Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 Review – A Zephyrusly good time

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8.6 Phenomenal

Despite an excessively loud cooling system and a slightly cumbersome weight, the Zephyrus S GX701 is a marvel of a laptop. Condensing the power of a top-of-the-range desktop in a portable device is a spectacular achievement and certainly makes for an impressive computer if you're willing to really break the bank on a laptop.

  • Design 8
  • Power 10
  • Display 9
  • Noise 7
  • Performance 9
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

It’s become somewhat of a norm to play games on a laptop. Fifteen years ago, if you’d told us we’d be able to play Doom Eternal on that little piece of machinery mostly used to file taxes and send emails, we’d have laughed for two reasons. Firstly, we’d be shocked that Doom had received another incredible instalment after the disappointment of Doom 3 and secondly, how could a laptop be considering a serious system for gaming?

Well, as the years have flown past and all the tech needed to power the latest games became more powerful without growing in size, laptops have become a hot commodity. People realised that playing games doesn’t necessarily require the entirety of a desk to be consumed by a PC.

Why sacrifice all that space when you could have something smaller yet equally powerful? Why not just take the plunge on a machine like the Zephyrus S GX701, because after spending two weeks with it you’ll realise that your desktop was just a more cumbersome version of this monster.

Chunky beef, in the best way

Let’s move past the obvious stuff first: this machine looks fantastic. The snazzy metallic colouring and muted yet still noticeable chrome finishes make this machine look just like just that: a machine. Something durable and hardy that can withstand some severe strain. While that’s probably not a good reason to drop this amount of moola, it looks the part if that’s important to you. It looks like a laptop you’d want to show off to your friends and then decline their requests to hold it because the Zephyrus is remarkably heavy.

While the size of the Zephyrus is no doubt impressive, squashing in plenty of impressive hardware in a case that’s only 18.7mm thick, the actual device is a heavy piece of equipment. I wouldn’t count on slinging it around all day unless you’re planning on developing some thick shoulder muscles. Still, one can hardly fault the Zephyrus for being heavy when its internals are so impressive, especially given the space restrictions.

We will ROG you

In terms of actual performance, we doubt you’d be able to find a machine capable of running as smoothly as the Zephyrus and with good reason. Everything about it has been established to provide the best gaming experience possible. 24GB of RAM, the latest version of an Intel Core i7 processor and even an Nvidia RTX 2080 (built to support actual ray-tracing tech), there’s not a game or program under the sun that the Zephyrus won’t be able to run.

The image quality is as impressive as you’d expect with a G-sync ready screen running at 144Hz; even the ugliest of games will look more than playable.

Yet while it’s all fine and good to list the specs, it’s better to set a benchmark, right? So we put the Zephyrus to the test with two of the most graphically demanding games available right now: Call of Duty – Modern Warfare and Doom Eternal. You’ll be totally surprised to hear that both games, running at the highest settings, performed…wonderfully.

Like, we have some people that have been playing games on PC their whole lives who love to nitpick performance issues, but there wasn’t a fault to observe. Running at a clean and constant 60fps with zero hitches in visuals or performance, the Zephyrus delivered on every front. Which makes sense given the enormous amount of cash attached to the machine. At an average price of just over R65,000, you’d want your laptop to play everything smoothly, right?

Like a Hurricane

They only thing we could complain about is the cooling system on the Zephyrus. While the machine itself does an impressive job of keeping itself cool(ish) when running demanding programs, the downside to having a machine packing such high-end tech in such a small case is that to cool it all down it has to make a lot of noise. Although that’s not necessarily true given that even running the most basic of programs like Steam or Battle.net the Zephyrus sounded like a jet engine engaging turbo thrusters.

It’s a loud device, to an almost bewildering extent. Again, it’s a necessary evil but just know that if you purchase one of these everyone in the office will be very aware of when you’ve closed Word and booted up Battlefield for a cheeky match. Kind of fitting, given that Zephyrus was the Greek god of the West wind.

Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 Verdict

Here’s the thing about this machine: It’s a monumental piece of gaming hardware. The amount of raw power and hardware packed into its thin (yet admittedly heavy) chassis makes most desktops weep.

Of course, there’s a price for everything and in the case of the Zephyrus it’s…well, it’s the price. The price tag is tremendously huge, more money than most people would ever consider paying for a laptop. Yet when you consider what you’re getting out of it, it’s a little more understandable, right? This is the sort of machine that will ensure you’re up to date for the next five years easily if you’re willing to put up with some excessive ventilation and not eating for six months.

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I completed a Masters Degree just so someone might take my opinions seriously one day. Also writes about video games over at Critical Hit.

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