Design

Without putting too fine a point on it, ASUS can design some stunning notebooks, but this is not one of them. Stepping down to their value line keeps the same powerful internals, but to hit this price point ASUS has taken some liberties with the chassis design. The entire notebook is built from a fairly low quality plastic, with the exception of the lid which has a metal top. The top has a brushed finish with lines running parallel down the entire device, which looks nice, but that’s where the premium materials end.

Opening the notebook, the same brushed finish is replicated on the plastic keyboard deck, but this time on the plastic finish. The keyboard itself features 1.6 mm of travel with red backlighting, but the keyboard feel lacks the nice feel of some of the other ASUS notebooks. The WASD keys are red with black fonts, compared to the rest of the keys which are black with red fonts, and although the look won’t appeal to everyone, it does help quickly identify the most needed keys for gaming. ASUS continues its silly tradition of having the power key right in the keyboard, with it at the top right. If you accidently go to press the minus key, you may end up shutting off the laptop. There’s no good reason for them to put it there, although at least on this notebook, with its extra number pad, it is less likely to get hit than on one of their smaller notebooks where it is right beside the delete key. This seems like a small gripe, but shutting off your computer when going to hit a key is not a great experience.

The trackpad on this notebook does feature the Microsoft Precision Touchpad drivers, for better or for worse, and it’s nice to see Microsoft reigning this in. They still have some work to do with the drivers, but at least it is a consistent experience across devices now. That being said, the trackpad on this notebook is not quite as smooth as some other notebooks, and picks up fingerprints quite readily. It would be nice to see a glass trackpad, although once again the budget comes into play. Luckily a good mouse is going to be required for gaming regardless, so this isn’t as big of an issue as it is on a more portable device.

Being a large gaming laptop, there is expandability with the GL502VS, and just a couple of screws will let you pop off the bottom and access the memory, which has two SODIMM slots, the M.2 SSD, and the SATA drive. Maximum memory is 32 GB through two 16 GB DDR4 modules. On our 16GB sample, only one memory slot was occupied for single channel memory performance.

Interior photos courtesy of rog.asus.com

Overall the design of the ASUS GL502VS is kind of disappointing. The top of the notebook is a very nice looking metal, but the remainder of the notebook is a fairly low grade plastic. ASUS does build some nice notebooks, but to hit their budget on this one with the components on the inside, clearly some cost cutting was necessary. They have also gone a bit overboard with the red accents on this notebook, and especially with the bright shade of red chosen, although the almost orange WASD keys do look nice and red with the keyboard backlighting on.

Introduction System Performance
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  • wolfemane - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    And on that same note, why a 4K screen? The 1070 can run at that display but with reduced settings to achieve 60fps. Why not a decent 1440p 75 - 120hz screen? At least the 1070 can take full advantage of that and benefit with g-sync. Reply
  • MrRuckus - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    Screen tear is a problem, much more in older games, G-Sync removes it completely. You can catch streamers on twitch who's viewers complain about screen tear with 1080's in SLI. I thought G-Sync was a fad that would never catch on, until I bought a Asus G752VY with G-Sync. If you havent tried it, I would recommend you do. It can be a night and day difference with it and games as far as smoothness goes. I agree they should have gone with a higher end display. 60Hz G-Sync does seem a little lame. Mine is 75Hz G-Sync and the 980m keeps up in just about everything. Its hard to go back once you've been spoiled with G-Sync.

    The Asus ROG forums are also really lacking. You really only get community assistance in there from other users. Actual people working at Asus are VERY few. Maybe a handful at most, and rarely respond to issues. Even some of the MODs arent affiliated in anyway. Sometimes I wish they would come in with more of a presence. Especially for people who throw down $2500 or more on a laptop. They are getting into the ridiculous realm on price. This is my 5th ROG laptop, and I may go to another manufacturer next time around, depending on their build quality and price to performance. Once they get into the $3k category, that's like Alienware prices. Sad to see.
    Reply
  • lefty2 - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    40 db idle is pretty noisy. I thought Asus Strix GPUs ment to switch off the fan when idling? Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    I waited... waited a bit more. Then waited longer over here in the U.K.

    In the end I purchased an MSI GT62vr and do not regret it. Sure, of course, it's not worth the price at all but that's what I had to pay to get it. More fool me.

    P.s. The GT62vr is so damn quiet it's unreal!
    Reply
  • inperfectdarkness - Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - link

    That was my 1st choice. But I can't find it with a 4k or even 3k screen. And I would rather commit Seppuku than intentionally buy a 1080p laptop. MSI has a LOT of features that leave ASUS in the dust. Reply
  • shatteredx - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    Wow! Anyone else blown away by the performance improvement going from 980M -> 1070/1080? The 1070 is 66% faster than the 980M and the 1080 is 100% faster! Amazing. I guess those 1080 numbers are with a desktop 6700k but still. Reply
  • Meaker10 - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    Can you put the machine on a set of scales and actually weigh it rather than relying on the numbers Asus feed you?

    That machine is NOT 2.34KG.
    Reply
  • sundragon - Friday, December 23, 2016 - link

    Yup, it's heavier and weight the power adapter... It's 1.2 lbs all by itself. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, December 10, 2016 - link

    That main picture looks like the DOOM logo :) Reply
  • TallestJon96 - Saturday, December 10, 2016 - link

    Something like this with better build quality would be my ideal kind of laptop if I was in the market. Its a little of the expensive side for me though, so I won't be buying one anytime soon. Reply

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