ASUS STRIX GL502VS

The lap­top mak­ing light work of gam­ing

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WE’RE BIG FANS of 15-inch lap­tops. They’re large enough to give you the screen real es­tate needed to play games with­out squint­ing, but not so large (look­ing at you, 17-inch­ers) that they re­quire a spe­cial gam­ing lap­top back­pack to lug around all day. They’re the form fac­tor that lets a por­ta­ble gam­ing ma­chine feel por­ta­ble.

Asus’s ROG Strix GL502VS de­liv­ers on porta­bil­ity. Mea­sur­ing only 1.18 inches (30mm) thick, it’s one of the thin­ner GTX 1070 lap­tops we’ve tested, fit­ting into a new breed of por­ta­ble pixel-push­ers that don’t re­quire mas­sive jet en­gines to cope with the heat out­put of mo­bile graph­ics chips.

In­side, the GL502VS fea­tures an In­tel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and a GTX 1070 GPU. Where it sets it­self apart, aside from the form fac­tor, is in its dis­play. Where most gam­ing lap­tops of­fer a 1080p G-Sync IPS screen, they are mostly held back by pan­els with a 60Hz re­fresh rate. The GL502VS steps things up with a 1080p “IPS-like” matte panel with a 120Hz re­fresh rate. Frankly, much of the GTX 1070’s pix­el­push­ing power is wasted on a 60Hz screen, as it’s more than ca­pa­ble of main­tain­ing frame rates well above 80–100fps at 1080p. With the GL502VS’s 120Hz G-Sync screen, you aren’t forced to choose be­tween screen tear­ing and higher than 60fps.

Speak­ing of frame rates, the GL502VS eas­ily han­dled ev­ery­thing we threw at it. It scored an av­er­age of 103fps across Riseof theTom­bRaider’s three-part bench­mark, scor­ing 128fps in the Moun­tain Pass, 95fps in Syria, and 86fps the Geo­ther­mal Val­ley, all at 1080p max set­tings. In FarCry Pri­mal, it scored 80fps us­ing the in-game bench­mark, and 79fps in TheDivi­sion’s. Fi­nally, it scored 13,202 in 3DMark Fire Strike. Those num­bers de­stroy our lap­top zero-point, and are on par with or bet­ter than our desk­top.

COM­PACT AND POW­ER­FUL

The GL502VS’s chas­sis is a vast im­prove­ment over Asus’s larger, more ex­pen­sive G752VS, the up­dated ver­sion of the com­pany’s flag­ship gam­ing lap­top. The GL502VS has a more un­der­stated look that main­tains a bit of the ROG brand’s an­gu­lar aes­thetic, while ton­ing down some of the more ag­gres­sive styling—and in a smaller pack­age. Of course, the G752VS’s size mostly comes from its large rear vents, but in our test­ing, the GL502VS’s smaller size didn’t limit it ther­mally in any no­tice­able way, and it comes in at a much more at­trac­tive price point.

For con­nec­tiv­ity, the GL502VS has all the usual sus­pects: three USB 3.0, along­side one USB Type-C, as well as one each of HDMI and Mini Dis­playPort for con­nect­ing to ex­ter­nal mon­i­tors. Un­for­tu­nately, it’s miss­ing Thun­der­bolt 3 con­nec­tiv­ity in the Type-C port, lim­it­ing trans­fers to 10Gb/s in­stead of Thun­der­bolt 3’s blaz­ing 40Gb/s.

The other main draw­back is bat­tery life: With only a 62WHr bat­tery, the power draw of the GTX 1070 means your time un­teth­ered from the wall is lim­ited to an hour or two, even when not gam­ing. That said, the low bat­tery life is more than made up for when con­sid­er­ing the GL502VS’s price. At $1,699, it’s hun­dreds of dol­lars cheaper than most GTX 1070 lap­tops. And while it’s not the most por­ta­ble—es­pe­cially com­pared to the ul­tra-thin Razer Blade or up­com­ing Nvidia Max-Q lap­tops—it’s small enough for a nor­mal back­pack, and light enough to not break your back. Of course, if you in­sist on more screen real es­tate, the 17-inch GL702VS is ef­fec­tively the same lap­top in a larger frame.

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