The life of a creative professional can get hectic, even if you aren’t already a world-famous music producer like Alan Walker with millions of followers and billions of YouTube views. Whether you’re in the studio or on the road, you need a capable laptop that’s able to keep up with your creative lifestyle. The ROG Zephyrus G14 Alan Walker Special Edition checks all those boxes with hard-hitting specifications, a conveniently compact form factor, and aesthetic extras that turn heads everywhere you perform.
What makes the Zephyrus G14 AW SE special?
If you’re already familiar with the second-generation Zephyrus G14, then you know its 14” frame houses some amazing hardware. CPU options up to AMD’s eight-core Ryzen 9 5900HS, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000-series graphics up to an RTX 3060, 16GB of DDR4 memory (with room to upgrade), and 1TB of PCIe-based solid state storage are incredibly capable. The Zephyrus G14 AW SE is also well-equipped with the same Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU, a GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 16GB of RAM, and that expansive SSD.
What makes this version of the Zephyrus G14 unique are the elements added by ROG’s collaboration with Alan Walker himself. Most conspicuous is the pair of fabric belts cutting across the lid. One belt is reflective; the other is not. But both stand out against a brooding Eclipse Gray chassis.
Above the belts, 6,536 precision milled perforations emit a custom Spectre Blue light from 1,215 mini LEDs to create a special version of our trademark AniMe Matrix display. Out of the box, my Zephyrus G14 cycled through Alan Walker-inspired animations. Using the Armoury Crate software, I switched over to a spectrum analyzer visualization that an audience enjoyed during a recent future bass set I played. The effect was insanely cool, especially in an intimate house party environment where everyone could watch the AniMe Matrix in action.
This system’s unique style extends to the keyboard. It features a mix of black, gray, and blue keys along with Alan Walker’s logo on the custom A and W caps. Before my Zephyrus G14 AW SE arrived, I wondered if its compact form factor would make typing a challenge. But the desktop-inspired keyboard was even easier to use than some of the 15” laptops I’ve owned thanks to ample key travel and solid feedback.
The Zephyrus G14 AW SE also comes with legitimate swag. You get a pair of Alan Walker x ROG socks and a collaboration cap, both of which are part of Alan Walker’s official collection. A padded sleeve keeps the laptop protected in style. It features a reflective strip on one side and more strappy belts on the other. Wherever you go with this system, your allegiance to ROG and your enthusiasm for Alan Walker will never be in doubt.
ROG Remix takes unboxing to another dimension
All those extras elevate the Zephyrus G14 AW SE’s profile. But it’s this system’s packaging, which doubles as a sampling pad, that gives it the X factor.
The first hint of something special is a USB-C port on the box’s left side. As you open its lid to retrieve the Zephyrus G14 itself, a ribbon cable along the hinge catches your eye. As soon as you connect the USB-C port to the laptop, RGB LEDs around the packaging’s perimeter come alive. . Boot up the laptop, fire up the preinstalled ROG Remix software, and you’re ready to perform.
Conductive pads on the transparent cover control three banks of six different effects. Each sample corresponds to a unique animation, so if you’re streaming to a larger display, ROG Remix gives you a pool of engaging visuals to put on-screen. Other controls on the Remix board toggle playback on or off, change tempo, and manipulate a low-pass filter for quick equalization work. If you tab down from the default 20 kHz setting to, say, 1 kHz, you’ll hear lows and some mid-range frequencies, while highs are almost completely attenuated. A separate Equalizer setting in the ROG Remix app can set low cut filters to minimize boomy bass, isolate specific frequencies with a band pass filter, or dial in a custom equalizer preset.
A looping version of Alan Walker’s 2021 hit “Sorry” loads up with ROG Remix, and all 18 samples layered well over its melody. You just have to practice triggering them to nail their timings. Additionally, the software also lets you import your favorite songs. I moved more than 2GB of progressive house over to the Zephyrus G14 AW SE and quickly figured out that most of the samples work well with tracks from other artists, too.
