Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX review

Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

In our opinion, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531 is one of the best gaming laptops available, combining cutting-edge technology with a stylish design in a 15-inch chassis.

The larger Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 has recently been reviewed by us, and we were very impressed with it. The Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX, which is the model we review here, offers a similar package, with an 8th-generation, six-core processor and Nvidia’s latest high-end graphics card, the RTX 2080, but with a smaller screen and a (slightly) lower price as well.

If the 17-inch Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is too large and/or pricey for you, but you still want a very attractive, highly equipped gaming laptop, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531 may suit your needs more.

SPEC SHEET

CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H (Hexa-core, 9MB cache, up to 4.1GHz)

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q (8GB GDDR6 VRAM); Intel UHD Graphics 630

RAM: 16GB DDR4 (2,666MHz)

Screen: 15.6-inch, Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS, Pantone Validated (144Hz refresh rate)

Storage: 1TB M.2 PCIe x4 SSD

Ports: 2 x USB 3.1 (USB Type-C), 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, headset jack

Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0

Camera: Full HD webcam (1080p, 60fps)

Weight: 4.63 pounds (2.1kg)

Size: 14 x 10.6 x 0.63 inches (36 x 26.8 x 1.61cm; W x D x H)

Design

asus rog

Asus’ Zephyrus gaming laptops excel in more than just performance, and the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX is another device that challenges the idea that powerful gaming laptops have to be big and bulky.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX measures 14 x 10.6 x 0.63 inches (36 x 26.8 x 1.61cm; W x D x H) and is not much thicker than many Ultrabooks. This laptop features powerful components, including a top-of-the-range discrete GPU, which is extremely impressive.

By comparison, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX is slimmer and lighter than its predecessor, which measured 26.2 x 16 x 1.69-1.79cm (W x D x H). In addition, Asus has lowered the weight from 4.85 pounds (2.2kg) to 4.63 pounds (2.1kg).

Compared to the original Zephyrus’ 15.7mm bezels, these bezels have been nearly cut in half, resulting in noticeably thinner bezels. Despite the screen sporting a 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 Full HD panel running at 144Hz, the response time comes in at 3ms, making it feel faster and more responsive than ever.

Its thin bezels are part of the reason why Asus was able to shrink down the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX, Interesting, it still sports a webcam built into its top bezel – the Zephyrus S GX701 also had a similar reduction in bezel size, but Asus cut the webcam from the laptop, and instead included a standalone webcam.

In addition to the Active Aerodynamic System (AAS), the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX features a nifty feature known as the Active Aerodynamic System (AAS).

In addition to providing a more comfortable typing position, this ensures better airflow, which helps GX531GX draw in cool air and expel hot air – essential when you have such powerful components crammed into a slim chassis. Asus claims that this feature increases airflow by up to 22% compared to traditional designs.

We have previously complained about Asus’ AAS panel’s flimsy design, and Asus has since improved it. This mechanism does not extend the entire depth of the laptop to create a ramp, but only about three-fifths of the notebook’s total depth. Additionally, Asus has replaced the plastic panel on its newest gaming laptop with a much more durable magnesium alloy.

Asus claims the gaming laptop can withstand vibration, shock, humidity, and multiple drops from a height of 76cm thanks to these improvements. In fact, it feels like one of the most durable gaming laptops we have used.

Although we wouldn’t intentionally drop such an expensive laptop to test its durability, it feels nice and robust, and it’s a laptop you wouldn’t worry about carrying around.

While the exterior design of the Zephyrus S GX531GX is impressive, the fact that it is built with powerful components that generate a lot of heat in a slim body makes it an exceptional piece of hardware.

Keeping the GX531GX cool are anti-dust tunnels that connect to the heatsinks, five pipes that funnel air to and from the CPU and GPU, and two 12V fans with 83 blades each, which are designed to run as quietly as possible.

We believe that, as with the bigger Zephyrus S GX701, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX represents the pinnacle of gaming laptop design. While being slim, sleek, and light, it’s also packed with a lot of power.

Keyboard and trackpad

asus rog

Like other Zephyrus laptops, the keyboard is located at the front of the body rather than towards the back, allowing Asus more room for the components. With vibrant and distinctly ‘gamer’ lighting, this keyboard is large and incredibly responsive. It is compatible with Aura Sync, so if you have other Asus gadgets with RGB lighting, such as mice and headsets, you can connect them all.

The keys are large enough to be comfortable when typing, and crucially, they feel responsive when playing games. As the keyboard is located at the front of the body, the trackpad is located on the right-hand side rather than below.

The new location is easy to get used to, and Windows 10 feels fast and smooth when using it. As a gaming laptop, you’ll most likely want to use a mouse to play your games, but for quick tasks during the day, the trackpad is fine.

The side-by-side trackpad can be turned into a Numpad by pressing a button above it. A shortcut button with the ROG logo launches the ROG Armoury software, which can be configured to change power modes (giving you extra performance).

Battery life

Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX’s small size and powerful performance mean that there has to be some compromise, and unsurprisingly it comes in the form of battery life. Battery drain is a common problem with gaming laptops, and the GX531GX is no exception.

With careful battery management – such as dimming the screen, turning off Bluetooth, and setting the GX531GX to On Battery mode – you should get around three hours before you need to plug it in. Though, you won’t get much more than an hour of battery life from gaming on the battery, depending on the game.

Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX managed just 3 hours and 39 minutes of battery life in the PCMark 8 home battery life benchmark, which mimics heavy web browsing, creating documents, and video calling. Since the GX531GX is smaller, Asus had to put a smaller battery in it.

We wouldn’t be surprised if you had to plug the GX531GX into a power outlet, however – and given its slim design and strong components, we think it’s a compromise worth making.

Pros Cons
Great performance The screen isn’t HDR
Innovative cooling Very expensive
Slim design Might be overkill for some
Powerful

Conclusion

One of our favorite gaming laptops is the Asus Zephyrus S GX531GX. One of the best mobile gaming experiences we’ve ever had is provided by its elegant design, combined with some of the best gaming components on the market today.

Due to its high price, the Zephyrus S GX531GX won’t be a realistic purchase for many people, regardless of how desirable it is. A gaming laptop with modest specifications like the Dell G3 15 would be much more affordable if you’re on a budget.

Most people don’t need the performance provided by the GX531GX, so it’s overkill for them. If, however, you do not require the 17-inch GX701 but don’t wish to give up performance for a smaller screen, the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX is a great choice.