We all like them slim, sexy, flexible and powerful. Oh, and isn’t it great when they lift their rears up?
Before you say “you’ve pushed it too far this time.” Hear us out. The Asus ROG Zephyrus does lift its rear up ever so slightly. But a proper explanation we promise, just a tad later.
The Zephyrus is the new slim babe on the block that packs in an Nvidia GTX1080 GPU that is based on the new Max-Q design. It’s this new design that enables the engineering monkeys of different manufacturers that make laptops like the Zephyrus as thin as it is - 17.9mm, weighing just 2.2kgs. Although a relatively new step for Asus, we’ve seen slim gaming laptops before (the MSI GS series is pretty popular) but the Zephyrus is the first one that packs in American-sized ammunition in a Maldives-sized body. But the GPU is tuned to be efficient and that might affect gaming performance. By how much? Now that’s something you have to read on to find out.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Design/build - Weight of a Zephyr
The first thing you notice is the elegant slim profile Asus has managed to conjure here. It measures just a tad over 1.6cm in thickness, but weighs more than what it looks like at 2.25kg. You can lift it with two fingers and it manages to fit into a regular backpack like it’s a copy of Stuff magazine.
It also looks almost as good as our magazine, if not cooler. The black and copper scheme with red highlights translates into a very stunning laptop that has an air of maturity to it. There’s no doubt it has gamer DNA, but it wouldn’t look out of place in a business meeting. We even like the chamfered edges around the keyboard which help reduce wrist strain while you game for hours on end. The competition - the Acer Predator Triton doesn’t have chamfered edges and your wrists start to hurt after a while.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Keyboard/Mouse - All cuffed up
The keyboard has been pushed to the edge of the laptop to make way for the thin inner bits and more efficient cooling. The ROG logo in the empty space above the keyboard looks pretty cool, but we wish it lit up. Now, for the party trick — the mousepad sits on the right-hand side of the keyboard just like the older MSI Titan. With a tap of your finger, the thing lights up into a number pad, again, just like the older-gen MSI Titan. It’s way better than the crappy Gorilla glass panel that the Predator Triton has going for it. You can actually use this mousepad even though it’s not the most practical design out there and you’re going to need a mouse for gaming anyway.
The actual keyboard in question is great to type on, and even better to game on. It’s got your regular 1.4mm of travel, but the keys are spaced out quite well so hoomans with boat paddles for hands can game comfortably too. You can customise it to your liking with the Asus Aura software. All that's great, but the one thing we really loved, or rather our wrists thanked us for was that chamfered edge that doesn’t gauge into your skin while you’re pressing down hard on the keyboard.
Asus supplies a wrist support with the laptop too. So Asus knew this could still be a problem and kept in mind the plight of your precious wrists. But you'll have to remember to lug it around wherever you go.
Asus ROG Zephyrus Display - Everybody lies
And, by that, we mean the ones who say they can’t see the difference between a monitor running at 60Hz and 120Hz. Yes, they are liars and should be persecuted. With that out of the way, the display on the Zephyrus is of the fine kind. A slick 120Hz babe with 100% sRGB gamut coverage and the mysteriously magical G-Sync tech.
Do we even need to type this out? Yeah? Okay. The colours on this display look rich but don’t overdo it. So, you get a final image that’s natural yet looks vibrant, all in a good way. It’s an IPS panel which means viewing angles are great as well, but either way, it's not like you’re going to sit at the side of your laptop and game.
The entire experience is quite fluid and smooth as well. That’s thanks to the G-Sync, which in case you didn’t know, matches the refresh rate of the graphics card to that of the display so as to minimize tearing and get an overall faster response time with smoother visuals as the end product. This really helps when you are particularly bad at fast-moving games like Counter Strike.
The display is set to sRGB mode as default and you can change it via the ROG GameVisual software that allows a host of other modes and tweaking. But we prefer the FPS and sRGB modes while gaming and during regular work.
Asus ROG Zephyrus performance - Heavy hitter
It has a GTX 1080 and it isn't afraid to show its grunt. This is what dreams are made of. A super-thin gaming laptop that just walks over every game you throw at it. But the fact is that this scores a tad lower than the Predator Triton in the benchmarks, albeit just marginally. We got a score of 13,887 on the Fire Strike benchmark and 7531 on the Fire Strike Extreme tests. Whereas, the Triton managed to pull off a cool 13,972 on the Fire Strike benchmark and 7643 on the Fire Strike Extreme test.
However, load up the big games and this little Zephy hardly breaks a sweat - Resident Evil, GTA V, Tekken and Hellblade, all run flawlessly with FPS levels not dipping below 80 with everything set to Ultra. And there’s virtually no stuttering or judder that we noticed even at those high settings. But we did notice the temperatures.
Twerking it right
Yes, we all love a good bottom end. Be it the bass of a high-end speaker system or well the twerking bottom of the Zephyrus. Yup, there’s a small plastic panel that detaches from the base of the laptop to allow airflow out. The area above the keyboard is where the Zephyrus breathes in cool air. While this kind of smart engineering works really well in keeping the temps under control - we never experienced anything above 80° - there’s a slight problem.
The plastic panel that detaches itself, is really flimsy and feels kind of cheap. It should not be there on something that costs this much. It bends to the slightest of pressure applied by your finger and that makes us quiver. Another thing we noticed was that the possibility of it collecting dust when the laptop isn’t on and left open. Apart from that, it looks pretty damn cool especially when the red LED lights fitted inside let out a halo effect on the table that the laptop is resting on.
Asus ROG Zephyrus verdict
The Zephyrus is a great gamer. It manages to play every game you throw at it and comes through with flying frame rates. Yes, the cooling bit is a good touch and has its downsides, but it does the job. Also remember that you don’t get a dedicated Ethernet port on the laptop itself like you do on the Triton. But when you compare the two, it is the Zephyrus that appeals to us more. Its understated design and mature looks make us take it a little more seriously. Add to that, the no-nonsense trackpad that is actually functional and you’ve made a pretty strong case for the Zephyrus. The highlight is its gorgeous display, lightweight along with the ability to blast away big games like they are Minecraft, and that's what matters.