This ASUS Gaming Laptop Is Great If You Love Yourself And Hate Everyone Around You
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX gaming laptop reminds me of a possessed My Little Pony. It’s comparatively compact, deceptively powerful and adorned with rainbow light. And it screams.
Gaming computers are always a trade-off. They’re more powerful than your everyday work PC, all the better to render crisp graphics and boom clean audio. However, more power requires more robust hardware, resulting in a computer that weighs more and runs hotter.
Laptops such as the Zephyrus S GX531GX try to strike a balance, minimising bulk while maximising power. The 15.6-inch, 2.1kg device is still an unwieldy beast in comparison the modest 13.5-inch work laptop I’m accustomed to, especially when you factor in its surprisingly hefty charger. When placed next to a heavy desktop gaming computer, it’s hard to imagine where all its power comes from.
I will tell you where it comes from. It comes from the air, which, judging by the sounds emanating from my device, the Zephyrus S GX531GX rends apart in its quest for power. Like a Harrier jet, or a comic book supervillain.
And like a jet or supervillain, it’s great when it’s on your side.
To be fair, you’d be hard-pressed to find a gaming laptop that didn’t yell. And most of the time, I didn’t notice my Zephyrus S GX531GX’s sustained warcry. I typically use a headset while gaming, which somewhat muffles the noise.
Further, once you’re focused on the in-game audio, it’s easy to ignore the sounds around you. Whether that be your laptop’s wails, or your partner repeatedly asking you to come to bed.
Even so, the Zephyrus S GX531GX gives you a respectable chunk of sound to ignore. I found the noise comparable to being inside during a very heavy rainstorm. You can still go about your business and tune it out, but that steady buzz is constant.
Silent mode isn’t quite silent, though it could be called such in comparison to the Balanced and Turbo modes. Balanced mode makes enough of a ruckus that people across the room asked why my laptop was yelling at them. Turbo mode screams like someone spilled wine on their wedding dress.
The yelling won’t bother you much if you play with a headset, but then you won’t get to enjoy the Zephyrus S GX531GX’s large dual speakers. Taking up the expanse of real estate between the keyboard and screen hinge, the speakers shove the keyboard right to the bottom edge, leaving users’ palms to dangle off the laptop’s edge.
I was initially put off by the fact that the Zephyrus S GX531GX doesn’t have anywhere to rest your wrists. However, after a few hours of playing Dota 2, I realised why this is. It is because the Zephyrus S GX531GX is a gaming laptop, and gaming laptops get hot.
In this instance, forcing players’ wrists off the laptop’s surface actually makes lengthy gaming sessions more comfortable. A gentle wrist roasting may prompt some to stand up and stretch every once in a while, but if I wanted to make healthy life choices, I wouldn’t be looking at a portable gaming computer.
The heat also means this device is a laptop in form only, as you wouldn’t want to rest it on your actual lap unless maybe all your nerves are dead and you have no interest in having children.
The Zephyrus S GX531GX also makes the interesting choice of placing its narrow trackpad on the right side of the keyboard. This makes some sense — the right side is typically where people place their mouse. And really, the trackpad is more a formality than anything. If you’re going to be gaming and have a conscience, you’ll use a mouse.
I was however delighted to discover that I could turn the trackpad into a backlit numpad with the simple press of a button. I personally never use numpads because I despise maths with every fibre of my being, but nerds might like it.
More importantly, the Zephyrus S GX531GX’s graphics are crisp and response time quick, with games running as smoothly as they do on my dedicated gaming desktop. It has a 1TB SSD, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card and an Intel Core i7-8750H processor. I found little to complain about in its performance, and it felt just as powerful as a desktop.
Its build feels sturdy and resilient and is fairly streamlined for a gaming laptop. One detail that brought me an inordinate amount of joy was its smooth scissor-door hinges. Lifting the lid causes a wide air vent to open along the Zephyrus S GX531GX’s hinge, helping to keep it cool while you play (though not cool enough to rest your wrists on).
If given the option, I still prefer my home setup. Zephyrus S GX531GX’s keyboard is lacking even for a membrane keyboard, and felt shallower than my Surface Pro.
Even so, I enjoyed being able to game wherever I wanted in my home, whether it be chasing sun at the dining table or curled up in the kitchen where the food lives.
If I were going old school, lugging a computer to a friend’s place for a weekly LAN, I’d want the Zephyrus S GX531GX by my side. Its size and weight may not be conducive to carrying it into the office every day, but your colleagues likely wouldn’t be as understanding of the screaming anyway.
ASUS’ ROG Zephyrus S GX531GX is a bit dear for a casual gamer, its $2799 price point aimed at more hardcore users. Still, it’s an excellent laptop to consider if you love yourself and hate everyone around you.