ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 Review

All performance, no (RGB) flash

ASUS unveiled last May in the country its newest gaming laptop simply called the ROG Zephyrus 15, sporting an AMD Ryzen 7 chip, up to 16GB of RAM and a 15-inch display with a whopping 240Hz refresh rate. The folks from ASUS PH lent a unit for a few weeks to test it out, and here’s our full review.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA502I) specs:

  • 15.6-inch FHD IPS-level panel with Adaptive-Sync technology
    Anti-glare panel, 240Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time
  • AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB or GTX 1660 GDDR6 GPU
  • 8GB or 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB or 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Ethernet Port
  • 1 x USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2, DisplayPort 1.4 and Power Delivery)
  • 3 x USB Type-A (USB 3.2 Gen 1 )
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0b
  • 1 x 3.5 mm audio combo jack
  • Backlit chiclet keyboard
  • 2x speakers w/ smart amp technology
  • Kensington Lock
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 76 Wh 4-cell Lithium-ion
    180 W AC Adapter

Our unit is the high-end variant priced at PHP94,995 sporting an NVIDIA RTX 2060 chip, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of NVMe SSD storage. There’s also another variant for PHP 79,995 with 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and an NVIDIA GTX 1660 GPU. Inside the box, we have the ROG laptop with a lot of freebies including the ROG Bag, the laptop itself, and two types of chargers — the standard power brick and one that offers power delivery via USB Type-C.

Look ma, no RGB flash

It’s refreshing to see a laptop that does not offer anything flashy from the get-go. Here’s how it looks like when you open it up. The laptop is mainly built with polycarbonate in build, which makes it fairly light to bring along. We see the charging port, the Ethernet port, HDMI, USB Type-C and Type-A ports, as well as the 3.5mm combination audio jack.

The keyboard offers full-size chiclet keys, smaller arrow keys, and a second function key at the rightmost column. There are also dedicated buttons for audio functions and one for the Armory Crate app. To those looking for RGB goodness, you’re at the wrong direction as this keyboard emits only white LED backlighting. The lighting is bright on dim environments, but feels odd that it leaks from some of the keys.

Typing with the laptop is actually pleasant, but you’d feel that the keys have rather shallow presses for my liking. We’d recommend that you use an external keyboard for more hardcore gaming. The multitouch trackpad’s clicks are hollow and almost clunky, but it’s not much of a big deal for me.

At the right we have an exhaust, two USB Type-A ports, and a Kensington lock.

The backplate is finished with a brushed metal texture, with the ROG logo in a mirror finish. While it’s all-aesthetically pleasing, the surface is a smudge magnet. Even the simplest of touches can result in a very visible fingerprint mark. There’s also the exhaust holes for ventilation at the hinge part.

The laptop features an elevated backside for more exhaust with its new ROG Intelligent Cooling feature which including its self-cleaning blades that ejects dust to improve long-term stability and easy maintenance.

Overall, the laptop is quite easy to carry around. It’s compact, and the polycarbonate build helps in lowering the weight needed to transport it elsewhere. For a price this high, though, why doesn’t it have biometrics? Kind of expected it here but it’s nowhere to be seen.

Solid display for gaming

The laptop’s 15-inch Full HD display features well-calibrated colors and contrast, and good viewing angles. True to the anti-glare technology it has, it doesn’t suffer from that when used outdoors. We can also use the laptop’s screen at a decent brightness setting during even when it’s not at its brightest.

Let’s talk about the refresh rate as well. 240Hz may seem to be an overkill but it’s actually great. Once I got into games and got used to the smoothness of the animations, I could never look at my primary PC the same way again.

The bottom-firing speakers through the holes above the keyboard are decent enough to be used on a regular basis, and they are fairly loud for a medium-sized quiet room at 90dB. Toggle it at its loudest, and you’ll notice a bit of vibration when you use the laptop itself. I guess it’s best to keep it at a lower loudness setting or use a mic/headset combination.

All-out performance

With an AMD Ryzen 7, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of NVMe storage, and an NVIDIA RTX2060 GPU on board, there’s no denying that performance is a piece of cake with the laptop. The G15 sports a Windows 10 Home OS out of the box, with your usual set of ASUS apps including the ROG Armory crate which monitors the computer’s performance. It is also within this app that you can toggle the performance settings from ‘Silent’, ‘Performance’, or ‘Turbo’ and a ‘Manual’ mode for further overclocking the CPU and adjusting fan speeds. Here are our benchmarks with the device during Turbo Mode:

  • CrystalDiskMark Sequential – 1672.29 MB/s Read, 1741.74 MB/s Write
  • CrystalDiskMark Random – 660.08 MB/s Read, 914.05 MB/s Write
  • GeekBench5 – 410 (Single-Core), 4739 (Multi-core)
  • CineBench 20 – 2859
  • SuperPosition – 4422 (4K Optimized), 3208 (1080P Extreme), 7684 (1080P High)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider – 67fps (Highest Preset)
  • Unigine Heaven 4 – 1786 (Extreme Tesellation), 2369 (Disabled)

We’re able to multitask with different applications here. Me and my brother we able to play loads of games including APEX Legends, DOTA 2, CSGO, and Shadow of Tomb Raider with ease. Here’s a summary of my brother’s experience with the laptop:

In my experience when I was playing DotA 2, the game hits around 180-220 frames per second with maxed settings. The display really helps in distinguishing and reacting during team fights in the game. The display’s 240hz potential really lies when you’re gaming competitively in playing fast-paces FPS games such as CSGO or Apex Legends. The G15’s keyboard layout is easy to use despite transitioning from a full-sized desktop keyboard. I noticed parts of the keyboard especially at the middle part heats up even when the fans are in Turbo Mode and the laptop plugged in with the 180W brick. It might only affect you when you are playing games that utilize the full capacity of the keyboards so if you’re playing CSGO or Apex Legends, you’re good to go. If you’re bothered by the heat, then plugging in an external keyboard is advisable when you’re going to game on this machine.

He’s not really wrong with that. We’re constantly seeing heat in the mid-section and in the speaker area, both at the front and the back panel, peak at the 60 degrees level which can be a problem for those playing intensive games for longer periods of time. Fan noise peaks at 52dB with Turbo mode, while daily use on Silent keeps it below 40dB.

A decent battery life

A four-cell 76Wh battery capacity seems pretty bad if you think of gaming laptops, but the ROG Zephyrus G15 begs to differ. With different settings available at Armory Crate, you can actually get a decent amount of battery life with the laptop. For simple tasks such as browsing in the Internet with WiFi on and the brightness at 50%, we got 8 hours and 33 minutes. For intense games such as APEX Legends on max settings with Turbo Mode, we’re seeing 1 hour and 40 minutes. That isn’t really bad at all.

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Carl writes for WalasTech when he's not working full-time. Give him tips and/or leads at [email protected].