ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GM501 Review

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Aside from the monstrous, $6000-plus, water-cooled GX800VH, this latest iteration of the hugely popular Zephyrus laptop can be considered just about the top of the ASUS ROG range.

At over $2000, this is a serious investment, and for that sort of money, you expect some bang for your buck. Luckily, the GM501 delivers — and then some.

Performance – 5/5

Performance-wise, the stats are mouth-watering.

A 3.9-GHz Intel Core i7–8750H processor with 16GB of RAM starts us off with six cores rather than just four.

With such enormous processing power, there’s very little you can’t do with this machine — it has no trouble running a raft of tabs on Chrome, with five or six other programs running in the background.

And if that isn’t enough for you, it can even be customized to have 32GB of RAM.

Using Geekbench 4 to test (with its Intel I7 baseline score of 4000), the GM501 managed over a staggering 20,000 — with the average premium gamer laptop hitting only 15,000. It’s a serious piece of kit indeed.

The GM501 boasts an Nvidia GeForce 1070 GPU with 8GB of VRAM in terms of graphics. Though it’s not quite at the same level as the range-topping 1080 Max-Q, the difference will be barely noticeable for most. On the highest-intensity games, it doesn’t quite match the Alienware 15, which is comparable in terms of price and hardware.

Audio and Visuals – 4.5/5

What it lacks in that department begins to make up for screen quality. The 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 display is superb, with almost no latency, wonderfully popping colours, and mesmerizing detail.

Subjective as it is, I loved the audio on this machine. Being a bit of a bass hound, I was delighted with how the bottom-mounted speakers pushed out rumbling lows. The GM501 also comes with Asus’ Sonic Studio III software, which allows for near-infinite customization to get the sound you want, whether for movies, games or music.

Design and Hardware – 3.5/5

Like the sound, the design and aesthetics of laptops ultimately come down to personal preference. The GM501 looks lovely — it manages to be minimal and sleek without compromising usability and functionality. The reddish accents and LEDs are nice touches, as is the chassis colour choice — what ASUS calls Black Titanium.

The keyboard and trackpad are solid, if unspectacular. I was pleased with the layout and positioning of the keys, which felt spacious but logically placed not entirely taken with the feel — too reminiscent of some of the cheaper models in the series.

I was also particularly underwhelmed by the battery life of the GM501. You’re not expecting ultrabook levels of battery life on gaming machines like this, but I could barely get 3 hours out of it in most uses. Is that a deal-breaker? Probably not, but you’d hope it’s something ASUS consider on the next model.

One other minor to the medium complaint (depending on your priorities) – this laptop gets pretty hot! It has some quite intricate fan systems, which chuck out a fair amount of noise and warmth when they get going. Again, this is to be expected for a machine with such high specs, but it would be nice to see some cheaper variant of the top-tier cooling systems at least considered for a laptop at this price point.

Overall Thoughts – 4.5/5

gaming laptop

This laptop is at the top end of what the average gamer will want.

Does this model smash the competition out of the park? No.

Does it offer modest improvements across the board on the closest other options? Absolutely.

For that reason, I’d give the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GM501 a more than decent 4.5/5

Image credit: laptopmag

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