Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX502 hands-on evaluation

Asus claims ROG is the best-selling gaming laptop computer model on the earth. It’s not onerous to see why. They’re highly effective laptops that always have a extra reasonably priced value than the competitors. On the high of that model is the Zephyrus S line, which incorporates Asus’ most excessive gaming laptops.

At a preview occasion in New York, we went hands-on with the brand new Zephyrus S GX502, together with a string of different laptops in Asus’ new lineup. Outfitted with a super-fast 240Hz refresh price and an overclocked RTX 2070 graphics card, the Zephyrus S GX502 simply might need what it takes to battle the very best gaming laptops you should buy.

A Zephyrus with out compromises

In the event you’re updated with gaming laptops, you is likely to be accustomed to Zephyrus S GX701 (or the 15-inch GX501). Its design is unforgettable. The keyboard and touchpad sit side-by-side and are pushed to the entrance of the keyboard deck. The concept behind the design was to create extra space for airflow, which might produce larger efficiency in video games. Regardless of the upper framerates that laptop computer can ship, the positioning of the inputs are a big trade-off.

This new Zephyrus, the GX502, takes a extra typical method. The keyboard and touchpad are proper the place you’d count on them to be. It seems extra like a regular gaming laptop computer, and that’s a great factor. The machine is sturdy and constituted of a strengthened magnesium alloy chassis with a delicate contact end. The feel feels good underneath your fingers and doesn’t decide up fingerprints as simply because the Razer Blade.

Talking of the Razer Blade, the Zephyrus S GX502 competes by way of portability. It’s equally skinny at simply zero.7 inches, and it’s a 3rd of a pound lighter than the Blade at simply four.19 kilos. You’ll really feel the heft whenever you throw this in your backpack, however it’s solely a tiny bit heavier than a Dell XPS 15.

asus rog zephyrus s gx502  5 Luke Larson/Digital Traits

Whereas it’s extra typical than the GX701, the GX502 does borrow one essential function. It has the identical backside vent that lifts whenever you open the lid. Popping it open gives further airflow. You’ll additionally discover vents situated on the edges, above the ports.

Your choice consists of an HDMI port, an ethernet jack, a USB-A port, and separated headphone and mic jacks. On the fitting facet are two USB-A ports and a USB-C/Thunderbolt three port. It’s a stable providing, although customary for a gaming laptop computer in 2019.

The webcam isn’t underneath the show or hidden underneath a key. It’s simply gone.

One other function the GX502 has picked up from the GX701 is its tremendous slim display bezels. They’re so slim, in reality, that the webcam has disappeared totally. It’s not hidden underneath the show or underneath the keyboard. It’s simply gone. This can be a unusual choice, however Asus appears set on this resolution and is implementing it throughout its complete lineup of recent gaming laptops. The dearth of a webcam means the GX502 doesn’t function Home windows Howdy assist within the type of both an IR facial recognition digicam or a fingerprint reader.

The GX502 also can toggle between G-Sync and Optimus. G-Sync is Nvidia’s adaptive sync know-how that forestalls display tearing, which makes video games look clean at larger framerates. Nonetheless, it kills battery life quick as a result of it requires the GPU be engaged always. Optimus mode permits the system to modify between the Nvidia GPU and Intel built-in graphics, that means you’ll save hours on battery life whenever you aren’t gaming. Previous laptops may solely provide one or the opposite, however on Asus’ current ROG laptops, you’ll be able to toggle between the 2.

asus rog zephyrus s gx502  3 Luke Larson/Digital Traits

It’s an excellent function on the floor, however in observe, we predict much less individuals will use it than Asus hopes. It may be present in ROG Armoury settings, however requires a system restart to modify. That’s not very best, even when switching out of G-Sync mode provides vital runtime to the 70-watt hour battery.

Not the whole lot the GX502 discovered from the GX701 is optimistic. Some keyboard quirks have made the transition. The keys you’d sometimes discover within the perform row have been cut up up and moved to some completely different locations, together with above and to the facet of it. The Print Display screen key has even been relocated down between the Alt and Ctrl keys.

The unit we previewed was utilizing a UK Worldwide format, swapping the secondary capabilities of the “2” and apostrophe keys. This additionally means the left Shift key has been minimize in half to make room for a backslash key.

The touchpad is an enormous enchancment over earlier fashions. It’s giant and responsive, and even the clicking mechanism feels stable. The lighting is dealt with by ROG’s AuraSync know-how, which gives per-key RGB backlighting with loads of room for personalisation.

Is 240Hz overkill?

You may surprise what on the earth you’ll do with a 240Hz refresh price on a laptop computer. We had the identical query, however Asus has insisted that for the fitting participant, a refresh price of 240Hz could make a distinction. Esports, as regular, the excuse for Asus’ insanity.

Most video games will solely run above 200 FPS at low element, and loads of video games have built-in framerate caps. So yeah, it’s overkill. However the further velocity doesn’t have a downside, and it’ll set you up for the long run. I sampled some Name of Obligation: Black Ops four on the display, and I used to be happy by what I noticed, although I couldn’t simply spot the distinction between 240Hz and 144Hz.

asus rog zephyrus s gx502  2 Luke Larson/Digital Traits

When evaluating efficiency on gaming laptops, you’ll be able to’t rely solely on how graphics playing cards are labeled. Prior to now, Nvidia had stringent thermal restraints to handle which playing cards could possibly be given the “Max-Q” title. However with the RTX-20 sequence, the corporate has moved to working with producers are a case-by-case foundation. With out agency tips in place, gaming laptops with RTX 2080 Max-Q playing cards can carry out worse than the RTX 2070 Max-Q in one other laptop computer, which is complicated for the typical purchaser.

The Zephyrus S GX502 drops the presumptions and features a easy RTX 2070. No Max-Q. Only a 2070 that makes use of Asus’ ROG Increase to push it as much as 1,540MHz at 115 watts. Meaning it needs to be extra highly effective than different RTX 2070 implementations on the market. The Zephyrus S GX701 with its RTX 2080 will little question push out larger frames per second, nonetheless.

On the processor facet, the GX502 places to make use of Intel’s newest Ninth-gen Core i7-9750H CPU. It’s a six-core processor with barely sooner clock speeds of final yr’s model. The Core i9-9890H is lacking right here, in addition to the Core i7-9850H which may come partially unlocked. That mentioned, the 9750H gives a modest bump in clock velocity over final yr’s fashions.

The GX502 additionally comes with 16GB of RAM and twin M.2 SSDs, each of which will be upgraded sooner or later.

Configurations galore

Along with the Zephyrus S GX502, Asus has introduced the Zephyrus M GU502 and Zephyrus G GA502. These laptops look an identical, however the internals are very completely different.

The GU502 makes use of an RTX 2060, whereas the GA502 makes use of a GTX 1660 Ti and AMD Ryzen 7 3750H processor. We don’t know a lot about that GTX 1660 Ti GPU simply but, however it’s serving to Asus promote the GA502 at simply $1,199. That configuration comes additionally comes with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

All three laptops will all be out there for buy at Finest Purchase beginning April 23.

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