[Review] The Whole Package: The ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA503QS)

ROG Zephyrus G15 (GA503QS)



That was the first word that came to mind upon laying eyes on the ROG Zephyrus G15. Last year, I reviewed its smaller sibling, the 14" Zephyrus G14, which was in a class of its own when it came to aesthetics.

This year's G15 packs the same level of design and portability into a 15" chassis, and adds even more powerful hardware into the mix. After spending some time with it, I can say that this is easily one of the most recommendable laptops on the market right now.

Understated elegance

The Zephyrus G15 comes in 2 colours - Moonlight White and Eclipse Grey, which is what I have with me. While Moonlight White is certainly stunning, I do prefer the Eclipse Grey for a few reasons which I will talk about later.

First, let's talk about the aesthetics. The magnesium alloy lid is perforated with thousands of little holes - while the G15 doesn't have the iconic AniMe Matrix lighting feature of the G14, it does have a layer of "Prismatic Gleams" underneath that shimmers beneath certain lighting angles. Once again, the usual RGB ROG logo found on other models has been replaced by an engraved metal tab in the bottom left corner.

Opening it up, you'll see a sleek metal deck housing the keyboard, the Zephyrus family's signature additional row of function keys, the power button with a fingerprint sensor, as well as up-firing speakers.

ASUS' Ergolift design has been implemented, lifting the bottom of the laptop up to allow for a slightly more ergonomic typing position and better ventilation. For those who take the word 'laptop' very literally, beware as the Ergolift hinge may dig into your lap if you're not a fan of working on tables.

It can also open up to 180 degrees if you need it to.

The laptop measures just 1.99cm thick and weighs just 1.9kg, which is impressively compact for the amount of firepower it contains. Overall, it feels pretty solid - you can easily open the laptop up with one hand and not have it tip over, thanks to its good weight distribution and angled edges.

Speedy display and rich audio

Featuring a 1440p resolution with a 165Hz refresh rate and FreeSync, the 15.6" screen will hit the sweet spot for most gamers. Personally, I've always felt that 240Hz and 360Hz screens are overkill for all but the most hardcore gamers - most people would have difficulty discerning any gains above 144Hz anyway. And 1440p is a nice step up from 1080p, allowing for crisper graphics without over-taxing your hardware; usually 4K graphics are best reserved for larger displays and creative work.

The IPS-level screen is Pantone-validated with 100% DCI-P3 coverage, providing rich colour that brings your games to life. In terms of brightness, it serves up a modest 300 nits, which works best indoors.

One drawback is that the webcam has been omitted yet again, which is a major bummer if you need to make video calls often, or enjoy some casual streaming on the go. If the bezels are really too slim to accommodate one, I would have dearly loved for ROG to include even a cheap one in the box.

Speaking of bezels, while the black bezels perfectly complement the Eclipse Grey's colour scheme, it stands out a bit more on the Moonlight White variant, which inexplicably doesn't have white bezels to go with the rest of the design. I don't hate the Oreo look though, but do take note of it if you enjoy a perfectly uniform colour scheme.

In terms of audio, it is great for a laptop. The up-firing speakers definitely play a role in delivering clear and rich audio to the listener, and the bottom speakers deliver a decent amount of bass that bounces off hard surfaces well.

Same great typing experience

No webcam means no facial recognition, but luckily there is a fingerprint sensor incorporated into the power button, which sits apart from the main keyboard cluster.