The ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 is certainly impressive. It delivers almost double the level of gaming performance over previously available single-GPU notebooks, which is superb. It’s one of those gaming laptops that achieves exactly what it should, thanks to its quad-core CPU, DDR4 memory, latest GPU in its class and a snappier SSD.
- Nice gaming-specific design features
- Latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX1070 GPU, with G-Sync
- Plenty of storage and a speedy solid-state boot drive
- Small keyboard for such a large laptop
The ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 is a GTX 1070-powered midrange laptop, that offers fantastic gaming performance, although its minimal overclocking potential keep it from being completely mind-blowing. Since the arrival of NVidia’s GeForce GTX 10-series GPUs for laptops, there is every indication that they’re formidable that even most gaming desktops. The ROG GL502VS is part of the latest entrants, that, in addition, to the GTX 1070 GPU with Pascal architecture, features a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB system memory.
The physical design is gaming-oriented, with extras like Red back-lit scissor switch keys, a 1080p display and a dust-resistant cooling system. You’ll also find a 128GB solid-state-drive, paired with a 1TB (7200RPM) hard drive for more storage.
The ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 certainly has the looks of a gaming laptop. Its black ROG metallic chassis has red accents, including the Republic of Gamers logo on its lid. It isn’t huge, measuring about 0.94 by 15.4 by 10.5 inches (HWD), and weighs about 4.9 pounds. The large, 15.6-inch, 1,920-by-1,080-resolution display is your window to the online and virtual worlds. If you need to carry it around, you can slide it into the Bonvince 18.4″ Laptop Backpack, which has nicely placed compartments for the power adapter, mouse and other peripherals.
The metallic lid mimics the hood of a muscle car, and the big, copper hinge and bold vent on the rear complete the powerful, industrial look. Yes, not everyone will love the design, but if you’re in the market for a flashy statement, this is one laptop you should be looking at. The physicals design harbors some gaming enhancements as well.
The well-placed vent on the rear are part of a dust-release, thermal cooling system, which works towards keeping the laptop cool as you play demanding games. It uses heart pipes paired with a dual fan system, that cools the CPU and GPU modules independently.
On the ROG GL502VS, you have roomy and responsive touchpad, but in the process compromised on the keyboard that seems small as a result. Also, I found the keyboard to be located rather up from the laptop where your hands can rest easily. The red-backlit scissor-switch keys themselves feel good for typing with 1.6mm distance for seamless tactile keystrokes. The WASD keys are highlighted for easier access when you need them. However, they are not the same keys as you’d find in most expensive USB gaming keyboards.
This gaming laptop is one of the few that use NVidia’s G-Sync technology to improve graphics quality. The 15-inch FHD (1,920-by-1,080) resolution panel offers wide viewing angles of up to 160-degrees, but it still keeps the colors vibrant, and the images are sharp. The jump to 3K and 4K resolution in the gaming category is reserved for other systems like the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K (2,880 by 1,620) and the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K-238 (3,860 by 2,160).
In fact, such high resolutions have remained a compromise for gaming systems, since these displays are much more demanding, and the performance is further held down by mobile graphics cards, so you’ll have to choose between size, resolution or performance, but the most important is to choose the best mix. The included Nvidia G-Sync technology is much welcome as it tones-down screen-tearing artifacts and significantly improves the smoothness of gameplay.
Connectivity is excellent and varied. The laptop comes with three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type C (gen 2)—doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3, an HDMI port, a miniDisplayPort, an Ethernet jack, and mic-in, headphone-out, and line-out jacks, as well as an SD card reader. The system also features Bluetooth 4.0 and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity, as well as a 1.2MP HD camera.
The system is powered by a 2.6 GHz Intel Quad-Core i7-6700HQ (Turbo to 3.5 GHz) processor. There’s 16GB of memory on board, which can be upgraded all the way to 32GB. The discrete graphics card is the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX1070, 8GB GDDR5 G-SYNC, a pretty powerful GPU that we’ve seen trickle in most recent desktops. Looking at it, this is a serious gaming laptop that cuts no corners.
It features one of the fastest graphics engines (at least for mobile category), meaning that you can cruise through any game with butter-smooth FPS. For instance, Grant Theft Auto 5, played at ultra settings and 1080p yielded ~60FPS, while Fallout 4 on the same settings yielded ~65FPS and The Witcher 3 played on the same settings yielded ~63FPS. For gaming, its hardware packs quite a punch.
This is quite impressive considering that the system, even when pushed to ultra-quality settings at the display’s native 1080p resolution, was a lot smoother than most systems in the same category that display less-than-playable frame rates on the same titles. The main purpose of this system is obviously gaming, but it’s perfectly capable of completing some media and photo editing projects.
The 16GB of system memory is upgradable to 32GB via two free DIMM slots. There’s a 1TB hard drive for data storage and a 256GB M.2 solid-state drive for fast boot up and loading of your programs. While 256GB is a little tight once you install games on the drive, you can install a SSD via the M.2 slot for more SSD storage.
Of course, for a gaming laptop, there isn’t much to write home about. The much you’re getting is something close to 4 hours or less —although Asus claims up to 5 hours; just drop the hype, it’s a gaming laptop. The demanding hardware in gaming laptops generally drains the battery quickly, but that’s still at the lower end of the range.
The Bottom Line
The ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS-DB71 is certainly impressive. It delivers almost double the level of gaming performance over previously available single-GPU notebooks, which is superb. It’s one of those gaming laptops that achieves exactly what it should, thanks to its quad-core CPU, DDR4 memory, latest GPU in its class and a snappier SSD. The GTX 1070 GPU make the GL502VS a desktop replacement laptop, with the same amount of performance. And it’s designed quite fairly, for those who need to tot a gaming laptop around, maybe to class or a friend’s house.
It isn’t the best in class, performing better than slightly less-expensive systems and a bit below pricier laptops, but it allows you play demanding games smoothly, has a full HD display, and can pull through multimedia tasks effortlessly. There’s a fast boot drive and plenty of extra storage, as well as room to upgrade memory up to more than you’ll likely need. The physical design is both flashy and functional, providing a better gaming experience in terms of the keyboard and system’s cooling.
That said, the Asus ROG Strix GL502VS-DS71 boasts the latest components and promises stellar performance. It boasts an eighth-generation “Coffee Lake” Intel Core i7-8750H processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB) graphics card, a bright 144Hz IPS display, 16GB RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD + 1TB FireCuda Hybrid Drive storage. If you’re in the market for a portable yet powerful gaming laptop, you should seriously start here.