We live at the time when laptops evolve. There is a consistent correlation between consumer demand and evolution, and ASUS has established itself to be among the brands responsive to this.
Over the years, ASUS Republic of Gamers has successfully created a full gaming ecosystem to serve their consumer base. As an ecosystem enabler, the brand has put up a community around the world, who serve as their fans and consumer database.
ASUS’ latest flagship gaming laptop, GX501 Zephyrus, is more than just a pioneering device, but a direct response to the consumer demand for thinner but powerful gaming laptop. In the past, being able to play graphics-demanding AAA games without sacrificing portability and cooling features was non-existent. Zephyrus changed everything, but are its features enough to satisfy me and others wanting to have a GTX1080-powered laptop? Find out in this full review.
Hardware and Design
The GX501 Zephyrus’ overall design is essential to its very being. The design distances itself from the previous ROG laptop lineups, and we’re definitely loving it. It’s crazy thin for a laptop that’s jacked with all the essential hardware and features that hard core gamers love to have. It is so thin, it is just 16.9mm when the screen is closed and just 17.9mm when it’s opened up. It’s almost impossible to believe that a 10-series GPU is packed inside this beautiful thing.
Zephyrus’ mix of metal and plastic chassis make it an amazing looking piece of device. As a device co-designed by ASUS and NVIDIA to optimize the MAX-Q design GTX1080, it is important for the device to have a design, functional enough to make it not just a beautiful laptop, but a hardworking one.
The brushed aluminum shell that protects its 15.6″ FHD IPS panel and the copper trimming that surrounds its side portions hide the aggressive and tamed beast that lurks inside it. Since lighting seems to be essential to laptop gaming design, ASUS made sure to put up light on its logo and underneath the lower panel. When you pull the screen up, the lower magnesium panel opens up to assist the airflow, which eventually cools down the laptop without making too much noise. It’s a genius design, but definitely not flawless by our standards:
- The bottom panel exposes the device’s bottom fans
- The panel felt like it may snap out
- Carrying it while the screen is up is quite difficult as the base felt a little hollow
Another unconventional design implementation of the Zephyrus is to load its internal hardware to the upper part of the device. It’s a bold and brave but costly attempt to make its new technology work, which pulled down the keyboard and trackpad. This design implementation isn’t something that may be taken lightly by users, but we loved it during the limited time of using it.
The new keyboard is unlike anything we have experienced on a laptop initially because of its new orientation. Travel distance of the nonmechanical keys is a suave experience, albeit unconventional especially when the wrist pad isn’t attached. The Aura-compatible RGB illumination its keyboard offers adds deeper immersion to the experience. Unfortunately, the keys aren’t mechanical -- as earlier stated -- so don’t expect each pluck and tap of the keys would give an oomphy experience.
The touch pad, on the other hand, made it felt like I was using a desktop than a laptop. It took a while to train myself to this new orientation, but everything turned out to be awesomely fine after a few days.
Being an ASUS ROG GL552JX user, the absence of the physical numpad on Zephyrus was quite a letdown as it was not easy to quickly switch from trackpad to numpad, and vise versa. Nevertheless, it’s an unavoidable change, which I don’t think would pose a big issue for gamers, who would still use a mouse over a trackpad when playing games.