Gaming, Hands-On, Laptop

The Asus ROG Zephyrus S Is a Slim, Premium RTX 2080 Gaming Laptop for RM13,999

A few months back, we got our hands on the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX531GM: a slim, light, and premium gaming laptop. Fast forward to today, we got the brand new Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701GX. Not only does it retain most of its predecessor’s winning qualities, the latest Zephyrus S is far more powerful too.

That being said, all that power and premium qualities come at a price – a very steep one. Not many people can – or would – fork out so much money for a gaming laptop, but for those who can afford such a luxury, the Zephyrus S is certainly an option to consider.

So how much does the new ROG Zephyrus S cost? A whopping RM13,999. That’s a huge sum of money, to be sure, but you do get a very well-equipped gaming laptop. For starters, it’s powered by an Intel Core i7-8750H hexa-core processor and Nvidia’s powerful RTX 2080 Max-Q GPU.

With that GPU under the hood, the Zephyrus S should be able to run most (if not all) modern games at maxed out graphics settings. After all, it’s one of the most powerful mobile GPUs in the market now. Plus, this laptop only has a 1080p display; the RTX 2080 would have no problem at all to max out games at this resolution.

While we’re talking about the display, let’s break down the Zephyrus S’ 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS panel – yes, it has a larger display than its predecessor. Featuring a fast 144Hz refresh rate, gaming on this laptop is a very, very pleasant experience. On top of that, it also features G-Sync technology, so you won’t have to worry about screen tearing anymore.

As for the quality of the display itself, it’s great. The screen’s matte finish can eliminate glare to a certain extent, it has great colours, and it can get quite bright too. I also love the display’s slim bezels, which also reduces the overall footprint of the laptop. It would’ve been even more compact if the bottom bezel is shrunk too.

Oh, right. Because there’s barely any bezel at the top of the screen, the new Zephyrus S…doesn’t have a built-in webcam. To make up for this, an external webcam is bundled with the laptop; it can record Full HD videos at 60 frames per second.

Connectivity wise, the Zephyrus S has reasonably good selection of ports. These include two USB-C ports – one of them is used for charging – two full-size USB-A connections, as well as an HDMI 2.0b port. Unfortunately, there is no ethernet connection; an odd exclusion for a gaming laptop.

Much like its predecessor, the Zephyrus S features the “ROG Active Aerodynamic System (AAS).” Basically, to improve airflow, the bottom portion of the laptop is raised slightly at the back whenever you open the lid – this supposedly improve airflow by up to 32%. Whether or not this will actually result in better thermal performance, however, is a different question altogether.

Naturally, the Zephyrus S is a well-designed laptop. It’s mostly made out of metal – except for the plastic bezel surrounding the display – it feels very robust, and I dig the different finishes on the lid of the laptop: it gives the laptop a unique and premium look.

Measuring 18.7mm thick, it’s a really slim gaming laptop too, especially for a machine with an RTX 2080 GPU. However, tipping the scales at 2.7kg, this is quite a heavy machine; even for a 17.3-inch gaming laptop.

Rounding out the specifications of the Zephyrus S are 24GB of RAM (8GB on-board + 16GB), 1TB of fast PCie NVMe SSD, and a 78WHr battery.

If you don’t like the keyboard positioning of the previous model, well, bad news: it’s still placed on the front of the new Zephyrus S. The good news? It still offers good typing experience, even though the keys don’t have particularly long travel. It’s a shallow keyboard, but the tactility of the keys make up for this.

On the right side of the Zephyrus S is where you’d find the trackpad. Yes, the small size of the trackpad still makes it feel crammed, and yes, it still doubles as the numpad with the touch of a button. As a whole, it’s a plenty accurate trackpad.

Interestingly, Asus decided to add a volume wheel to the Zephyrus S. Placed on the top left side of the keyboard, it’s really quite satisfying to scroll the volume wheel. If you want to mute the laptop, you can just click the volume wheel too – yes, it clicks.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus S is an expensive, premium gaming laptop, but that’s expected for a high-end machine. Besides, other RTX 2080 laptops are priced similarly too, though this laptop does sit in the upper end of the price range.

If you want the best gaming experience on a laptop, the Zephyrus S promises just that. Not only is it quite compact for a 17.3-inch laptop, it is also a slim and powerful gaming machine. Of course, you’d have to be willing to part with RM13,999 to enjoy this kind of luxury.