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A Solid Build with Performance to SparePosted
Make no mistake, this is a gaming laptop. It’s big, heavy (5lb 8oz), has middling battery life, and compared to ultrabooks it’s thick. It has some garrish flares that might scare off the more conservative laptop buyer, and comes with a folder full of stickers with text like “Join the Republic”. But beyond all the gaming hubbub, this is a solid machine and solid value. Overall Build: The build overall is solid. The lid is nice asymmetrically brushed aluminum finish that while attracting fingerprints, does give a nice appearance. It’s broken up by Asus’s republic of gamers logo, which appears reflective until the screen is on, at which point it glows red. The top body is made from aluminum, which keeps it from flexing. Because the casing is aluminum it feels quite premium. The materials however, do make the laptop quite heavy, weighting in at 5.5lbs. Even in a 15.6” laptop, this weight is significant. The keyboard is quite nice. The keys have a decent amount of travel, but are quite quiet without feeling squishy. This translates into a very comfortable keyboard to both type and game on. I was able to easily hit 82 WPM without any adjustment period (high 80s is my best case scenario). Most keys are solid black all the way around with transparent letters for the backlight. The WASD keys are set-off from the rest with translucent sides. The W key as a little nib so as to allow you to easily orient yourself to the WASD quad. The space bar is slightly larger on the left side, as to allow more comfort for long FPS session (it did not interfere with day to day typing). The CTRL key on the left side is the leftmost bottom row key. The top row provides various extra functions, such as media control, fan control, screen brightness, etc. There are 4 dedicated keys above the left side of the keyboard that also control volume and launch the ROG gaming center. The power button is a key located above the number pad. It’s nice that the power button is placed as to avoid the laptop from accidentally turning on while in a bag. The keyboard area is slightly sunken in to avoid the keys touching the screen. There are 4 zones of LED backlighting, which can provide a rainbow effect. I set mine to solid color, but there are also 6 other effects, ranging from breathing to music strobing. The software even allows you to sync with other Aura compatible components to keep you color coordinated. The power connector is located on the left side (right handers rejoice!) along with an HDMI, 3 USB 3.1 ports and a headphone jack. The right side is much simpler with only a USB 3.1 and USB-C port (Gen 2). The edges of the aluminum unibody are chamfered and finished in a bronze color. The adds just a touch of color while avoiding any sharp edges that would otherwise dig into your wrists. Essentially the entire back third of the chassis is dedicated to cooling. Fans are adjustable in the ROG software. There are 3 fan profiles out of the box, quiet, standard, and overboost. Standard is a ok balance, but if you’re just browsing or other intermittent load you may as well just switch it to silent. Standard keeps the fans running at a decent speed keeping everything cool. Any profile ramps up in any mode if the CPU and GPU are too stressed. These profiles can affect performance on and off battery. Specifically I found the CPU would stay around its base frequency 2.2GHz on battery with all threads loaded unless you set the power profile to “Best Performance”. Plugged in the CPU would boost up to 3.8-4.2 GHz. Depending on your sensitivity to noise, you may want to default to the ‘silent’ setting and either use the hotkey or software to crank the fans up if gaming. Performance: The highlight of the GU501GM is the new 8th generation Coffee Lake CPU - the i7-8750H. It brings with it 6 cores, 12 threads of processing power that turbos up to 4.2GHz. On battery the default profiles will keep its turbos down, but plugged in this powerhouse CPU can tear through just about anything you throw at it. It eats my work laptop’s (a Surface Book 2 15”) lunch, besting it’s i7-8650u by nearly 50% in many benchmarks. Now the target TDP of 45w is a far cry from the 15w TDP of the ‘u’ series, so the performance difference is somewhat expected, but keep in mind,even compared to the i7-7700hq and i7-6700hq, this is a significant increase in performance. The GPU is the venerable Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB. While