Asus ROG Zephyrus M GU502GW-AH76 Review
The Asus ROG Zephyrus M GU502GW-AH76 is a midrange loadout with higher-end pricing and appropriately advanced features: a 240Hz display, a Core i7-9750H, and a 1TB SSD storage. The Zephyrus series is designed to provide an ultra-portable laptop experience without sacrificing performance. Asus’ Zephyrus M straddles between high-end performance and unmatched performance. It’s a lightweight laptop that’s supremely powerful to crunch major triple-A titles as well as run power-hungry software, a feat most creators desire in a laptop of choice.
Asus bills the ROG Zephyrus M to be 45% lighter and 25% thinner than traditional 15-inch notebooks, and it is very evident by just looking at this laptop. It measures 0.78 inches at the thickest point and weighs 4.39 lbs. The chassis is made from reinforced magnesium alloy that makes it sturdy enough for daily commute, with a brushed finish on the lid, while the area around the keyboard and trackpad sport a matte finish.
The trackpad has a honeycomb design underneath that keeps additional flex at bay, while the top skin is soft-to-touch paint. On design, the GU502GW feels a bit premium for the asking price, and it even adds RGB lighting to amplify its gaming aesthetics.
The laptop features an intelligent cooling system, backed by 83-blade fans 0.1mm thin fans. It has a total of five heatsinks that wrap up the cooling system that dissipate heat away from the CPU and GPU. Another feature worth mentioning is an anti-dust tunnel which restricts dust and debris from entering the heat pipes, thereby preventing the dust from clogging the cooling system.
Our review model of the Asus ROG Zephyrus M has a 15.6-inch. Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) IPS panel with a 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. There’s another ROG Zephyrus model with the same display, but is limited to 144Hz response time, just like the competing MSI GS65 Stealth-006 gaming laptop. The screen is surrounded by 6.2mm thin bezels, translating to over 81% screen-to-body with a matte coating to prevent reflections. However, the bottom bezel is left thick purposely to accommodate the words “ROG Zephyrus” etched into the frame.
This display is excellent to play games on as well as binge-watch the latest season of The Witcher. You’ll love the super-smooth refresh rate and minimal bezels on three sides; the viewing experience remains immersive, and you get to enjoy fast-paced action while playing FPS games.
For creators, Asus gives you a souvenir on the Zephyrus M in way of a Pantone color validated screen that produces the full scope of the sRGB color spectrum. That means that while you enjoy more vibrant colors while playing games, the same benefits can be reaped by professional designers, illustrators, and video editors to create detailed and true to life visuals.
The ROG GU502GW-AH76 has a classical chiclet keyboard which supports per-key RGB lighting and N-key rollover. You can tweak the RGB lights via Armoury Crate utility that you can start by just pressing the dedicated button on the top left corner of the keyboard. The adjacent keys are physical keys for controlling the volume (up, down, and mute).
It has excellent feedback, though it’s slightly firm, it comes handy while playing games. You get adequate travel which is adequate while typing out lengthy sentences, surprisingly, it doesn’t feel like a gaming laptop. Below the keyboard is a trackpad that works efficiently. You won’t have any issues using the trackpad.
Port selection is excellent. You have all ports including a USB 3.1 Type-C, RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet, USB3.1 Type-A, HDMI 2.0b and Kensington Lock in addition to two USB3.1 Type-A and two 3.5mm audio jacks for headphone and microphone.
Powering this slim laptop is a powerful 9th generation intel Core i7-9750H processor with Max-Q 8GB NVIDIA GeForce RT 2070 and 16GB RAM to boot. Our review unit of the ROG Zephyrus M is fitted with a 1TB SSD storage, and there’s a second M.2 slot if you need to throw in extra storage. You can easily top it up with an extra SSD and use it in a RAID 0 configuration for even speedier read and write performance.
With this hardware, the user benefits from reliable and incredibly fast performance, be it modern AAA games like Metro Exodus, Battlefield V or software like Adobe Illustrator, Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Blender, Magix and DaVinci Resolve, to name a few.
The Zephyrus M can take all this without breaking a sweat, and that’s exactly what’s special about this laptop. In fact, it’s one of the few laptops that strike a perfect balance between your professional and gaming endeavors. The amount of power you get from the hardware packed inside an 18mm body is just great for playing graphics-intensive titles after a busy day at the office.
Even with the great design and tons of muscle, this laptop has a few caveats under its arm. The super-intelligent cooling solution used by Asus in the Zephyrus M doesn’t do all that much. While it helps power through heavy gameplays, the chassis gets hot in just about a round of PUBG, and that’s not so great for a laptop’s performance in the long run.
However, the Nvidia RTX 2070 gives you all the hope you need to play most modern titles and run your professional software suites. For gaming enthusiasts, it easily satiates the hunger to ply triple AAA titles at over 60 FPS at highest settings, while at the same time being as dependable at professional work.
Another issue worth noting is the laptop’s audio. The speakers are placed at the bottom, meaning they only perform decently if placed on a flat surface. Otherwise, if you place it on a bed or on a lap, the speakers get muffled. In that case, we’d recommend a headphone.
The ROG Zephyrus M GU502GW-AH76 comes with a 76Wh rechargeable Li-ion battery which Asus claims can last even over 6 hours when browsing the web. However, in real life usage, it lasts just under 4 hours when browsing the web, listening to music, typing away and sometimes watching a video on YouTube. We’re not surprised, that what you’d expect from a gaming laptop.
The ROG Zephyrus M packs a compelling set of hardware and a refreshed design that lets you get productive at work and get playing by maintaining a sweet balance between work and play. For its price and feature set – especially the 9th Gen Core i7 CPU, Pantone Validated 240Hz screen and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU, this laptop is best suited for designers, editors, and content creators who are enthusiast gamers on the side.
Well, most of its competitors like the MSI GS65 Stealth-422 will give better performance, but those don’t offer the sleekness, durability and portability our Asus ROG Zephyrus M GU502GW-AH76 here does.