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Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501 Review – The Gaming Beast

Gaming is a serious play for some. For hardcore gamers, the right equipment matters a lot. While desktop has always been preferred by gamers for their customization and easy configuration capabilities, for true gamers who would want to play on the go and everywhere they go, a good gaming laptop really matters. Asus has been one of the strong players in the gaming laptop segment with their Republic of Gamers (ROG) sub-brand. The ROG portfolio itself has a wide range of gaming machines and what I got here is Zephyrus GM501 which is manageable as an ultrabook but delivers the performance of a gaming PC to bring the best of both the worlds.

General Specifications of Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501

Dimension | weight 15.1 x 10.3 x 0.7~0.8 inches; 2.5kgs
Display size/resolution 15.6-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel display
CPU 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz
Graphics 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
Storage 512GB SSD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)

Design of ROG GM 501:

Gaming laptops are different breeds when compared to the regular laptops which focus more on aesthetics in a please-all way or being functional or thinner the better design language. On the other hand, the gaming machines need to have a unique DNA and more importantly be a powerhouse. The Zephyrus instantly catches our attention when you hold it or even touch the brushed aluminium chassis. It comes in what Asus calls Black Titanium colour. Most gaming laptops with muscles are comparitively chunky but GM 501 manages to be more portable as a day to day machine comparatively. The lid has two distinct panels with linear marks diagonally split – one has horizontal lines and other vertical lines. The brushed finish gives the machine a robust look and feel and it does feel robust when you hold it. A chrome ROG emblem sits boldly and gets lit in red when you open the lid with the machine powered on. It does mean a powerful statement of the brand with confidence. On the back of the lid towards the hinges proclaims Republic of Gamers which again is not garish in the branding but bold. The hinge part also sports the Zephyrus branding. A copper accent finish goes around the sides of the system to cut the monotonous of the alluminum finish. On the right, you find a type-A port and also a Thunderbolt 3 port along with a secure lock slot. On the left, you get an HDMI port, a combination microphone/headphone jack and a power jack along with another 3 USB Type-A ports. All the four type-A ports are 3.1 types. What I didn’t really subscribe to the design part is the power jack positioning which is at the middle rather than the top end which is the regular position in most laptops.

Display of ROG GM 501 Gaming laptop:

The Zephyrus GM 501 has a 15.6-inch matte display with full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution tailormade for gaming. How is it tailormade for gaming? It offers a seamless refresh rate of 144Hz, now your generall all-purpose laptops probably have a 60Hz which is considered decent in their world. This is possible with the Nvidia G-Sync technology which almost nullifies the latency and little to no screen tearing or latency. The display is also good for watching movies when you take a break from gaming. The 178-degree viewing angles mean sit around anywhere and you don’t find the display fading or dimming. Keyboard layout of GM 501: The Zephyrus has a traditional keyboard layout including a number pad at the right. The chicklet keys are well placed and there is also good palm rest for comfortable typing. The key travel is also pretty neat and also produces a nice clicky sound.

For the visual lightings what most gamers love, the keyboard lits up when you touch. You can sync your colour schemes with Asus-compatible monitors, mice and other peripherals via the cloud. You get the Auto core utility app for customization of the light elements with a 16.8 million colour wheel allowing to pick your own colours. You don’t get to individually program each key but four designated zones.

The trackpad is fairly large and has a 4.1 x 2.3 dimension.

The audio performance of ROG GM 501:

A good audio performance is a big advantage for a gamer to listen the direction of the sound and react to the opponents especially in shooting games. The included Sonic Radar 3 software pinpoints sound direction like footsteps and gunshots which helped me eat many chicken dinner in my PUBG gaming. Coming to the quality of the sound, the Zephyrus 501 delivers a deep bass which was of my liking. I love such bass and I enjoyed it. While am not necessarily going to spend my time listening songs on this machine, which my phone serves better the audio when watching movies or gaming is a winner for me. Of course with a predominant bass, the lows do get crowded a bit. The software also has four presets for music, movie, gaming and communication preferences and many effects like bass boost, treble boost, surround, clarity, smart volume and reverb which can be turned on/off.

Performance of ROG GM501:

Now let’s focus on the core competence of the machine – the gaming aspect of how it handles the graphics and the processing capabilities. With a Core i7-875OH and Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU, this machine is an absolute beast or at least amongst the top of the and can rival desktops rig of similar configurations. The six-core chipset is highly capable and hits the sweet spot for gaming. It will run at around 3.9GHz for brief periods, before falling back to 3.3–3.4GHz during workloads such as sustained rendering. Even the GTX 1070 GPU consistently hovers over 1700MHz even on a long run of gaming. The 144Hz refresh rate also aids in a butter smooth, slick gaming experience. Even the synthetic tests benchmarks are very impressive with a whooping 20,590 on Geekbench 4 for overall performance.

Battery life:

The machine lasted 2 hours and 50 minutes on our battery tests.

Does the ROG Zephyrus GM 501 heats up?

To be frank, all gaming machines worth its salt are bound to get hot, it is inevitable with all the desktop competing muscle power packed into a laptop format what matters is how the OEMs match this with proper thermal control. For Zephyrus, Asus has come up with few tricks. It has designed with Nvidia, an Active Aerodynamics System with hardware modifications for heat management. When you open the lid, you find a 0.24-inch gap. The gap draws air into the system, which is then blow out of vents along the sides. There is also 71 thinner blades in the system. Having said that the machine does heat up but not to the point of uncomfortable propositions, you can still play while resting on the lap. The fans do make a bit of sound when you start playing not at alarming levels though.

Verdict – Is this the perfect gaming machine?

I cannot say if this is the perfect gaming machine, I haven’t tried all the mighty beasts out there but what I can confidently say is that the Asus Zephyrus ROG GM501 sits right on top of best gaming laptops system. It is amongst the best high configuration desktop machines in laptop form. For intense gamers, the Zephyrus ROG is a great pick offering a slim yet powerful machine.

What works for Zephyrus ROG:

  • Excellent build
  • Beast of a configuration
  • Good audio performance
  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • upgradable memory
  • Good thermal management

What is bad

  • Short battery life
  • no built-in Ethernet jack
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