aging, it still represents the upper mid-range market for gaming laptops, and is on par with a desktop GTX 970 and performs quite close to its desktop brethren. I say aging, because the first GTX 1060 laptops came out late 2016, but with Nvidia Volta still off in the horizon, it’s the only option that blends a sleek chassis and great performance. And make no doubt, it does perform great. With the included 1080p screen, a workable framework will almost always be achievable even with most of the goodies turned up. The GTX 1060 pared with a 1080p screen will have many years of use in it. It should be said that the fan profiles can really affect performance here. Comparing the silent and overboost profiles, it’s clear that overboost allows the GPU much more headroom. A 3DMark run of Fire Strike yielded 8713 on stanard and a whopping 10353 on overboost. It’s very encouraging to see the cooling solution perform so well, allowing it to break 10k in Fire Strike. Display: So this is a Best Buy exclusive model, and one of the places that is cut compared to the GM501 model (found at other retailers) is the screen. This model is a AHVA IPS screen at 120Hz (panel is: AUO45ED). It’s only 72% NTSC color gamut, and it’s brightness is limited. It also lacks G-Sync capabilities and 144Hz that the GM501 models have. Now, this is still an upgrade from many a mid-range laptop, which only include 60Hz panels. Overall the screen does 120Hz quite well. If you’re into e-sports shooters, this will be a killer feature. Response time is seems adequate and I noticed no ghosting. One thing you may notice is that by default, the Intel GPU will switch refresh rates on battery down to 60Hz. This appears to be another battery optimization. Sound: In a word, the sound is nice. It’s not amazing, but it’s one of the more solid thin gaming laptop I’ve heard. Bass drops off quickly at a distance, but if you’re sitting close, the sound is pretty well balanced. It’s excellent for gaming session, but a bit more limited if you’re listening to music. The speakers are downward facing on each side and this arrangement works pretty well due to how the bottom is angled. Battery: The GU501 includes a 55 Wh battery. While nothing to sneeze at, it won’t keep the 45w CPU and 80w GPU fed for long. That said, due to the various battery optimizations, out of the box it can pull at least 3-4 hours of web browsing, perhaps more if you turned the screen brightness down. Given the laptop’s performance focus I believe this is a tradeoff the target market can live with. Gaming on battery can work, but I saw faster than 1% a minute drop - even w/ 30FPS/downclocked OOTB settings. Storage: The GU501 model only includes a 128GB SATA M.2 SSD. The model included was a Kingston RBUSNS8154p3128, and while only being SATA, it performed admirably. I’m not sure how, but the drive was able to sequentially read at 1400+ MB/s (limit should be around 550MB/s). Write speeds were definitely in line with SATA at around 400MB/s. The biggest limiting factor here is the size. At only 128GB, it’s probably best left as the OS drive. Also included is a 1TB Seagate Barracuda hybrid drive. The hybrid drive has 8GB of NAND to serve as cache, but performance is as you’d expect from a spinning drive. This setup is certainly workable, but with NAND prices finally falling, I’d probably consider an upgrade. Which leads me to… Upgrability: The GU501 has 13 Torx T-5 screws on the back plastic cover. Once the screws are removed, the back cover can be gently pried (I used a small flat head screwdriver) up around the plastic hinge. Once the initial ‘pop’ of the plastic clip by the hinge occurs, the backing comes off with almost no effort. Underneath the cover you’ll find access to all major replaceable components: WiFi card, RAM, SATA drive, M.2 2280 slot, and even easy access to CPU/GPU if the time comes for a repaste. It was encouraging to see warranty void stickers on certain components (like the CPU cooler), but nothing impeding you from upgrading RAM/Storage. In fact, the GU501GM has 1 RAM slot populated, and another open, ready to receive another 16GB stick to become a 32GB monster. The M.2 slot should accept PCIe NVMe, just like it’s GM501 brother. All in all, this makes this laptop quite future proof in my opinion. Conclusion: If you’re looking for a solid gaming laptop under $1500, then look no further. You get a great combination of performance, build quality, and customizability. What faults I can find, are rectifiable through later upgrades to storage.
