The ROG Zephyrus M GM501 was launched last April as a follow-up to the Zephyrus GX501, a unit I reviewed last year. I love the original Zeph, but its price is too rich for my poor blood. The Zephyrus M is an affordable alternative with some improvements. I am in the market to replace my trusty ‘ol ROG Strix GL502VS, and looks like the ROG Zephyrus M GM501 review is a good candidate.
ROG ZEPHYRUS M GM501 REVIEW SPECS:
|Display:||15.6-inch full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS display, 144Hz with 3ms response, NVIDIA G-Sync technology|
|Processor:||Intel Core i7-8750H processor|
|GPU:||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 VRAM|
|Storage:||256/512GB M.2 NVMe PCIE X4 SSD; 1TB SSHD|
|Memory:||up to 32 GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM (Dual-Channel)|
|Connectors:||1 x type C USB3.1 (GEN2) Thunderbolt; 1 x Microphone-in/Headphone-out jack; 4 x USB 3.1; 1 x HDMI 2.0|
THE LOOKS AND FEEL – ROG ZEPHYRUS M GM501 REVIEW
Whenever I think about the Zephyrus, I couldn’t help but reminisce the first time I saw it during the ROG event at COMPUTEX 2017 in Taipei. It was certainly thin and light unlike other gaming laptops I’ve seen in the past. I was in awe of the Zephyrus’ slim profile back then, and even though it’s 2mm thicker I am still in awe using the newer Zephyrus M.
Found on the left side are the power jack, HDMI port, three USB 3.1 ports and a headphone jack. While it’s unusual for the power jack to be placed in the middle, it didn’t seem to cause any interference with my other cables plugged in.
On the other side of the Zephyrus M is another USB 3.1 port and a USB Type-C/Thunderbolt port.
The laptop is mostly made of aluminum chassis which feels really solid and legitimately premium. Only the Zephyrus line posses these features.
Some people complained about the keyboard placement of the original Zephyrus. While I didn’t have any complaints, I am so glad that the keyboard was moved to its usual spot. The physical number keys are back and the bigger trackpad is now located in the front.
THE DISPLAY – ROG ZEPHYRUS M GM501 REVIEW
The Zephyrus M comes with a 15.6-inch, IPS panel display with a Full HD resolution. ASUS made some improvements in this area by increasing the refresh rate from 120Hz to 144Hz with an ultrafast 3ms response time. This would ensure gamers can react instantly during a game. Honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference between the 120Hz refresh rate of the original Zephyrus and 144Hz of the Zephyrus M. Nevertheless, I still welcome the upgrade.
While I don’t have any complaints with the display quality, I found the bezels quite big for a modern laptop. The ROG Strix Hero II and SCAR II have thinner bezels and I wish they’ve also done the same with the Zephyrus M.
THE PERFORMANCE – ROG ZEPHYRUS M GM501 REVIEW
The Zephyrus M is powered by the latest Intel Core i7 8th Gen processor and its GPU is an NVIDIA GTX 1070. The choice of this GPU instead of a Max-Q is beyond me, but I welcome it even though it contributed to its overall thickness. At least it’s not as thick as other gaming laptops with the same GPU out there.
The Cinebench benchmark scores show that the Zephyrus M performed really well both for the processor and GPU.
The same can be said on my Geekbench 4 scores. Compared to its contemporaries, the Zephyrus M got really high marks.
On Overwatch, I was still able to adjust the graphics to EPIC and still get over 100 FPS, while PUBG gave me an average of 99 FPS. With it specs it can play majority, if not all AAA games in high settings.
Another distinct feature of the Zephyrus line is the Active Aerodynamic System (AAS) which slightly opens the chassis at the back for ventilation. They’ve made some improvements on this area which now creates 20% more space for air circulation, and reduces internal temperatures by up to 20%. The laptop can still get a bit hot after a long period of playing but I’m glad that temperatures are still acceptable.
THE BATTERY – ROG ZEPHYRUS M GM501 REVIEW
Gaming laptops are not popular for its battery life, so don’t expect the Zephyrus M to give you whole day usage similar to ultrabooks. I’m averaging two hours that involves web browsing, streaming videos and word processing before the battery conks out. If you want to play games, I strongly suggest finding the nearest power outlet.
Despite of not having the GTX 1080 Max-Q of the Zephyrus, the ROG Zephyrus M GM501 seems to be a very good alternative to the original. Actually, it’s better than the original! I think I’ve already found a replacement for my ROG Strix GL502VS which also uses the same GPU but with a thicker plastic body. I know I said earlier that the Zephyrus is too expensive having a retail price of P189,995, so when I learned that the Zephyrus M has a price of P149,995 I reckon I could possibly acquire the machine and use it for at least a couple of years as my workhorse.
Just like the ROG Zephyrus GX501, the ROG Zephyrus M GM501 also gets a DR’s Choice Award for being one of the best gaming laptops I’ve used for the year 2018.
- Latest Intel 8th Gen processor
- Full GTX 1070
- Keyboard and Trackpad are placed in original positions
- High Refresh Rate
- Slim form-factor
- Thick bezels
- Dismal Battery Life
- Quite Expensive