ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Review: Thinner, Faster

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502

ASUS continues to prove that they are still part of the pack by launching quality laptops backed with decent specs and looks. One of the recent ones is the ASUS Zephyrus M GU502, a thin laptop that sports a 240Hz screen powered with mostly top-of-the-line components.

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Specs

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.66GHz
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti 6GB
OS Windows 10 Home
RAM 16GB DDR4 2666MHz SDRAM
Display
15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS-level panel, 240Hz, 3ms, 100% sRGB, Pantone® Validated
Storage 1TB PCIe x4 NVMe SSD
I/O Ports
1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type C DisplayPort™ 1.4 and Power Delivery, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type A, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type A, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack, 1 x Audio Jack Mic-in, 1 x RJ45, 1 x Kensington Lock
Connection Wi-Fi 5(802.11ac)2×2, Bluetooth 5.0
Weight 1.9kg
Dimensions 36.0 (W) x 25.2 (D) x 1.89 (H) cm
Power 230W Power Adaptor
Support Type-C PD 3.0 up to 65W
Audio 2 speakers with Smart AMP technology
Array Microphone
Others Armoury Crate
GameFirst V
GameVisual

The ASUS GU502’s 3 Different Models

The ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 has 3 different models: GU502GVGW (GeForce RTX 2070), GU502GVGV (GeForce RTX 2060), GU502GU (GeForce GTX 1660Ti). All of these models can also come in 2 varieties: a 144Hz or 240Hz screen. Other than the graphics cards, all models share the same innards: processors, memory specifications, etc. For this review, we will be talking about the performance of the GU502GU (GTX 1660Ti, 240Hz) as it was the one sent to us for review. Other than that, all three models are superficially identical.

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Up Close

Looks & Design

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Front

ASUS ROG Zephyrus GU502 Thickness

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Whole Set

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 thankfully doesn’t have that overkill “look I’m a gaming laptop!” look. It ditches those thick corners, present in its weaker siblings, and dons on a sleeker and more profiled look.

First thing to notice with this laptop is its thinness. Being only 1.89cm thick, this gaming laptop can snugly fit even the smallest of laptop bags. Obviously, this laptop is also lighter, weighing only 1.9kg, more or less 3kg if you add the power adapter and ROG Impact Gaming Mouse.

240Hz Display & Pantone® Validated

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Pantone Validated Display Laptop

Probably the main reason to get this laptop is its high refresh-rate screen. Boasting 240Hz and with 3ms refresh-rate, anything that happens on the screen comes off as buttery smooth. Even if you’re just using the desktop, the difference between the usual 60Hz run-of-the-mill monitor and this one is very noticeable.

Sides & Rear

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Ports Right Side

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Ports Left Side

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Rear

Bundled Bloatware

The Zephyrus M GU502 comes bundled with the ROG Armoury Crate, ROG GameVisual, and GameFirst V, all of which provide more “gaming” tools for this device. Aside from these things, the laptop also comes with the ever-present McAfee Antivirus and the annoying MyASUS, an app which I immediately turned off after it prompted me to update an already up-to-date driver every 10 minutes.

TKL RGB Keyboard

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 TKL Keyboard

The ROG Zephyrus M goes full on gaming with its TKL keyboard chock full of custom keys that you can use to configure the laptop’s performance on the fly. The top left houses the controls for audio and a quick button for the ROG Armoury Crate, the Zephyrus M GU502’s hardware control and management application. Similar to other gaming laptops, to save on real estate, ASUS included other commands using the “FN” and function keys.

The ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Glows!

One thing I can appreciate with this laptop is its RGB keyboard. It’s highly customized and I do think that it is impressive enough to garner looks when using this beast inside cafes or in public places. More than that however, i think that it helps in terms of productivity as it allows you to see the keys better even when it’s dark.

For the feel, while key feedback preference differs per person, I find this one pretty functional and comfortable. The feedback is alright and if you’re used to keys such as those from the recent MacBooks, this one can be thought of as a bit similar to that.

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Performance

Gaming Performance

ROG GU502GU Gaming Performance Benchmarks

Resolution 1080p Frame Rates
Games Preset Average 1% 0.1%
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey High 40 30 27
Apex Legends High 83 49 41
Rainbow Six Siege Ultra 114 74 68
Ghost Recon: Breakpoint High 54 33 27
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Normal 92 50 35
Overwatch Ultra 100 69 55
Dota 2 Best Looking 79 42 31
Far Cry: New Dawn Ultra 55 39 33
CS: GO High 129 78 61
PUBG Ultra 45 24 16
Shadow of the Tomb Raider High 64 37 19
Borderlands 3 Medium 68 46 27

I used preset settings for each game as I tried finding the sweet spot that would enable the hardware to play above or somewhat at 60 FPS. All of the above tests were done while in Turbo Mode.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU packs “decent” hardware, enough to run the latest games. I say the word “decent” because while it is powered by an obviously powerful mobile processor, the Intel i7-9750H, its performance is significantly affected by the mid-tier Nvidia GeForce GTX1660Ti.

