ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501: Final Thoughts and Rating
Performance summary: The ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501 is the first NVIDIA Max-Q Design notebook to arrive in the lab and it is a truly unique product. It’s the best performing 15.6-inch notebook we’ve ever tested and it is much thinner and lighter than other notebooks in the same performance category.
There’s a lot to like about the Zephyrus, like the thin and sleek design, its high-quality aluminum materials, the G-SYNC AHVA IPS display, its performance, and the tricked-out AAS cooling setup. ASUS’ minimalist design lets the brushed aluminum grab your attention subtly – it looks good without trying too hard. And the 120Hz IPS display with G-SYNC technology features an excellent panel that delivers judder-free gaming with wide viewing angles and vibrant colors. We do wish ASUS offered a 4K panel option capable of displaying 1080p at 120Hz though, because the Zephyrus would make for a killer mobile 4K video editing rig as well.
However, there are some obvious sacrifices made to achieve the thin Zephryus physique. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q sits between the regular GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 when it comes to performance. A 10-15 percent performance trade-off for 39dBA noise levels, along with an attractive design, and a lightweight 15.6-inch form factor is worth it in our opinion. On other hand, you'll need to get used to the Zephryus' funky keyboard setup and trackpad layout as well.
Battery life on the ASUS Zephyrus is an obvious low-point, so don’t expect to be untethered from a power outlet for extended periods of time. Considering the short battery life, you’d think ASUS would engineer a smaller power brick to match, but alas it’s the same, burly 230-watt unit as its other gaming notebooks. Power demands are trumped by physics every time, unfortunately.
$2699 ROG Zephyrus GX501 is a specialized product that targets a specific group of gamers. As such, the machine offers somewhat limited practicality as an everyday notebook. However, if you want a portable 15.6-inch desktop replacement machine with good looks and a thin-and-light design, and you don't mind its relatively short battery life and limited lapability, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus is an impressive machine. Its sub-5 pound weight and slim form factor make it easy to pack-up and transport. It also has plenty of horsepower for bleeding-edge game titles at high frame rates and maximum image quality.
Overall, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus is an excellent gaming notebook if you've got the budget and like its design, but it could use a bit more refinement and a couple of tweaks before we'd consider it the perfect gaming ultrabook.