ASUS Zephyrus G15 Ryzen 9 5900HS (2021) Review: The Year’s Most Eye-Catching Laptop

Everyone was impressed by the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 gaming laptop’s attractive appearance and strong technology. We remarked in our review last year that it’s a really well-rounded laptop, one that works quite well while also looking nice. Due to, well, 2020 and all its craziness, I wasn’t able to check out the G14’s sister, the ROG Zephyrus G15.

But now that I’ve started using the new 2021 Zephyrus G15, I have to admit that I’m really liking it. The ROG Zephyrus G15 basically takes everything that was wonderful about the ROG Zephyrus G14 and expands on it. As a consequence, you get a really clean laptop that is optimised to give some pretty fantastic performance.

At Rs 1,37,990, the real issue is whether the ROG Zephyrus G15 has what it takes to compete with the dozens of RTX 30-series laptops that are currently flying off the shelves. Let’s find out in this in-depth examination.

Specifications for the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15

The ROG Zephyrus G15 will be available in two models in India, according to ASUS. You may select between the AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS and the AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS. The Zephyrus G15 is available with either an Nvidia RTX 3060 or an RTX 3070 GPU, both with an 80W TDP. Aside from that, both laptops have virtually the same set of specifications.

  • Processor: 3.3 GHz AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS or AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS (Turbo up to 4.8 GHz, 8 cores)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, 8GB GDDR6 (80W TGP + 20W Dynamic Boost) or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060, 6GB GDDR6 (80W TGP + 20W Dynamic Boost) graphics.
  • RAM: DDR4 3200MHz up to 48GB (Dual channel)
  • Storage: 2* PCIE SSD M.2 512GB/1TB Slots
  • QHD (2560×1440) IPS 165Hz, DCI-P3 100%, 300nits, 3ms Pantone certified, Adaptive sync

Performance of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15

The edition I received for evaluation includes an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. With 8 cores, 16 threads, and 16MB L3 cache, the Ryzen 9 5900HS is an absolute beast of a CPU.

The 5900HS has a basic clock speed of 3.3GHz and can reach 4.6GHz under load through Turbo. This is the same CPU that was found in the ROG Flow x13 that we reviewed recently.

In single-core circumstances, the 35W Ryzen 9 5900HS will run at speeds ranging from 3.5Ghz to 4.0Ghz. When all of the cores are activated, the clock rate will stabilise at roughly 4.0Ghz.

The Zephyrus G15 scored 563 points in the single-core test and 5106 points in the multi-core test in Cinebench R20. In this scenario, it proved to be superior to laptops powered by Intel’s Comet Lake CPU.

The Zephyrus G15 achieved 6927 points in PCMark 10’s contemporary office test, outperforming the competition. It’s clear that the fast CPU has a significant impact on total system performance.

I’ve compared the G15’s PCMark 10 score to that of the Flow x13 and the Zephyrus G14 from last year, when we tested the Ryzen 9 4900HS model.

I was able to obtain comparable results on additional benchmarks I ran on the G15 for the internal scoring sheet. Overall, I believe the Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU is a strong option for this laptop, outperforming the competition by up to 10% on CPU-centric tests.

Gaming Capabilities

Moving on to gaming performance, my ROG Zephyrus G15 review unit includes an RTX 3060 GPU with an 80W TDP. The RTX 3070 edition of the laptop is also available, however ASUS does not offer any additional variants.

It’s worth noting that the RTX 3060 on laptops may be set with a TDP of up to 115W. ASUS chose a considerably weaker choice with an 80W TDP, so I expected a similarly bad impact on performance. Given how quickly modern AAA titles consume memory, the 6GB VRAM may fall a little short.

At 1080p, the Zephyrus G15 scored 8028 points in 3DMark’s TimeSpy test and 18019 points in 3DMark’s FireStrike test. As you can see, both scores are comparable to the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 15 with the RTX 3080 GPU. These are pretty solid numbers, and I can say that I experienced a similar performance while playing games.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 is capable of handling games at the native resolution of the laptop, 1440p. Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran at around 70FPS at 1440p resolution with the highest graphics settings.

Apex Legends also maxed out at around 120FPS at 1440p and the highest settings. Modern AAA titles, such as Red Dead Redemption 2, can also be played at 1440p resolution with the highest graphics settings.

