Actually, we've got used to the fact that gaming notebooks can be used for one purpose: as stationary gaming machines. After all, manufacturers usually save money first as the first battery. However, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 convinces us of the opposite. With an impressive runtime away from a power source, the 15.6-inch notebook is also suitable for work on the road – despite a significant disadvantage in some situations.
Unusual is already the hardware equipment of the gaming notebook, which with 15.6-inch Full HD panel, AMD's Ryzen 7 3750H, 8 GB DDR4 RAM and Geforce GTX 1160 Ti Max-Q certainly should set no benchmark records. But the price is relatively low with about 1,250 euros. We find this approach interesting: The device occupies a niche for gamers who use their far superior desktop computer at home and still want to play current titles on the go or at LAN events. Even as a mobile video editing station, where users do not have to invest too much, we could imagine the Asus device.
Mobile enough is the notebook. The chassis weighs 2,095 grams and measures 36 x 25.2 x 2 cm. Asus attaches great importance to a relatively compact case, as we notice in the narrow display edges, which we usually see in business notebooks. The lid is made of brushed aluminum and shows the Republic of Gamers logo in piano lacquer look. RGB lighting is not required, as well as defined ventilation slots or sophisticated folding mechanisms. As a result, the notebook is unobtrusive – even if the angular housing reminds of gaming hardware.
Except for the lid, the notebook is made of sturdy plastic, which does not feel cheap or too thin.
Connect mouse, keyboard and switch
A definite advantage of the Zephyrus notebook are the many ports: three USB-A ports with USB 3.2 Gen 1 speed are available for mouse, keyboard and gaming headset. We can also connect a monitor to the USB Type C 3.2 Gen 2 port. Together with full-size HDMI 2.0b, this allows a two-monitor setup. Very good: Even the RJ-45 port Asus has not saved. Wired Gigabit Ethernet is just important to gamers.
Asus ROG Zephyrus GA502 (Image: Martin Wolf / Golem.de)
The keyboard takes some getting used to: Instead of the right Windows key, the pushbutton is located in the usual place and the return key is smaller than usual in the style of a US layout, as it makes room for the diamond symbol. Typing on the keyboard is therefore once again a habituation in the Qwertz layout. The Rubberdome buttons have a flat but well-defined pressure point and the key surfaces are generally kept pretty large. However, such a flat keyboard is rather less suitable for fast shooters. But nothing prevents us from just plugging in an external keyboard and mouse.
The touchpad is surprisingly large for a gaming notebook, which benefits the Zephyrus G as a mobile device. So we do not always have to take a mouse with us when traveling. The sensor surface is slightly rough textured and the integrated mouse buttons are easy to use. If required, we can also switch off the touchpad at the touch of a button, for example when we want to play a round.
Looking at the display, we notice that Asus has not saved battery like many other gaming manufacturers, but instead of this.