Thanks to the GeForce 10 series from Nvidia, gaming laptops are a sensible alternative to gaming desktops these days. For those who want portability but don't want to sacrifice gaming performance, there are a variety of suitable options on the market that cover a variety of prices and levels of performance. We've covered a number of decent options on Catrachadas in the past six months, and this latest Asus product is no different.
The Asus ROG Strix GL502VS is at the top end of the performance and price range. It doesn't contain ridiculous dual GPU setups, but the discrete GeForce GTX 1070 graphics chip offers better performance than a typical gaming laptop or even a desktop. It includes a 15.6-inch 1080p G sync display and a bunch of other solid hardware in a form factor that, unlike some other laptops I've tested with similar hardware, still makes it a bit portable.
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My test device, which is retailed for around $ 1,700, was with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16 GB DDR4 memory, a 256 GB SSD and a 1 TB hard drive and of course an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 -GPU equipped. These are standard specifications for a gaming laptop in 2017; You won't find too many GTX 1060 or GTX 1070 laptops that differ from this combination of CPU + RAM + memory.
The GL502VS is slightly larger than a typical 15.6-inch gaming laptop, although this is due to the more powerful cooling solution required for the GTX 1070. This laptop is about 30 mm thick, but keeps its weight at 2.2 kg, making it thicker than most 15.6-inch GTX 1060 laptops, but not heavier.
Compared to its GTX 1070 competition, the GL502VS is very competitive. It is the lightest notebook in its price range and only the current Gigabyte P35Xv7 is slimmer. MSI, Acer and Alienware options are all larger, sometimes significant. That doesn't mean a 2.2kg, 30mm thick laptop is incredibly portable, but for those who want to carry around something so powerful, the GL502VS is the best option.
As always, keep in mind that the GL502VS requires a substantial power module to be able to use the GTX 1070 to its full extent. This is the case with all GTX 1070 laptops. So remember to consider the additional 650 gram building blocks in your portability calculations.
To keep this laptop light, Asus used plastic for most designs. This results in a fairly cheap appearance, with the exception of the lid, which is actually made of metal. The brushed plastic used around the keyboard tries to imitate the metal lid, but ultimately looks like a budget knockoff. The actual feel of this palm rest is pretty hard and hard, which is in contrast to the pleasant feeling that other gaming laptops with metal cases offer.
I like the use of a black body with bright orange hues, although this color scheme and some angular patterns used around the body fall into the "player style" area. Just in case you forgot which keys to use when playing, the WASD keys are orange with black text, while the rest are black with orange text. This laptop is also available in a silver base color, although the black model looks significantly better according to the Asus product images.
As with most gaming laptops, the entire back of the laptop is a massive vent that is used to vent hot air. The hinge design of the GL502VS, which partially blocks the rear edge while it is fully open, means that the vents direct the air slightly down and into your desk. Surprisingly small ventilation slots on the floor draw in cool air.
At the edges you will find an Ethernet connection, a Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, USB 3.0 and a USB 3.1 Type-C connection on the left. and an SD card slot, two USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5 mm audio jack on the right. It's disappointing that Asus only contains one 3.5mm audio jack, making it difficult to use headsets with two 3.5mm ports for speakers and microphone. Thunderbolt 3 would have been nice too, although USB-C is still decent.
The keyboard included in the GL502VS is fine, although it is far from the best gaming laptop keyboard I've tested. With a 30 mm thick laptop, I expected a better range from the keyboard. Instead, the GL502VS's keyboard is closer to an Ultrabook than other gaming laptops in terms of tactile feedback. The somewhat clicking feeling of the rubber dome wrench is positive, despite the short travel distance.
As for the keyboard layout, the keys are big enough and the left modifier keys are big enough to easily hit them while playing. However, Asus pushed in the full-size arrow keys, reducing the size of the correct modifiers. There is also a number pad for those who crack a lot on their laptop.
The trackpad is decent and offers a good tracking experience. It's not something you'll be using particularly often on a gaming laptop, but at least Asus has resisted the urge to put terrible ELAN hardware here.
The GL502VS is equipped with a 15.6-inch TN LCD with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Thanks to its maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz and the support of G-Sync, this display is well suited for games and is therefore an excellent combination for the GTX 1070. With this GPU you can often play games in the range from 60 to 120 FPS with 1080p, which makes this screen the perfect choice.
This LCD can peak at 323 nits of brightness with a decent contrast ratio of 1220: 1. Unfortunately, the display is far too cold by default, which leads to poor grayscale accuracy and mediocre color accuracy. The coverage of the sRGB color gamut is also not very good at only 92%, although the display generally looks decent (if anything but fantastic). Calibration can slightly improve performance. However, I would not recommend this display for color-accurate work.