With this GPU, 1440p gaming is definitely possible, but modern AAA titles will force you to lower the graphics settings to get better frame rates. Here’s an FPS graph to show how games perform at 1080p on the Zephyrus G15 laptop –

Even after several hours of gaming, I noticed that the GPU was not underpowered due to thermal throttling, etc. The RTX 3060 laptop GPU ran at around 1,500Mhz on average, with no thermal throttling or performance issues.

I also tested the 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD to see if it could keep up with the rest of the hardware. CrystalDiskMark reported a maximum read speed of 3580MB/s and a write speed of 2843MB/s. That’s what I expected from a PCIe Gen 3.0 drive, and it should help with faster boot times and faster loading times in games and applications.

Test of ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 Creative Workload

The ROG Zephyrus G15 sports one of the best laptops panels with high colour accuracy. And with solid specs onboard, I think this laptop can be a dream for content creators who are not willing to empty their pockets on a sophisticated setup.

To test the creative workload performance of this laptop, I used Adobe Lightroom and Premiere to see if it can handle photo and video editing.

In Lightroom, I was able to export batches of 50, 100, and 500 RAW files shot on a Nikon D850 in just about 119, 237, and 1098 seconds respectively. It’s more or less similar to the numbers I got on the ROG Flow x13 laptop since they have the same CPU.

On Adobe Premiere, I was able to export a 5 minutes 4K project in 279 seconds, which is not too shabby. Clearly, the Ryzen 9 5900HS and the RTX 3060 GPU combo can help you get through even the most demanding render loads.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 Thermals

The Zephyrus G14 suffered from some major heating issues, making it quite difficult to recommend the laptop last year. I was wondering if the G15 will suffer from the same issues, especially now since we are looking at the Ryzen 9 5900HS and the RTX 3060 GPU. Well, I must say the laptop handles thermals very well, so there’s nothing to worry about.

I recorded a max CPU temperature of 95°C, but it was mostly hovering at around the 75°C to 80°C marks. These numbers were recorded while I was performing stress tests, so I’d say the CPU will mostly be sitting at around 70°C while even while performing some CPU-intensive tasks.

As for the GPU temperature, I was able to record a peak temperature of 84.6°C. While playing games, even at max settings, the GPU was constantly hovering between 50°C to 80°C, which is quite normal for gaming laptops.

The best part is that both the CPU and GPU didn’t suffer from thermal throttling. I didn’t see any performance dips even as I was running the benchmarks back-to-back.

Even during the peak load, the laptop’s case temperature will not go above 50°C – 55°C. The area around the WASD keys was at about 45°C whereas I recorded a peak temperature of about 35°C on the keyboard deck. This means you can comfortably use the laptop’s keyboard for gaming.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 Display

The time of 1440p gaming laptops is upon and ASUS has decided to jump on the bandwagon. Just like the ROG Strix Scar 15, the Zephyrus G15 also comes with a 15.6-inch 1440p panel with support for up to 165Hz and 3ms response time.

1440p looks noticeably more crip than 1080p panels and ASUS decided to take it up a notch by adding a higher refresh rate and a colour calibrated panel.

I recorded a peak brightness of 290cd/m² and it showed a black luminance level of just 0.3cd/m². The display also yielded a contrast ratio of 966:1, which isn’t bad by any means for an IPS display.

The display certainly shows some blue bias as I was able to record an average colour corrected temperature of 7133. It also covers 98.4-percent of DCI-P3 and 146.6-percent of sRGB colour space, which I’d say is pretty good.

What I really liked about the display here is that it wasn’t uncalibrated out of the box unlike the Strix Scar 15 or the Flow x13 that we reviewed earlier.

I noticed that the display showed an average DeltaE value of 3.2 and a maximum DeltaE value of 6.2 in our ColourChecker analysis. These numbers are significantly better than what we got earlier with both the Flow x13 and the ROG Strix Scar 15.

I didn’t see any particular colours on the gamut shift by a huge margin except for a few shades of Blue. A manual colour calibration might make it even better but I think the display is perfectly suitable for colour sensitive work out of the box. And with 16GB RAM and an RTX 3060 GPU, content creators can definitely get good usage out of this.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 Battery Life

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 is packed with a 90Whr battery inside that charges via a typical barrel charger. Wanting to buy a gaming laptop with good battery life is considered to be wishful thinking but the Zephyrus G15 proves otherwise.

