Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Written by Soon Kai Hong
We have the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX502 for review today. Now right off the bat, there are two variants to this model here in Singapore, with the only difference between them being the GPU. Either an RTX 2060 or an RTX 2070. The model we have is rocking the RTX 2070, but first, let’s talk about the design.
This is in the class of thin and light gaming laptops but Asus did not do anything extreme. In fact, if you were to put THIN and LIGHT on each end of the scale, the Zephyrus comes right in the middle. The laptop weighs 2 kilograms and just under 20 millimetres thick.
In short, it’s not the thinnest or the lightest, but it’s a very nice balance.
The lid also has a brushed aluminium finish and just an ROG logo. Apart from that, it looks pretty much like any other normal laptop, which I like.
Now if you open up the laptop, you’ll be greeted with a really nice display. It’s a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS panel that is capable of 144Hz and is G-Sync enabled. Colour-wise, it covers 100% sRGB and is Pantone Validated.
Needless to say, you’ll definitely enjoy watching content on this laptop, while playing games is even better, thanks to that high refresh rate and G-Sync support. The interesting thing is that this laptop can switch between using Optimus and G-Sync. The option is available in Armoury Crate and will require a restart.
Oh and, this is the first laptop I’ve ever used, especially in this range, that doesn’t come with a webcam. Personally, I’m not missing it, but it does mean you definitely don’t have support for Windows Hello.
Moving down, we have the keyboard, and I’m actually glad it has the traditional keyboard layout unlike the GX701 or the GX531, where the keyboard gets pushed down to the bottom to make room for cooling up top. As you know, I don’t like the typing experience with that layout. Not at all.
But here, the typing experience was overall pretty great, with good key travel and a nice click. Apart from typing, it was also great for gaming. Of course, it is fully backlit, and supports RGB with Asus Aura Sync.
On that note, you also get a few extra dedicated buttons, which I felt was nice to have. Volume down, volume up, a microphone mute switch and an ROG button, which launches Armoury Crate.
Next is the trackpad. It’s decently sized and runs Windows Precision drivers. I’ve had no troubles with it and was able to use the laptop with ease with just the trackpad for most daily tasks. Gaming though? Get a mouse.
My only gripe here is the material used for the deck of the laptop. It’s coated with a kind of rubber material that’s similar to the older Alienware models. It feels nice and remains quite cool to the touch even while gaming, but it does pick up oil quite easily. Something to take note.
Ports-wise, you get quite the amount, despite it being a thin and light gaming laptop.
On the right, you get a Kensington Lock, two USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, and a USB3.1 Gen2 Type C port that supports DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery as well.
Moving to the left, we have the power jack, an RJ45 Ethernet Port, HDMI 2.0, a USB 3.1 Gen2 port, along with a dedicated mic and audio jacks.
For such a laptop, I actually did not expect this many ports, so it’s a pleasant surprise.
In terms of battery life, you’ll get around 4 hours of casual use, while if you’re gaming, just under an hour and a half. Do note that once you’re on battery, the display defaults to 60Hz automatically. Expect shorter battery life, should you want to run 144Hz on battery.
We now move on to the core of this review, gaming. Our model comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H, a full-size Nvidia RTX 2070. 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB NVMe SSD.
In World War Z, you can comfortably play at 1080P Ultra with an average frame rate of 72. The gameplay is nice and smooth, no hiccups at all.
A new title in our collection, Division 2. You can expect a solid 62 frames per second when playing at 1080P, Ultra settings.
Soar the skies in Ace Combat 7, where playing at 1080p High will get you an average of 130 frames per second. This game looks gorgeous on the high refresh rate display.
In Battlefield V, 1080P Ultra will net you roughly 90 frames per second, while if you want Ray Tracing, enabling DXR will drop that down to 42 frames per second. In my opinion, the game still looks amazing without DXR, and much more enjoyable to play.
Far Cry 5 is another new title we have on hand which pushes the system much harder. Playing at 1080P Ultra will get you just shy of 60 frames per second.
Last but not least is Witcher 3, which still looks great till this day. 1080P Ultra with Hairworks on will net you over 70 frames per second.
All in all, this machine will be able to run pretty much any game you throw at it, and with that 144hz display, it’ll feel great to play as well.
Now for you creatives out there, I’ll just run two simple benchmarks, which can also be used as a comparison to previous reviews.
In DaVinci Resolve, the 10 minute 1080p edit took 10 minutes and 35 seconds to render while the 15 minute 4K edit took 23 minutes and 7 seconds.
In Cinebench R20, the Multi-Thread test will net you a score of 2,459 while Single-Thread will net a score of 420.
Temperatures are also really well maintained throughout considering the form factor, with the CPU hitting roughly 89 degrees celsius on average while the GPU fares better at 84C. I have to mention however, that to achieve such temperatures at pretty great clock speeds, the sacrifice is noise.
This laptop gets really loud, and it is clearly noticeable, even in a noisy environment. My suggestion? Use headphones.
There is also a Turbo Mode, accessible via the Armoury Crate, which unlocks the TDP of the CPU and boosts the GPU slightly further. In practice, you won’t see much of a difference in terms of frames per second. But it also ramps up the fan speed even further, which brings the temperatures down by just a couple of degrees.
I would say, use this profile only if you plan to have this laptop as a desktop replacement.
Opening up the Zephyrus S GX502, you’ll be able to see the 76-watt hour battery right below, flanked by the two bottom-firing speakers. You get two slots of M.2 NVMe SSDs, which will enable you to run RAID if you like, and just a single slot for RAM.
The laptop comes equipped with 16GB of RAM, soldered on board, so the maximum you can get is 32GB of RAM, which I highly suggest to upgrade, not just because of more RAM, but because you can then run Dual Channel memory.
Lastly is the price. This configuration right here comes in at just under S$4,000 Singapore Dollars. Is it worth that much? I think that depends on you. If you favour the utmost in portability, probably look elsewhere. If you want the best performance, it’s the same thing.
But if you favour portability but yet want great performance in the same package, this might be something you can consider and I have to say that the ROG Zephyrus S GX502 from Asus ticks most of the boxes in my list.
More information about the ROG Zephyrus S GX502 can be found on Asus’ website.