I would recommend this to a friend
Here’s my 1 month use summary of owning the machine. DAY TO DAY: I've been pretty amazed at the performance of this laptop since I got it a month ago. The 6-core CPU breezes through all my tasks and my work, although there are some hiccups (little lags) along the way. It's not as bad as you might expect but it's still annoying if you're working and it just does that hiccup. Sometimes it recovers, sometimes not. With a hefty weight of 5.5 lbs, this isn't your regular thin and light. Given the weight, it is still portable enough to be carried around in a backpack. It's not uncomfortably heavy and bulky, but you'll need the power adapter in the pack as well because the battery isn't really the laptop's strength. I the laptop and the power brick in a Sprayground back pack, with the 12.9 inch Ipad pro and a couple of portable hard drives and a 2016 Roccat Kova. FANS AND NOISE Fan Overboost found in the ROG Gaming Center gives you 3 different fan speeds, Silent, Balanced and Overboost. Overboost I think isn't helpful because it's too loud and it probably adds heat to the system because the fan is spinning at a higher rate. Balanced is something that I use often when playing, and Silent is my default when just working, and doing casual things. Balanced and Overboost sound like airplanes getting ready for take off. Balanced isn't that loud, but Overboost... It's loud enough but can still be drowned out by using headphones. Also, the fans are always on, even in Silent mode. HEAT Sadly, this laptop does not have the rising bottom flap that its more expensive siblings have. The bottom panel has grills for air to come in and out, and some rubber feet to elevate the machine. The heat? Meh. It's a gaming laptop for crying out loud! Which the fans will do if you set it to Overboost! I mean, loud fans, and heat are staple identities of gaming laptops. With Gore developing cooling solutions for Dell, and the rise of the vapor chambers, I'm sure gaming laptop heat problems will be a thing of the past, but for now, we can always undervolt. re-paste, or use cooling pads. WORK My recent workload consists of doing animation in Flash and Spine and some drawing work in Photoshop. The performance of the laptop while working has been top notch ever since I got this as the replacement of the q535ud. The 1080p screen resolution means that I don't need to adjust UI scaling for Photoshop and Spine. I plug in my Huion GT-156D, which is also 1080p, when I want to draw. Setting up was just plug, install the driver and play. I wanted to use my Intuos tablet paired with this laptop but Windows Ink would not cooperate with Wacom drivers, so I had to give up. Palm rejection needs a little work as well. I find myself turning off the touch pad every once in a while if I want to rest my palms while typing. Of course, this is when I have a mouse plugged in. PLAY I am pleased to say that most of the games that I play runs well. I play Destiny 2 and Diablo 3 most of the time. Destiny 2 makes the laptop a little bit warm. I got about 75-90 frames average and the max temp that I saw through HWInfo was 90degrees C while Diablo 3 reached at about 85. It could be just a spike, because if it held at 90, the laptop would've throttled. This is all with the balanced fan setting. I played PUBG for 30 minutes (2 games of approx 15 min each, no wins) and it never choked on me. Overwatch reached 80 degrees on high settings but the framerate held above 100. Everything was buttery smooth thanks in part to the 120hz display. This laptop can basically handle most games at medium to high setting on 1080p. BATTERY LIFE The GU501GM only has a 55-Whr battery. This is its weakest link. Even the higher end GM501 has the same battery. I don't know what ASUS was thinking when they decided to pick this one. Longest that I can get is 3.5-4 hrs half brightness, keyboard backlight off, screen at 60hz. So you have to bring the 180W power adapter. The only thing going for this device is Nvidia Optimus. It is a mixed bag for some but for me I like saving battery life when I'm unplugged. So when you unplug the device, the screen turns off of a bit, then turns back on again, switching to the Intel UHD 630, and then restarting the display at 60hz. People with the GM501 with the AAS do not have this feature and have to do it though the ROG Gaming Center, which will require a restart. KEYBOARD Keyboard is great. I'm not really particular about the depth and the actuation force since I am a heavy typer. It's definitely not as light as my Logitech G810, but it works. I'm just also used to a more central layout instead of a left-leaning one because of the numpad. I found myself missing the backspace and pressing the numlock key and sometimes I press the enter key instead of the shift. I also occasionally miss the arrow keys and hit the num0 key. This keyboard has a back light as well you can adjust it through the ASUS ROG Aura Core. It has 4 lighting zones and you can choose any color from the RGB spectrum. DISPLAY The display is a Full HD, 120hz IPS Panel. It is in the average color accuracy but the brightness is good enough. The only thing that I see with regards to the display that could potentially be a downside are the bezels. I mean, the competition as super thin bezels but this one doesn't. I mean, I don't really care. For the past month that I've been using this laptop, it really has not bothered me at all. Colors are ok. Great in games and in normal use, but for work it is sometimes washed out. I do animation and drawing, and sometimes I have to rely on the hexcodes to get the right color. There is little to no light bleed and the 120hz screen is a charm. Possibly the best feature of this display. The 