ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021) review – improved cooling and better hardware

The updated version of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 has some interesting new things under the hood like AMD Zen 3 CPUs and NVIDIA Ampere GPUs. So, powerful hardware that is fitted in a shell of a compact 14-incher – it may sound exciting for a lot of you. Actually, we have a review of the first iteration of this device and it has the same hardware formula – powerful AMD CPUs with up to 8 cores and good NVIDIA GPU video card options.

The 2021 version of this device looks (almost) identical to the 2020 variant. As we said, the updates are hidden under the bonnet. In short, our device is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS – that is a strong 8-core Zen 3 processor with 16 threads and a 35W TDP. This kind of TDP sounds like a good idea given the fact that we are talking about a small gaming device that has a slim profile (ok, for that kind of laptop). In most cases, the regular 45W version of Ryzen 9 5900H may be a bit too much for this design so it looks like ASUS has done the right thing choosing the 35W variant of this Zen 3 processor.

We’ve mentioned that it’s a gaming device but in reality, this could be a good all-rounder. Sure, this notebook has a decent NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (80W) but when you want mobility it can be quickly transformed into a portable laptop with just a few clicks. All you need is the ASUS Armory Crate app (that comes preinstalled in most cases) – when you apply the Silent profile the AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (R4000/5000, 35/45W) will improve the battery life.

Overall, that’s a machine that can be altered in whatever you want – a gaming device, a portable notebook that can be used in the park, or you can take it with you in the office and it’ll do the job as well because of its powerful hardware. Just like last year’s laptop, the 2021 variant can be equipped with the fancy AniMe Matrix (this is an optional feature) that is located on the lid of the laptop and has 1215 mini LEDs that can be customized to show different info like battery life, some custom text that you like, etc.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-rog-zephyrus-g14-ga401/

Contents


Video Review


Specs Sheet

  • AUO B140QAN02.3 (AUOE68C)
  • Color accuracy  2.2  1.5
  • TL140BDXP01-0 (TMX1400)
  • Color accuracy 
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD + up to 1000GB HDD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 40GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Home, Windows 11 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Pro
  • Battery
  • 76Wh, 4-cell
  • Body material
  • Aluminum, Magnesium alloy
  • Dimensions
  • 324 x 222 x 17.9 ~ 19.9 mm (12.76" x 8.74" x 0.70")
  • Weight
  • 1.60 kg (3.5 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), DisplayPort, Sleep and Charge
  • HDMI
  • 2.0b
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.0
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5 mm combo
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2.5W, Smart AMP technology
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Lock

All ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 configurations

#CommissionsEarned

What’s in the box?

The box contains a 180W power adapter, some manuals, and the notebook itself.


Design and construction

The design of the laptop is a distinctive one. First of all, the build quality is good – the lid is made of aluminum and we have a magnesium-alloy base. The AniMe Matrix LEDs are an optional extra so if you want it just make sure that you have checked the specs of the laptop that you want to buy because the regular model comes with CNC-drilled holes on the lid. Measurements-wide, the device feels like a compact piece of hardware and it really is – it weighs 1.70 kg and the profile is 19.9mm. The less-powerful variations are a bit slimmer and lighter – 17.9mm for the profile and their weight is 1.60 kilos (note that the device we show you is part of the bigger siblings).

The lid can be easily opened with a single hand. As you’re doing it, you can spot the ErgoLift hinge that lifts the base of the laptop, providing even more fresh air for the intake fans which affects positively the performance of the cooling solution. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it’s made of aluminum, the lid isn’t very sturdy and you can observe some bends and flexes while opening it, which is definitely not good.

Well, the keyboard lacks a NumberPad section but probably we are asking too much from such a small device – accountants that like to play games after work should probably look somewhere else if this feature is mandatory. On the bright side, the keyboard has a backlight, the key travel is good and the feedback is clicky enough. This unit is good for both typing and gaming and its only downside are the small Arrow keys.

We are happy to see the four dedicated buttons placed on the upper section of the keyboard. These keys can be used for quick access to volume, microphone (on/off), and for starting the ROG Armory Crate. Some models come with a fingerprint reader that is part of the Power On/Off button. This ASUS laptop lacks a Web cam that certainly leads to a safer Web browsing experience but unfortunately if you need a camera you have to buy a separate 3rd party unit. We like the fact that this laptop isn’t a fingerprint magnet.

