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Venom BlackBook Zero 14 Phantom G9 review

This ultraportable powerhouse has all the on-the-go grunt you'll ever need.

Venom BlackBook Zero 14 Phantom G9 Platinum Edition laptop on a teal background
Last updated: 28 March 2024

CHOICE verdict

The Venom BlackBook Zero 14 Phantom G9 is built like a tank with high-performance specs and a well-thought-out design that really makes the most of the laptop form factor. Yes, the cost is high, but this machine's performance matches the price point as the BlackBook can basically do it all. If treated well, you probably won't need to buy another laptop for many years to come.

Price: From $2099

Most laptops can't quite compete with top-end desktop computers in terms of raw grunt. Reduced performance is usually the trade-off when you're chasing a small form factor. But that doesn't mean power and portability can't find ways to work together.

Venom's BlackBook Zero 14 Phantom G9 ultraportable firmly aims its sights at power users with what's going on under the hood. This 14-inch laptop starts at $2099 for its most basic model (8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Intel Core i5) and goes up to $6299 for the fastest speed and most capacious model (64GB RAM, 8TB SSD, Intel Core i7). It's a lot of kick, even in the entry-level version.

How does the BlackBook Zero 14 Phantom G9 perform?

We looked at the Platinum Edition, which sits almost in the middle of the range and costs $3099. This will get you a 13th generation Intel Core i7-1360P processor, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD – more than enough for high-end gaming, high-res video editing, 3D rending and complex programming. 

As far as performance goes, there's almost nothing to fault.

General operation is very smooth and responsive thanks in part to the zippy SSD. We recorded an average of 6.8GBps when reading data and 4.6GBps when writing data, while the average GeekBench score was 6537 (standard power management setting). 

Our tests even recorded Wi-Fi speeds of up to 50MBps (Wi-Fi 6), which is great for copying large files across a network without Ethernet.

A thin chassis houses those components and there's a fan installed to keep them cool when they're under load. The fan only outputs a slight, low noise during full processor loads but this will vary depending on the workload and power profile.

Battery life outperformed most models that have come through our labs at an admirable eight hours and six minutes under fairly strenuous conditions

This design helps maintain steady performance as air is drawn in from the underside of the base and extracted through the spine. However, this means that the BlackBook Zero should always be used on a hard, flat surface, rather than a comfy bed, couch or your lap when the processor is running at full tilt.

The 2880 x 1800-pixel screen is beautiful with excellent brightness and contrast, a vibrant yet balanced colour palette and reasonably deep blacks (though they can look a little pale from time to time). Highlights aren't blown out which helps retain detail and particularly wonderful skin tones.

Typing with the wide, spacious, backlit keys is also very comfortable. They have high response, plenty of travel and yet only a slight sound when pressed. You won't necessarily have to rely on an external mouse either, unlike so many laptops, as the large trackpad is very smooth and highly accurate.

closeup of the keyboard and trackpad on the Venom BlackBook Zero 14 Phantom G9 Platinum Edition laptop

The keyboard is comfortable to use with plenty of travel.

Battery life outperformed most models that have come through our labs at an admirable eight hours and six minutes under fairly strenuous conditions (full brightness, Wi-Fi on, looping Full HD video).

However, a full recharge is on the slower side at seven-and-a-half hours though there is good reason behind this. According to Venom, fast-charge will quickly decrease the battery's overall capacity in just two years.

All that said, there's no getting around the fact that the BlackBook Zero is an expensive laptop. But its performance justifies the price if you need portability or just don't want to bother with a big desktop. It's an impressive beast that can handle just about anything the average consumer will throw at it, and then some.


  • Display: 14-inch matte
  • Resolution: 2880 x 1800
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Storage: 1024GB SSD (906GB usable)
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1360P 2.2 GHz 
  • Graphics: Intel UHD graphics
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, USB-C, Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), SD, HDMI Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 6, power input
  • Weight: 1.2kg
  • Dimensions (H x D x W): 20mm x 213mm x 308mm
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Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.