ASUS’ Zephyrus G14 laptop, which pairs gaming-friendly specs with an LED matrix lid for animated patterns, has been priced up for the US. Announced at CES 2020, the Zephyrus G14 is a 14-inch ultra-slim notebook, but while ASUS is offering up to a 120Hz display and GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, it’s arguably what’s on the opposite side that’s most interesting.
ASUS calls it the “AniMe Matrix” and it’s available on select models in the company’s Republic of Gamers’ line. Embedded in the notebook’s lid are 1,251 mini LEDs, all white, with 256 levels of brightness control.
By loading in animated GIFs or other graphics, or by cooking up a new animation completely from scratch, you can have the Zephyrus G14’s lid play them out while you’re using the notebook. Or, it can be used to scroll text, show visualizations for music, and more. ASUS says that, in an update at the end of March, it plans to add system integrations for using the AniMe Matrix for things like email notifications, date, time, and battery level.
On the flip side there’s a 14-inch display with a variety of options. If refresh speed is your primary interest, ASUS a Full HD panel with up to 120Hz support. Alternatively, there’s a slower but higher-resolution WQHD panel. There’s also AMD FreeSync support, working with the integrated Radeon graphics on the 4th Gen Ryzen processors.
Interestingly, though, FreeSync is also compatible with the optional NVIDIA GeForce GPUs. Whichever screen you pick, it’s an IPS panel with 100-percent sRGB color range coverage and Pantone Validation.
Inside, there are special 35W Ryzen processors. They’re slightly less demanding than the 45W versions, but still have up to eight cores and 16 threads. According to ASUS, the clock speed is dialed back “slightly” to cut power consumption and make the thermals more readily managed. CPU speed is actually dynamical adjusted each second according to GPU temperatures, and the ErgoLift hinge lifts the laptop’s chassis when opened to increase airflow underneath.
Vents are now integrated into the bezel, and there are shaped rear exhausts and heatsink fins; ASUS has added extra outlets along the Zephyrus G14’s flanks, with ultra-thin copper fins inside for higher density and lower air resistance. Five heatpipes draw heat from the CPU, GPU, and VRM.
There’s up to 32GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, and up to 1TB of NVMe SSD storage. Either DC or USB-C Power Delivery charging is offered; if you want to use the discrete GPU you’ll need the 180W power supply, but a 65W Type-C adapter is enough for lighter work, ASUS says. Alternatively that port can be used for DisplayPort 1.4, and there’s an HDMI 2.0b port too.
Other ports include a second Type-C port focused on data, and two Type-A ports. Up to WiFi 6 is offered, there’s Dolby Atmos audio for headphones and the quad speakers, and there’s a fingerprint sensor built into the power button.
Overall, the Zephyrus G14 is 1.79 cm thick and 3.53 pounds (though that’s without the LED matrix display). It’s made of magnesium-aluminum alloy and aluminum, together with a special diffusing layer for the external display. It’ll go on sale in Q2 2020, priced from $1,449.99.