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Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 review: A lightweight gaming laptop with top-notch specs

The laptop is also Pantone-certified which means you get to see more accurate colours.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Mar 28, 2019, 11.02 AM IST
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The 17.3-inch screen has a matte finish, a 144Hz panel, 3ms response time and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Price: Rs 3,49,990
Rating: ****

Specifications: 17.3-inch IPS 144Hz display, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 8th generation Intel Core i7, Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU with 8GB dedicated VRAM, 24GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB SSD, 2 x 2.5W speakers, 2 x USB Type-C ports, 3 x USB 3.0 ports, HDMI out, 3.5mm combo jack, WiFi ac, Bluetooth 5.0, Windows 10 Home, 2.7kg

Pros: Sleek design for a 17-inch gaming laptop, great screen with slim bezels, top-of-the-line specs, seamless performance even at ultra-settings, loud speakers, plethora of ports, bundled gaming mouse and camera

Cons: Lack of palmrest takes time to get used to, off centre trackpad placement, small trackpad, expensive compared to competition for the same specifications, no 4k display option

ROG or Republic of Gamers by Asus is one of the few gaming focused brands that keeps updating its catalogue. ROG has recently launched the latest Zephyrus S GX 701 in India — this is their best and most expensive gaming laptop.

With the Zephyrus, Asus has experimented with a new design and this is evident as soon as you lay eyes on it. Gone are the thick bezels — it has sleek bezels on top and both sides. The bezel is so thin that there is no space to put a front camera on the machine. That’s why Asus bundles an external camera in the box that can be attached for the times you need it. The second big change is with keyboard placement.

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Battery life ranges between 3 to 4 hours with general usage and down to 2.5-3 hours with gaming.

The keyboard is now placed low, where the trackpad usually is. Above the keyboard is a designer finish pattern with glowing ROG logo in the center. Asus claims this design helps with cooling as the laptop draws in more cool air from the top while the heat dissipates from the side and rear vents. Personally, we found the setup to be odd and took a while to get accustomed to it. Moving the keyboard down means that there is no palmrest. Second, the trackpad has been moved to the right of the keyboard and while that doesn’t take too long to get used to, we did feel that the size of the trackpad was too small for comfort.

Being a gaming laptop, it comes with its share of bells and whistles too. You get a solid magnesium alloy body with backlit logo on the lid, keyboard and on the bundled gaming mouse. You can customize these colours or choose various effects for the lights. What impressed us most was the compact size of the laptop. Coming in at 2.7kg, this is one of the lightest 17-inch gaming laptops we have seen. In addition, overall dimensions are about the same as a 15.6-inch laptop. These are the things you’re paying a premium for on this machine.

The 17.3-inch screen has a matte finish, a 144Hz panel, 3ms response time and a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. In addition to all this, it is also Pantone-certified which means you get to see more accurate colours. Problem is, unless you compare it with a non-pantone display, you will not be able to tell the difference. While we liked the screen for its vibrancy and brightness, we do feel that it should have had a 4k screen. This would have made the laptop an easy choice for gamers as well as photo/video editors. That being said, 144Hz refesh rate is a big differentiator and makes a huge difference to gaming.

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You get a solid magnesium alloy body with backlit logo on the lid, keyboard and on the bundled gaming mouse.

Specifications are top-notch: 8th gen Intel Core i7, 24GB RAM, 1TB SSD and the latest Nvidia RTX 2080 GPU. We were able to play PUBG, Crackdown 3 and Apex Legends at the highest graphic settings with ease. We didn’t see any frame drops or lags/sluggishness of any kind. The only issue we faced is that the cooling fans kick in at full speed and become noisy after about 35 minutes of gaming. Battery life ranges between 3 to 4 hours with general usage and down to 2.5-3 hours with gaming.

We really liked the volume control wheel on the side, fantastic speaker output with good amount of bass, loads of software features to fine tune the performance and support for DC charging as well as USB Type-C charging.

So is this the best gaming laptop one could buy today? If performance is important, then probably not. The newly launched Dell Area 51-m with modular CPU and GPU gives you an 8th gen Intel Core i9, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD + 1TB Hybrid drive and RTX 2080 for roughly the same price (Rs 3,58,236 approx.) but keep in mind that it’s a hefty 3.7kg.

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