In PCMark 10’s battery life test that we run on basically all the laptops that come here for testing, the Zephyrus G15 managed to last for 6 hours and 20 minutes at peak brightness. That’s about 370 minutes of usage, which is honestly not bad.

How does that translate to real-world usage? Well, I was able to use the G15 for an entire day for work without having to charge even once.

You can set the brightness to about 200 nits instead of the peak brightness and use Windows’s Battery performance mode in favour of the battery to achieve that. For day-to-day use-case scenarios in which you are not using the GPU, I also recommend swapping to the iGPU to yield better battery life.

That being said, the Zephyrus G15 can handle a typical workday which involves me writing and researching for my reviews, watching YouTube videos and Twitch streams, and listening to music over a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Besides that, you can also charge the laptop for around 30 minutes to get half the juice back. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t run games or any 3D-related tasks on battery power as you will see a massive 3D performance drop without a power adapter. Overall, I really like the battery performance of the Zephyrus G15 gaming laptop.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 Keyboard, Trackpad, & IO

The keyboard on the Zephyrus G15 took me a little while to get used to. I blame the layout for that because I had to adjust my wrist on the deck properly to hit the keys in the middle. It’s is partly due to the oversized touchpad, however, this is not a deal-breaker.

The keys themselves are pretty good and the typing experience is comfortable with 1.7mm of key travel and silent keys. The keys are a little mushy though, so you might not enjoy it if you are coming from a keyboard with crisp and clicky keys.

I like the dedicated volume buttons on the top and the three-stage adjustable backlight. Also, don’t forget that there’s also a fingerprint scanner built into the power button.

The trackpad, as I mentioned earlier, is huge. I am glad that ASUS has used the bigger chassis here to accommodate a bigger trackpad.

This was one of my biggest problems with ROG Flow x13. Besides only the size, the trackpad really struck me with a smooth and highly gliding-friendly surface. This is, without a doubt, one of the best trackpads I have ever used on a Windows laptop.

Coming from the ROG Flow x13 laptop without its eGPU unit, I was very much satisfied with the number of ports on the Zephyrus G15 laptop. It has two USB Type-A ports and two USB Type-C ports (Gen 3.2 each) with 100-watts of Power Delivery and DisplayPort support. In addition to that, you also get an RJ45 connector, an audio jack, an HDMI 2.0 output, a Kensington lock slot, and a micro-SD card reader.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 Design & Build Quality

The Zephyrus G15 is visual candy, especially the white edition of the laptop which I got to use for review. ASUS has been creating some pretty good-looking laptops recently, and this is high up on the list of attractive laptops for me.

It’s has a small profile, measuring in at only 19.9mm. It’s not exactly a slim and light laptop but it only weights 1.9Kgs, which still makes it lighter than other gaming laptops on the market with a comparable set of features.

The Zephyrus G15 body is created out of a combination of magnesium and aluminium, and the chassis is exceptionally sturdy.

It also boasts ASUS’ Ergolift design with which the body of the laptop raises ever so slightly when the lid is open all the way. The lid of the laptop comes with over eight thousand tiny holes and it’s got thin strips of prismatic film behind that.

I’d say it creates an interesting rainbow stripes pattern depending on how the light falls on it. Honestly, I prefer this better than the Dot Matrix display which they launched on the Zephyrus G14 last year.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 also comes with 6 speakers – two front-firing tweeters and a set of force-cancelling woofers under the palm rest. Unsurprisingly, they sound excellent.

The audio quality is clear with very loud bass and heavy percussion. You may also hop between several equalisers due to Dolby Access. I don’t often get to say this, but the Zephyrus G15 provides one of the best laptop audio experiences.

Verdict

Okay, if you’ve read everything I’ve said about the laptop, you’ve probably guessed my conclusion by now. ASUS has gone to great lengths to create the Zephyrus G15 one of the greatest gaming laptops available, and there’s honestly very nothing to complain about.

My experience with this laptop was so positive that I have no reason not to recommend it. Yes, there is no camera on the laptop, and it lacks a quicker display, such as the 240Hz alternatives we’ve been seeing. However, if you don’t mind utilising an external camera (included) and the 165Hz display, you should look no further.

The Ryzen 9 5900HS processor and the RTX 3060 GPU work well together to provide some excellent performance, and the laptop is also superior in terms of battery life and build quality. The ROG Zephyrus G15 is an excellent gaming laptop, and I expect it to appear on many of our top recommended lists this year.

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