ASUS' gaming laptops have caught up to the work-from-home era. The PC maker has unveiled its ROG laptop line for early 2022, and the centerpiece for many is likely an updated Zephyrus G14 (shown above) that finally, finally includes a webcam — one with Windows Hello-friendly infrared, no less. ASUS told Engadget gamers didn't mind the absence of a camera in the past, but a combination of shrinking panels and smaller cameras made the inclusion possible. Whatever the reasoning, this will be welcome for anyone who had to forego the G14 (or buy an external webcam) to participate in virtual classrooms and meetings.
There are plenty of performance-related upgrades, of course. The reworked Zephryus G14 uses AMD's new Ryzen 6000-series chips (up to the Ryzen 9 6900HS), a maximum 32GB of DDR5 memory and dedicated Radeon graphics up to the RX 6800S — with increased GPU thermal design power (from 65W to 100W). Cooling has improved, too, thanks to a new vapor chamber, liquid metal on the CPU and GPU, a dust filter and higher-airflow fans.
The overall display bezels are slimmer, but interestingly, ASUS has now opted for a 16:10 panel here, with the bonus being a faster 3ms response time plus a maximum brightness of 500 nits. You'll also find a 50 percent larger trackpad and a flashier mini-LED lid with 19 percent more lights and smoother animations. It's too soon to say if the G14 will match ASUS' claims of 10-plus hours of video playback on battery, but USB-C fast charging should minimize the amount of time you need to plug in.
ASUS hasn't divulged pricing for the Zephyrus G14 as of this writing, but you'll have options for 144Hz 1080p and 120Hz 1440p screens, and you can spring for more frugal components like the Ryzen 5 6600HS or Radeon RX 6700S to keep costs down.
There are other laptops in store. The new Zephyrus Duo 16 (pictured at middle) builds on the dual-screen concept with some unique display tricks. If you spring for the 120Hz 4K main panel, you can switch to 1080p at 240Hz thanks to a clustering technique — you can trade resolution for speed. You'll also find a tweaked second-screen mechanism that makes for a more "seamless" integration with the primary display. The G14's Ryzen 6000-series CPUs, liquid metal-enhanced cooling and the IR camera have made their way to the Duo, although you'll be using NVIDIA graphics (up to the new RTX 3080 Ti).
Other laptops aren't quite as eye-catching, but might still scratch the itch for gamers on the move. The ROG Flow Z13 (at bottom) is a Surface Pro-like 13.4-inch detachable for the gamer crowd with up to a 12th-gen Intel Core i9, a 4K screen and RTX 3050 Ti video, while the Strix G15 and G17 are more conventional 15- and 17-inch gaming portables that leap to the newest AMD processors and NVIDIA graphics. While pricing and availability are unknowns here as well, we'd expect machines like the Duo and Flow to carry premiums given their still-rare form factors.
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Update 1/4/21 11:24PM ET: This article previously stated that the new Zephyrus G14's GPU thermal design power was reduced, when in fact it was increased. This has now been corrected. Additional notes regarding the display have been added as well.