Back during Computex ‘19, Asus promised that they will bring all top-level innovations to the masses and by ‘masses’ it means someone who hasn’t seen above ₹1lakh (like the writer of this very review).
This baby Zephyrus stole the much-loved thin chassis design from the Zephyrus of the snooty folks. Last year the Zephyrus M launched for around a lakh and sixty, and before that for a bank-breaking ₹2 lakhs.
Now, if you’ve had your reservations about the phenomenal Asus TUF FX705 just because it looks like bludgeoning device, the baby Zephyrus costs a few extra grand and offers almost the same core performance, and some more. For under a lakh, does the G GA502 (Let’s call it baby Zephyrus) retain the polish and panche of the superior Zephyrus? More importantly, is it worth the money?
Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502: Body and Design
Like all budget gaming laptops, this too is cladded in plastic, but plastic that won’t feel cheap like the others in this segment. In fact, we had to double check around the office about the material on the palm rest area. It’s plastic alright, but so well polished in a slight grainy finish that we have no complaints. It’s comfortable and doesn’t remind your skin that it’s resting on a ‘budget’ laptop.
We really loved the design of the Zephyrus and this baby Zephyrus looks almost identical — it even has a metal lid! If not for the missing orange accents on the body, you could barely tell from afar that this is a budget version of the expensive variant.
At 2.1 kilos, this slab design feels sleek and elegant without skimping out on the essential ports. You’ve got three USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port, one HDMI port, one headphone jack and an Ethernet port. We wish Asus starts making the power adapter as small as the MacBook Pro’s and have them charge via USB Type-C like the ZenBook series, but that’s a gripe for another day.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502: Display and Audio
The FullHD 120Hz screen is great. It’s really hard to find any problems here at this price. It’s a 15.6in anti-glare IPS display with very good colours and contrast. Like the body, here too you get your money’s worth.
Asus has pushed the bezels right to the edges on three sides. There’s a thick bar below with a logo that reminds you of the manufacturer’s name. Also, there is no webcam, if you cared for that thing in the first place.
There’s no excitement from the bottom firing speakers. It lacks clarity and punch in all frequencies, and thins out when you have it on anything other than a hard flat surface. While gaming, the laptop sounds like a hair dryer so you can’t hear any audio coming from the speakers. Best wear headphones, possibly wireless, since it supports BT5.0.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502: Performance
The Ryzen 7 3750H is married with 16GB of RAM, which means it not only games at optimal settings but also runs software like Photoshop and InDesign pretty smooth. We managed multiple desktops on Windows with the RAM-hungry Chrome, iTunes, WhatsApp and InDesign running all in conjunction with each other. It was a smooth experience, no doubt.
Gaming was phenomenal. The GTX 1660 Ti with Max-Q design is slightly underpowered, but not detrimental to gaming. We got around 55-65 FPS on high settings while playing The Division 2, and around 85 FPS while playing the same game in non-combat areas. Astonishingly, Resident Evil 2 was running on around 85 FPS on high settings, and that’s a graphically demanding game.
Metro Exodus has Ray Tracing support and the baby Zephyrus came out punching about its weight category. We got around 85 FPS in non-combat places, and around 55-60 FPS during combat and heavy rendering scenes on the high settings. Shadow of the Tomb Raider had an average frame rate of 51 FPS on high settings.
The lappy does tend to heat up quickly, and since the noise from its cooling fan gets really annoying, we recommend getting passive or active noise cancelling gaming headphones.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502: Verdict
The baby Zephyrus gets almost everything right. The price, build, performance and display. If we were to start nitpicking it would still not hamper the experience of using this budget gaming laptop. The white backlit keyboard is nice and pretty standard without any frills. The ROG software has a much more mature UI, and it takes cues from the Alienware software (which is a great thing).
The G GA502 doubles down as a working machine and a gaming laptop plonked to a nice entertaining screen. What more can you ask for under a lakh? Well, the Asus TUF FX705 is not far behind in price and we gave that 5 stars. The baby Zephyrus adds a better body, a better GPU and more RAM for just ₹17,000 more. Whichever one you pick, the budget category has two new kings and they’re both from Asus.