ASUS ROG G501JW Gaming Laptop Review
- ROG aesthetics baby!
- Lightweight and gaming combined!
- Pointless 4K display
- Blacks of the display are not pleasing
- Easily attracts smudges and fingerprints
So when we reviewed our previous ROG gaming laptop – the G751JT, we had some complaints about it being bulky and were wondering if we were ever going to get one ROG laptop that is actually lightweight, fair enough to use for daily tasks as well. Now, of course we would have to trade-off a bit with the GTX970 to get some of the fat off the gaming laptop, but what would be our specs like then considering we are aiming for gaming here.
Let’s build our favorable checklist. What about a GTX960M instead for starters? For the CPU, it has to be an Intel i7 4th-Gen at least on a HM87 chipset. Umm, 8GB of RAMs would do, but 16GB would be yummy. SSD is a must and 128GB will be fine if we could have a secondary HDD probably 1TB along with it (a bit too ambitious to cramp in that space, but 500GB SSD would be too expensive and we need backups!). I’m a sucker for 1440p but I’ll settle for FHD on my gaming laptop. So, how did we tare it? Makes enough space for a slim gaming laptop? And please nothing more than 2.5KG!
You would say I’m crazy but let me tell you this. I’ve got a piece of hardware in front of me that DOES have a GTX960M, Intel Core-i7 4720HQ, 16GB of RAMs, 128GB SSD AND 1TB HDD, nope, not just FHD, but 4K display! All that nicely cramped inside a gaming laptop that weighs a whopping 2.06KGs! Ladies & Gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you, the ASUS ROG G501JW gaming laptop!
ROG Done Right!
Now, this is what we call the ultimate engineering in gaming laptops. This is what I would have expected from the ROG emblem. The laptop really feels very light to carry around considering the juice that it’s carrying with it. On the outer shell, we have a brushed aluminium design which is pretty much common among most ROG laptops now. The ROG logo beautifully decorates on the outside along with it’s mothership brand. One thing that you may almost immediately notice is that the body of this beast is so attractive, it even attracts fingerprints and smudges. But it’s your gaming laptop, it’s your responsibility to keep it clean every now and then :P
I always tell everyone, you can never go wrong with black and red color combination which happen to be my favorite colors. The red lining inside the laptop around the display just nails it! and the the fused red color within the black chiclet keyboard just appeals! Around the device, we have the power socket, 3 x USB 3.0 sockets, audio, Display Port and HDMI ports neatly positioned. The heat will be projected outwards at the hinge, much like ASUS’ Ultrabooks. Looking for the LAN port? Don’t worry, ASUS has thrown in a USB accessory for it which is fine because it’s a laptop and you would be using Wi-Fi more than the LAN anyway.
Don’t look for the DVD-ROM please. Let’s leave that era behind already. That is how ASUS has managed to make the size this small.
First in line to be discussed here is the Core i7-4720HQ quad-core CPU clocked at 2.6GHz with turbo boost pushing it to 3.4GHz. That itself is a monstrous CPU for your gaming already. This is then coupled to the GTX960M that houses 4GB of GDDR5 RAM but what I didn’t like was the presence of the Intel HD 5100 Graphics together with it. You can totally significantly tell when the laptop is rendering using the on-board GPU or GTX960M.
To push thing quickly to the CPU, we have 16GB of DDR3 RAMs clocked at 1600MHz which eats up anything that you would throw at it. Just with the combination of the above so far, I was able to get a boot time of less than 7 seconds on Windows 8.1, ready to use with fully loaded applications. This is really impressive!
Then we have the 15.6 UHD IPS matte display rendering resolutions up to 3840 x 2160. If you ask me, this is rather overkill for the monster. But if you are with me, then there is a FHD option available for you in the market. To take out 3K from the 4K, you can save up to RM2K. LOL!
On the storage side, we are given two drives to toy the machine with. First up, we have the SanDisk 128GB SSD which will boot up your machine at speeds that you can’t imagine! Partnering with it for your data is the HGST 1TB 5400 rpm HDD. All I can say is, just a beautiful combo! Further upgrades may come out of your own pockets of course.
You wouldn’t be expecting 60fps on intensive games even at high settings with this machine, that I can assure you. At the very most, you would be pushing Full HD on games to achieve a stable fps. Which is why, you would really want to re-think about the 4K option and perhaps consider the FHD model instead.
The 4K Dark Zone
I’ve posted a lot on social communities about how 4K is just not the era and while we should be moving towards it, we shouldn’t be pushing it too hard or it will start making things ugly. That said, the 4K on this laptop was really not necessary at all. I had issues finding the blacks pleasing.
The Wi-Fi connectivity on this laptop is using the Qualcomm Atheros AR946X wireless network adapter that makes things even uglier for the 4K technology. The lack of 5GHz Wi-Fi band once again has made ROG a bit sour just like how we had in the G751JT laptop. If we are going to push 4K, we want things fast and snappy and the experience of using 5GHz band against the 2.4GHz is just too significant. At 30Mbps internet, this machine was struggling to push the 4K resolution stream when my UX303 laptop can eat up the bandwidth fairly quickly, rendering 4K videos streaming unlagged totally.
The battery on this device was at least not that bad. You can pull off well over 3 hours on continuous usage but not gaming for sure. It does help when you have some extensive work to be done and will not have power anytime soon. It’s a gaming laptop, so I’ll give it the leeway advantage of calling it’s battery pretty good for it’s category. Not the best, but pretty good.
This is still a tug-o-war in a love-hate relationship but considering the fact that we are picking a gaming laptop, and if portability is the main concern, this is not all that bad machine. But if I were to pick it for myself, I’d save that RM2000 and opt for a FullHD version hands down anytime.I know Asus can definitely improve this product, and I will be looking forward to it’s next iteration.