Now, the touchpad has a good gliding surface, and that results in easy finger sliding and in addition, the feedback is accurate as well.

Last but not least, we’ll check the bottom of the laptop – it has four ventilation grills that are smartly placed under the SODIMMs, the M.2 placement, and (what a surprise) the cooling fans. Because of the small shell of the notebook, it’s exhausting the hot air through four vents – two of them are blowing hot air in front of the “chin” below the display (not a great idea actually, the panel area beneath the display gets hot during gaming) and the other two are side-placed. The sound department is represented by four speakers and two of them are rated at 0.7W while the other two have a 2.5W of power.

Ports

On the left side of the laptop, we can spot an HDMI 2.0b connector, a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 2) port that has Power Delivery and DisplayPort 1.4 capabilities, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The right side has a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) ports and a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 2) port.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

For removing the bottom plate, you have to unscrew 14 Phillips-head screws that are holding the plate to the base. In reality, it’s not a hard process at all – just remove the screws and the bottom plate isn’t too hard to be popped up. You can use whatever you have around you – a pry tool, credit/debit card, or something similar.

The cooling solution looks promising. It has 4 heat pipes in total (and of course, two cooling fans) – three pipes are shared for cooling the CPU and the GPU while the other one is solely dedicated to the memory modules and the VRAMs as well. This cooling is a bit different compared to the 2020 device that has five heat pipes but it seems that the new unit is doing a better job (check the temperature results at the end of this review).

When it comes to upgradability, the laptop comes with a single stick of soldered 8GB/16GB DDR4 RAM but at least there is one free SODIMM slot it can handle another 8GB or 16GB memory module. The maximum possible memory configuration in dual-channel mode is 32GB of DDR4 3200 MHz RAM. In terms of storage, there is a single M.2 PCIe x4 drive and of course, you can upgrade it to something that has a bigger capacity (in our case we have a 1TB drive). Sadly, there is no other slot for NVMe SSD or a regular SATA port.

A 76Wh battery unit is a bit of a pleasant surprise for such a small shell – we’ll discuss that further in the battery section.


Display quality

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021)’s display has a QHD IPS panel, model number TL140BDXP01-0 (TMX1400). Its diagonal is 14″ (35.5 cm), and the resolution – 2560 х 1440. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 209 ppi, their pitch – 0.12 x 0.12 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 41 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels and is excellent for a laptop).

It has good viewing angles. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 348 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 327 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 15%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 7100K (average) – colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.

In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 51% Brightness (White level = 142 cd/m2, Black level = 0.13 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is decent – 1050:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 100% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 12 ms.


Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021)’s display is a PWM-free unit. This means it’s suitable for prolonged periods of usage.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusions

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021)’s display has an IPS panel with high resolution (1440p), decent contrast ratio, good viewing angles, and full coverage (100%) of the sRGB color gamut. In addition, the backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level, and the color reproduction is definitely accurate. The average dE of the default settings is around 3.3, so you can get our Gaming and Web design profile, which improves the value to 2.1.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021) configurations with 14.0″ TL140BDXP01-0 (TMX1400) (QHD, 2560 × 1440) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

The sound quality of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 (2021) is loud and crisp. Moreover, the low, mid, and high tones are clear.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://rog.asus.com/us/laptops/rog-zephyrus/2021-rog-zephyrus-g14-series/helpdesk

CPU options

As far as we know, the 2021 version of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 can be picked with AMD Ryzen 5900HS and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (80W) only. It seems that the new variant can be ordered with the best possible hardware for this model and if you want something not-so-powerful, you can check the 2020 model that can be ordered with different Zen 2 CPUs and previous-gen NVIDIA video cards.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

Once again, the only GPU variant is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 (80W) which isn’t a bad thing – this graphics card is a good mid-ranger.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 GA401 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests (internal display)

Metro Exodus Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Extreme (Check settings)
GeForce RTX 3060 (80W) 111 fps 59 fps 29 fps

Gears 5 Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
GeForce RTX 3060 (80W) 146 fps 104 fps 89 fps 71 fps

 

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey Full HD, Low (Check settings) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra High (Check settings)
GeForce RTX 3060 (80W) 97 fps 87 fps 71 fps 48 fps

Gaming tests (external display)