120hz only turns on when the machine is plugged though. Otherwise, Optimus will kick in and reduce the display frequency to 60hz. It is an automatic feature and this specific feature isn't available on the higher tier models. There's also an HD webcam on the top bezel and I'm pretty sure it's the same as every laptops' webcam. STORAGE Another low point of this version of the Zephyrus is the storage. I am glad they didn't cut corners anywhere else. This spec only has 128GB M.2 SSD and a 1 TB 5400rpm spinner. It isn't that bad, but some laptops at least have a 256GB for their primary but the downside is that they're probably thicker, screen is probably not 120hz and it also probably has a lesser quality build. The quality of the SSD isn't that bad. It loads Windows fast and does copying and pasting well. I recommend upgrading when you have the budget. CHASSIS The build quality of this laptop is solid. I love how it feels and how you know that it's 5.5lb isn't just the internals. This Zephyrus is missing the bottom flap (AAS) but the design is identical to the rest of it's family. Black with copper(bronze) accents, brushed aluminum lid, and hard plastic on the main body. There's no gamer red except for the ROG logo on the lid, and the power LED on the keyboard panel. The lid has a cutout on the bottom middle so that when you close it, you'll still see the status LEDs situated on the top middle of the keyboard. There are 13 screws that hold the bottom panel and the internals in place. Removing these will grant you access to the M.2 SSD, the HDD, RAM and the Wi-Fi card. The chassis comes with 4 USB 3.1 Type-A ports and a USB Type-C with Thunderbolt, HDMI 2.0. They've also changed the keyboard layout to a standard one with the Numpad on the right instead of a dynamic touch pad, and placed the touch pad on the default position. Overall, I can say that I am pleased with the design and build quality for the price. TOUCH PAD The touch pad is a little small compared to other laptops out there. Reason is that they gave enough space above the keyboard for cooling. Touch pad is too smooth and sometimes too sensitive as well. And since it's not centered but a little bit to the left, I often 0find myself hitting the right-click area of the touchpad instead of the left. Otherwise it's a great touch pad. It uses Windows Precision and works as intended. SPEAKERS They are louder than I expected. The full blast of these speakers will fully drown out the Overboost of the fan. Well, not really, but it's really loud. It isn't perfect sounding but they're great for what they are. It also sounds like it has a subwoofer. Just a side note though, depending on what music you're listening too, or movie you're watching, raising the volume above 60% can cause the keyboard area to vibrate and the sounds would we distorted. Ideal volume is 30-50%. CONCLUSION Amazing. I never thought I'd buy an ASUS ROG laptop and will love it. They've come a long way from designing a gamerish looking beast of a machine to something sleek without sacrificing the performance. Granted that the specs of this gaming underdog isn't over the top, and is limited by not having the AAS, this laptop will still blow you away. Maybe not too far. Battery life is also something to consider. With only 4-4.5 hrs of usable power, it could be the biggest drawback, or maybe a deal-breaker for some. The heat and fan noise is also to consider but why will you buy a gaming laptop if you're not going to use it's power? Priced at $1499 in the US, I can say that this machine is well worth it. I just wonder if there is a similar priced and spec'd model for the market outside of the US since this one is particularly a US Best Buy exclusive. TL;DR PROS Good overall performance Toned down gamer look Great keyboard Nice Power brick Sleek design Thunderbolt 3/USB-C Worth-it Price Nvidia Optimus CONS Could potentially be loud No Ethernet port Battery life/Small Battery Small SSD Slow HDD No AAS Nvidia Optimus NITPICKS Touch Pad Heat Management Display Bezels Display ROG LOGO
I would recommend this to a friend
Good price, good performance, SOLIDPosted
DISCLAIMER: I have internet DL/UL speeds of 25/5 though AT&T U-Verse. This ASUS gaming laptop is what I have been looking for... Fortnite Battle Royale, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, and Rocket League are the games being played the most. This laptop comes in a box in a fancy box. Pretty sweet packing job. Package includes the PC, power adapter brick/cord, stickers, key chain, and pamphlets. Rather than go over ALL the specs which you can already find on this Bestbuy.com page, I'll try to give more observations of those specs instead. PROS: ----------- * Great-looking laptop. Keys light up and change color from left to right. * Solid feel, well-built construction. Keyboard is solid with little/no flexing. * PC is built for speed which I do like. * I have played all 3 games listed above, and I honestly don't have any issues with latency and graphics. I DO have to wear over-the-ear headphones to drown out the fan noise (see below - CONS), but the graphics and movement of the screen graphics is what it's all about. The specs claim a 120Hz refresh rate and it seems up to par. * Rocket League is probably the most graphics-intensive game I play, and most of the movement was seamless/smooth. * Connectivity was a cinch to wi-fi. I was able to hook up to 5MHz channel with ease. Installation of updates and programs was quick. * Boot-up time was incredibly fast. * Plenty of 3.0 USB ports (4). No one wants to have to hook up a USB hub. All inputs are on left side except 1 USB & 1 Thunderbolt port which gives more room for mouse. * Built-in speakers actually sound better than even high-end