[First Cut] Asus ROG Zephyrus M GU502 Gaming Laptop: Power Meets Portability
Asus is well-known for its ‘Republic of Gamers’ or ROG Series of gaming laptops which offer top-end specs and is particularly aimed at power users and hardcore gamers. Zephyrus is a series belonging to the ROG family that packs in powerful specifications in a portable form-factor, something that is rare to see in gaming laptops. We spent some time with the Zephyrus M GU502, which is launching in the Indian market on the 9th of July, and here’s what we feel about the laptop having used it for a couple of days.
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Sturdy and Stylish
The Zephyrus M GU502 has an extremely robust build and feels solid when held in hand. The top lid has a brushed metal finish which does attract a ton of smudges, but there’s no denying that it does look attractive, nonetheless. The laptop belongs to the premium segment and its quite evident from the way it is built. While not constructed out of metal to keep the weight in check, the polycarbonate does not feel cheap at all, neither does it flex on the palm rest or the keyboard which shows the quality of materials used. It weighs in at 1.9KG which is comparatively lightweight compared to other gaming laptops packing similar internals. If you travel a lot, this beast isn’t going to hurt your spine too much.
On the contrary, the power brick that comes along with the laptop is rather heavy, so if you’re carrying both inside your backpack, which you would need to, considering the sub-par battery, it’s going to end up being rather heavy. Still better than most bulky gaming laptops though.
Gorgeous Display with Thin Bezels
Just like most modern laptops, the ROG Zephyrus M GU502 also has minimal bezels on the display, but in the process forgoes the front-facing webcam which means if you do a lot of video calls or for some weird reason take selfies using your laptop, skip this one. Anyhow, getting back to the display, there’s a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel with a 100% sRGB rating and a 144Hz refresh rate which makes it even more favorable for gamers. The display is also anti-glare and has good viewing angles with minimal color shift.
If specs are what you’re looking for, the Zephyrus M GU502 has got all the numbers you would want to see in a gaming machine. Intel’s 9th generation Core i7-9750H handles CPU duties while the Nvidia GTX 1660Ti with 6GB VRAM takes care of graphics. There’s 16GB of onboard DDR4 2666MHz RAM which is expandable up to 32GB and an M.2 SSD with 512GB capacity for storage.
While we haven’t tested AAA titles yet, games like CS:GO and PUBG seems to run pretty well with the former clocking frame rates for up to 110-120fps on high settings. Not just gaming, even day-to-day activities like browsing are handled with ease and editing a 1080p video on Premiere Pro did not stress the CPU and GPU too much either. The fan underneath at the loudest setting though was unusually loud and can get disturbing at times, but you wouldn’t need the fan to run in that mode most of the time, so it’s not too big of a deal. We didn’t notice any signs of heating either with temperatures usually around the 60- or 70-degree mark. More on the performance in our full review, coming on the 9th of July.
Average Keyboard and Touchpad
Asus probably assumed that a hardcore gamer would anyhow attach a dedicated keyboard and mouse to this laptop, so let’s just put in a sub-par one onboard. The keyboard, while looking extremely pleasing aesthetically fails to perform well for what it’s meant for. The Aura-sync RGB LEDs make you want to watch the keyboard change colors all the time, but that’s pretty much it as using it doesn’t quite give you the best experience. First up, the keys are quite small, since they’re crammed in to save space given that its a lightweight laptop. Second, the key travel is satisfactory at best. The arrow keys especially are unusually small and need some getting used to. There’s no numpad either, again, to save space. However, there are dedicated media control keys so that’s a plus. The trackpad also follows a similar story. It’s not all that clicky and taps need to be firm in order for it to register. You’re better off using a dedicated mouse.
The connectivity and I/O, on the other hand, is really good. You get 3 USB A 3.1 ports out of which one is Gen 2, a USB-C 3.1 port with support for USB-PD, a Gigabit Ethernet port, full-size HDMI port, dedicated jacks for headphones and mics and a Kensington lock. Quite a helpful array by 2019 standards. The advantage of having a Type-C port with USB PD is the fact that you can still run your laptop using your phone’s charger if you forget the AC adaptor. Handy in emergencies.
There are 2 speakers on the laptop which sound rich and are plenty loud. Windows 10 is pre-installed and there’s not a lot of bloatware other than some Asus apps. The battery life, as with every gaming laptop is nothing but ordinary and can last you a maximum of 4 hours while performing normal tasks like browsing and consuming media.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus M GU502 is looking like a nice option if gaming is your priority and you specifically want a lightweight laptop since there aren’t too many options in the market that fall into this category. Do keep in mind though, that it’s going to be quite pricey, but if you make use of the complete power that this laptop offers along with the portability aspect, it can be a worthy purchase. Watch out for our full review before you make the final purchase decision, which should be coming out on 9th of June.