The equipment to get you started as a DJ doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. However, aspiring artists quickly discover that there’s always another toy promising to take their work to the next level. If you’ve ever dreamt of telling your own story through music, ROG Remix is great for giving you a taste of how that feels, all from one package.
Should the live experience tickle your creative fancy, ROG’s Zephyrus G14 AW SE is the perfect platform to get you performing. You’ll want to load up mixing software like Serato or rekordbox and get your hands on a USB-attached controller (I’m a fan of Pioneer’s DDJ family). The laptop’s magnesium-aluminum alloy construction keeps it light at a scant 3.75 lbs., while honeycomb reinforcements hold up to the rigors of hustling from one gig to the next. Naturally, high-end internals all but guarantee stutter-free playback while you’re up in the booth.
It’s worth mentioning that the Zephyrus G14 AW SE’s built-in speakers are quite good as well. A pair of 0.7W tweeters and 2.5W drivers deliver noticeably better frequency response than I’ve heard from some 17” laptops. I’d like to say this was a deliberate enhancement borne from ROG’s collaboration with Alan Walker, but the standard Zephyrus G14 has a similarly admirable setup.
A form factor for the road and the hardware to get more done
We worked closely with Alan Walker to make the Zephyrus G14 AW SE a stand-out system for fans of creating (and listening) to electronic music. But there’s so much more you can do with this machine’s potent specifications.
Let’s just start by appreciating a 12.8”-wide chassis that measures a mere 0.78” thick, yet can still accommodate that cutting-edge Ryzen 9 CPU and GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics processor. Packing those parts into a compact form factor requires careful consideration of power consumption and heat. ROG’s engineers tuned the entire platform to respond dynamically based on your workload. In processor-bound tasks, the Ryzen 9’s 3GHz base clock rate boosts as high as 4.6GHz. When you’re gaming, Dynamic Boost 2.0 technology allocates extra power to the GPU, bumping its 60W ceiling up to 75W and clearing the way for higher frequencies.
Every bit of that extra performance helps drive the Zephyrus G14 AW SE’s QHD (2560x1440) display. In games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, I saw exceptionally smooth animation suitable for the panel’s native 120Hz refresh rate. More demanding titles, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War (one of Alan’s favorites) are smoother at 1920x1080 if you want to leave the quality settings cranked up.
When you’re ready to unplug from the wall, the Zephyrus G14 AW SE maintains its snappy performance thanks to AMD’s improved Zen 3 microarchitecture, plenty of DDR4 memory, and a high-end 1TB SSD. Battery life obviously varies depending on how hard you push the laptop’s hardware, but the 76Wh Li-ion power source is downright voluminous. Our software is also smart about shutting down visual goodies like the AniMe Matrix display when power takes priority. On a recent flight from Los Angeles to Orlando, I built a set list in rekordbox, caught up with email, researched my next assignment, and landed with enough charge that I didn’t even have to think about how much juice was left.
We started with an excellent platform. Alan Walker helped spice it up
It’s rare that I test a system and end up more excited than before it arrived. As a gamer who happens to DJ for fun, I saw the potential for ROG Remix to get dance music fans interested in mixing and performing their own beats. Official swag is always fun, too. But I didn’t anticipate falling so hard for the Zephyrus G14 AW SE’s size, battery life, and themed extras. The Spectre Blue version of the AniMe Matrix display makes this one of the most unique laptops out there. That’s to say nothing of its performance. An eight-core Ryzen 9 5900HS CPU and a GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics processor tear right through taxing workloads.
If you’re ready to join the ranks of Walkers, ROG’s Zephyrus G14 AW SE gives you a distinctive way of showing support. Or check out the second-generation Zephyrus G14, which boasts similar hardware features, minus the EDM-inspired features. Either way, your laptop will be a star all its own.
By Paul Cross