Watch out Razer, Asus' switch from plastic to an all-metal unibody gaming laptop design was hidden in plain sight all along

Asus' ROG Zephyrus CES 2024 teaser hid something exciting in plain sight, the hint that its new gaming laptops are going to ditch the old plastic chassis and switch to an all-new metal unibody design. And I am most definitely here for that change.

The teaser trailer released last week suffered by being dropped at the same time as another, more rabidly devoured teaser trailer—y'know, the one with guns, bikes, and bikinis—and honestly we skipped over it because all it seemed to say was that there were going to be new ROG laptops coming at CES 2024.

A blind hermit could have probably predicted the same with as much accuracy, however, we've now learned there's more to it. We've heard from people classically 'close to the matter' that there is going to be a more tangible re-design to the outside of the new Asus ROG Zephyrus laptops as well as new hardware going inside them.

That same hermit would have also predicted a new Intel insides (ding, ding-dong, ding) for the new machines, but we've learned that as well as switching up the old LED-laden AniMe Matrix top panel—for something apparently sleek and different, which now just looks like a single slash of LEDs on the lid—Asus is also upgrading from the old plastic shell to a full metal unibody.

Looking again at the teaser, it's that etching tool at the start which is the real giveaway to what Asus is planning for its new design. You also see a gleaming bright panel in the trailer, so I hope we're getting an update to the gorgeous Nebula displays, too.

For me, the chassis redesign immediately has the potential to put Asus' new Zephyrus G14 right up there alongside the Razer Blade 14. That's been my long-time object of affection when it comes to money-no-object gaming laptops. We currently hold up the current G14 as the best 14-inch machine—largely because of its relative affordability compared to Razer—but for me, all things being equal, I would absolutely pick the sleek all-metal design of the Blade over the plastic Zephyrus.

But maybe no more. With a full metal unibody design, that's going to make the new ROG range feel less like its traditional laptop fare and far more like the gaming MacBook aesthetic that Razer has been chasing for years. To not a little success, it has to be said.

Still, if the value proposition goes away because of it, and Asus starts to really match the Blade's premium pricing, the Zephyrus edge might be dulled despite the metal redesign. 

The full announcement is going to happen at 3pm PST on January 8th, theoretically the day before CES 2024 kicks off in earnest.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.