This is the Zephyrus S made by ASUS. Now I did an early look at this product about a month ago using an engineering sample, but this is the retail unit and I’ve been using it for about two weeks and I want to share some thoughts about this product as kind of like a daily driver for me.
So, the big thing about this product that is most unique to it is, I think, the thermals. So thin and light gaming laptops are not uncommon nowadays, right? Lots of brands are doing it. We’ve seen the MSI GS 65, the Razer Blade, and the Aero 15, there are other companies making thin and light devices, but I think these guys do it best because of the thermal solution that they’ve used.
So when you open up this laptop, it has this hinge that opens up an air gap at the bottom of the laptop and in doing so it just gives it a lot more airflow. So the air goes from the top of the laptop through this top area here and it goes out the back and the sides.
Now on a traditional gaming laptop this kind of air flow isn’t possible, right, your keyboard would normally be up at the top and this wouldn’t allow air to flow as freely. But the Zephyrus S, along with the original Zephyrus, has the keyboard shifted down, and we’ll talk with the keyboard a little bit,
I just want to focus on the thermals right now, but this design here gives this laptop incredible thermal performance. I am able to maintain max boost clock with any kind of workflow, any kind of benchmark, any kind of gameplay, just because of the thermal design. So, put it this way, the Zephyrus S has software they called Armoury Crate which allows you to tweak settings and adjust lighting and stuff, but they actually have an overclocking section within this app.
This is the world’s thinnest gaming laptop and they’re able to overclock the GPU. It’s crazy! So this device comes with a GTX 1070 Max-Q, and you can overclock it to the point where it actually performs almost identical to a regular GTX 1070 for the laptop. I was not expecting that and I’m super impressed they’re able to do this on a device that looks this thin. The overall gaming performance of the Zephyrus S is fantastic.
Now in order to get that kind of performance they had to do this whole shifting of the keyboard down and I think that pops a question up in a lot of people’s mind, like is this keyboard comfortable, is this track pad comfortable, and I think when you first use this like the very first day you use it
Design And Material
It’s going to be weird. It looks weird and if you’re left-handed you’re boned trying to use the trackpad but I think most people can get used to this keyboard pretty readily, it actually feels very similar to a desktop keyboard to me like there’s no wrist rest on those and this feels kind of like those. After using this for a couple of days I think most people enjoy it.
I will say though that if you use this keyboard with a large table in front of you so you can kind of rest your wrists and your arms on a table while you’re using it, it’s a much more comfortable experience at least for me.
TrackPad And Keyboard
The trackpad is a different story. I think it’s going to take more than a couple days to get used to, I’m someone who’s actually used several laptops with the trackpad on the right. So I’ve seen this before and I’ve used laptops like this before, if this is your only device, you’ll get used to it over time. The number pad feature is kind of cool. You can kind of switch between trackpad and number pad and the trackpad itself is great.
It’s a winner’s precision trackpad and the button mechanics are good. I have a couple complaints though. Number one it doesn’t have a print screen button anywhere on this keyboard and I think that’s something like 99.9% of the world doesn’t care about but if I’m trying to take screenshots for whatever I can’t, like I got to use the snipping tool whatever, the other things that the lighting on this thing is relatively dim, now gaming laptops often have like crazy RGB’s and stuff like that.
It’s RGB lit, but it’s really dim. And I feel like some people really care about that they want that like RGB experience and you don’t quite get it on this particular keyboard. The rest of this device is really good though, like the screen, fantastic. 144Hz 3 millisecond response time. It’s a really fast gaming laptop screen. I think it’s the fastest 15 inch gaming laptop screen on the market right now.
It’s very enjoyable to play games on and because of the performance of the 1070 Max-Q. You’re getting smooth frame rates across the board. The speakers are also in a great location. They face the user you get pretty good sound quality from them.
The battery life is short. It’s a 50 watt hour battery. I’m getting like two and a half to three hours of battery life on this thing but this device on the whole is something that I think a lot of people enjoy so I think the pricing is like 1800-1900 dollars depending on the configuration.
There’s a weaker version that I think is even cheaper than that, but it’s a device that’s built really well, and they’ve cooled it really well in a chassis that is the smallest in the world like. It’s kind of hard for me to kind of convey how impressive this is because I see a lot of laptops. I see a lot of thin and light gaming laptops and I see a lot of companies try to make something that kind of hits all three factors, thin, good performance, good thermals But this guy, it does it. It does it all.
There are some compromises, obviously the keyboards in a weird position and because of the opening hinge it’s not ideal for lap use, right? It’s definitely better on a table, but the overall product is really solid for the price so if you’re looking for a thin and light laptop and you want that kind of overall package and you don’t mind that shift of the keyboard definitely check this thing out because I think a lot of people are looking for something like this and are kind of unsure of whether or not it’s a good fit. But this is my experience with it.