laptops. The sound really surprised me in a good way. * PC comes with 16GB DDR4 RAM and upgradeable to 32GB. This will be a viable option to take advantage of in the near future. Also comes with the latest in 8th-gen intel i7 processors - the 8750H - which really flies. * BT devices (headphones, keyboard, mouse) all connect seamlessly and work great. Absolutely no latency with the Logitech input devices I used... and Sony BT headphones. * Quick accessibility to dedicated volume buttons (usually embedded in a Fn button). The MUTE function is in the Fn button area though. CONS: ----------- * With the smallest of tasks, it seems like it's working hard due to the fans always coming on. The simple task of downloading updates cause the fans to run in excess. * FAN AGAIN... Perhaps this is the goal of the PC - to try and ALWAYS keep the inside cool because the fan really hardly ever stops when playing online. It's not going to blow up, but it feels like it. On the bright side, the PC doesn't get overheated where your palms sit... so that's a positive. * Because of the fan, you will want to wear noise-cancelling headphones. Even desktop speakers (at times) can get overshadowed by the constant fan noise. * Battery life will shrink quickly due to excessive fan use. OTHER OBSERVATIONS: ----------- * Keys are a bit small on the right side (numeric keypad, arrow keys)... however, if you use a full-size BT keyboard/mouse, you'll be ok. * I have not tried anything VR-related, but it does state it is VR-Ready. Unable to vouch for VR performance. * I used Skype at the last minute so I could test out the camera, and it worked fine. Very little-to-no latency with the other party. Video was crisp. Picture on their end (they said) was very clear. * To keep the PC minimal, an optical drive is not built-in to the unit. With all of the downloadable games today & USB/SD-cards taking over, optical drives will become more scarce. * Screen is 1920x1080.... so NOT 4K. However, at this size, 4K isn't needed, and speed is improved with staying at 1080. ASUS made a good choice here to avoid latency issues. * The PC is already pretty fast and includes a 1TB "Hybrid" SSHD (8GB of "SSD" built-in). I'm not really seeing much difference in performance due to this feature but perhaps over time, it will help. CONCLUSION: ===================== This is one of the new low-end gaming laptops that ASUS is offering this year. The more expensive versions offer up a better GPU (GeForce GTX 1070) and 256SSD. That may be a good upgrade, but unless then fan usage changes, you may want to stick with this model as movement and online play is quite good. I would like to know why the fans are used as much as they are though. They are quite loud, and perhaps that's by design in order to keep things as cool as possible. However, for gaming, it's also good to be able to play with headphones on and not annoy people around you with fan noise. This is a good PC with great performance. ASUS is on the right path here as they continue making high-quality PCs... It would be nice to see what can be done about keeping the unit cool without so much fan usage.
I would recommend this to a friend
Awesome Gaming LaptopPosted
The first thing you notice is the impressive build quality. The casing is made of brushed black aluminum that allows it to be light yet also strong. The laptop felt sturdy with no flex. The screen is bright, vibrant and has a matte finish so you won’t be bothered by glare. The keyboard is responsive and has a good feel. I’m a software programmer and the layout of the keyboard seems good for both programming and for games. One problem I’ve encountered with the layout is that I keep hitting the F12 key instead of the Delete key. According to the utility CPU-Z, it comes with 16 GBytes of Hyundai DDR4-2666 in a single channel configuration. The utility CrystalDiskInfo indicates that the main OS drive is a 128 GB Kingston RBUSNS8154P3128GJ SSD and communicates using the NVM Express 1.2 interface with a PCIe 3.0 x2 transfer mode. According to the specs, it’s supposed to be using the slower M.2 SATA mode so this is an unexpected and nice surprise if true. Results from CrystalMark indicate a read speed of 1499.9 MB/s for the Seq Q32T1 test which seem to confirm it is indeed using the faster M.2 MVM Express 1.2 protocol since the M.2 SATA protocol’s maximum is about 550 MB/s. There is also a 1 TB Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD that helps offset the relatively small size of the main drive. This drive can be used to store most programs, games, and data. This is my first gaming laptop and it is actually more powerful than my desktop computer. I was surprised by how light and thin it was. Some reviewers have mentioned that they felt it was a bit on the heavy side, but my previous laptops were bulkier and about the same weight but much less powerful. So, for me, this is actually a pretty light laptop considering the beastly hardware inside that can play all my games better than my current desktop. The first thing I did was to install some of my games like Witcher 3 and Mass Effect Andromeda. In Witcher 3, the framerate was locked at 60 fps and Mass Effect had framerates that ranged from 150 to 80 fps. Very impressive. The built-in speakers was loud and very good from such a thin laptop. During gameplay, I could hear the fans rev up fairly loud but it wasn’t too distracting for me. When performing non-gaming activities such as web browsing, the laptop was very quiet with the occasional light whisper of turning on and off of the fans. It supports the newest wireless-AC standard which was able to maintain a strong 780.0 to 866.7 Mbps connection to my Linksys Velop WiFi Mesh router. Transferring files wirelessly from