When we talk about gaming laptops. There’s always this issue of achieving a balance of power and portability. And the new ROG Strix GL502VS is probably one of the very few machines that can deliver on this very aspect. On paper, it declares an impressive spec sheet, while still maintaining beautiful aesthetics and a compact and lightweight form factor. But can it walk its talk? Let’s find out in this full review.

Packaging

 

ASUS didn’t skip on details here, even for the packaging. The box itself would instantly tell you that something premium and powerful is inside. The colorful STRIX logo is printed at the front, with all the specifications listed at the back.

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Aside from the usual power adapter and manuals, you also get an ROG SICA Gaming Mouse, which i would say is an eye candy by itself with its illuminated ROG logo, and does actually feel comfortable to use.

Design

The GL502VS is an elegant looking piece of hardware that is comparable to a quiet ballerina waiting for her turn to dance. It doesn’t scream power, nor does it have a dragon on its skin. There’s no need for any of that in this device. Just the ROG logo and the overall simplicity of the design is more than enough to make you want it.

One look at this thing and you’ll immediately notice an overwhelming attention to detail: The illuminated ROG logo adds flair to the overall style, and the brushed metal accent makes the palm rest feel more comfortable when typing. And while the backlit keyboard was tactile and is very responsive, the tiny bit of space between keys just wasn’t enough to keep me from accidentally hitting wrong buttons, especially the ROG button, which when enabled, instantly opens the Gaming Center window.

The body is made from aluminium and polycarbonate, which makes it look and feel sturdy. And because it weighs just a little less than 2.5Kg. And sports a compact form factor, It should easily fit a standard 15-inch laptop backpack without issues.

Ports:

  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet with GameFirst traffic management
  • 3x USB 3.0 (left port supports Ai charger – charging when off)
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 C-type with Thunderbolt 3
  • 1x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x Mini Display Port 1.2
  • 1x Headphone and Mic Combo Jack
  • 1x 2-in-1 Card Reader

Display

The 15.6” Full HD IPS display is a thing of beauty, it’s bright, vibrant, and makes just about any type of content, be it games, movies, YouTube videos, and even Social Media websites look great. Certainly what you would expect from a premium device.

 

Performance

Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Processor Intel Core i7-6700HQ @ 2.60GHz (4 Cores, 8 Threads)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5
Storage 256GB M.2 SSD + 1TB HDD
Memory 16GB DDR4 2133MHz
Display 15.6″ Full HD IPS (1920×1080)

 

The GL502VS runs on a Skylake i7-6700HQ with 16GB of DDR4 RAM. This combo alone is more than enough to handle even heavy multi-tasking. Boot up time is lightning fast thanks to the 256GB SSD, and the 1TB HDD guarantees enough storage for your files.The GTX1070 GPU on the GL502VS is almost identical to its desktop counterpart, and as such, it handled every game i threw at it, from Overwatch, to NBA2k16 and Dragon Age: Inquisition all at the highest possible settings, without even breaking a sweat. Throttling is carefully managed as well, thanks to an innovative cooling module which keeps the GPU running in performance mode.

Frames Per Second (All Settings Maxed Out)

Game Min Max Avg
Rise of the Tomb Raider 80 155 96.334
NBA 2k16 103 213 132.078
Super Street Fighter IV 55 61 59.939
Mortal Combat X 23 61 56.252
Dragon Age: Inquisition 26 130 91.363
Overwatch 47 72 69.422

 

Audio

The speakers on the GL502VS are loud, but nothing home to write about. The same is true when using headphones as it falls short on both clarity and bass. But here’s the thing. Use the pre-installed Audio Wizard app, and everything changes dramatically. I changed the settings to the Battlefield option, and I was immediately able to get the sound I want. And if that’s not enough, you can even adjust bass and treble manually. I personally like the amount of control that the software gives you because it makes the device feel more personal. In the end, with just a few tweaks, I could say that this was one of the best sounding laptops I’ve tested.

Software

The GL502VS runs on Windows 10 Home out of the box, and as expected, comes with a slew of bloatware. And while some are actually useful such as Audio Wizard, which allows you to tweak the sound settings to your liking, and the ROG Gaming Center, wherein you can set display and sound profiles, the rest are better off as optional and not pre-loaded. Especially the anti-virus software, which in a lot of instances, and from personal experience, slows the system down and causes problems for the user when installing certain apps.

Battery Life

The GL502VS managed to yield around 3.5 hours of screen time with general use and a few minutes of heavy gaming, which isn’t exactly great, but acceptable especially considering how powerful its components are. On the other hand, charging to full takes around an hour and a half, which is quite fast.

Verdict

The ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS is an extremely powerful machine capable of handling even the most demanding games of today. The compact form factor makes it ideal for travels, and its design speaks simplicity with flair, and the level of detail is just astonishing. Its speakers also produce good quality sound that adds to the overall experience. It does have a few quirks such as the keys which I think are too close to each other, there’s the less than stellar battery life. Despite all that, I still think that the quality, portability, and its sheer power is well worth the PhP149,995 price tag. In fact, we find it so good, we believe that it deserved an award during our Best of 2016 Gadget Pilipinas Awards.

This laptop may not be waifu-material but it’s definitely a hardcore gamer’s dream. It’s VR ready, armed with a GTX1070 and 6th generation Intel processor. WHAT ELSE CAN WE ASK FOR? Our analytics and sentiments program partner also confirmed that the GL502VS is the most sought-after laptop for gamers.
MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro, which we also adore, came in second.

The Good

  • Design
  • General and Gaming Performance
  • Display
  • Sound Quality

The Not So Good

  • Battery Life
  • Spacing between keys

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