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Asus Zephyrus S GX701GX Review – The Incredible Vanishing Bezel

Asus Zephyrus S GX701GX looks superb and packs an impressive punch. The combination of Core i7-8750H with Nvidia RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics delivers excellent gaming results and the images look really good on the 17.3-inch IPS screen. If we have a criticism of the 144Hz G-Sync panel it would be that the screen is not especially bright, however it is perfectly acceptable.

Those major components all work well and we are happy to report that Asus has done a good job in their selection and has also used a superb cooling system. Managing that hardware in a chassis with a mere 18.7mm thickness is no mean feat and we congratulate the Asus engineers. It is a shame we were unable to get inside the chassis to see the hardware and to check out the ease – or otherwise – of upgrades.

Balanced against that, while we like the tiny screen bezel and the way the 17.3-inch screen has effectively been packaged in a 15.6-inch laptop, we want to see a higher screen resolution. 1,920×1,080 is simply not enough but we are conscious that more pixels would likely push the Max-Q graphics hard. If a 4K panel is to much to ask for, we think this GX701GX should pack a 1440p screen and accept it might be necessary for the lesser GW and GV models to stick with 1080p.

The way Asus has packed in the cooling has determined the layout of the chassis. The cooling is at the back near the screen, we have intakes underneath where the AAS system ensures air can flow and the sides are used to exhaust hot air. This means the ports and connectors have been pulled to the front and the touchpad that doubles up as a number pad has been moved to the right.

Reducing the space for the ports and connectors means that you do not get an SD card slot or Ethernet, but neither do you get Thunderbolt.  When we were using the GX701 we found that flash drives and other USB devices were very close to our hands and felt as though they were in the way. It is tempting to accuse Asus of being lazy with its choice of ports, however the fact they have added additional Type C charging shows that some thought has been given to this area.

The keyboard feels OK to type on, however the touchpad is too small. Clicking the button to enable it as a number pad works correctly but the absence of any haptic feedback makes it feel strange. If you watch each press of a virtual button you will be fine but it is slow going.

We like the fact that Asus has reduced the screen bezel to the minimum, and the fact they have removed the webcam does not cause us any upset. We can see that some people will hate the idea of clipping a USB cam in place so this may well be another of those dividing lines depending on your preferences.

Overall we are impressed by the Zephyrus GX701GX, however it is sufficiently different in its design that it doesn’t bear direct comparison with any other RTX laptop that springs to mind. The specification is very good and the performance is excellent, with just a few minor niggles holding it back.

You can buy the GX701GX for £3199 from Amazon UK HERE.

Pros:

  • High performance with Core i7-8750H and RTX 2080 Max-Q.
  • Impressive screen with 144Hz and G-Sync.
  • Very good cooling.
  • Stunningly slender chassis.
  • Per-key RGB lighting.

Cons:

  • Poor battery life.
  • Screen is only 1080p.
  • Touchpad offset to the right hand side.
  • The fans can get noisy when the Zephyrus S works hard.
  • USB ports are located towards the front of the laptop.

KitGuru says: We love the engineering in Zephyrus GX701 and it performs superbly. It has a few minor niggles, but it is overall an excellent gaming laptop.

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Rating: 8.5.

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