my NAS showed a solid transfer rate from 35 to 40 MB/seconds. Bluetooth comes standard and I was able to use my HP Touch Bluetooth mouse with no problems. This is really a great laptop. It’s more powerful than many desktops so it offers first rate portable gaming and can be used as a main desktop replacement. The only criticism I have is the relatively small 128 GB SSD for the main OS drive. The inclusion of a secondary 1TB 5400 spinning HD helps elevate this but some programs like Visual Studio will take up a lot of space on the C: drive even if you instruct it to be installed on the D: drive. For this use case, the 128 GB SSD is a little too small. Luckily, another reviewer has shown that it is possible to upgrade the internals of the laptop with a larger SSD and adding more memory (pictures show that there is another slot for adding memory). This upgrade might be too intimidating for a lot of users (you need a Torx screwdriver and you need to carefully pop the lid) and this includes me for the initial time. This laptop is just so beautiful that I probably won’t try upgrading memory or the SSD until I’ve had it for awhile for fear of damaging it while trying to remove the lid. But it’s nice to know that it will be possible to upgrade memory and replace the SSD with something larger if the need arises.
I would recommend this to a friend
Great All-Around LaptopPosted
This is an overall really good laptop, as to be expected from ASUS. It has a 120hz screen, which basically means it is MUCH smoother than your standard screen (2 times smoother to be exact) and the difference this makes in playing games is huge. 120hz can mean the difference between hitting or missing a shot in games like Overwatch and Fortnite. The GTX 1060 inside can easily power these games at 120 fps on high settings. The GTX 1060 is a powerful midrage GPU, gaining 11% more performance than the GTX 970. What this means in real world performance is that you shouldn't be seeing any stuttering unless you're trying to do something that would be completely unreasonable for this card. (i.e. play a game in 4K at high settings) This is a very capable GPU, and shouldn't bottleneck you at all. Another thing I am very pleased to see is the inclusion of a Thunderbolt 3 port. Even though one of the typical benefits of thunderbolt 3 is the charging capability, that cannot be used here as the laptop requires too much power. The reason that the inclusion is so important is that it future-proofs the laptop by allowing for an external GPU enclosure. The GTX 1060 will eventually become obsolete. That is just something you have to expect with computer hardware. The thunderbolt 3 port can mitigate the need for an entirely new laptop by allowing you to breathe new life into the laptop by buying a GPU enclosure, a new GPU, and plugging it into the laptop. Moving onto the CPU, it is a 6-core, 12-threaded i7, which means it is FAST. On Cinebench R20 it did better than the desktop 7700K processor, which is impressive. The exact Cinebench score I achieved on this laptop was 2662. Now, moving onto the other parts of the laptop. The build is amazing, featuring aluminum for the keyboard area and the area covering the screen. There is plastic for the bottom panel and screen bezels, but that doesn't make the build feel cheap at all. The laptop is thin and looks really nice. There is very little, if any, flex in the keyboard area and your hands never get hot even if you're pushing the laptop really hard. The keyboard itself feels nice, with a perfect amount of travel for me that I can jump around as Lucio in Overwatch with no issues at all, which is very important for his kit. The port selection is great, with 4 USB A ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 AUX port, and 1 Thunderbolt 3 Port. Now, I will move to the not so good areas of the laptop. Moving to the track-pad, this is one area of the laptop I don't like a whole lot. The surface is nice, but the preinstalled drivers aren't the best and the tracking isn't as nice as it could be. The size is small, but it is good if you install different drivers. You can disable it with Fn+F10 which is really nice if you're playing games and don't want to bump the track-pad. Another area that I really dislike is the RGB lighting on the keyboard. If you have it set to rainbow, it can freeze up in the middle of a game, requiring a restart of the Aura Core software for the rainbow pattern to start going again. The biggest issue I have with the laptop, the only thing keeping it from a 5 star rating for me, is the cooling. I get that overboost increases the power draw of the components and increases the temps, and I am fine with that. Increased power draw means better performance. The big thing is if you have it set to Balanced, which it is out of the box, it will throttle when it hits 78 degrees Celsius. This happens during battles in Overwatch, and it drops to 20 FPS. This shouldn't happen. Maybe the balanced mode could limit the FPS to 80 so it doesn't get that warm in the first place, or maybe there could be a change to the software so that you can change that temperature limit. Regardless, this behavior isn't optimal. Keeping it on overboost is fine for me because I didn't buy a gaming laptop to use in a coffee shop or anything, but because I just wanted a gaming machine I could bring around with me to wherever I was going. Overall, this laptop gets a recommendation from me, even with the few minor gripes I have with it. It is very powerful for the form factor, and performs very well due to the specs it has. I am very happy with this laptop, and I'd say that if you're on the fence about the laptop to go and buy it unless you see a better spec'ed laptop on sale for cheaper.
