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ASUS ROG Zephyrus G GA502 overview: £1249 thin & light laptop

Last updated on June 13th, 2019 at 10:26 am

When you think of ASUS ROG’s Zephyrus range of gaming laptops, you probably think something along the lines of ‘a high-end, thin-and-light laptop that is very expensive.’ That was certainly the case for the first Zephyrus model introduced back in 2017, and it also holds true for the Zephyrus S GX701 that Leo reviewed last month.

What ASUS has introduced today, however, is still very much a Zephyrus laptop, but with a much more affordable price tag. The Zephyrus G GA502 costs just £1249 here in the UK (or £1199 if you don’t mind having 8GB of DDR4 instead of 16GB), yet still retains the classic Zephyrus look and feel. We sat down with Sascha Krohn, Senior Global Technical Marketing Manager at ASUS ROG, to have a chat about this new device.

Watch via our Vimeo channel (below) or over on YouTube at 2160p HERE

One of the main reasons for the Zephyrus G’s lower price tag is its use of more mainstream hardware. Where the more expensive Zephyrus models use Intel i7 CPUs paired with the likes of RTX 2080 graphics, the Zephyrus G utilises AMD’s quad-core Ryzen 7 3750H processor and a GTX 1660 Ti graphics chip. It’s still a good spec on paper for a laptop of this price, but we will have to wait for exact performance figures as the laptop I got hands-on with is a pre-production model.

Even if we account for frame rates that are slightly lower than desktop GTX 1660 Ti, however, we can still expect a very solid 1080p gaming experience. That’s especially the case as this machine hasn’t cut corners with the display, with a 120Hz refresh-rate and IPS panel. There’s no G-Sync support, but I was able to play a bit of COD: BO4 Zombies with the Zephyrus G and it still felt like a really smooth experience.

As for the rest of the spec, it is interesting to see the Zephyrus G ship without a hard drive – UK SKUs of this laptop will only ship with a single 512GB NVMe SSD. How you will feel about that definitely depends on how you use your laptop, but I reckon it’s a smart choice – SSDs are getting cheaper and cheaper, and 512GB is still a decent capacity. It’s not terabytes of space, granted, but the difference in speed by going with SSD vs HDD is very noticeable.

Lastly, it is worth pointing out there will be two UK SKUs of the Zephyrus G. Amazon has an exclusive model with 8GB of DDR4 for £1199, but everyone else will sell the laptop with 16GB of memory for £1249.

So overall, the internal hardware of the Zephyrus G does make for a very well-balanced specification for the money – on paper, at least. What is arguably even more impressive, however, is the chassis ASUS ROG has used to house those components. Remember, this is a Zephyrus laptop – and ASUS ROG hasn’t used that name without reason.

Essentially, the Zephyrus G is offering the same design language as its more premium brethren but with one or two compromises. Primarily, that means it is impressively portable for a laptop of this price, considering it weighs just 2.1kg and is less than 20mm thick. Its display also boasts a very thin bezel, with ASUS claiming an 81% screen-to-body ratio.

On top of that, the laptop retains a premium feel thanks to its brushed metal lid, which is very tasteful. The rest of machine is made from plastic – one area where costs have had to be saved – but it still feels like an impressively well-built machine. Compared to most other laptops around this price, which are often plain and much less portable, the Zephyrus G does look very appealing.

One other area to touch on is the keyboard. Here, ASUS has opted for a white-only backlight instead of any RGB lighting. Personally this doesn’t bother me at all, but it is definitely worth noting. In any case, coming back to the price again, it is hard to complain considering the hardware you are getting for your money.

 

Rounding out our look at the chassis, it is good to see a relatively healthy set of connectivity options. The right-hand side of the machine boasts 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type A, while the left-hand side offers Ethernet, HDMI, 1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 TypeC and a 3.5mm jack. Interestingly, that TypeC port is also capable of charging the laptop up to 100W. It won’t be able to deliver enough juice for a full-on gaming session, but if you’re just browsing the web in a coffee shop, there’s no need to lug the included power brick around with you.

Full specification of the Zephyrus G GA502 is as follows. Do note that specification varies region-to-region so the other models may not be configured the same as the UK SKUs.

Specification

Operating system: Windows 10
Display: 15.6in FHD 120Hz vIPS display, anti-glare
Graphics: NVIDIA ® GeForce ® GTX 1660 Ti 6GB GDDR6
Memory: 8/16GB DDR4 2400MHz
Storage: 512GBM.2 NVMe PCIe® SSD
Wireless: 1×1 Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
Bluetooth: ® 5.0
Connectivity: 1 x RJ-45 jack, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 TypeC ™ w/ DisplayPort 1.4, 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 TypeA, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x 3.5 mm audio combo jack, 1 x Kensington lock
Keyboard: White-backlit chiclet keyboard w/ N-key rollover and Overstroke
Audio: 2 x 1W w/ smart amplifier
Battery: 76Wh 4-cell Lithium-ion
AC adapter: 180W AC Adapter
Size: 360 x 252 x 19.9 mm
Weight: 2.1 kg

KitGuru says: The Zephyrus G GA502 looks like a very appealing laptop. It should offer a great 1080p gaming experience, while still remaining impressively portable. We will have to wait for our full review to give a final verdict, but for £1249 the Zephyrus G looks very exciting.

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