Estimated read time: 8 minutes
Until the Zephyrus, there were only two kinds of gaming laptops: big powerful or thin and portable gaming laptops. Anyways, neither have been especially quiet while running games.
Pound for pound, the Zephyrus is one of the most powerful portable gaming laptops on earth today. But to get this much performance in a laptop this portable, some big compromises had to be made.
The introduction of the Max-Q technology has brought about a new era in the laptop industry. The Max-Q technology by Nvidia allows for laptops to be thinner and faster than usual. The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 sits comfortably at the top of this new breed of gaming machines with the power of a high-end desktop in a package as thin as the average Ultrabook.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 might have compromised a bit on its battery life, but this laptop is still at the top with its brilliant and innovative design. This device packs a color-rich display, amazing speakers and, most importantly, top-notch gaming performance.
Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 Price
The high-end model of the Asus ROG Zephyrus price starts at $2,699/ AU$3,659/ £2,105. This is quite expensive when compared with other gaming laptops out there capable of performing similar functions. However, given the extra tech to reduce the size of the laptop, this price is to be expected.
Asus also released a lower-end model of the ROG Zephyrus GX501. This model came with a smaller hard drive and an Nvidia GTX 1070, to be sold at a starting price of $2,299/ AU$3,119/ £1,790.
Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 Design Review
The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 is a very cool gaming laptop with a well-thought-out design. This amazing laptop packs an Nvidia GTX 1080 in a body as thin as 1.79cm (0.7-inch).
With a laptop as thin as this with top specs, cooling is always a major problem. However, Asus’ design accounted for this. The bottom panel was designed to drop down when the lid of the laptop is opened. The bottom panel here serves as a ramp., creating a 6mm gap to aid better air flow.
Praises aside, the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 is a damn beautiful piece of machinery. Asus has gone for a uniquely squared-off design for the metal chassis. Then, the all-black exterior with copper trim adds up to a sharp, futuristic style. The screen lid of the GX501 draws your eyes in with a distinctly geometric design paired with a brushed aluminum finish that fans out in two directions.
From the overall look of the laptop and its transforming design, the Zephyrus looks like a gaming laptop pulled from the future.
The GX501’s port selection is decent. As part of the Zephyrus design, Asus chose to move all the components and cooling system to the rear. Leaving all the inputs such as the keyboard and mouse pad at the front.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 has a total of four USB 3.0 Type A ports on each side. It also has an analog combo audio jack, full-size HDMI 2.0 and a 40GBps Thunderbolt 3 port, and a Kensington lock.
Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 Display Review
The screen of the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 has a 1920×1080 pixels resolution. This is perfectly good resolution for a gaming laptop. The GX501’s display is fine for most uses and has decent off-axis viewing, better than what we saw with the Alienware 15 R4’s panel.
The GX501’s brightness disappointed us slightly, though, hitting a maximum of only 284 nits. What’s probably important to gamers is the panel’s support for G-Sync. This laptop sports an eye-catching 120Hz G-sync model.
Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 Keyboard and mouse Review
The GX501 features a Chiclet-style keyboard. Asus moved the keyboard to the front of the laptop to make space. The placement of the keyboard and touchpad is bound to be an issue to most users given the new arrangement.
Asus included a rubber wrist rest sit in the packaging of this laptop. This was done to Substitute for the new location of the keyboard, given that there is no room for your palm to rest on while typing.
Typing experience on this keyboard doesn’t feel that bad. The keyboard has a decent amount of travel when hitting the keys, and a soft, mechanical note to go with it. Making your typing experience quite pleasurable.
However, the absence of a per-key lighting is quite a buzzkill even though this device looks great without it.
Despite having to share space with the side-oriented trackpad, the keyboard feels well-spaced with large keys.
The trackpad location isn’t new, of course. Razer as well as MSI have done this before. The trackpad of the Zephyrus also comes with the handy feature of converting into a digital number pad with the press of a button.
The right-side touchpad also takes a little bit of getting used to. It’s good news, then, that Asus went with a glass-lined Microsoft Precision Touchpad that tracks perfectly and handles multi-touch gestures well.
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Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 Battery performance Review
Earlier we talked about Asus making a compromise in the design of the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501. Well, if you’re wondering what the compromise is, it’s battery life.
When a quad-core CPU and a GTX 1080 is jammed into a laptop with all the hardware to cool it, you are bound to give up something.
The GX501’s battery capacity is roughly 50 watt-hours. With its GTX 1080 Max-Q, Core i7-7700HQ, and 120Hz G-sync panel, the GX501 has what you would call an extremely bad battery life.
On 4K video playback, the battery of the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 lasted for two hours roughly. This is the price Asus is willing to pay for the purpose of performance and size. The question is, are you willing to accept this compromise to get your hands on a powerful piece of machinery as this?
Zephyrus GX501 Specifications
|Laptop Type||Notebook |
|CPU||Core i5 |
|Processor Model||i5-7300HQ |
|Chipset||Intel HM175 Express Chipset|
|GPU Model||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q Design, with 8GB GDDR5 VRAM|
|Memory & Storage|
|Memory Type||DDR4 SDRAM|
|Memory Expandable||up to 24 GB SDRAM|
|Display Size||15.6 inches|
|Resolution||FHD 1920 x 1080|
|Panel Type||LED backlit |
120Hz Anti-Glare Panel with 72% NTSC with G-Sync
60Hz Anti-Glare Panel with 72% NTSC with G-Sync
|Ethernet||10/100/1000 Base T|
|WiFi||Integrated 802.11 AC (2×2)|
|OS Ver||Windows 10 Home |
Windows 10 Pro
|Battery||4 Cells 50 Whrs Polymer Battery |
19.5 V DC, 16.9 A, 230 W
100 -240 V AC, 50/60 Hz universal
3/ 2 pin compact power supply system
|Dimensions||37.9 x 26.2 x 1.69 ~1.79 cm (WxDxH)|
|Weight||2.25 kg with Battery|
Should I Buy The Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501?
Buy it if you:
- Want a portable gaming laptop.
- Are not concerned with the poor battery life.
- Want a gaming laptop with a well thought-out design.
- Are financially buoyant.
- Want a laptop with quality display and performance.
The Final Verdict
If you’re wondering the point of a very powerful, very portable laptop with poor battery life, you’re probably not alone.
The fact is as much as the battery life stinks on the GX501, the truth is that it’s horrible on all gaming laptops when playing games. You’d be lucky to get more than an hour and a half playing games on just about every gaming laptop today.
It is best to view the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 as a way of finally getting the performance you need but in an easily portable body than the big frame you are used to.
But let’s be absolutely clear, If you’re looking for a performance laptop that can be unplugged for most of the day, this isn’t it. However, if you’re looking for the thinnest, lightest, most powerful gaming laptop and don’t give two damns about battery life, it’s going to be hard to find something better than the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501.