ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 Review: A Thin, Powerful Max-Q Gaming Laptop
ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501: Battery Life and Acoustics
Battery testing is performed using Battery Eater Pro and a custom 1080p HD video loop test we developed here at HotHardware. We conduct the tests with Windows 10 quiet hours enabled and the displays' brightness calibrated to as close to 115 lux on our meters as possible. This was around the 25-percent brightness setting on the Zephyrus.
Brightness calibration is vital to ensure a fair comparison with other notebooks in our group, since it greatly affects battery life. However, every notebook has different brightness ranges so it’s critical to rely on a light meter instead of the Windows brightness setting percentage.
Battery Eater Pro provides an extreme case scenario battery test and places a heavy load on the system to drain the battery as quickly as possible. Our video loop test provides a more casual use scenario to show a best-case battery life scenario when the display is constantly on.
The downside to packing high-end hardware into a thin and light notebook is limited battery capacity. ASUS installs a 50Whr battery, which is half the capacity of the much larger Alienware 17 R4, and as a result it doesn’t provide much time away from the power brick. The Zephyrus came in dead last in the taxing Battery Eater test, running for 49 minutes before shutting down.
It doesn’t get much better with the video loop test either, with the Zephyrus tying the MSI GE62 for the lowest battery life. At 136 minutes, the ASUS Zephyrus can almost make it through a Michael Bay flick, but not quite.
Max-Q design targets acoustics of 40 dBA under gaming loads. The ASUS Zephyrus successfully achieves NVIDIA’s target with its AAS cooling setup. It’s much quieter than the noisy Alienware 17 R4. The quietness of the Zephyrus almost makes us forget about the 10-15% performance hit it takes versus the regular GeForce GTX 1080.
There’s a new WhisperMode feature for GeForce Experience that’s coming soon as well, if you want an even quieter experience, but it was not available at the time of testing. NVIDIA WhisperMode profiles games to automatically select the optimal settings for power efficiency, noise and frame pacing. NVIDIA claims WhisperMode can reduce noise levels by up to 50%, but it’s not unique to Max-Q notebooks and will support all GTX 10-series notebooks.