ASUS TUF Dash F15

When it comes to gaming laptops, we’ve seen a lot of them. We’ve also reviewed the original Zephyrus M from a year ago. There are flaws, sure – but this year’s Zephyrus M has a lot of significant changes. And I have to say, it’s for the better too.

Let’s take a look at this new Zephyrus M and see what has changed and how good is this laptop.

ASUS ChromeBook Education Series

Unboxing

Literally, nothing much to see here. Inside the box, you get the power brick and the laptop.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

Design

By looking at the laptop, it might seem like nothing much has changed since the original Zephyrus M. It still has the same boxy design with a rather thin body, has great I/O ports as well. But in truth, ASUS shook things around this time.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

On the left side, we have the power jack, Ethernet, HDMI, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port, a dedicated microphone-only 3.5mm audio jack, and a combo audio jack.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

On the other side, we have a single USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port with support for DisplayPort, and two more USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports. You can even charge the laptop through this Type-C port as it supports USB PD as well. May I introduce you to the Innergie 60C, a portable USB PD charger?

The I/O looks similar, but ASUS axed the Thunderbolt 3 port. That’s a bummer indeed because I have a lot of Thunderbolt 3 hubs that I’d like to use with the laptop. I mean, seriously – Thunderbolt 3 is powerful yet convenient especially for a laptop – so why remove it?

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

Now, we noted that the original Zephyrus M closer to a traditional laptop since it has a traditional keyboard and trackpad layout. But the original Zephyrus M’s backplate opens by itself when the lid is opened. The new Zephyrus M GU502 does not have this. Everything is in one solid piece – no moving parts. What ASUS did for this laptop is by having thicker rubber feet at the back to prop it higher. I think ASUS should’ve made an ErgoLift hinge instead.

Screen

Opening up the lid reveals this magnificent screen. It’s a 15.6-inch IPS LCD with 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. What surprised us is the Pantone validated display with 100% sRGB color gamut coverage. By my eyes, I can see that this display does have beautiful colors. You can even opt-in for a faster 240Hz refresh rate with the same color accuracy.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

A few more things to note here is that this laptop has thin bezels around all the sides. This is in part thanks to ASUS axing the webcam too. I think yes, this is a good move since the laptop webcam is not frequently used these days. ASUS also shifted the display up higher to provide a more ergonomic user experience.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU
Goodbye, webcam. You’ll not be missed.

Trackpad and keyboard

I think for this laptop, both of them are pretty decent. The keyboard is fun to type on as it uses a much better keyboard layout than last year. I can type ergonomically without complaining about my hands being shifted to the left side.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

Now, the keyboard also has per-key RGB lights and compatible with Aura Sync as well. You can even create your own RGB lighting timeline by using Aura Creator – powerful software for you to truly customize your own RGB lights. Not a fan of that, but I love the dedication ASUS put into their lighting.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

The trackpad is decent enough. It’s using Windows Precision trackpad drivers – which is a standard among ASUS laptops these days. However, the palm rejection must be improved as I find myself accidentally clicked elsewhere when I’m typing.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

Performance

This laptop is packed with some of the best hardware currently available for a laptop:

  • Intel Core i7-9750H
  • 8GB DDR4-2666 (soldered)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • 512GB Intel 660p NVMe SSD

In short, this laptop is doing quite well. It offers a pretty expected level of performance while being this thin. Even the temperatures are well-managed as the CPU goes up to 95°C while the GPU is at 84°C tops. Impressive, to say the least.

And yet the Zephyrus M GU502GU manages to retain the traditional laptop build without the moving backplate, yet manages to tame the temperature.

Upgradability

Despite being such a thin laptop, some upgrades can be performed on the Zephyrus M GU502GU. Opening it up is just like any other conventional laptop, and it reveals the internals right away. Straightforward and much easier compared to the original Zephyrus M.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

Here we can see that there is another M.2 SSD slot available, and there is also another RAM slot for us. Other than that, nothing can be added. However, I do like how ASUS retains the ease of access to everything. Even servicing can be performed in a matter of minutes.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

Battery life

Having a large 76Wh battery, this laptop can last for a supremely long time. I’ve been using it for 4-5 hours in a single charge while doing heavy Chrome, some YouTubing and also some Photoshop work. I’m floored.

And I can even charge it up with a USB PD power bank with the port at the right side – and that can prolong its battery life.

Is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU worth the price?

For the variant that we have here specifically, it is priced at RM5,999, much cheaper than last year’s Zephyrus M. Comes with a lot of upgrades that improve the overall user experience by a lot. The only downside here is the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port, but no one uses that even though it is a versatile port.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU

In short, I think that this is a great laptop for its price. I highly recommend this laptop for those who want to seek out a thin and relatively gaming laptop. It has a great battery life and also a surprisingly enjoyable keyboard to type on.

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