The ASUS ROG Zephyrus redefines thin and light gaming laptops.
Zephyrus M GM501GS inherits the classic design and powerful performance of the Zephyrus lineup, making it capable of satisfying a gamer’s performance needs. GM501GS boasts a powerful Intel Core i7 six-core processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics processor, marking the beginning of those laptops that can be used for both demanding games and esports and are not too heavy to carry to work.
At just 1.99cm at its thickest point, the ASUS Zephyrus M GM501GS is quite thin and yet somehow manages to accommodate a bigger battery, dual storage and a GTX 1070 GPU. When the screen is lifted, a portion of the bottom of the laptop flexes to make room for air circulation. The number of thermal fin outlets have also increased to four to allow for better heat dissipation.
GM501 allows gamers to manually switch between Discrete Graphics and the integrated iGPU via Optimus mode. The GM501GS also packs the AURA RGB keyboard and high refresh rate G-Sync display for the performance and endurance required for demanding games and multitasking.
The surface of the ROG Zephyrus M features a 3D double hairline finish and a dual surface lid design separated at a 45-degree angle to accentuate the amalgamation of two different design philosophies. The full-size keyboard is now optimally positioned at the centre, giving enough room for the trackpad below and air vents above the keyboard.
The bottom of the laptop features the unique dual-hinge design. So, when the laptop is opened, it’s lifted approximately by 9mm above the base, allowing cold air to flow through the gap thus created. According to ASUS, to maximise air circulation, air is also sucked in from above the keyboard. Moreover, there are four heatsink vents located on the left, right and back of the laptop for better cooling.
Zephyrus M is armed with Intel's latest 8th Generation Core i7-8750H processor featuring six cores and 12 threads. This mobile multi-core processor is great for both work and gaming. The company has put in lot of horsepower in a sleek chassis to make room for the all the hardware. Asus has developed AAS (Active Aerodynamic Technology), which works with the unique dual-hinge, to allow an increase in system airflow by 32 per cent compared to traditional designs.
Besides AAS, the fans on the Zephyrus utilise dedicated anti-dust channels (ADC) to drive out dust and other particles out of the laptop. The laptop also houses a dual storage system with a high-speed PCIe x4 SSD as the system disk and a high-capacity 1TB SSHD, which is about 140 per cent faster than normal 5400RPM HDDs that you see on mainstream laptops.
The laptop has an RGB keyboard, which gamers are familiar with, and is coupled with 1.7mm travel distance and 0.2mm curved keycaps – typing and gaming experience is simply splendid. You will enjoy every minute of your time spent on the laptop.
Hexa-Core gaming performance
The ROG Zephyrus M GM501GS unit we received is also among the first to use the 8th Generation Intel Core i7 mobile high-performance processor – the i7-8750H. Apart from added cores, the new upgraded HM370 motherboard allows GM501 to be equipped with DDR4 2666MHz high memory clock to improve overall computing performance.
According to Cinebench R15 tests for multi-core CPUs, the new generation GM501GS delivers improved performance by nearly 70 per cent.
Equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 mobile graphics card, the laptop easily meets the needs of AAA titles and comes with GPU mode switching (the laptop must be restarted when the GPU mode is changed).
The GM501 uses a 15.6 inch full-HD display with a wide viewing angle and 100 per cent sRGB colour gamut.
The Zephyrus M GM501 features a desktop-like layout with a full-size enter key, numeric keypad, long backspace and arrow keys. The keyboard also offers Aura RGB lighting and highlighted WASD keys with translucent lighting effects. ASU has used hot glossy printing on the trackpad for a smoother feel. Scrolling, zooming and other gestures work like a charm, and I assure you once you have used this machine, it will be very difficult for you to switch to anything else.
For connectivity, the laptop has a DC-IN, an HDMI 2.0, three USB and one headphone jack on the left and one USB and one Type C port on the right. RJ-45 network ports, however, still require USB network adapters.
And like other gaming laptops from ASUS, there is ROG Gaming Centre – a dashboard that details system information, CPU and GPU clock speed, temperature and memory. It also provides configuration details and memory optimisation functions. Listed on the bottom of the dashboard are ROG apps and functions like ROG Aura keyboard lighting control, GPU Mode switching, Fan OverBoost fan mode options, GameVisual display mode control, Game First V network optimiser, Sonic Studio III sound amplifier and Sonic Radar III audio visualisation.
GameVisual provides 6 presets and customizable modes for end-user-needs like FPS, RTS/RPG, sRGB, Racing, Cinema and Scenery. When we played Call of Duty: World War III in the first-person shooter (FPS) mode, the laptop automatically enhanced brightness and adjusts contrasts. And without a doubt, the graphics are rendered beautifully on the screen, making whole gameplay experience a visual treat.
Audio is another important aspect of a gaming laptop. The Zephyrus M GM501 GS comes with Sonic Studio III, which allows gamers to adjust sound modes, such as bass boost, voice boost and treble boost. Overall the audio produced by the laptop is more than enough for an immersive game play.
The Zephyrus' battery lasted for only two hours and 30 minutes on our battery test, which comprised web surfing, medium photo editing and composing documents.
The Zephyrus's 15.6-inch full-HD display with wide viewing angle is truly made for gaming. And thanks to its Nvidia G-Sync technology, gamers will encounter almost negligible, if at all, screen tearing or latency. The screen is also great for multimedia consumption, including watching movies, as it produces sharp and vivid colours. With 178-degree viewing angle, you can see the screen from without experiencing any colour shift.
The PUBG game looked gorgeous on the Zephyrus. I could easily spot other players running and other minute things on the map very clearly.
It isn't easy to find a gaming machine that ticks all the right boxes, and Zephyrus M is by all means a near perfect amalgamation of beauty and power. The Zephyrus M GM501GS is an impressive engineering feat for both gaming and non-gaming workloads, but it comes with a lofty price tag.
Excellent display, stellar performance
Short battery life, expensive