Asus ROG G501 review

A light, attractive gaming laptop with an unnecessary 4K screen

Asus ROG G501 review

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The G501 would be a fine machine minus the 4K screen. It's attractive, exceedingly light, and the screen is bright and reproduces colors wonderfully. As nice as the computer is to look at, persistent smudges quite literally mar the finish and 4K resolution is too much for any laptop to drive.

The Gigabyte P35K v3 hits many of the same notes but costs just $1,499. The difference in price comes down largely to the 4K panel, but really, it's $500 more just to tell people you have a 4K laptop. If getting the best display is really important, the 4K option might appeal to you, but for now there aren't any practical applications for all those extra pixels.

We liked

Objects that are properly rendered for legibility and size on the screen look fantastic. Truly sharp and detailed. The display is bright and colorful, and games look lovely on it at any resolution.

Light, thin and attractive, this is no doubt one of the more stylish gaming laptops around. The peripherals help make this laptop ready to go for gaming, and the larger than most storage means more games on the computer and less in the cloud.

We disliked

On the flipside, though, the unevenness of the Windows interface at 4K, coupled with the fact that anything running at the laptop's native resolution drags the entire experience through molasses, makes this computer not worth the premium.

When put up against comparably priced models from not only Asus, but other manufacturers as well, there's no compelling reason to spend the extra cash on a screen that can't be effectively used.

Final verdict

Overall, Asus has put together a well-built gaming laptop, but the ROG G501 makes so many careless mistakes that I can't recommend it. For affordability's sake, you would be much better served with a Gigabyte P35K v3 as it provides far better performance, thanks to sticking with a Full HD display.

Almost all of the ROG G501's problems don't come from within (save for the easily smudging frame), but rather as a direct result of trying to drive a 3,840 x 2,160 display. Ultra HD resolution displays have yet to become practical on everything from Ultrabooks to desktop monitors. So, it comes as no surprise to see an excessively high-resolution display drag down this gaming laptop.