Asus Zephyrus S Gx531: Is It a Slim Gaming Beast at $1350?

Today we have Asus Zephyrus s GX531. This is a new gaming machine from Asus, let’s take a look at all of its aspects.

Overview

The pretty amazing thing about this laptop is that. last year it was a 1999 dollar laptop and this year, it’s only 1335. that’s almost a $700 discount and by the time you’re reading this review, it might even be lower.

I don’t know but this seems like an incredible bang for the buck when most gtx 1070 laptops are about 1500. and this particular one seems like an especially good bang for the buck. one because it has a very premium finish, fit, and feel. this is a very stiff, very thin laptop one of the thinnest laptops out there. at point 0.62 inches, so if you’re in the market for a thin powerful premium gaming laptop that’s not gonna cost too much money. this is one that you should be taking a look at.

Hardware

This has a 15.6 inch, 1080p, 144 hertz IPS level display. It also has an i7 8750 h processor and this should in theory clock up to 3.9 gigahertz. Now, this has a gtx 1070 max-q graphics card and normally I don’t recommend buying a max-q graphics card. Mainly because they’re overpriced but the thing is this thing’s priced about 170 dollars below most gtx 1070 laptops. So I’m just like, okay, we’re getting the price to performance ratio that it’s like two thumbs up so I wouldn’t worry about the max-q. Just know that in theory, you might be able to find a gtx 1070 laptop out there for about the same price. And it’s gonna have a little bit more performance but it’s not gonna be as thin as this laptop so just keep that in mind.

Now, this has 16 gigs of 2666 hertz ddr4 ram and this is a dual-channel with 8 gigs soldered on and 8 gigs being removable and upgradable. Though you really wouldn’t want to do that anyway because you want to maintain that dual channel. So now this has an NVMe PCIe SSD. Has a 512 gig SSD by default which is a good-sized SSD to start with. This is upgradeable up to two terabytes of hard drive space. We only have the one slot in this guy and a big part of the reason for that is that it’s so thin and light. They didn’t have room to put any additional storage slots in it. Last but not least it has a 50-watt-hour battery.

Wireless

Now we have wireless ac wave 2 and Bluetooth 5.0. And the wi-fi worked well I’ve got gigabit internet here at the house. And I was downloading games extremely quickly on my wi-fi without needing to plug into a LAN port. So that was nice.

Ports

Now for the ports, on the left side we have a headphone-mic combo port, two USB 2.0 type a’s, a USB c gen one and the power adapter port. And then on the back wave a Kensington lock port and a full-size HDMI. Then on the right side, we have a USB c gen 2 which is gonna have better throughput. And also a USB type a 3.1 which also then has a lot better throughput.

So if you’re looking to jack hard drives and stuff like that. You always want to use the ports on the right side because those will have a lot higher speed.

Unique Features

Let’s talk about what makes this laptop unique. Well, first of all, it’s one of the thinnest and lightest laptops that you can get in this period. This is one of the first minimal bezel designs you can see the bezels on the side are very small. The top is a little bit thicker but you do have the webcam at the nice top. The bezel on the bottom is a little bit larger like it is on most laptops.

Now the most unique design feature of this laptop is the fact that the ventilation system completely opens up on the back rear bottom. This allows for increased airflow and as you’ll see in my benchmarks and stress testing is a lot for some really good temperatures. Though that is also because we’re being severely power limit throttled as you’ll see. But still very impressed with the temps on this machine. I don’t think we ran into any thermal throttling issues on this machine at all.

It was pure power limit throttling, which is just kind of limitation of the hardware all that to say let’s dive into some benchmarks. And just see how well this mentalization system and the internal components can play some games.

Benchmarks

Here’s the compilation of the six games that we tested. You can see that all the games played excellently at over 60 frames per second consistently. And you can also see that the performance in a lot of these games is gonna vary drastically depending on the settings you set them on.

Display

Let’s talk about the other important aspects of the laptop. The display is overall really good. It’s not gonna be the best display out there for a game on top of the newer 2019 displays are slightly better. But this was like the best you could get in 2018. The colors are good, the contrast is good. I did notice that there is some backlight bleed along on the bottom, along the top but you’re only gonna notice those in dark environments. Or like when the movie scene goes like basically full black that’s when you’ll notice it. But other than that like most bright gameplay you’ll never notice the backlight bleed. And I think that’s about the average level of backside bleed for most gaming laptops.

Battery

Now as far as battery life goes. This laptop has a 50-watt-hour battery, which is fairly small. But the good thing here is that we do have Nvidia optimists which switch between the intel graphics card and the Nvidia graphics card. Giving us a substantial battery boost. When I was browsing the web and typing out this review. I was able to get about three hours and 15 minutes. Now if you were to optimize this for the maximum battery. I’ve turned the brightness downturn wi-fi on, Bluetooth off. I could see you getting about four to four and a half hours of super minimal usage out of the laptop.

On the flip side if you were to run this thing at full tilt you’re looking at about an hour and 15 minutes of full-tilt usage.

Keyboard

Now the keyboard is positioned forward, I think the main downside here is that when you’re using the laptop. Normally I would sit with a laptop right about in front. But because the keyboard is positioned forward I have to move back a little bit to fit the laptop comfortably with my arms. Otherwise, you’re dealing with like cramped wrist angles which is not ideal. Another thing to keep in mind the keyboard is that when you’re on a table. You have a good wrist rest and it’s very comfortable typing this is like two thumbs up when you’re on a table. But when it’s in your lap you have nowhere to put your hand like if it’s hanging off a table or edge. You have nowhere to put your hand.

Now the touchpad is nice and it did work well overall. I did run into some driver issues where the touch panel like to lock up a little bit for a second. And become unresponsive I did try to update the drivers from an Asus website that didn’t do anything. But I’m pretty sure that if I fiddle with it some more. I could get the drivers on the mousepad to work perfectly fine.

It could also be a hardware issue but I believe it’s a driver issue so I’m still gonna be able to recommend this laptop. Now the trackpad has a cool note that’s activated by a button above the trackpad. And it turns the touchpad into a number pad which is useful if you’re gonna have to type a bunch of numbers.

Asus Software

You also have a dedicated Asus software launch button right next to the Numpad button. And it is a fairly good, very easy to use software so 2 thumbs up there. You can set it to silent running mode, balance mode or turbo mode. You can also adjust the keyboard lighting and lighting on this laptop is pretty cool. You’ve got the keyboard backlight. And then you have two sidelights that come out the left and right side. And the logo on the back is also lit up and you can customize the lights that come out on the sides as well as the keyboard light to all match red or green or to be a rainbow pattern. The logo on the back though I was not able to customize.

Conclusion

Let’s wrapped all this up so the major pros for this machine is an excellent price point good price to performance ratio. Superb build quality this thing is well built it feels very solid and it’s extremely thin very light. You have excellent CPU performance for rendering doing video tasks. You’ve got good ports but you’re missing the mini DisplayPort and you’re missing a full-sized sd card reader. The display is good but you could, in theory, get a better display in a 2019 notebook.

The downsides here are that we’re dealing with a max q graphics card here. So you’re gonna be sacrificing a little bit of power for having the most portability. And I think this is one of the most attractive max q laptops that I have seen and I wouldn’t have said that a year ago. When they say it was price $2,000 but now that it’s $1335. I say freaking buy this if you’re in the market for an ultra-thin and portable gaming laptop.