New Delhi: Within gaming notebooks, there is a whole new bunch that doesn’t look like them at all. They are designed to look less flashy, take up less space and fit into a professional environment. Built on the same design principle, the ROG Zephyrus M GU502, is one of the slimmest and smallest gaming notebooks from Asus till date. Also, Asus has updated its entire gaming notebook line-up, bringing in the latest 9th gen Intel CPUs (central processing unit) on-board. The GU502 is powered by Core i7 variant and is available at ₹1,49,990.
Design: Inspired by the Razer Blade, the GU502 has a slab-like design with sharper edges. The brushed metal finish on top of the lid gives it a nice soft touch. It includes the trademark Republic Of Gamers (ROG) logo that lights up when the notebook is switched on. Unlike the TUF notebooks, the ROGs have always felt a tad delicate, but not the GU502. It is solidly-built with a magnesium exterior and hardly any rough edges. In terms of size, it is 360mm wide, measures 18.9mm with the lid down, and weighs just about 1.9kg, making it easy to carry around every day for work. It also fits into small bags with ease. However it’s not the only gaming notebook with a smaller footprint. The new MSI GS65 Stealth 9SD is thinner at 17.5mm, but has an almost similar width of 358mm and weighs 1.89kg.
Display: Due to its thin bezel design, the GU502 offers a 15.6-inch screen. It’s no replacement for 21-inch gaming monitors but for the casual gamer, it is big and sharp (1.920×1,080p) enough to make most AAA titles (triple-A games are typically developed by large studios) look good on it. The screen has a refresh rate of 144Hz, which means it can handle games clocking above 100fps (frames per second) with ease, like any of those gaming monitors.
Keyboard and connectivity: At a time when most notebooks have stopped offering the full suite of connectivity options in order to keep thickness in check, gaming notebooks have managed to squeeze in most of them. The GU502 has a LAN port, three connectors for USB and one for High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI). There is a USB Type-C as well. The keyboard doesn’t have the numerical pad (Numpad). A lot of notebook makers are doing it to offer bigger keys. However, the keys look a bit small for a notebook that might be used for work extensively. There is ample space, though, between them and they are also backlit with the array of RGB lights that can be customized by users. We feel the touchpad could have been bigger.
Performance: Inside the slim form factor is Intel’s six Core i7- 9750H laptop CPU with base clock speed of 2.6GHz and 16GB RAM, which as per benchmark is 10% faster than its 8th gen equivalent. Users can always overclock up to 4.5GHz using the turbo mode in the Armoury Crate window on the PC. It is like a control panel where users can boost CPU/GPU performance. Asus has used Nvidia’s mid range GTX 1660Ti graphics with 6GB RAM, which lies in between the two-year old GTX 1060Ti and the top of the line RTX series GPUs. According to benchmarks, it offers 33% speed boost over the GTX 1060Ti .
In terms of gaming performance, the laptop handled new graphic intensive titles like A Plague Tale: Innocence and Just Cause 4 on full HD resolution, high graphics and on Turbo mode without any hiccups or frame drops. Even when used only for work, the battery backup is modest and you will have to charge it frequently, so don’t expect a MacBook Pro like 10-12 hour run from this. With gaming, it barely lasted over an hour.
Verdict: The ROG Zephyrus M GU502 is ideal for gamers looking to get the most out of new games without having to carry too much weight or buy an additional smaller laptop for work. The other similar options include the MSI GS65 Stealth 9SD, which also runs on Intel Core i7 9th gen and offers Nvidia GTX 1660Ti as well.