Taiwanese electronics giant Asus launched its latest series of ROG laptops about four months back. During the launch, ROG updated its current lineup with the latest in terms of the CPU and the GPU. The company also improved the laptops in terms of design and performance after taking feedback from users. As previously reported, the highlight of the updated laptops include the Nvidia RTX MaxQ GPU cards and Intel H series Coffee Lake processors.
We have already reviewed the Asus ROG Strix SCAR II GL504. After that machine, ROG sent across the top-of-the-line Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701. I spend some time with the Zephyrus S GX701 during the announcement briefing and was quite impressed by what I saw in terms of performance. Given that I have already tested and experienced what RTX power can do on a laptop, I will not really spend much time explaining it. However, does the ROG Zephyrus GX701 manage to stand tall in the world of no compromise gaming? Let’s find out.
Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 specifications and pricing
This gaming laptop features up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU MaxQ. The laptop is packed with the latest hardware along with 17.3-inch IPS-level display with FHD resolution. It also comes with a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time display along with Pantone validated colors with factory calibration and ProArt TruColor technology.
The ROG Zephyrus S GX701 features an exclusive GPU Switch technology known as the Nvidia Optimus Technology. This provides users an easy way to switch between battery and resource intensive gaming move and light usage work-centric mode with just a press of a button. Asus has also added its Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) cooling system.
Users can configure the laptop with up to 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD, and up to 24GB DDR4 RAM. The keyboard comes with per-key RGB lighting and Aura Sync, which also extends illumination to volume roller and a glowing number pad that appears on the touch-pad. Asus has also added Sonic Studio III software so that users can take control of the sound that the laptop outputs.
Now, let’s move one of the most important aspects of the laptop, the price in India. All the sleekness and top of the line hardware does not come cheap. Asus has priced the ROG Zephyrus S GX701 at an eye-watering Rs 349,990. This amount makes the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 the super luxury car equivalent of the computing world.
A ‘sleek’ gaming laptop with a clever cooling mechanism
The recipe to a good gaming laptop is good internal hardware, and an equally good cooling system. To ensure this, most gaming laptops have been bulky and heaving while defeating the entire premise of a “laptop”. The bulk and fat has been a consequence of fans and multiple cooling vents to ensure proper airflow. However, with leaps and bounds in the technology world, we have seen the rise of “sleek” gaming laptops. The big bulky gaming laptops are gradually becoming a thing of the past. I was aware of this trend but wasn’t really prepared to how much sleek the ROG Zephyrus S GX701 actually turned out to be.
After initially using the laptop, I started wondering about how Asus achieved it. How the company managed to shave off the fat in favor of sleekness without much issues with the cooling. Asus then revealed an extremely clever trick that may go unnoticed by most people. The thing we are talking about here is the bottom panel of the laptop that opens up when we unfold it.
The ROG Zephyrus S GX701 comes with ROG Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) that lifts up the bottom lid. This opens up a somewhat large gap in comparison to the usual cooling vents to take the air inside. The company claims that this increases the air intake by “up to 32 percent” when compared to other “sleek” designs. Inside the laptop, we get 250 fins along with four different heat sinks and five heat pipes for cooling down the CPU, GPU, and the VRM, the Voltage Regulator Module.
The entire design and lip opening mechanism seems both genius as well as futuristic, especially for a laptop. In addition to this clever solution to the “sleek” build quality, Asus has gone further ahead to solve other issues. It has also added Anti-Dust filters inside the laptop that ensure that the fans can keep themselves clean. This is to ensure that the laptop maintains its cooling performance and stability over an extended period of time.
Modern design that gets the job done
In this section, let’s dig a bit further in the design aspect of the ROG Zephyrus S GX701. For starters, the laptop looks quite mean yet funky with the addition of RGB. The build quality of the laptop is top-notch with no flex in the keyboard, trackpad or event the air venting located above the keyboard.
The only area where I could notice the flex was the bottom lid when it was expanded. Though, given that the bottom panel was merely acting as a lone thin metal sheet, we can somewhat ignore it. Another reason we can ignore this because users don’t really exert pressure on the keyboard or the air vents while playing. The slight angle of inclination where the bottom lid only opens right next to the hinge compensates for any pressure on the keyboard.
