Hands-on: Asus ROG Zephyrus review

At Computex 2017, Nvidia has announced its new Max–Q standard for GTX gaming laptops . It means you can get up to a GeForce GTX 1080 in a thin device and one of the first to be announced is the Asus ROG Zephyrus. See: Best gaming laptops 2017.

Unbeknown to us, we actually saw one in New York at Acer’s event where it unveiled the Triton 700. However, there was no confirmation at the time of what card it was running, although we suspected there was a 1080 inside. Also check out the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro.

Asus ROG Zephyrus release date and price

We can let you know that the ROG Zephyrus (GX501VI) will be released on 27 June which isn’t very long to wait.

The aforementioned Triton 700 costs a whopping £2,999 for the 1080 model but it seems the Zephyrus will be more affordable at $2,699 and $2,299 for a lower-spec 1070 model. 

The 1070 Zephyrus (GX501VS) will be available in July.

Asus ROG Zephyrus

Asus ROG Zephyrus design and build

The idea with the Zephyrus and other Max-Q laptops is to offer full-blown GTX 1080 graphics without the need for a cumbersome device.

Rather than being cut-down versions like the M models you find in laptops, Nvidia says “Max-Q combines a new way of operating the GPU for peak efficiency, with optimizations such as a low voltage optimized clock curve that wrings out gaming performance while reducing power.”

It’s still the same Pascal architecture but is managed better. This allows them to be three times thinner with three times the performance, compared to previous designs.

Asus claims the ROG Zephyrus is the world’s thinnest laptop with a GTX 1080 and it comes it at just 17.9mm at its thickest point and 1mm thinner at the slimmest.

Asus ROG Zephyrus design

That’s extremely impressive and the laptop weighs just 2.2kg which is somewhat mind boggling compared to what we’re used to and what’s inside.

The ROG Zephyrus looks pretty great too, although like Acer’s rival has the keyboard right next to the edge of the chassis. Instead of a fancy glass trackpad next to the screen, there’s a small one to the side of the keyboard which is also a bit awkward.

The vast space between the keyboard and the hinge is where the GTX 1080 and other components sit so it’s used for cooling. Having this and the keyboard the other way around would be uncomfortable because of the heat.

A nifty mechanism means when the laptop is open a vent opens on the underside and there’s no doubt that this is a laptop we’d be more than happy to own. 

Asus ROG Zephyrus vent

Asus ROG Zephyrus specs and hardware

As you’ve already gathered, the headline feature of the Asus ROG Zephyrus is the fact it comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 (or 1070) without being huge. This is the main reason to buy it but there are other impressive things to talk about.

The ROG Zephyrus has been fitted with an Intel Core i7 7700HQ processor and supports up to a whopping 24GB of DDR4 RAM and up to 1TB SSD. There are a total of four M.2 PCI slots. See: Intel vs AMD.

Performance during our hands-on time at Computex was silky smooth and you should be able to throw whatever you like at this machine. It’s supposedly 60 percent more powerful than a PS4 Pro.

Asus ROG Zephyrus specs

It might not have the slimmest bezels but the screen hasn’t been disregarded. In fact, the 15.6in display is gorgeous featuring Nvidia G-Sync support and a 120Hz refresh rate.

There’s no HDR support but we’re not too bothered and we like the wide viewing angles, anti-glare coating and 100 percent sRGB colour gamut.

Fortunately, the ROG Zephyrus is still thick enough to offer a decent range of ports. It’s got a USB-C port, four USB 3.1 ports, HDMI and 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack.

Asus ROG Zephyrus Max-Q

One of the only questions that remains is battery life, something Asus has kept quiet about. After all, this is a laptop and the design means top-end performance is more portable than ever but we want to know how long it will last.

There’s not much point is this awesome design housing that set of specs if it conks out after two hours.

OUR VERDICT

There's very little to dislike about the Asus ROG Zephyrus. As one of the first Nvidia Max-Q devices, this thin and light laptop has incredible specs including a full-blown GTX 1080. It might be expensive but it's cheaper than Acer's rival, but we want to know things like battery life still.