Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 review
We first caught a glimpse of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 in CES 2019, and we're amazed with the way Asus seemed to package the most latest gaming gear to the light and slender design that we have come to expect out of its Zephyrus products.
The Zephyrus lineup has proved that strong gaming laptops do not have to be large and bulky, and may rather challenge Ultrabooks from the style section, and this model is no different.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 includes new Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics together with the Max-Q design, configurable up to a RTX 2080 together with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM, together with an 8th generation Intel Core i7-8750H six-core processor using a kinetic clock rate of 4.1GHz and up to 24GB of RAM, and we have now got our hands on you to properly try out.
Price and availability
Much like preceding Zephyrus gaming laptops, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 isn't a cheap device. With this level of performance combined with such a slender design, the large cost of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 should not come as much of a surprise, but there's no denying that this is a gaming laptop that's targeted at fans with deep pockets.
The cost of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 starts at $3,299.99 (£3,299.99, about AU$4,600 ), which may net you a model with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card, Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD plus a 17.3-inch 1080p display with Nvidia G-Sync.
There ought to be other models with different graphics cards, which will diminish the purchase price, also there's the capability to configure it using more RAM, which may increase the cost. We are following up with Asus to find specific rates for these different models. Do not hold out any expectation on them being radically more affordable, though.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 can be obtained to pre-order in the United States and UK, together with delivery quotes of April 2019. Again, we are chasing up using Asus about Australian accessibility, however at the time of writing, you are unable to pre-order it in Australia via the Asus store.
This hefty price tag makes it one of the priciest gaming laptops on the current market, though we anticipate other RTX-toting laptops to be equally expensive when they emerge out of other makers.
As we mentioned previously, Asus's variety of Zephyrus gaming laptops are designed to be as light and thin as possible, making their larger, bulkier opponents look absolutely obsolete by comparison.
It has continued with the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701, which Asus asserts is the most streamlined 17-inch gaming laptop ever produced. The notion is that the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 includes a 17-inch display, nevertheless its own body measurements are more similar to those found on a 15-inch laptop. With measurements of 399 x 272 x 18.7mm, it is around 23% smaller and 40% thinner than typical 17-inch gaming laptops.
As compared with all the Asus ROG Zephyrus GX501, that will be an old generation Zephyrus laptop using a 15.6-inch screen, the Zephyrus S GX701's measurements are just slightly bigger -- that is remarkable considering the bigger screen.
This smaller size and bigger screen is made possible mainly as a result of the incredibly narrow bezels that encircle the screen. At only 6.9mm thick, the top and side bezels permit for an 81% screen-to-body ratio, so there's very little wasted space.
To accomplish this a tiny top bezel, Asus no longer comprises a built-in webcam over the screen. For a lot of people this may seem to be a rewarding trade-off for such a slimline device. But should you use a webcam often -- for video calls or broadcasting Twitch, for example -- then Asus has produced a rather elegant solution by adding a slimline outside webcam that could clip on the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 (or placed elsewhere), and may fold into only 17mm lean when not in use.
Does this enable the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 for a thinner device, but it implies Asus can package more tech to the webcam than you would see in an integrated camera, and it is capable of recording 1080p footage in 60 frames per minute.
Much like preceding Zephyrus laptops, the keyboard is in the front the laptop's entire body, and this is where the trackpad would go on other laptops. This leaves a huge space in the back of the keyboard that looks somewhat strange if this is the first Zephyrus.
But this distance is used from the Zephyrus S GX701's ROG Active Aerodynamic System (AAS), which can help to keep the strong components cool regardless of the laptop's slim design. Under the surface there are a range of heatsinks and plumbing that push out hot air and bring in cool air, in addition to two big fans. To aid with the airflow, when you start the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701, the back of the laptop lifts up in the surface it is on. It is an elegant and powerful method of keeping the laptop trendy.
Because the keyboard is right at the front of the laptop it indicates that the trackpad can not go in its original spot beneath it. Rather, Asus have placed it around the right-hand side of keyboard, in which you would expect to discover a number pad on a conventional keyboard. It does not take too much time to get used to the new placement for the touchpad, also for gaming you are very likely to use a proper mouse.
The keyboard itself is nice, with big keys and Asus's Aura RGB lighting. The journey of the keys is quite shallow, but because of the thinness of the laptop. Again, the majority of people will see this a worthwhile exchange for the slim design, however it will imply the keyboard is not as pleasing to use as a mechanical keyboard -- that most of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701's opponents now include.