One interesting thing that I noticed is that the ROG Zephyrus S GX701 does not come with an integrated webcam. Unlike other laptop makers that have struggled to ideally place the web camera in the laptop while reducing the bezels, Asus has straight-out removed it. Now, in place of the integrated webcam, the company packs the webcam separately. This can be plugged into the laptop through USB Type-A port and fixed either on the top of the display or somewhere on your desk.
Most of the body of ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is made up of a magnesium-alloy which improves the rigidity and structural integrity of the laptop. The metal-like strip running around the edge of the bottom side of the laptop gives it a much more premium look. We get the traditional dual texture panel on the top of the laptop along with the massive RGB-enabled Asus ROG logo. Beyond that, there is yet another ROG logo in the air vents area above the keyboard. Asus has also added per-key RBG lighting in the keyboard to keep things flashy along with Aura Sync support. Beyond that, we see a physical “roller” just about the keyboard area for volume control.
Performance of Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701
As I mentioned, the ROG Zephyrus S GX701 almost seems like a luxury car with its internal specifications and that slightly bonkers price point. However, all of that, the entire package really hinges on the performance of the gaming laptop. This is the one key area that will make it or break it. Before I go in-depth with my observations, the short answer is, absolutely worth it. The ROG Zephyrus S GX701 performs like a champion in almost all aspects where a gaming laptop is expected to excel.
This includes AAA games like Battle Field V, or even the latest in Battle Royale including Apex Legends, and more. All this while maintaining peak performance at extended periods of time. The vents on the top of the keyboard and the bottom lid did become quite hot. The temperature in these areas was a clear indication that this laptop is not meant for gaming while in laps. But the CPU or the GPU temperatures never really crossed the 80-degree mark.
The laptop easily managed to run almost any game at maximum graphics settings without breaking a sweat. You can control different aspects of the laptop including a performance boost, fan speed, and RGB lighting using the Asus Armoury Crate. It also comes with a dedicated Android or iOS app for control. Everything works as intended and the luxury convertible car that you are buying, is almost worth the money.
Display and Audio
The 144Hz Pantone calibrated display performs as intended. This means that the display looks great while gaming. All this while ensuring that the colors are accurate and one does not have to tweak them in settings. Moving to the audio, the company claims to have improved this section several folds. And the Asus laptop sounds good in almost any situation. In fact, it turns essential to counter the hum from the speeding fans for an immersive gaming experience. Plugging in earphones or headphones of your choice will take things to the next level.
Keyboard and Battery on Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701
The keyboard of the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is good. It is not as shallow and provides enough (1.4 mm) key travel for a good typing experience. The layout does require some adjusting to, but you will get the hang of it in a couple of hours. Similar to most Asus gaming laptops, Asus has added the number pad in the trackpad. The trackpad is also quite good though I wish that it was larger in size. Talking about the trackpad while gaming, suffice to say that you will require a dedicated mouse for better performance.
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 comes with 230W power adapter. Usual to most gaming laptops, the adapter is quite bulky in nature adding weight to the package. I got about 2 hours of battery and about 3.5 hours in the Optimus Mode during normal use. It took me about 1.5 hours to charge the device from 0 to 100 percent.
Similar to other gaming devices, one should only play games when the laptop is plugged in. Beyond the usual power requirements while gaming, another important factor that makes plugging the laptop is necessary is the display. The 144Hz refresh rate of the display is dialed down to 60Hz when the laptop runs on the battery. The laptop also comes with support for USB Type-C charging. This means that users can use a power bank to charge the ROG Zephyrus S GX701. Users can charge the gaming laptop with the help of a 65W adapter. Asus sells this 65W adapter separately. It can also reverse charge your smartphone, but we don’t really recommend doing that.
Should you buy the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701?
Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is a convertible super luxury car in the world of laptops. It comes with top of the line internals and the top of the line performance to match its claims. Asus has also added some clever design mechanism along with useful technology like Nvidia Optimus. However, all of this does not come cheap. The Rs 349,990 price tag make it beyond the reach of most casual gamers.
This price pushes the Zephyrus S GX701 to a territory where only serious gamers are comfortable venturing. If budget and money is no concern and you want an almost, top of line 17-inch gaming laptop, Zephyrus S GX701 is a good contender.
Otherwise, you can look at other gaming laptops in the market from Asus if you are an Asus loyalist. If the brand does not matter then you can also look at offers from its rival MSI, Dell, HP Omen, or Lenovo Legion.