I want to start off this review by just being honest and saying that for the money, give or even take a few hundred dollars, you can do a lot better in the way of a gaming laptop. For my short review, I will sum up my feelings in a paragraph. This laptop has a gross plastic build, low quality hard drives, lack of customizability, bulkiness, and software glitches and quirks that do not justify its price tag. The only people who I can see who would enjoy this laptop are diehard Asus and ROG fans. Otherwise, this laptop lacks any real outstanding features of importance and is designed like a 900 dollar laptop that you pay 1.5 grand for. I would recommend looking into the Razer Blade 14, MSI GS63VR, and Alienware 15 R3 as 1060 equipped laptops as an alternative to this one that vary in size, weight, looks, and features. Here is my brief resume as a gaming laptop reviewer: I have owned and tested the 2016 MSI Stealth Pro, 2017 MSI Stealth Pro, 2016 Razer Blade 14, 2016 HP Omen, 2017 Alienware 17 R4, 2016 Alienware 17 R4, and this 2017 Asus GL502VM-DS74. I have not been compensated by any company and I don’t get free units to test, I am just picky and have been on an 8-month quest to find the perfect gaming laptop for my needs, returning each unit to Best Buy as I go along thanks to the 45 day return policy that comes with being an Elite Plus member. I currently own the 2017 Alienware 17 R4 and that is the one I am keeping, look for my review there on Best Buy’s website. The thing that bothers me about this laptop is that it just isn’t particularly good or special in any area. The build quality Is mostly plastic except for the lid and feels like the 900 dollar 2016 HP Omen I owned and tested for a month. The gaming with the 1060 GPU is no better than any other gaming laptop at this price range, and the looks are honestly just not there at a price range where there are other laptops available with RGB backlighting and more. Allow me to elaborate further below by addressing who this laptop will NOT appeal to. -Gamers who are looking for a light laptop: Honestly, this laptop is touted as being lightweight and portable, but there are laptops that accomplish being a lot more lightweight and portable at a similar price like the MSI GS63 Stealth Pro and the Razer Blade for a few hundred dollars more depending on sales. This laptop is actually fairly bulky and heavy with a large footprint and it is not friendly to small coffee shop tables or school desks. If the weight could be justified by better hardware or a tank like design such as what is seen on the Alienware line of laptops, than I would have less qualms about it. But the plastic shell of the bottom half of the laptop feels like it’ll crack if I accidentally drop it from a foot above the ground. -Gamers who are looking for a dual-purpose school and gaming laptop: Along with being pretty heavy and bulky compared to other lightweight gaming laptop options out there in this price range, the battery life on this laptop is too short to be a reliable on the go device. The G-Sync panel admittedly is pretty to look at and does a good job of smoothing frame rates in games to match the refresh rate of your panel. However, the cost of running the display with the 1060 graphics card all the time is bad battery life. With the screen cranked down to 20% brightness, power saver power plan selected, and battery saver selected, I could at best get 2 to 2-1/2 hours of battery life. This is simply too short to leave the house without the charger, which is a bulky 180W charger that adds another 2 pounds to the weight in your bag. Another major problem I have with this laptop is typing on it. The angular and sharp design of the front of the laptop where your wrists rest when typing digs into you flesh and makes typing a completely uncomfortable experience. I am no pansy and I was having to stop every few paragraphs to give my wrists a rest when typing because of this bad design. It feels like Asus didn’t actually have anyone use this laptop extensively for such purposes before mass manufacturing it. I imagine that this will also make it a no-go for MMORPG players or other gamers who utilize the keyboard on their laptop for gaming. -Gamers who are looking for a powerful laptop: A 1060 GPU is the same graphics card despite which laptop you put it in, generally speaking (see Dave Lee’s laptop GPU comparison video on YouTube). The only aspects of design and build laptop to laptop that will make a difference on the gaming performance aside from the graphics card are the keyboard, panel, cooling, CPU (Amount of cores etc.) and whether it has a G-Sync or Nvidia Optimus switchable graphics design. The G-Sync panel on this laptop is a unique feature at this price for a laptop that I think many will enjoy. At 60hz refresh rate for the panel though, the difference in smoothness between this panel and an Nvidia Optimis equipped laptop like the MSI GS63VR is very hard to perceive, I personally didn’t notice the difference. If raw gaming power is what you care about though and weight and size don’t matter as much, then I would say skip this laptop and go with a 1070 equipped Alienware 15 R3 or 17 R4. The 17 R4s are absolute beasts and the newest ones have