Review of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus, Price is 161,774.57 Philippine Pesos
ASUS ROG Zephyrus M is the successor of the almost homonymous ROG Zephyrus, from which it inherits the idea of performance and compactness. But it declines in a really convincing and almost devoid of defects, but not of slight compromises. So let’s see how and where this second generation is better than the first.
ROG Zephyrus M is not your usual gaming laptop. It can be seen from the contained thickness , from the squared but not aggressive lines and from the particular opening mechanism of the screen, which also raises the base. There is obviously a high-sounding name for this: Active Aerodynamic System (AAS), widely illustrated with the necessary big words on the company website .
What you need to know in practice is that a good half of the bottom of the notebook is lifted when you open the screen. This favors the recirculation of air and therefore the cooling (we’ll talk more in detail soon), and thanks to the two red LEDs on the sides also creates a nice visual effect. But there are also a couple of contraindications. The first is the noise of the fans , which at maximum speed becomes pronounced, with a particularly acute sound. The second is that the raised part is not rigid, given the low thickness, and takes away a bit ‘of stiffness to the entire notebook. However, this is not a major flaw, in the sense that it does not compromise the user experience of the laptop.
The keyboard is in fact slightly inclined towards the user, but still remains rigid during typing. It flexes a little, if pressed strongly, only the upper part. where there are many holes for air entry. Overall, in our opinion, is a decisive evolution with respect to the previous model , in which the keyboard was advanced to the point to touch the bottom, and had the touchpad to his right. Now we are instead dealing with a traditional laptop, plus the benefits of the AAS system. That’s how it was built, and ASUS made it.
Beautiful double knurling on the back of the laptop, which overall has elegant lines, but without betraying the ROG brand, clearly visible on the “back”. All in 2.5 kg : not a featherweight in the absolute sense, but if to make it lighter we had to give up a little ‘strength, it would have been worse.
Too bad only for the large frames around the screen. Perhaps it was not possible to make them smaller, or better to make the entire laptop smaller and flush with the display, but they are a bit ‘anachronistic and not very elegant in a notebook so cared for in every other aesthetic detail. But pay attention to fingerprints, because the fingerprints remain everywhere and not always just a simple cloth to send them away.
As already mentioned, the keyboard is a definite step forward compared to the past. Wide, pleasant, with a discrete tactile feedback , in addition to a beautiful LED backlighting , obviously customizable via software. The light filters uniformly from both sides and from the center of the various key caps, and is also visible with ambient light, but gives the best of itself in the dark, where it is effective but not annoying. It is not noisy at the time of typing, in fact perhaps it is too far-sighted.
Missing macro and other dedicated keys, except for launching the ROG gaming center . You find it together with the volume and microphone controls, above the rest of the keyboard. These four keys, visible at the top left in the photo above, are flush with the body and not protruding, and this makes them a minimum inconvenient to press. Maybe they could be entered as toggle via fn in the main keyboard. Together with F5 we find for example the button to adjust the fan speed, which you will probably use often; especially if you want a little ‘silence in moments not fun.
On the other hand, the touchpad was somewhat sacrificed , which could at least be a little wider. Overall, however, we did not feel well: it is smooth, it interprets the gesture of Windows well and almost never loses hits. But it also keeps a lot of footprints. Certainly higher than the average of the touchpads from laptop gaming in terms of quality, pity only for the small size.
To find some reproaches to do it you have to go and look for them, but someone is at the bottom. Being a gaming laptop, one feels in particular the lack of an ethernet port , to maximize network performance during FPS and similar. Maybe it was excluded because of the limited thickness and the rest was not even present in the ROG Zephyrus, so it’s not that we expected it. The same goes for the audio jack, which could be split, but he was not there in the previous model. We’re sorry for not having found an SD card reader, which would have made Zephyrus M a little more “working”, without the need for dongle. And speaking of dongles, at least one other Type-C would not have failed. They may seem small, but they are the details that make a product more or less complete and versatile .
Coming to the benchmarks, there are obviously excellent results, with which distinction. All three laptops above are united by the same Intel Core i7-8750H CPU and the same amount of RAM (16 GB). The difference is the video card, which in fact gives Zephyrus M an extra boost in the game benchmarks. Its GTX 1070 proves in fact superior to the Max-Q version mounted on the MSI laptop. And as for the SSD, ASUS has not skimped at all, with an unusually fast drive for a gaming laptop.
On the other hand, the CPU seems to be a little subdued , with lower scores than rivals (even household). It is true that ASUS has adopted in this case a somewhat conservative scaling , which prefers to lower the frequencies a minimum before incurring throttling, but in practice this difference does not feel at all, neither in daily use nor in the more intense one, where Zephyrus M sustains important loads for a long time without batting an eyelid, and takes home work before the competition.
With ROG Zephyrus M , ASUS has packaged a laptop that has virtually no defects in terms of gaming . The system is always responsive, there is so much storage space, there are different ports to connect mouse, controller and anything else and there is a screen at the height (but we’ll talk more in detail in the relevant paragraph). The GTX 1070, not in the Max-Q edition so popular this year, is a powerful card that allows you to also use the G-Sync .
The latter makes the image even more stable, aligning in real time the display refresh rate at the GPU frame rate . These are the differences that the pro-gamers pretend and that even the casual-gamer will appreciate, even without perhaps understanding where the difference lies, if not in pure pleasure and visual comfort . The price to pay for having the G-Sync active is that the GTX 1070 will always remain active in turn, limiting the autonomy. A switch to Optimus drivers, which automatically switch between integrated and discrete graphics, requires a system reboot .
