. There is also Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5 and four speakers, but no webcam. A nice feature is the power button with integrated fingerprint sensor. You only have to touch it once when you turn on the system, and it can cache your fingerprint and automatically pass it to Windows a few seconds later.
Cooling is crucial for such a small notebook. According to Asus, it can manage CPU and GPU temperatures dynamically, so one pays off for the other. There's also an ErgoLift hinge that improves airflow, special slim fans designed to minimize noise, and a precise air duct design.
The ROG Zephyrus G14 will only weigh 1.6 kg and the version without the AniMe array will be 179 mm thin, which means that the version with it still has a hair under 200 mm. Asus also promises a comfortable keyboard with 1.7 mm key travel in this tiny case. Original-size USB Type A and HDMI ports are on the sides.
Asus TUF Gaming A15 first impressions
The second model we spent some time with was the new TUF A15 series, also known as TUF FX506, which will replace the current FX505 model. This model will also be equipped with AMD 4th Gen Ryzen mobile processors, but an equivalent TUF F15 model to be launched later this year will have 10 processorsth Gen Intel Core CPUs. There will be A17 and F17 models with larger screens. This series is aimed at beginners who still want functions and flexibility.
Asus will also have stylistic options – there is the subtle Fortress Gray option with a simple structure or the more aggressive Bonfire Black with its more gamer-like lines and accents. However, both have a large, distinctive TUF logo in the middle of the lid. Asus could choose to offer different specifications for the two versions.
In terms of design, there is a new cooling system with self-cleaning air ducts and fans. A feature that we liked very much was the easy access to hardware, in this case two SO-DIMM RAM slots, two M.2 slots for SSDs and a 2.5 mm drive bay. Asus is proud of its keyboard, which has a spacious layout with large and separate arrow keys and a full number pad. The keyboard has RGB backlighting, but it is in a zone. The trackpad also has separate physical buttons to respond to user feedback.
In terms of specifications, we have up to 8 cores and 16 threads on the unnamed 4th Gen Ryzen mobile processor and up to a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. You can display up to 144 Hz with the 15.6-inch model and up to 120 Hz with the 17.3-inch version. Both support FreeSync. The display has narrow edges, but there is a slight dent on the top of this model for a webcam.
SSD, HDD and RAM vary depending on the country and variant. However, Asus is also considering offering two different battery capacities. There could be a standard 48 Wh battery like the current model, as well as a larger 90 Wh option – the larger one would mean sacrificing the 2.5 inch drive bay, but two SSD slots should be enough.
Asus has not yet decided whether the two different lid surfaces match the two different battery types and should target different target groups. It is also not clear how many variants the company will end up taking into account the number of possible combinations of cover, battery, CPU, GPU, screen, RAM and storage capacity / type. This could become confusing in the market. You'll get more information when the TUF Gaming A15 and its siblings hit the market in India in a few months.
The prices of both models are not yet known to us, but buyers in India can expect the ROG Zephyrus G14 and the TUF Gaming A15 and A17 to be launched in the first half of 2020. Asus will also launch the new ROG Strix gaming desktops, an updated ROG Zephyrus 15 laptop, and many other peripherals and accessories. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for more news, Indian pricing, and extensive reviews throughout 2020.
Disclosure: Asus sponsored the correspondent's flights to New Delhi for the pre-CES briefing
Will OnePlus Concept One be the most exciting announcement at CES 2020? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just click the play button below.