A brand new addition to the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is a little scroll wheel near the top of the keyboard that may be used to alter the volume. It is a wonderful touch, and it is also emphasized by the RGB LEDs of the laptop.
Sound is handled by two speakers on either side of the laptop that are powered with"smart amplifier tech," based on Asus, so the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is capable of much fuller sound than the tinny speakers that are often built in laptops.
Again, based on Asus, this enables the speakers of the GX701 to handle 2.5x the quantity, 1.6x the bass and 1.5x the dynamic selection. The speakers are capable of virtual 7.1 surround sound, which should hopefully mean they'll provide a more immersive experience when playing. We'll be providing the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 a proper evaluation of its audio capabilities in the future.
Port-wise, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 Includes a good choice. On the left-hand side is the electricity connection, a HDMI 2.0b port, a normal USB 3.1 port, a USB 3.1 Type-C port with DisplayPort 1.4 and electricity delivery and a 3.5 millimeter audio jack.
On the right-hand side is a USB 3.1 Type-C and 2 regular USB 3.1 ports. Interestingly, while the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 includes a normal DC charger, it may also have electricity provided by USB-C. Plugging the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 to a USB-C charger (or electricity pack) does not control the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 -- since it will not supply enough electricity for the GX701's hungry internals -- however it stops the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701's battery from tripping. It is a wonderful feature that means in the event that you discover yourself without the GX701's DC charger, even if you are able to get your hands on a standard USB-C charger, then you can still use the laptop.
You might even use the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 to control up USB-C devices like smartphones. Again, this really is a wonderful touch, but considering how scarce battery life may be on gaming laptops, you may not need another device leeching any valuable power.
Thus, it is a pretty good spread of ports, even though there's a notable omission: Ethernet LAN. When the majority of people are totally happy with wireless networking in their laptops, in regards to gaming it may be crucial to have a wired connection to guarantee a fast and stable experience.
The absence of an Ethernet port is disappointing, then, and we would have liked to have seen a USB-C into Ethernet jack thrown in, taking into consideration the purchase price and importance of wired networking to get a gaming laptop.
Display and screen
Though the components that power games will be the most important factors when purchasing a gaming laptop such as the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701, the caliber of the screen is really a close second. After all, if the gaming laptop does not have a screen that could do justice to the graphics of a game, then you may be paying for hardware you are not even making the most of.
The good thing is that Asus has clearly put a great deal of care and focus to the screen. As we mentioned previously, this really is really a 17-inch display, which for a gaming laptop is really big, and it includes a 144Hz refresh speed, meaning games feel fluid and smooth, whereas the G-Sync technology means there's no screen tearing either.
Response times are 3ms, that is quite good, and there's no perceptible lag between you controlling a game and it appearing on the screen, and there's no deflecting blurring during fast-paced activity either.
The display can also be factory calibrated, and it is Pantone Validated using 100% sRGB color gamut. Basically, this implies the display looks fantastic right out the box, but in addition, it usually means that the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is a workable laptop for digital creatives, like photographers and video editors, even where colour accuracy is of the utmost importance. Together with the energy behind the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701, it makes for a powerful workstation.
The 1080p resolution is good to get a 17-inch screen, but it implies that despite the latest games, the RTX 2080 is not especially taxed. Of course, that means that the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 will probably be future-proof for many, many years, and if you would like to provide the RTX 2080 a true workout, it is possible to hook this up to an external 4K screen or TV to see what the GPU is capable of.
Asus has spared no expense using kitting out the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 with a number of the most recent and strongest components available on the market today. The star of the show is unquestionably the graphics card, that will be an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 using Max-Q design.
This makes it one of the first gaming laptops to profit from Nvidia's high-end mobile graphics card, together with the Max-Q design running aT reduced clock rates, which reduces power consumption and allows the GPU to be placed in thinner laptops.
This mobile version of the RTX 2080 found from the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 includes a trade-off, then, compared to the desktop computer and conventional laptop versions of the RTX 2080.