Going Turbo With The Zephyrus M GU502GU

Turbo Mode unlocks the full potential of the ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU, allowing the fans of both the processor and the GPU to ramp up and lift the device to the stratosphere. It becomes noticeably noisy but it unlocks the restrictions on the hardware, providing more juice and consequently increasing your frame rates. It is recommended to do this while it is plugged-in as it will consume the whole battery without fail.

Set It To Low Or Med To Go Past 144Hz

Breaking the 144Hz barrier can be done with most games if you’re willing to sacrifice visual fidelity for the extra frames. This is highly recommended for those looking to have smooth frames especially in competitive titles such as CS:GO. Also, having the game in full screen sometimes increases the frames and is sometimes also required to attain higher display refresh rates.

Synthetic Benchmarks

These benchmarks are meant to measure the device’s performance relative to other people’s machine. We plugged in a mix of CPU & GPU-intensive tests and other ones that measure the performance of both at the same time.

The numbers below will be quantified into an easy to read chart once we have compiled results from previous reviews. Please do check them out after some time.

3DMark Firestrike Extreme

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Review Firestrike Extreme3DMark Fire Strike Extreme is designed for multi-GPU systems and future hardware generations. In addition to raising the rendering resolution, additional visual quality improvements increase the rendering load to ensure accurate performance measurements for truly extreme hardware setups.

3DMark Time Spy

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Review Timespy

3DMark Time Spy is a DirectX 12 benchmark test for Windows 10 gaming PCs. Time Spy is one of the first DirectX 12 apps to be built the right way from the ground up to fully realize the performance gains that the new API offers.

Cinebench (Release 20)

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Review Cinebench

Benchmark Score: 2697

Cinebench leverages the same powerful 3D engine found in the award-winning animation software Cinema 4D Release 20 to accurately evaluate CPU rendering performance capabilities across various systems and platforms.

Novabench

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Review Novabench

Novabench is a free benchmark tool that allows you to see your computer’s overall performance. Its tests CPU, GPU, RAM, and Storage speeds, and gives you an aggregate score that you can use for comparison with other similar setups.

PassMark

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Review PassMark

PassMark measures CPU, 2D & 3D GPU, Memory, and Disk speeds. Similar to Novabench, it gives you an aggregate score, giving you an idea on how your PC performs and how it ranks when compared to other computers around the world.

Unigine Superposition

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502GU Review Superposition

Extreme performance and stability test for PC hardware: video card, power supply, cooling system.

Thermals

The ROG Zephyrus GU502GU has a maximum CPU temperature of 95C and a maximum GPU temperature of 75C. It does get a bit warm when playing while in Turbo mode. If you’re thinking of playing for extended periods of time, get a controller instead as having your wrists over a warm surface can be uncomfortable.

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 – Verdict & Final Thoughts

Pantone® Validated 240Hz Gaming Laptop

Let’s put aside gaming for a while and think, “what would be the main reason to buy this laptop?” Given that it rarely breaks itself out of 144Hz, let alone the 120Hz, why buy this gaming laptop with a mid-tier graphics card and an overpowered screen? It’s a mismatch! Or so you would think.

As a gamer, I would prefer buying a laptop armed with a GeForce RTX2060 with a slightly lesser screen, say 144Hz, than this one. But consider the fact that this is Pantone® Validated, something that would help designers or would-be designers should their work require them this validation seal. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU can double as a workstation. Couple that with the very mobile build and you have yourself a workstation that you can take anywhere you go.

Mobile & Light Workstation / Gaming Laptop

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Review

Since we’re already talking about mobility, I think that that also warrants special attention for the ASUS Zephyrus M GU502. It’s very handy and you can bring it to almost anywhere without straining or breaking your back. Sure, the adapter almost weighs as the unit itself, but then again, you’re carrying more or less 3kgs with this one. I found that it’s quite practical if you’re living in the city, frequently going back to your hometown during the weekends or holidays.

ASUS Zephyrus M GU502 Review Award

With all that said, let’s return and specifically talk about the GTX 1660Ti-powered ROG Zephyrus M GU502GU. It is a compact and light laptop, that can also be used as a mobile workstation. As a gaming laptop, its performs well enough to attain 60 FPS even in demanding titles, which in itself is already impressive given that this is a laptop and not a desktop! With all things considered, we’re giving this one our Hungrygeeks 100% Approved badge.

In the Philippines, all of the variants of the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 come with an ROG Impact Gaming Mouse and an ROG Laptop Bag.