The GTX 1070 is also a card powerful enough to allow you to play anything in full HD without problems . But this does not mean that you can always keep the details to the maximum, especially depending on what you want to achieve. The most striking example is an old game like Overwatch , which in Super details is around 80-90 fps. They are great for most players, but the best will probably want to take full advantage of the 144 Hz and G-Sync, and to do so you have to go down to medium details and maybe even take a little something.
On a heavier Rise of the Tomb Raider , always with maximum settings, you’ll also be under 60 fps in the most complex scenes. Nothing that prevents you from playing well, but usually not enough to take full advantage of the screen available. In this case, however, the visual benefit that you will get is considerable, and even if the framerate is lower, the game is not affected as in an online shooter.
It is always a matter of compromise and priority. ROG Zephyrus M puts you in the condition of being able to please both the “pro-gamer” that is in you, bringing up the fps, that stimulate your “aesthetic sense”, with a sloga-jaw graphic. To get both, that is maximum detail at 144 fps, it takes instead a machine even more powerful than that (or older and less demanding games); That’s all to say.
Yes, because with this ASUS laptop you can really play hours and hours without problems. The thermal management is in fact very good , both at surface level (it reaches 45 ° in the part above the keyboard with aeration holes, but certainly not on the keys), and internal, with temperatures on the cores always under control. With the fans in overboost mode in fact, the system holds not only the games but also more intense activities on the CPU without going into throttling . You can go on for a long time with a CPU that runs steadily around 3.3-3.4 GHz; Six-core CPU by the way, and the power being processed is heard.
Our usual video test of just over 10 minutes in 4K @ 60fps is exported to Adobe Premiere in about 20 minutes, which is one of the best times ever , and with temperatures rarely above 80 °, so sign that it is also a margin for improvement . As mentioned before, ASUS has a somewhat conservative approach , which never lets you get to thermal throttling before scaling the CPU frequencies, which also means you can try to push the system performance a little more , if you know what you are doing.
The only drawback: the fans in this mode are quite noisy, with a kind of whistling whistle in the background that can annoy, especially if you are in the absence of other background noise. You can then choose to switch to balanced mode , which is less insistent on the fans but something will make you lose in terms of clock, moving it more in the orbit of 3 GHz , always at the same load. During the games this is not in any way a problem. You can use it safelythis way to play, in order to have a little ‘more silence, and you will not pay the price in terms of performance, given that the bulk of the load if the GPU takes it. On the other hand, if you were to use some processing programs, then overboosting will ensure you get the job done as quickly as possible.
We have already gone far enough, and there is not much to add to the rest. The pre-installed ASUS softwares are the usual ones, with the Gaming Center acting as a collector. Discrete the audio sector , also customizable by software: powerful, with a little ‘absence in the middle tones, but no distortion even at maximum volume. And it is clear then that the general user experience is also very good, which also benefits from the rapidity of the SSD, a detail on which not all gaming laptops rely heavily.
The screen of Zephyrus M comes out of the factory with a calibration that is certainly not impeccable , with a delta E above the desirable threshold and a color fidelity below the average. The colors are quite saturated but not very realistic ; even if we are dealing with a “race” gaming laptop, and this is not necessarily as bad as it would be elsewhere.
The games are in fact always pleasant, and in general it is the content of this type to give the best. Then there is a calibration software with various profiles (racing, RTS / RPG, scenery, FPS, cinema and default) that a minimum would like to help, but the juice is that it is not a beautiful panel for movies as for games.
Also because we speak of an IPS display , therefore with excellent viewing angles, with 3 ms of response time and especially at 144 Hz , for maximum fluency. The real winning weapon, however, is the support to the G-Sync , which allows the best visual performance, free of uncertainties even in the fastest scenes.
Good also the maximum brightness , certainly valid for indoor use, and not penalized by the opaque panel. Too bad that the use outdoors / on mobility is much more compromised by the battery, which we will talk in a moment.
True Achilles heel of this handset is autonomy. We did not start with high expectations, but we were still a little disappointed. The times shown below were obtained with G-Sync disabled and brightness at 25%.
PCMark 8 Home (browser, casual gaming, video chat, writing, photo editing): 1 hour 50 minutes
PCMark 8 Creative (browser, video editing, multimedia, gaming, photo editing, video chat): 1 hour and 38 minutes
PCMark 8 Work (browser, videochat, writing, spreadsheets): 1 hour and 56 minutes
In our daily use, made of so much navigation and a bit of chat and light photo editing, we have touched the 3 hours, but nothing more. And with G-Sync active, the time is halved. The battery is only 55 Wh , it is true, but it is not managed properly and there is a battery drain as you see rather constant, given that among the 3 types of tests conducted the difference is little stuff, where with other laptops the scissors it is much more pronounced.
There is also a utility that allows you to preserve autonomy over time, limiting the charge level to 80 or even 60 percent. It can also be a good idea by itself, always using the powered laptop, but you’ll have to remember to charge it 100% if you need it, or you’ll risk finding yourself on foot after an hour.
Add to this the fact that, as it is logical to expect, the power supply is not only big but also heavy (over 600 grams). And unfortunately you will have to take it with you easily.
With ROG Zephyrus M, ASUS has released one of the best gaming laptops this year. Solid in performance, beautiful in design, and with the particular Active Aerodynamic System solution, which is not only a high-sounding name, but also brings real benefits in terms of cooling. The recreational experience is therefore always at a high level, thanks also to the support G-Sync, which few rivals can boast and that does not fail to be appreciated. The only real flaw is the lack of autonomy, which in terms of gaming does not represent a major flaw. Too bad, however, because you always want to use it, not just to play. Especially since there is also a greedy online offer, which makes it cheaper than the competition.