ASUS just launched a new bunch of ROG Zephyrus gaming laptops and we were lucky to get one in advance. Specifically, we got to review the ROG Zephyrus S GX502, an updated model of the GX501 that comes with a new CPU and GPU.
Check out our unboxing video below:
The GX502 sports a sleek magnesium alloy body that has a relatively simple design. In fact, the RGB-lit ROG logo on the top is the only part that stands out as fancy.
Upon lifting the lid, you’ll be greeted by a matt black surface that holds the chiclet-style keyboard in the middle, as well as some extra buttons and speaker grill on the top area. The bottom area gives you enough space on either side of a well-sized trackpad to rest your hands.
However, the one thing as always when it comes to matt surfaces is the tendency for fingerprint marks to linger. As expected we noticed that the lid of and palm rest areas were where smudges would become obvious. To keep it looking sleek, it’s necessary to wipe the laptop often. Not an issue per se, but something to keep in mind.
At 18.9mm in thickness and weighing just 2kg, the 15.6-inch GX502 is great for carrying around. Of course, it’s not the lightest laptop you’ll find. However, it’s easily one of the lightest laptops that come with an Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-P. That means it’s a highly portable and high-performance machine.
It’s also got a well-balanced set of I/O ports. Unfortunately, a micro SD or SD card reader was not included.
Here’s a list of available ports:
- 1 x USB3.1 Gen2 Type C (supports DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery)
- 1 x USB3.1 Gen2 Type A
- 2 x USB3.1 Gen1 Type A
- 1 x HDMI 2.0b
- 1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack
- 1 x Audio Jack Mic-in
- 1 x Ethernet
The exact model we received is the GX502G-WAZ074T, which comes with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-P and a 240-Hz display with G-Sync. You can refer to the image just below this for a list of the core specifications, or go to the product page for the full one.
The ROG Zephyrus S GX502 did really well with our usual trio of benchmark tests. Starting with PCMark 10, we recorded an aggregate score of 5,138. As you can see from the screenshot below, Essentials and Digital Content Creation were what pulled the most weight. This shows the strength of the six-core CPU (Intel Core i7-9750H) and GPU (Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-P).
Next, we come to the Time Spy benchmark for 3DMark. At 6,821 points, it does perform slightly weaker in this synthetic benchmark, compared to desktop RTX 2070 cards. However, you can still expect to reliably play a good number of AAA games on high-quality settings with this laptop.
Lastly, we have the UserBenchmark test. This benchmark is handy as it summarizes how well a PC performs in a few areas. Here, we get confirmation that the GX502 is capable of most 3D games at very high or ultra detail levels.
When it comes to performance, the key highlight for the GX502 is definitely the 240Hz display. The powerful hardware ensured that we got to experience absolutely stutter-free visuals for a lot of games, especially for games like Dota 2 or Apex Legends. The other two aspects of the display we found great were the color reproduction and the thin bezels, which enables for a more seamless viewing experience.
We were quite pleased with the volume and sound quality of the speaker as well. It’s reasonably loud even at 50% and the voice audio was crisp. It still lacks bass, as expected, so you’ll want to use a good pair of headphones when you are gaming.
The keyboard was comfortable to type on too, with great key travel and enough tactile feedback. We were also big fans of its per-key-RGB setting, which is a great alternative if you prefer more subtle lighting effects.
In most of the games that we played on this machine, we tend to be able to adjust for above 60fps depending on quality settings. This usually ranged from Medium to High, though some games required us to turn off the fancier features to compensate. For example, Total War: Three Kingdoms wouldn’t run above 60 fps without some heavy tweaking, though to be fair it’s a very demanding game.
For Apex Legends and Dota 2, we manage to get frame rates of above 80 fps consistently. If you mainly play more mainstream titles like that, you are unlikely to encounter any screen tearing or stuttering when using this laptop.
Heat management was decent overall. The 12V fans and Active Aerodynamic System of the laptop direct a lot of airflow towards the CPU and GPU. While the upper part of the keyboard sometimes felt farm, the palm rest areas were relatively cool.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the fans can be loud. When it runs at high speeds (around 5,000 to 6,000 rpm), fan noise can go up to a maximum of 46.8 dBa. In short, you’ll definitely notice the sound from the fans.
When you’re not playing any games, you can quickly switch to using the integrated GPU using the Optimus switch. This is useful for saving battery life, reducing heat and keeping the fan quiet.
The GX502 is an excellent gaming laptop if you are gunning for portability and performance. While it’s not all that appropriate to use in public, due to the noise level, it’s a machine that will let you play the top games even away from home.
Visit the official product page for other details of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX502.