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ASUS ROG G501 Hands-on, First Impressions: Compact Power

 ASUS G501 01

We go hands-on with the ASUS ROG G501!

A few weeks ago we reviewed the ROG G551, a powerful, massive notebook that’s been our partner in crime for a substantial amount of time. While we love the flexibility it gives us, being able to edit hefty, full HD videos from literally anywhere, it is quite a substantial piece of kit. It’s heavy for a notebook, and a full day of events lugging the thing around tired us quickly.

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That’s where the ROG G501 comes in. The G501 has a similar feature set compared to the G551, but it’s thinner and more importantly, lighter, giving you access to a powerful machine without the associated bulk.

ASUS G501 specs:

  • Intel Core i7 4720HQ processor
  • NVIDIA GeForece GTX 960M GPU
  • 4GB of RAM, expandable via an additional 8GB
  • 15.6-inch full HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 1TB HDD, can be replaced with either 128GB or 256GB SSD drive
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, SD card reader (2-in-1)
  • Bang & Olufsen ICEpower sound

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Initial impressions: an ultrabook on steroids

ASUS made an effort to make the G551 look like a gaming notebook without falling into the same design cliches as comparable products, and that design mantra extends to the G501. The big difference here is that the G501 looks more like an ultrabook rather than a gaming notebook because of its smaller and thinner frame. At 2KG, it’s lighter than the 2.7KG G551, but it’s still not exactly what we’d call lightweight.

ASUS G501 03

Just like the G551, the G501 sports a 15.6-inch display, though the model that’s here in the Philippines sport a TN (twisted nematic) display instead of the IPS and even 4K models that are available in other countries. This may be a concern for some, as TN panels don’t offer the same kind of display quality and viewing angles as IPS displays.

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The lid is still made out of metal and sport a brushed metallic finish, with the ROG logo smack dab in the middle. Just like the G551, the G501 has red, aluminum chamfered edges, as well as a full QWERTY keyboard and a numeric pad. There’s also a large number of ports, including USB, SD card reader, full sized HDMI and DisplayPort.

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Inside beats Intel’s Core i7 processor, 4GB of RAM, along with NVIDIA’s GeForce 960M GPU and 1TB of storage. You can swap out the hard disk drive in favor of either a 128GB or 256GB SSD drive and add an additional 8GB of RAM. The addition of the powerful GeForce 960M GPU is surprising, considering the notebook’s compact body – most other notebooks settle for something lower spec’d.

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Overall the G501 is a fast notebook, which isn’t surprising given how beastly the specifications are. The keyboard is a pleasure to type on, and it’s capable of running and playing all the latest games in moderately high settings. We’ll be retiring the G551 in favor of this lighter notebook in the coming days, so check back then on the overall performance and review.

The ASUS ROG G501 is priced at Php 59,995.

 

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

10 Comments

  1. This looks nice! Can this handle 3d modeling and rendering? How about the Asus zenbook pro ux501? Thanks.

    1. Both of the Asus notebooks you’ve mentioned will handle 3d modeling just fine. My 2-year old Asus G46VW still handles intensive tasks (and gaming too) without breaking a sweat and the newer generation GPU on both of the laptops you’ve mentioned will handle it better.

      Now it’s up to you to decide if you want a stealth-looking laptop (the ROG G501) or an extremely slim powerhouse (the UX501 Pro).

      1. Thanks for the tip! I’ve tried both at an Asus store and I picked the ux501 pro. Though I almost bought the ROG501 its nice as well.

        1. They’re basically the same in dimension and specs. Except in color and that some ux501 units come with SSD for storage. so the g501 would be a stealthy-looking extremely slim powerhouse.

  2. Sir john, can you double check if you only have 4GB? What ive bought has 12GB RAM out of the box.

    Can you suggest a good laptop sleeve or bag? Thank you 😀

    1. it has a total of 12gb ram (4gb as internal and 8gb installed on the ram slot..)

      Mine came with an ASUS laptop bag. san mo po binili unit mo?

        1. ah ok po.. mince came with a free asus laptop bag po eh.. but i’s recommend a travel backpack for a laptop rather than a regular hand-carry laptop bag..

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