When you think of gaming laptops, most people visualise machines that are big and bulky. Well, that’s about to change with Asus’ ROG Zephyrus M, a gaming laptop that weighs just 1.9 kg and is only 18.9 mm thick. The Taiwanese PC maker wants to make gaming laptops as thin and light as the standard laptops and the ROG Zephyrus is the first step in that direction. FInally, there is a gaming laptop portable enough to fit in all my laptop sleeves and backpacks with ease, and doesn’t feel like a burden to carry around.
With a price tag of Rs 150,000, the ROG Zephyrus M isn’t cheap and will cater to pro users. As one would expect from a high-end gaming laptop, the ROG Zephyrus M features a 144Hz panel, Intel’s 9th gen Core i7-9750 CPU and Nvidia GeForce 1660 Ti GPU, a comfortable keyboard and respectable battery life.
I spent a week with Asus’ ROG Zephyrus M, and here is what I thought.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M review: Design, display
The Asus ROG Zephyrus M is one of the sleekest gaming laptops I’ve seen in months. It weighs just 1.9kg and it’s like a dream to see a gaming laptop so compact, sleek and lightweight.
Available in black, the laptop has soft-touch plastic on the keyboard deck and a brushed metal-like design on the lid. Of course, an engraved metallic-gray ROG logo that glows with RGB color is prominent on the rear. As one might expect, the laptop is sturdy and well built. The good thing about the ROG Zephyrus M is that it has a conventional design and it looks inviting whether it is opened or closed. The slim bezels around the top and side edges of the screen give the laptop a modern feel, although the bottom bezel is rather huge. If you are wondering where the web camera is placed, well it doesn’t exist. Seriously, Asus? Sure, you can buy a web camera separately, but this is a high-end gaming machine with a Rs 150,000 price tag.
The 15.6-inch non-touch display has a Full HD resolution and 144Hz refresh rate just like any other previous-generation Zephyrus laptops. Since this is a gaming laptop, Asus had the mammoth task of getting the screen right. So its 144Hz panel is good with bright and vivid colours along with excellent contrast and brightness.
I used this laptop for both gaming and watching movies. I watched the third season of Stranger Things on this laptop. I was blown away by the display. Details were so clear, especially those scenes that were shot in the dark. The 15.6-inch FHD screen will also please gamers — after all, it has a 144Hz refresh rate and a 3m response time. It’s been a joy playing Fortnite, the screen looked pretty good.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M review: Ports, audio
The ROG Zephyrus M packs in plenty of ports – and that’s a good thing. On the right there are two USB 3.1 ports, though none of them support Thunderbolt 3. You will also notice a USB Type-C port. The left side has a USB 3.1 port, an HDMI port, mic and headset jacks, and an Ethernet jack.
I love the speakers on this machine. They fare better than expected. They are loud at full volume and don’t distort, even though they’re down-firing.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M review: Keyboard, touchpad
I also liked the keyboard on the ROG Zephyrus M. It felt very nice with decent key travel. The keys are individually backlit, and being a ROG device you also get to customise the lighting colors and effects through the software. The touchpad, even though on the smaller side, felt accurate and responsive.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M review: Performance, battery life
Our review unit came with Intel’s Core i7-9750H CPU running at a base clock of 2.6Ghz, along with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti 6GB GDDR6 VRAM GPU. Inside, Asus packed the laptop with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage.
I played Fortnite in 1080p on very high settings. A game like Fortnite can run on any PC, but the experience of playing the battle royale game on the Asus ROG Zephyrus M is different. However, I do like to point out that Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is still an entry-level graphics card aimed at 1080p gamers.
As far as the performance of the laptop is concerned, it was perfectly fine in day-to-day use. I browsed the web, edited documents, streamed movies and watched TV shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Thankfully, the laptop does a fine job keeping itself cool and performance was never compromised.
Gaming laptops never had great battery life, with even the top-end options hitting maximum 6 hours between charges. According to Asus, the battery life on ROG Zephyrus M is estimated to last four hours. In the real world, the battery lasted on an average 3 hours and 40 minutes between charges. Again, it depends on how you use it.
Asus ROG Zephyrus M review: Final verdict
The ROG Zephyrus M would be a good option for anyone who is keen to buy a gaming laptop that’s reliable, powerful, and compact. Of course, to get a gaming laptop as thin and light, you have to shell out Rs 150,000. Asus is trying to pitch this laptop as a general purpose machine that can be used for gaming also. But again, the ROG Zephyrus M is not targeted at the average user looking to buy a gaming laptop.