I would recommend this to a friend
Almost Perfect Mid-Level Gaming LaptopPosted
This Asus GU501 ROG Laptop is the one you want. It's got everything a gamer needs, and then some. It strikes a nice balance between elegance and gaming oriented, where style is concerned. It's got enough power to push through for the next couple of years. It's thin, and doesn't weigh much.The only overall drawbacks here are battery life, no G-SYNC tech, and big bezel. Like I said, almost perfect, but still five stars. For starters, this laptop is honestly a looker. Featuring only one big chrome logo (that lights up red) on top of a brushed aluminum case, it looks good. Like, really good. The full laptop is aluminum, save for the bottom of the case (for cooling reasons), and features a nice gold accent trip along the outer shell. The keyboard features four zone lighting areas, and all are RGB, meaning colors can be changed or turned off. It houses a full sized keyboard, that feel pretty good for the most part. Actuation is good, and typing was better than on my wife's chiclet MacBook Pro 2015. The only real non-looker areas here are the screen's bezel. On the sizes, it's about 3/4 inch thick, while on top measures in around a full inch. I understand why it's there (just due to the full size keyboard), but still could be distracting for some. The screen itself is a solid, 120hz IPS anti-glare, which I really like. It loses some of the shine that glossy screens provide with color content, but overall is better for strictly gaming. I found the screen to be goo Moving on, let's talk internals, because this is a gaming laptop. Featuring Intel's 8th gen hex (6) Core i7 processor, this thing is a beast. That's all that needs to be mentioned there. The RAM is adequate at 16 GB, but can easily be upgraded within the second DIMM slot. The SSD and 1TB HDD were sufficient enough, although my sleep boot times were a little wonky-every time I would open my laptop, the booting would take longer than expected to happen. Of course, the backbone of this system is the full-size NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1060 6GB. It handles games great, and can play pretty much any games at 1080p 60FPS+. Realistically, this can do it all, and you won't have issues with games. Older games like BF4 can easily do 100+FPS. and that's perfect performance here. You know what you're getting with a 1080p screen and a GTX 1060. All this said, the only things that really drag the system down are the overall battery life, fan speed and noise, and the lack of G-SYNC tech in the screen. The battery life, for me after 6 days of use, hovered around 3 hours, not gaming, unplugged. When gaming, I could hit around 1hr50min unplugged. This isn't terrible, but man it can be a drag. The power brick is bigger, and weighs about 1 lb itself, making it hard to cut the cord, so to speak. When under any heavy loads (or even just random times) the fans really crank the speed and noise up. This isn't an issue for me, especially when using headphones, but it could be for some. Knowing that going in is essential. Lastly, no G-SYNC (as the higher end models of this computer have) is a minus, but not a killer downgrade. There are far more expensive machines that don't have the same tech, so no biggie. All in all, I was truly impressed with this laptop. Asus did a very nice job of bringing sophistication and sharp, gaming roots into one computer. Everything works like it should, wrapped up in a lighter (5.5 lbs) and thinner (.78in thick) package than a 15.6" system could do. This has my approval, and is almost on par with my desktop at home now. Would definitely recommend.