Therefore, though a normal laptop RTX 2080 GPU includes a clock rate of 1,515MHz plus a increase clock of 1,710MHz, the RTX 2080 Max-Q includes a base clock of 735Mhz plus a increase of 1,095MHz. That usually means the RTX 2080 Max-Q is not as strong as its other versions, however it is still easily one of the most effective GPUs you can get in a laptop, and for most people the slender design of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is going to be well worth the small hit in performance.
Plus, let's not forget that the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 includes a 1080p screen, so the RTX 2080 Max-Q is more than able of displaying the most recent games with their graphical bells and whistles.
Games look -- and play amazing about this item. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is simply stunning on its own best graphical settings, together with even occupied scenes remaining above 60 frames per second (fps) and often going over 100 fps.
You can also quickly change the settings utilizing the ROG Armoury Crate software (that may be called up with a press of a dedicated button on the keyboard) in order that the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 can funnel more electricity to its components. Switching between'Balanced' and'Turbo' failed see an uptick in performance (and marginally higher standard scores), in addition to more fan sound.
Unsurprisingly for a gaming laptop of the calibre (and cost ), playing games around the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is a pleasure. The visual fidelity and high quality of the screen is incredibly striking, and it had been fantastic to have the ability to load a recent game (Metro Exodus for that ray tracing goodness) and also have all the graphical settings turned around'Ultra'.
The game looks magnificent in parts, and also the simple fact that the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 maintained pace with all the magnificent visuals without any noticeable drops in frame rate was fantastic. That is easily the best gaming experience you can have on a laptop at the present time.
The speakers also does an excellent job of producing loud, room-filling audio that actually sounds like it's coming from outside speakers, rather than the built-in speakers of the laptop. It is certainly good enough that you don't feel the need to plug extra speakers to enjoy your games.
The 7.1 virtual surround sound effect was fairly non-existent, though. Additionally, no matter how loudly the speakers go, they do not really drown out the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701's fans. This laptop gets severely noisy under stress. It is to be expected with a laptop that this slim, but you must be warned.
A last note on gaming is that we used a distinct gaming mouse to playwith, together with the keyboard of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701. Though the keyboard is OK, to be fair if we had been playing this matter permanent, we would look at plugging in a mechanical keyboard to get a more responsive and comfortable experience.
Gaming laptops seldom last more than a couple of hours and the GX701 isn't any different.
Running our battery life test, which broadcasts a 1080p video using the screen brightness set to 50%, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 managed only under three hours before having to be billed. Together with the PCMark 8 battery life evaluation, which emulates more intensive (yet still rather tame) workloads, such as web surfing and video conferencing, the battery lasted two hours and 12 minutes.
So, this is unquestionably a laptop you will not be utilizing unplugged, and is rather to be thought of as a desktop replacement. In all honesty, it is not much of a surprise thinking about the strong components on offer here, together with the standing of gaming laptops -- notably preceding Zephyrus models -- having limited battery life.
It is a shame that it looks like we are still stuck with the compromise of battery life for strong performance. Asus has tried a couple of items to prolong the battery lifetime as long as you possibly can on the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701.
When you disconnect the laptop, it switches to'on battery' mode, which enriches the performance of the GX701 to eke out more battery life. Using Nvidia's advanced "Optimus Mode" the GX701 turns off the different GPU when on battery, instead employing the lower-powered integrated graphics card.
The lowering of performance will not be overly apparent when using Windows 10 for day-to-day tasks, but we noticed a major drop in the performance of games on battery mode. Considering you do not get too much battery lifetime anyhow, we would advise you to consign yourself to the fact that you will not actually use the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 without being plugged .
Due to a number of the most recent and most effective gaming technology, together with an incredibly slim and light design, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is easily one of the greatest gaming laptops on sale today.
The addition of a RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics card along with beefy Intel processor, means you can play the hottest games using their graphics settings whacked high. The 1080p screen is fine and big, although the full HD resolution will not bother the GPU too much.
It is not perfect, however. The deficiency of Ethernet is a disappointment, and battery life is quite low. There's no denying that this is 1 heck of an expensive laptop.
If you are able to spend the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701, then there's no doubt that you'll absolutely adore the laptop. Its performance and design are leagues ahead of its rivals. When money was no object, we would suggest this laptop to everybody.
But, for a lot of people that cost will probably be just too significant. In that case, you're better off thinking about whether you actually want the amount of performance the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 offers, and rather check out a few if its more reasonably-priced choices.
Or, you can give on the mobile aspect altogether and build a strong gaming PC for less.