Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 Laptop Review

Editor rating

3.8/5 on November 16, 2017

User's rating

40 reviews

PROS

  • Quite and beautiful. Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 is an engineering fete that is not only a gorgeous and powerful machine, but it is also dramatically quieter than anything else in the market.
  • Performance. Its innovative design means that Asus was able to produce an ultra-thin gaming machine that is capable of operating better than machines that are three times bigger than it.
  • Screen and speakers. It features excellent screen and speakers.

In a nutshell, the Zephyrus can be described as the pinnacle of Asus already impressive assembly of gaming machines. It is a culmination of years of hardware and design innovation.

CONS

  • Keyboard layout. Its keyboard layout means that you have to carry with you a wrist pad that can only be used on a hard surface like a desk or table. You cannot use the place the machine on your lap, which is a bit inconvenient for most people.
  • Battery life. Its reduced battery life is a problem as well. It means that you need to plug the machine to mains power when running demanding applications, or when gaming.

VERDICT

If you have already started scratching your head trying to determine why you should purchase a powerful, ultra-portable life gaming machine that comes with a two-hour battery life, rest assured that you are not alone. But battery life aside, the fact that the machine only weighs five pounds performs better than most machines twice its size and is ultra slim is a definite bonus.

As much as its battery life stinks, you should consider the fact that this applies to almost all gaming laptops on sale. It would take sheer luck for you to get an hour or an hour and a half out of any gaming laptop when unplugged. It, however, makes up for this by providing an incredible performance and stunning visuals.

This Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 has set a pretty high bar on what a Max-Q gaming machine should look like. It has also set very high expectations given the fact that it is only 15 inches wide, yet is capable of delivering quality sound and dominant performance.

For a long time now, gaming laptops have fallen into two classes: thin and portable, or big and powerful. But we are now seeing a generation of advanced Max-Q laptops that Nvidia has promised will not only be faster, but they will be three times thinner than what most gamers have become accustomed to.

To start off this new generation of thin and fast gaming laptops is the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501.

The machine stands at the forefront of this new class that is providing the power previously provided by a desktop replacement, but one that comes in a package that is ultra-portable. The only variation is that it is a bit thicker than your everyday Ultrabook.

Design Components

Many gamers never thought that there would come a time when a Nvidia GTX 1080 chip would be fitted into a laptop that is only 0.7 inches thick, but that day is here.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 is stunningly thin for a notebook designed for gaming purposes. It also happens to be slimmer than your everyday work laptop.

Given that gaming machines tend to overheat a lot, Asus designed it in such a way that its bottom panel drops down in a manner similar to that of a ramp. This is designed to allow for better airflow. It’s a mechanism that automatically engages the moment you open the Zephyrus.

Sound

The Zephyrus is very loud and clear. It comes with solid speakers making it a quiet but effective performance gaming laptop. It has two speakers seating on the keyboard side. The two deliver sound that is loud, and well-balanced.

They are ideal for watching movies, listening to music, and even listening to the explosions as you continue gaming.

The screen cannot be left behind. The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 has a full high definition screen. It also allows you to fully utilize the overwhelming power available in this compact machine to run your games at a smooth frame rate of 120fps.

Whether gaming or watching movies, it delivers rich contrast and vibrant colors.

Keyboard Layout

Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 comes with a chiclet-style keyboard, which in theory is quite fine. But the problem lies in the fact that its keys are quite similar to what you would find on a Surface Laptop. However, the raised up mechanism combined with their plastic frame means that your Asus will flex a little whenever you push too hard on the buttons.

Even though this is not easily noticeable, it still poses a problem. Given that this is a gaming keyboard, its keys are all labeled in a design that seems obnoxious, especially font-wise. They also come in glowing LEDs that can be easily customized. But one of the biggest problems lies in where the keyboard is located.

You will find it right at the laptops front edge. Therefore, when gaming, you are forced to use the rubber palm rest that is included by Asus in this computer. It makes it very hard to type on any surface that is not a desk.

Battery Life

Zephyrus performs dismally when it comes to the battery runtime. It has a maximum runtime of only two hours. Even if you choose to run fewer applications and turn off the glowing LED keyboard backlight, you will still not be able to squeeze more than two hours from this machine.

As such, we can only wish you the best of luck when doing anything strenuous with the laptop when unplugged, like holding a video call or gaming. The battery is bound to run out within an hour or less for such a task. Two hours’ runtime is a terribly short period of time for any laptop.

But this should not come as a surprise given that this machine features two power demanding components fitted into its 15-inch chassis. Its thickness limits battery placement, especially given that everything else has been pushed to the back.

Therefore, the only place to hold the batteries will be below the trackpad and the keyboard.

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