The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA502IU-ES76 is a competent all-round portable 15-inch laptop that performs admirably in both gaming and performance at a great price.
- Excellent 144Hz display
- Solid performance
- 76Wh battery, with USB-C charging
- Shallow keyboard
- Mostly plastic build
We’ve reviewed several AMD Ryzen 4000 laptops lately and right here, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA502IU-ES76, is one of the most balanced gaming laptop available right now, touting this new AMD hardware.
Sure, it isn’t well made or as compact as the Asus Zephyrus G14, neither is it as powerful as the Asus TUF Gaming A15s, but it has one major advantage over all the other options: very good quality display, which is the main downside of all those other AMD-powered notebooks out there, at least for now.
ROG Zephyrus G15 Design
The ROG Zephyrus G15 is a compact and lightweight laptop, at just 4.6 pounds. Asus used a brushed black metal for the lid cover, accented with a black ROG logo, but the interior and bottom are made out of plastic.
On looks, it looks neat and professional, with nibble branding and free of annoying lights, save for the status LEDs and the power button that are always lit and placed beneath the screen.
The build quality is OK too, with minimal flex in both the lid and the chassis, with well-polished edges and corners. However, the lid and interior are fingerprint magnets and pick smudges easily, unlike few other laptops we’ve reviewed recently.
Most of the laptop’s essential ports are placed on the left side, but towards the middle, in a way that they can accommodate the thermal design around the back, and that means the power-plug and LAN and HDMI cables would get in your way if you decide to use them.
On the right, there are only USB slots and that leaves part of it free for your mouse. This laptop doesn’t include Thunderbolt 3 or a card reader, but the available USB-C port allows for charging, just in case you need to bring along your power brick.
It lacks a finger-sensor or IR camera – in fact there’s no camera at all, much like the entire Zephyrus lineup, but you have some microphones placed beneath the screen. As a result, the screen get small bezels around the side and top.
Keyboard & Touchpad
Inputs are one area where this Zephyrus G15 fails to excel.
The keyboard has a good layout, with full-size chiclet keys, tiny arrows, and an extra functions column at the right as well as dedicated volume keys in the top-left side. Typing o this keyboard feels a little shallow and imprecise, unlike on the higher tier Zephyrus models. Even the G14 stands out as a good typer, even if the keyboard looks much like the Zephyrus M/S model at first glance.
On this keyboard, you don’t have RGB lighting and only gets white LEDs. They’re quite bright and typing on each key is easily visible on this Black/White theme, but the light creeps from underneath some of the keycaps.
For the clickpad, it works with daily use, but it’s just a small plastic surface with clunky clicks, so it’s not something to praise.
Asus offers the G15 with two screen options, one with 144Hz refresh rate and poorer brightness, colors and response times, and another iteration with a 240 Hz refresh rate, 3ms response and 300+ nits of brightness and 100% sRGB coverage. The former option is what we have on our review unit, and that makes all the difference. Both variants are 15.6-inch in size, matte and non-touch.
The panel is well calibrated out of the box, with the 144Hz producing around 300-nits of brightness, but the response time is slower and the color coverage is much limited, at only around 60% sRGB, which is common at this price range, an also available on the TUF Gaming A15.
ROG GA502IU-ES76 Performance
Our review model of the ROG Zephyrus G15 is a mid-specced configuration with the AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS processor, 16GB of RAM, 1 TB SSD of storage and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti dedicated graphics card. As configured, the G15 is not just a performance laptop and can also handle everyday multitasking, browsing, and video while running quietly.
With a mid-tier Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q (with 6GB GDDR6), the Zephyrus G15 GA502IU-ES76 handles 1080p smoothly. When compared to its rivals, it plays the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (Very High, 1080p) with 64 frames per second, which is much better than the Dell G5 15 SE (AMD Radeon RX 5600M GPU) and MSI Alpha 15 (AMD Radeon RX 5500M GPU), yielding 44 and 35 fps, respectively.
On Grand Theft Auto V (Very High, 1080p), the G15 hits 77 fps, which is much higher than the 43 fps category average. Once again, it triumphs over the competition: Dell G5 15 SE which only musters 56 fps while the MSI Alpha only achieves 41 fps. However, on Hitman (Ultra, 1080p), the Dell G5 15 SE takes the throne with 83 fps, while the Legion 5 produced 76 fps, still above the 63 fps category average.
If you’re wondering if the Asus Zephyrus G15 could handle VR gaming, the answer has to be a resounding yes. Tested on VRMark Cyan benchmark that measures VR performance, it garners 5,246 P, which is almost double the 2,562 average for budget gaming laptop.
There’s a 76Wh battery inside this ROG Zephyrus G15, and paired with the relatively efficient hardware, this laptop offers good runtimes on a single charge. It gets around 7 hours on a single charge, editing documents, streaming on Netflix at 60% screen brightness, but that drops to just under 2 hours when playing modern games.
With the Asus Zephyrus G15, you’ll enjoy good overall performance on both productivity applications and games, a lustful 144Hz screen, a thin profile and newer components that you can’t beat at this price.
But it’s also impossible to ignore a few drawbacks: missing webcam and a keyboard that’s a chunky, but those are issues to be aware of, and not reasons not to buy. Everything else is great on this laptop, and Asus offers different iterations of the same model in case you need more power than our review unit offers.
If you’re looking at taking gaming seriously or a professional creative looking for a do-it-all machine, with the base designation of a laptop, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA502IU-ES76, is without a doubt, the right system, with the right design, at the right price.
ROG Zephyrus G15 (2020) Ultra Slim Gaming Laptop, 15.6” 144Hz FHD Display, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q, AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS, 16GB DDR4, 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD, Gig+ Wi-Fi 6, Windows 10 Home, GA502IU-ES76
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