This is one gaming laptop we’d love to have.
Gaming laptops usually translate to big and bulky machines that normally is placed permanently on a desk. I’ve owned several of them previously and unless I’m shifting homes I usually leave it at my desk in my room. The reason is that gaming notebooks usually have more powerful hardware and big components like these need a lot of cooling and ventilation hence the larger and heavier built.
But that changed when Nvidia announced a new generation of gaming notebooks that feature Max-Q. It’s a new design concept that lets manufacturers create thinner notebooks but still feature high-end GPUs inside. Thinner notebooks mean lighter devices that you can now take anywhere.
Asus’ ROG Zephyrus GX501 is one of the first gaming notebooks to have this feature. It weighs only 2.2 kilograms – which is already light for a high-end gaming notebook. It basically aces nearly every game we played on it, even if the battery life was disappointing.
It’s about 1.79 cm thin, making it even slimmer than most gaming notebooks. There’s an awesome feature on the GX501 that lets the bottom part of the notebook open up a small 6 mm gap when you lift the screen. This enables the device to achieve better airflow.
Everything else on the GX501 scream awesomeness – and we’re just talking about the build. The metal chassis blends perfectly with the rest of the body. You’d notice that the keyboard and the trackpad have been moved to the front part of the notebook. You might think that there isn’t room for your wrist to rest, but Asus has included a rubberized wrist rest that attaches at the bottom of the keyboard.
Placing the trackpad on the right side of the keyboard might take some time getting used to, though after a few games you’d realize why placing it there is the right choice. Another nifty feature is that you can transform that extra trackpad into a numeric keypad via a small button at the top.
The rest of the I/O ports are scattered on the sides of the GX501. There’s USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0, HDMI, microphone in/audio out and Ethernet. The 15.6-inch full HD anti-glare display is perfect for playing games and combine that with the 120 Hz refresh rate and you’ll see every detail of your gameplay no matter how fast or slow you are going.
Inside the GX501 is where it gets good. There’s an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor along with 24 GB of RAM. Graphics is handled by the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, which is one of the best GPUs available at the moment. The GX501 runs on Windows 10 64-bit.
The GX501 breezes through basic computing tasks but you won’t buy this notebook just for that right? 3DMark11 yielded a 24,457 score for the GPU – indicating better than expected results. Additionally, most games like Tomb Raider and GTA V managed to get framerates of above 60 fps on Ultra settings at 1080p. It does falter a bit for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, getting an average 20 fps on Ultra settings at 1080p. Adjusting the settings still let me play the game at a playable framerate. In comparison with bigger machines, the GX501 still manages to be at par in terms of performance. Even when its churning out pixel-pushing graphics, the notebook remained relatively quiet compared to other machines whose fans roar louder than the games I’ve played.
The battery life though is quite disappointing since I saw myself looking for the charger a couple of hours after I’ve used. I’ve seen an average of about 2 hours 10 minutes on most of my sessions, whether that’s for gaming or watching a movie.
Then again, for a notebook this powerful there has to be compromises. But it wasn’t really a deal-breaker considering the impeccable design and great performance offered by the GX501.
At 9,999 AED, the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501 ticks all the right boxes on what you need from a gaming notebook. It easily stands out as one of the best-looking and great-performing gaming machines we’ve tested.