I would recommend this to a friend
Better than I thought.Posted
It should be said that I am a 57 year old coming from the ASUS G51J gaming laptop. It has a GTS 360 graphics card, 1080p screen and the 1st generation I-7. It's a 2009 model and it still works. Based off of that, I decided to go with ASUS again. I wanted the GL504 GS, but $2000 was just out of my reach. I just happened to be in Best Buy in July and found the GU501. After reading every review on the Best Buy web site on this and a couple others online, I made the jump, besides it was on sale for $150 off. Overall, I gave it a 5, but only because it doesn't have a half or quarter rating, (otherwise a 4.75). I find it has a very good build quality, very good performance, doesn't run hot with normal tasks and the battery actually lasted more than 3 hours with some left over (internet surfing, not game playing). It looks very nice, key board is nice to type on, but could have just a little more travel (I am a heavy handed typer) and the track pad is very responsive. The screen looks good, more than bright enough for everyday use. I am not a gamer, but I prefer gaming computers, because they are a better build quality then regular computers. Since I travel a lot, a well built computer is a must. I do use the graphics GPU for picture heavy presentations, with my old computer it would overheat and shut down once in a while. The fan on it is like a jet engine. However, I have never heard the fans kick in on the GU501. I really like the thinness of this computer, but it has some weight for how thin it is, not an issue, the old one is thicker and heavier. I did have some issues with this initially, but after updates it was mostly good to go. The remaining issue I blame on Windows and Microsoft Office. I really hate Windows 10 (I liked Windows 7 much better). The issues I have remaining is the Office Power Point will lock up and then shut down. It's a program issue, not the computer. I would like to shut the startup sound off, but I am having a difficult time figuring out how to do that. I like it, but the people I work with find it annoying at start up. Professors might have an issue with it too. Now, what I don't like, No SD card reader, only 75% color accuracy, battery life could be better and the 128gb M.2 card. Its not even a PCIe card, Other than that, I have no issues with this computer. This is my third computer, second ASUS. I got 9 years out of both the Gateway and ASUS G51J laptops. I hope I can get another 9 out of this, I see no reason why I shouldn't. I wish I could afford one for my wife and my 3 kids (kids are all college bound), because I would get them the same model. I would also like to upgrade the screen to the new 144hz screen on the GL504, but what I have is more than acceptable. It should also be said, that I looked at the MSI 63, MSI 65, the Blade 14, Blade 15 models and a couple of the HP gamers. Because of price, screens and also some performance issues on the others, I chose the GU501. I also looked at the upgrade ability of each, ASUS has that in the bag, I hope this helps. I highly recommend this to first time gaming buyers or anyone looking for a really good quality laptop.
I would recommend this to a friend
Sleek Gamer PC without a lot of bulk.Posted
If you're in the market for a solid entry level gamer PC that isn't too heavy and bulky, this unit is an excellent choice. It isn't the most powerful gaming laptop out there, but it does an excellent job rendering games at this price point. A major benefit is its size. At 0.7 inches tall with the lid closed, this laptop is easily portable. And many gaming laptops can weigh as much as 10 pounds; this unit is about half that. Also, this particular laptop exudes quality. The top and chassis is made from solid aluminum. And the gold trim and glowing red Republic of Gamers emblem on the lid adds to the sleekness of this laptop. Power-wise, this unit scored very well for an entry level gamer PC. The system didn't have any problem running Star Wars Battlefront in Ultra mode. It's not the most demanding first-person shooter, but it held its ground quite well. To really test the system, I ran a video game benchmark program called Superposition by Unigine 2. It renders real gameplay visuals and produces various measures such as frames per second, as well as a composite score. Overall, this system did very well. It was able to maintain a respectable 44 frames per second under the High setting, and a solid 62 frames per second under the Medium setting (see included image). The graphics on the 15-inch matte screen looked superb. ASUS includes a system customization software called ROG Gaming Center (see included image). Here you can customize most features on the laptop for gaming purposes, including fan speed preferences, visual preferences, sound settings, LED color backlit keyboard settings, among others. This software is easily accessible by pressing the dedicated button above the F4 key. As far as physical connections are concerned, it comes with all the standard ports most 15-inch laptops have, including a USB-C port. The next part of my review is a summary of my interactions with ASUS tech support when I encountered a problem with my laptop. The first system I received was having significant issues booting-up. I called ASUS tech support and they had me try a few different steps to troubleshoot the system. Within that same phone call, they determined the system was bad and they would fix it. I had the standard warranty, so I had to ship the unit (free of cost) to them. I was able to follow the progress of their testing and results using a link they provided. They tested and determined the issue within 2 weeks, but unfortunately, because the system was so new, they had to wait another week to get replacement parts. I finally got a fully functional system back after 4 weeks. The upside was that ASUS's customer service and tech support made the whole process easy and seamless; the downside was that it took about a month with the basic warranty to get my system back. It probably would have been sooner if they didn't have to wait for replacement parts. Also, if you decide to purchase any other kind of additional warranty, the replacement process would probably be a lot sooner. Overall, this laptop is a solid gaming system. I really like its size, it's made from quality materials, and ASUS's customer service was responsive and helpful.
I would recommend this to a friend