Asus ROG Strix GL502 review

Asus ROG Strix GL502 review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

There are a wide variety of thinnest gaming laptops, such as the Razer Blade and the MSI GS65 Stealth, competing for our attention. An ultrathin and light gaming laptop that can be carried on the go is extremely appealing. Until recently, portable gaming machines were not powerful enough.

Asus ROG Strix GL502 marks the end of those days. A balance between power and portability has been achieved by this ultra-light gaming laptop, one of the first of its kind. The 15.6-inch laptop features an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card and 8GB of VRAM, a graphics card previously reserved for hulks such as the Gigabyte P57X.

In addition to its raw components, the ROG Strix GL502 delivers on all fronts with a colorful screen, numerous inputs, and a flashy design, making it one of the best Asus laptops, gaming or not.

SPEC SHEET

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB GDDR5 RAM), Intel HD Graphics 530

RAM: 16GB (DDR4, 2,133MHz)

Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) in-plane switching (IPS) display with G-Sync

Storage: 256GB SSD (NVMe PCIe), 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm)

Ports: 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type (Gen2), HDMI, mini Display Port, card reader, Ethernet, headset jack

Connectivity: Intel 8260 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

Camera: 720p HD webcam

Weight: 4.9 pounds

Size: 15.35 x 10.47 x 1.2 inches (W x D x H)

Design

Asus rog laptop

The Asus brand has gradually moved away from the black and red color scheme found on most gaming laptops. The GL502’s black paint job is accented with orange trim instead of crimson highlights. The design isn’t a major departure like that found on the Asus ROG GX700 and ROG G752, but it’s a start.

Asus almost should have stuck with the red and black motif, as the keyboard backlighting is still red.

In addition to the new paint job, Asus has given this machine a new look that’s in keeping with the rest of its ROG series. Asus ROG G501 closely mimics MacBook Pro design, but the GL502 stands out with an aggressive and attractive appearance.

On this Strix computer, you’ll also find a brushed aluminum screen lid. The Republic of Gamers tagline is also stamped on an extra flat edge of the GL502.

Although the rest of the chassis is plastic, which might seem disappointing at first, it feels almost as solid as a full-metal gaming laptop. Additionally, Asus has given the keyboard deck a brushed finish similar to the top cover, while the underside has a mechanical design etched into it.

In addition to the Strix, logo cut into the keyboard deck and Republic of Gamers branding prominently featured on the bottom and top, there isn’t a dull part to this 15-inch laptop.

Aside from its looks, the Strix’s plastic exterior helps keep its weight to a mere 4.9 pounds (2.22 kilograms). The Strix is more than half a pound heavier than the Razer Blade and MSI GS60 Ghost Pro but comes with better components. In addition, there are heavier laptops like the Alienware 15 and the Gigabyte P35X v5 that weigh 5.29 pounds (2.4kg).

There’s also not much difference in thickness between it and its Maxwell predecessor, which measures 38.99 x 26.59 x 2.34 cm – 0.3 inches less – but this is in part due to a newer, more efficient cooling system.

Beware of blast

Gaming laptops with ultra-thin screens have not been popular. In most cases, they either get extremely hot, moo like a cow with loud fans, or end up throttling components to prevent the whole machine from melting. The company has been the first to ensure that its svelte gaming machine is adequately cooled without any of those downsides.

Two thick heatsinks are mounted on the rear edge of the GL502, and they aren’t just painted orange for show. There is a constant stream of hot air coming out of this large exhaust system, hot enough to serve as a space heater. On the inside, the laptop features Asus’ new ‘dual thermal design,’ which runs two separate lines of copper heat pipes and cooling fans to cool the CPU and GPU separately.

As a result of the GL502’s efficient cooling system, it never really gets too warm on your lap, and the fan noise isn’t too loud either. You might even be able to use all that hot air coming out of the back to keep your coffee hot.

Performance

Asus rog

We have been using the Asus ROG Strix GL502 as our primary Hitman gaming system for the past week, and it has been a real pleasure with the settings turned all the way up for a near-constant 60 frames per second.

I was also able to run Doom, a much more intense first-person shooter, at Ultra settings and see a steady 60 frame rate. Only Deus Ex Mankind Divided protested against my pushing the Strix to its limits. However, this issue is likely related to the buggy PC port rather than Asus’ hardware.

With Nvidia’s next-generation Pascal graphics, the performance leap is startling as evidenced by our benchmark results.

To support our claims, our benchmarks show the Nvidia GTX 1070 virtually doubles the gaming capabilities of the GL502. Thanks to the Pascal bump, The Division and GTA V run at much faster and smoother frame rates.

Since the Nvidia GTX 1070 is based on more modern architecture, it comes with 2GB more video RAM, and it’s meant to replace the Nvidia GTX 980M, it shouldn’t be too surprising.

Razer Blade and Aorus X3 v3 are gaming laptops powered by Nvidia GTX 970M. During many of our benchmark tests, including the most intensive 3D Mark and GTA V tests, the Strix completely destroys the Maxwell.

In addition, Asus has a much better cooling system. We found that both Razer and Aorus buckled under throttling constraints when we ran these challenging benchmark tests.

Battery woes

With the Asus GL502, Nvidia’s new Pascal architecture promised gaming laptops with 30% better battery life, but we’re not seeing those promises fulfilled. The Pascal-powered Strix runs out of juice much faster than the Maxwell-equipped predecessor when playing Guardians of the Galaxy on loop at 50% brightness.

The GL502’s average run time is less than three hours, joining other power-hungry gaming laptops in the three-hour club.

When you are not doing much and being extremely conservative about your screen brightness, you should be able to get between three and four hours of battery life.

Screen and speakers

Even though the battery life is somewhat disappointing, the screen and speakers on the GL502 are outstanding. We’ve loved Asus’ screens on its ZenBook series to its most affordable Chromebook, but the Strix screen’s vibrant colors are something else.

Images are rendered brightly and clearly on the 15-inch screen, while a splash of rich contrast elevates image quality even further.

It’s not just about the visuals. A pair of remarkably powerful speakers make the Asus ROG GL502 sound great as well. This system’s tweeters may look like two tiny slivers on the keyboard deck, but they are capable of pumping out plenty of sounds, which accurately represent the cacophonous battles in Overwatch.

Pros Cons
Surprisingly powerful speakers Poor battery life
Deliciously vibrant screen
Rocks Full HD gaming

Conclusions

We are rarely so blown away by a gaming laptop. Asus ROG Strix GL502 does not have a lot of faults, aside from its lack of battery life. There is almost nothing else to complain about with the machine, from its sharp keyboard and speakers to its stunning Full HD screen for an enjoyable gaming experience. Hands down, this is one of the best all-around gaming laptops we’ve ever tested, and we recommend it if you’re looking for a good gaming PC on the go.