Although the Zephyrus S GX531 looks to be more beautiful and smaller than its predecessor as well as being a joy to use, we feel that ASUS is pretty much repeating its typical protocol as it does with every one of its other laptops. While they made its newest creation way more beautiful and smaller, they certainly compromised on its battery-life limitingthe portability factor quite a lot. And with its massive price-point,it feels as though ASUS is asking for a bit too much from its customers.
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531 Review
There’s an ongoing battle in the gaming laptop department, each company competing to create the slimmest, sleekest, most impressive and aesthetically pleasing devices. Though as gaming laptops come and go, the concept has always been the bigger the laptops, the better the hardware. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX531 is the company’s latest creation with ASUS claiming it to be the world’s thinnest gaming laptop. Does this make it one of the best gaming laptops out there? Keep reading to find out.
- Fast boot speeds
- Great specs
- Lightweight as well as stylish
- Comfortable to use
- Poor battery life
- Fans can get very noisy
- Graphics drivers’ updates lag behind
|Price as reviewed||AU$2,890|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8750H CPU|
|Memory||16GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM (up to 24GB)|
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q – 8192 MB|
|Networking||802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi|
Price & Availability
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus comes in two varieties in the US but unfortunately just one in the UK. The more powerful and expensive version (GX531GS) comes equipped with an Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q graphics card, Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of NVMe SSD and an impressive Full HD 144Hz display at a hefty price of $2,199(AU$3,030). This version will only be available at Amazon.
Outside of Amazon, on the other hand, ASUS will be selling a lower-tier GX531GM which comes at a $2,099(AU$2,890). This model comes equipped with 16GB of RAM, 1TB NYMe SSD and an Nvidia GTX 1060, though comes with the same processor. If you’re looking to get your hands on one, visit Asus’s official website or maybe even take a little trip to your nearest Asus store.
Design & Display
The original ROG Zephyrus stunned us with its new concept of how thin and light gaming laptops could be with not really any compromises. But with the announcement of the latest Zephyrus S, expectations were set rather high. And in the looks department? They certainly pulled through. The laptop picked up from where its predecessor left off while also taking several steps forward in the process.
Asus started off with diminishing the screen bezels and making it thinner than ever before basically packing a 15-inch gaming laptop punch into a thinner, more beautiful and much more portable 12-inch body. These changes putting it in direct competition with the Dell XPS 15and the Gigabyte Aero 15 X.
The body seems to be very smartly designed, the design features bordering exquisite without going overboard. A subtle ROG logo on the bottom right, placed over just the right amount of scratch marks, giving it the exact look of ROG they were going for. The hinged door offers smooth opening and closing oozing with high-quality craftsmanship. Other design features prove to be pretty clever, one example of it being the Active Aerodynamic System which is the high-level air venting system to avoid the laptop from overheating.
The screen boasts a 144HZ refresh rate with an amazing 3ms response time which makes it ideal for any gaming-focused task. What we really enjoyed while testing, was the vast variety of visuals, each elevating whatever task we set out to do. Eyecare mode for when going through emails or day-to-day writing, while the various gaming modes made the colors pop appropriately for whatever game we played.
The keyboard forward layout is well, interesting to say the least and surprisingly quite comfortable. The top half of where the keyboard usually is, has the Active Aerodynamic System which basically opens up and lowers part of the laptop’s bottom to increase airflow, in turn, not letting the laptop heat up. Previously there were complaints about the AAS panel being a little flimsy, this time around, Asus has strengthened the design there as well. The trackpad isn’t in its usual place and instead on the very right side of the keyboard, a feature we like a lot since it feels like working with an actual mouse, making it quite comfortable to use. It can also be used as a number pad, a simple button press lighting up this part of the keyboard. This made it incredibly easier to punch in number when necessary. However, there’s a little downside to it all. The trackpad is a bit too narrow and there’s no DPI switching to improve it either.
Performance & Gaming Experience
Given that this laptop has the exact same Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and Nvidia GTX 1070 Max-Q GPU as the Razer Blade, MSI GS65 Stealth Thin, we expected the gaming experience to be on par. Running it through its paces, we found the laptop to be able to work through a variety of games including Shadow of the Tomb Raider, CuisineRoyale, andRainbow Six Siege. Shadow of theTomb Raider on ultra settings resulted in an average 48fps. Not too mindblowing but on a 144Hz, it’s nothing to ignore.
Max-Q GPUs allow for powerful-graphics processing with a slim form factor, this being pretty much how Asus managed to pack all that power into a 14-inch thin frame of this laptop. Despite the slim case, Asus has equipped the ROG Zephyrus S with high-end components, which are otherwise found in relatively thicker laptops. We found the performance to be pretty amazing, however, we found this huge performance advantage to last only for a short period of time, unable to maintain its full CPU Turbo for a long time.
When we came down to the laptop’s actual purpose, that’s when the real test began. The GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q seemed to have zero roadblocks in its native Full HD resolution. We experienced the 1920×1080 pixels and each intricate detail to be delivered through pretty smoothly even in current AAA games such as Forza Horizon 4, Black Ops 4and the aforementioned Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The frame rate hardly dropped below 60FPS, showing the 144Hz screen to its greatest potential.
Though while the performance excels in its own department, the noise emissions are something that has proved to be a bit of a problem. And with Intel’s new Coffee-Lake hexa-cores, the amount of heat produced is such that the corresponding notebooks are anything but quiet. Same is the case with the Zephyrus S here.
Now, this is where the downsides come in. While the Zephyrus S managed to leave all of its competitors in the dust performance and looks-wise, its battery life is something that manages to pull it down. Not only does the GX531 blunders in terms of power consumption but it unfortunately also fails in the battery department. Compared to all its present competitors 50Wh is very mediocre and unworthy of the competition it seems to be going for as well as its price-point.
For fair judgment, let’stake a look at its competitors. The Aero 15X can last more than 12 hours without a recharge, the GS65 up to8.5 hours, the Blade 15 for a good 6.5 hours. In contrast, the Rog Zephyrus S can only build up to 3.5 hours which definitely does not make up for all the hype its created. This decreases the portability of the laptop leaning further away from the entire appeal of a gaming “laptop”.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531is the pinnacle of Asus ROG laptop line creating the perfect balance of specs, features, thinness, and design aesthetics.
While all of this is true, it’snot the best gaming laptop out there. Compromises were made when Asus decided to make the “thinnest” laptop of all time. But with it, the battery life took a hit.
In our opinion when compared with its competitors in every aspect, the laptop’s competitors seem to be doing a better job. Some examples being the MSI GS65 Stealth, the Gigabyte Aero 15X v8 and the Razer Blade 15. The ROG Zephyrus S succeeded in pulling off many other aspects of a 15-inch gamer such as the elegant design and high-quality case but overall the GX531 looks to be a more of a step back than one forward.