Asus ROG Zephyrus M (GM501) Review

Asus launched the Zephyrus M (GM501) as a cheaper alternative to the flagship laptop GX501 that was launched earlier this year. While the GX501 was priced high because of the hardware and slim design, GM501 provides a very similar gaming experience with its high-end configuration at a lower price.

Zephyrus M

Specifications of the Zephyrus M (GM501):

Processor 8750H 2.2 GHz
Platform HM370
RAM FSB 2666 MHz
RAM Capacity 16 GB
Screen Size 15.6–inches 144 Hz G-Sync
Screen Size 1920×1080 AUO71ED
GPU GTX 1070 8 GB DDR5X (MAX-Q)
SSD Samsung SM961 512 GB NVMe
HDD Seagate FireCuda 1 TB
Ethernet NA
Wi-Fi Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9560
Audio Realtek ALC294
Battery 3605 mAh 55 Whr @15.4v
AC Adapter 230 W
Weight 2.2 Kg
Model# GM501GS

Design:

The rear side of the panel has the brushed metal finish with a back-lit ROG logo which looks nice. On the front, we have the 15.6 inches, 144Hz FHD AHVA panel which has an anti-glare coating and good viewing angles.  The resolution might be just FHD but the screen is actually very good and gives an impressive viewing experience. GM501 has the same hatch design from the GX501 but looks wider and opens a little higher and exposes the vents for heat dissipation.

 

The GM501 has a more traditional keyboard layout which has the Aura Sync RGB with 4-zones across the keyboard. There is a dedicated numpad to the right side, audio controls on the top left along with ROG Game Centre key. The WASD keys have a white border, adding a subtle effect when combined with the RBG lighting. A relatively small touchpad is below the keyboard.

Zephyrus M GM501

When it comes to the I/O ports, many of the gaming laptops don’t offer many. But on Zephyrus M (GM501), you get seven expansion ports: four USB 3.1 ports, a single USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support for adding an external monitor or connecting a hard drive, an HDMI port, and 3.5mm audio jack. Most of the ports are on the left side of the housing, with only the USB-C port and a single USB 3.1 port on the right side.

Software and Performance:

The laptop comes with the latest Windows 10 pre-installed along with the Asus’s ROG Gaming Center software. With the press of the dedicated button at the top of Keyboard, the Gaming Center app provides device information, profile management for specific games, fan control and access to Aura program for customizing the Keyboard lighting.

Zephyrus M comes with an Intel 8750H processor that has 6 cores clocked at 2.2 GHz that can go up to 3.9GHz. The performance was pretty good in terms of benchmarks and the Zephyrus M (GM501) is among the top performers in the standard. When it comes to the real world performance, the frames were consistently at 100 FPS for PUBG and Far Cry 5 at high or ultra settings thanks to the GTX 1070 and the 16GB RAM. The hatch design and the cooling system in this laptop keep the system temperature in check which makes the performance consistent most of the times.

The 144Hz screen is impressive when it comes to the scrolling or quick movements in the game. The colors were almost spot on and did not require any adjustments when playing games or watching movies. The keys are soft and take some time to get used to when playing games. Personally, I would have liked slightly bigger arrow keys which I use more for games like Fifa, NBA etc. The speakers above the keyboard are loud and clear for media consumption given that most of the gamers use a headset while playing games. One thing to notice though, the fans do get loud sometimes which makes it slightly difficult to hear some subtle sounds like footsteps in the games.

The battery life of Zephyrus M is decent given the design and the battery capacity at 55 Wh. You get around 3 hours of battery life on a full charge enough to complete a movie or quick editing of a video while on the move. For gaming, most of us would anyways keep the laptop plugged in for power.

GM501

Overall, the Zephyrus M (GM501) is a great laptop for gaming that provides solid performance and has a durable design along with one of the best cooling solutions. There are other options in this segment but Asus looks to be the clearer choice with its features.

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