been available open box for less than 1500 occasionally and the 6th generation Skylake equipped models are available on sale or open box for even less on Best Buy. I currently own the 2017 Alienware 17 R4 with the 1920X1080 HD IPS 60HZ panal and it is a true gaming monster, giving you frame rates that never drop below 100fps on Ultra in Doom 2016 with the 1070 card. The ASUS ROG laptops with the 1070 at the Alienware’s price range just cannot compete when it comes to cooling, RGB customizability, build quality, and toughness. Not to mention it is nice that my Alienware 17 R4 can double as a lethal blunt melee weapon if needed. Another aspect to mention is that again if size and weight don’t matter to you, there are other 1060 laptops such as the Leopard line from MSI that will save you a few hundred bucks while giving you the same performance sans the G-Sync display. -Gamers who are looking for a machine that is professional looking or for gamers who want the light show experience. This is more of a subjective point of view, but I am a fan of RGB lighting on my gaming laptops and in this price range MSI, Alienware, and Razer all have laptops with far more customization to their keyboard lighting than Asus does. If you are looking for a laptop with professional appearance, go for a Razer Blade 14. If you are looking for a lightshow, go for an Alienware Laptop. If you want something in between MSI laptop suit the bill. This Asus laptop falls solidly in the “meh” category of looks that laptops that are 600 dollars less like the Dell Inspiron 7567, 2016 HP Omen are in with their red-only keyboard backlighting and lack of customizable lighting altogether. The orange-red logo and stripes on the lid of the laptop do light up and look neat, but that is it. This laptop looks neither cool enough to appeal to gamers who love light shows, or professional enough to cater to gamers who want to take this into a professional environment. So there I have pretty much laid out why I feel that this laptop is mediocre as a laptop overall. Now let me list a few more gripes about it: -It only has a 5400rpm hard drive. Last years model had a 7200rpm drive and this year they have changed it to 5400rpm, nice try sneaking that one past us, Asus. At this price, we deserve a 7200rpm hard drive. Not to mention this 5400rpm is slower than snot even compared to other 5400rpm hard drives I have tested. -The Boot SSD read/write speeds are actually slower than the SATA M.2 category average, my Crystal Disk Benchmark test put it at 500+ Read speeds but at barely 200 write, that is really slow even for a SATA M.2. -The ROG Gaming center software kept crashing and was unreliable on my unit. -I got a blue screen of death 2 weeks into owning it, thank goodness I am a Best Buy Elite Plus member and had 45 days to return it! -On top of the BSOD, the battery light indicator began flashing an indication that my battery was failing and then mysteriously stopped doing so a day later. -Only one RAM card is swappable. It seems that at this size, they could have built it so that you could have two user accessible RAM card slots. You will be able to get a max of 24gb of ram on this machine. Overall, I simply cannot recommend this laptop to anyone but diehard Asus and ROG fans who would follow their love of a brand into the abyss. This laptop feels like a gangly teenager who has potential to grow into a strong, capable adult, but is too clumsy and unsure of itself at this point to be of any real good. Asus needs to improve the design of this laptop in regards to features like the sharp palm rests and low quality hard drives and figure out what they are going to be: a powerful gaming machine with true user-customizable lighting and aesthetics, or a lightweight, on the go machine for professionals and students alike. This laptop has too many compromises in the wrong places to be outstanding in any specific area. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments and I will answer them, good luck finding the right gaming laptop for you!
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
Got this for a college laptop. This laptop 100% fulfills that job. Now for gaming it does about 50%. The heat dispersion is the biggest weakness but that can't really be helped. The performance is great as long as you can keep this little beast cool.
I would recommend this to a friend
My computer is running great so far! I am not so much a gamer my self but I use it a lot for school and it runs great. Computer got to my house quickly and easily.
I would recommend this to a friend
This is a great laptop, you get a real video card in it and even G-Sync. Games on this run so smooth. I used to have this laptop but I upgraded/side-graded to the Razer Blade because my only gripe with this laptop was the size. Even for a 15.6'' laptop it was still too big to fit into my book-bag laptop pocket that's supposed to be for 17'' laptops. Other than that this machine rocks and it's definitely worth it. That being said I wasn't going to knock it down a star for an issues that's really a personal preference. If you do get the Razer Blade you sacrifice the extra 1TB HDD that comes with this Asus ROG Strix GL502.
I would recommend this to a friend