ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 Review

     
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The ASUS Republic of Gamers series is familiar to anybody who has ever got their feet wet in laptop gaming. The ROG models hovering around 1000 dollars have been the most popular choices, yet for those who only settle for the best the Taiwanese manufacturer has started to offer something different. I am talking about ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501, a new ultrabook-like laptop made for high-end gaming. The demand for these notebooks can be huge, but is it a smart move or not to actually buy this?

Gaming Performance Brought by GTX 1080; so No Problems

The GeForce GTX 1080 is still the best graphics card in the world. A computer having that will enjoy unbeaten gaming performance, no matter how high you go with settings and resolution. The new Zephyrus laptop sports this very card, and looking at Notebookcheck.net tests, you can turn on ultra settings on 1080p resolution and get over 70FPS on The Witcher 3! That is some incredible performance; however you can even connect an external graphics card and get a further boost. The system is also fully VR ready, supporting Oculus Rift and the like.

The 15.6 inches non-touch display is fast, sporting 120hz refresh rate and G-Sync technology to accommodate the high frame rates the GTX 1080 card will undoubtedly produce. However, what not might please everybody is the screen’s resolution, “only” Full HD. The laptop being so pricey one could expect Ultra HD easily, but this time you need to get by with 1080p, which could leave you with the feeling of old school. The color gamut stays at 72% NTSC which translates to decent colors shown on the screen.

Top Component Choices to Accommodate Power Users

A gaming laptop this prestigious needs not only fast graphics card, but the other components have to be in check, too. There seems to be no problem with them, as Intel Core i7-7700HQ is taking care of the processor part. It packs a punch with the quad-core design, 2.8GHz clock speed and 3.8Ghz turbo boost – in fact, out of the common processors, it’s currently the fastest one! The only downside are the energy requirements (45W TDP, Thermal Design Power), so battery life won’t be the greatest on this ASUS laptop.

The system has a single storage solution, a 512GB M.2 2280 SSD solid-state drive. With the PCIe NVMe technology you will get exceptional drive performance which will largely help in the fast opening of different programs and the operating system itself. The drive can be replaced by opening up the computer; yet you can not add a secondary drive on this unit. The memory stands at a firm 16GB – half of it installed on board. The other half is installed on a stick, with maximum memory being 24GB (the 8GB onboard and 16GB on a single stick).

Video Review

The Essential Ports are Provided

The ports section isn’t super large, however I can see it providing essential connectivity for the modern gamer. Included are four USB-A 3.1 ports, and on top of that, one USB-C 3.1 Thunderbolt is available as well. The port supports an external monitor, although you can only charge the laptop through the designated DC-in port. You will also see HDMI 4K @ 60hz connector on the side; allowing to hook up a monitor without the use of adapters (with the USB-C Thunderbolt you are going to need an adapter). A noteworthy thing for some, the laptop doesn’t seem to output 120hz to the external display.

The wireless adapter uses 2×2 802.11ac technology for reaching long range and robust signal. For your LAN parties and such, if you want Ethernet port, you will need to get USB adapter as no built-in RJ-45 exists here. The Bluetooth 4.1 can be used with transferring small amounts of data from mobile phones and such.

It might bother some that optical drive and memory card reader seem to be missing. This can be remedied with external, USB-connecting drive or card reader, but it will incur some small extra costs.

Other Features and Benefits, Including Battery Life

The battery life is a less-advertised feature on gaming laptops, for the simple reason the batteries on these systems don’t last long. The energy loving components are also all over the new ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501; thus, the notebook will last 3-4 hours on a single charge – and that is under mixed use. If we’re talking purely gaming, you’re looking at a measly hour or so. The 4-cell 50Whrs battery, while technically replaceable, will require the opening of the laptop if you want to upgrade it.

This Zephyrus takes pride in being an ultrabook-like laptop with gaming capabilities. Indeed, the shift from big and clumsy gaming notebook is changing to slimmer profiles not only with ASUS but with other manufacturers as well. The Zephyrus weighs a mere 4.9 pounds and comes with 0.7 inches height, and with these dimensions it earns the title of the smallest GTX 1080 laptop as far as I know!

The unit has a backlit keyboard, with the colors being fully adjustable. The key travel is 1.4mm for the perfect key feedback, and the QWER and WASD key clusters can also be adjusted for different types of games.

Operating system is Windows 10 Pro, so you get to enjoy some extra features like domain support, remote desktop and Hyper-V (virtualization software).

Pros:
Unapologetic gaming performance - There is currently no better card than GeForce GTX 1080. You get to enjoy frame rates you might've not seen before, even if you play the heaviest of games and use maximum eye candy.

Smart component choices - To make a well-rounded power user and gaming laptop, the 7th generation Core i7 processor and PCI-e based solid-state drive are the right options.

Not cumbersome - At a less than 5 pounds the laptop is close to, or even smaller, than traditional home notebooks you might be used to.

Cons:
Just Full HD - It is quite a strange to include 1080p display on a laptop that is so excellent in other regards. Many people are moving to 4K resolutions and this system could totally take it.

No 120hz output - As far as I know, the laptop doesn't output 120hz video signal, only 60hz.

To put it simply, gaming on ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 will be an everyday experience, as the top-shelf components will make the heaviest of games run just like a web browser – fast and lag-free. The GTX 1080 card, i7 CPU and PCI-e based SSD won’t leave anybody in trouble, while the slim profile will satisfy seekers of portable notebooks. The high price tag might outright rule out many buyers; but those who can afford the Zephyrus will get the best gaming laptop 2017 has to offer!

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