Budget gaming laptops want a makeover, and Asus is likely to be the corporate to present them one. The $1,099 Asus ROG Strix GL503 is among the greatest-wanting entry-stage gaming notebooks you may get. The firm well borrowed the appears from its extra premium laptops and utilized them right here. It additionally has a vibrant, vivid show and an RGB keyboard with customizable backlighting, which is usually reserved for costlier machines. But whereas its Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU and Core i7 CPU are highly effective, the hybrid SSHD is gradual, and information transfers and reboots take a very long time. (Luckily, it is simple to improve.) If you are on the lookout for an entry-stage gaming laptop computer in a premium rig’s garments, the Strix will assist you to look the half.

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Design

From afar, the Strix appears far more premium than you’d suppose. That’s as a result of Asus took the lid from one in all its flagship notebooks, the ROG Zephyrus, and copied it right here. The black aluminum lid incorporates a placing diagonal stripe and the ROG brand in a bronze colour. Asus actually wants to switch the ROG icon with one thing (something!) extra elegant, besides, the general design is fairly good.

When you open the lid, you may discover the 15.6-inch, 1080p show surrounded by a thick bezel (with one other ROG brand — at the very least Asus is constant), a gentle-contact deck and an island-type, sRGB backlit keyboard. The components of the deck that are not coated in gentle-contact materials are simply plastic.

At 5.6 kilos and 15.1 x 10.three x zero.9 inches, the Strix GL503 is about the identical measurement as its closest competitors. Both the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Gaming (5.four kilos, 1 inch thick) and the Acer Aspire VX 15 (5.four kilos, 1.1 inches thick) are barely lighter and thicker, whereas the Lenovo Legion Y520 (5.6 kilos, 1 inch thick) is about the identical measurement.

Asus ROG Strix GL503Have a mouse? A hard drive? An external webcam? A monitor? The Strix has ports for all of these and extra. On the left facet of the chassis are an Ethernet jack, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI output, a pair of USB three.zero ports and a headphone jack. The proper facet is house to an SD card slot, a USB three.zero port, USB 2.zero port and a Kensington lock slot.

If you need to improve, it is simple to take action, because the RAM and SSHD are hidden behind only a single screw on the underside of the unit. (And you may need to change that SSHD. See the efficiency part, beneath.)

Display

The 15.6-inch, 1080p show on the Strix is each bright and very colorful. I watched the trailer for “Tomb Raider” and was impressed by the plush, inexperienced foliage in a jungle, and I might make out each water droplet in a wet scene on a ship. During a session of Battlefield 1, preventing off the Ottoman Empire with Lawrence of Arabia, I might see particular person sand particles in a desert storm, and the orange clay on the bottom popped towards the brilliant-blue sky.

Asus ROG Strix GL503Asus’ panel covers a wonderful 113 p.c of the sRGB colour gamut. That’s extra vivid than the mainstream pocket book common (101 p.c) and all the competitors: the Aspire (65 p.c), Legion (68 p.c) and Inspiron (69 p.c).

And these colours might be good and vibrant. The display screen measured 297 nits on our mild meter, outshining the class common (257 nits), the Aspire (247 nits), the Legion (220 nits) and the Inspiron (219 nits).

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Strix’s keyboard is merely ample. While it presents a deep 1.9 millimeters of key journey and requires 68 grams of pressure to press, it feels gentle and squishy and would not pop up with the pressure I would love. Still, I typed at 108 phrases per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing check (simply above my common 107 wpm) and maintained my normal 2-p.c error charge.

Asus ROG Strix GL503The keyboard does have a couple of touches I respect. For occasion, it is RGB backlit, with per-key customization within the ROG Aura Core. (Most low-finish laptops do solely purple backlighting.) There are devoted keys for adjusting quantity, muting a headset and accessing the Gaming Center (however no macro keys), and the W key has a small dot to search out the acquainted WASD keys with out wanting, much like the raised traces on the F and J keys for contact typists.

You’re most likely going to make use of a gaming mouse with the Strix, which is sweet, as a result of the four.1 x 2.eight-inch touchpad is disagreeable to make use of. Sure, it is easy and acknowledges Windows gestures, however clicking on it is among the worst emotions I’ve had utilizing a tool in a very long time. Left-clicking prompted a crunching sound that made me fear one thing was damaged. This would typically disappear after one click on and then reappear later.

Audio

The Strix has distinct, balanced audio — at the very least at medium volumes. When I listened to Train’s “Drops of Jupiter,” the piano, drums and vocals have been all clear, and it crammed our lab with sound. At its highest volumes, although, the audio system produced a small however noticeable echo. You could make changes in Sonic Studio III, however I discovered that the preset choices have been strong.

The identical points popped up in gaming. When I performed Battlefield 1, the narrator’s voice echoed with the amount turned up, however gunshots rang out loud and clear, making me recoil in my seat.

Gaming and Graphics

The Strix’s GTX 1050 GPU is not essentially the most highly effective graphics card available on the market, however you can run most video games at extra modest settings. When I performed Battlefield 1, which is especially properly optimized for the GTX 1050, it ran between 42 and 53 fps on extremely settings at 1080p.

On our price range gaming check, the Strix ran Rise of the Tomb Raider at 1080p on excessive presets with SMAA anti-aliasing at 44 fps, beating the Inspiron and the Aspire (43 fps every) by a single body and surpassing the mainstream common of 41 fps.

Performance

With a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSHD hybrid drive, the Strix will plow via on a regular basis work. I had 30 tabs open in Google Chrome, together with one streaming a 1080p episode of “Last Week Tonight” with nary a hiccup. My greatest problem was booting up the pc; as you may see beneath, that SSHD is sort of gradual.

On Geekbench four, the Strix earned a rating of 13,754, surpassing the mainstream average (10,291), Legion (12,971, Core i7-7700HQ), Inspiron (10,279, Core i5-7300HQ) and Aspire (10,145, Core i7-7700HQ) with ease.

But it took the Strix 2 minutes and 38 seconds to repeat four.97GB of information, for a charge of 32.2 MBps. That’s approach slower than the average (239.9 MBps), and the competitors was even swifter. The Aspire reached 103 MBps, the Inspiron measured 115.7 MBps and the Legion was the quickest, at a blazing 363.5 MBps.

On the OpenOffice spreadsheet benchmark, which pairs 20,000 names and addresses, the Strix took three minutes and 20 seconds. The average is four:24, and the Strix accomplished the duty quicker than the Inspiron (three:44) and the Aspire (three:49). But the Legion Y520 was once more the quickest, coming in 1 second forward, at three:19.

Battery Life

The Strix could also be sufficiently small to slot in a bag, however you may need to deliver the charger, too. It lasted simply three hours and 32 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which browses the online repeatedly over Wi-Fi. The average is 6:13, although that features laptops with out gaming-targeted GPUs. 

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

 

The Inspiron was the worst, at 1:43; the Legion lasted just some minutes longer than the Strix (three:39), and the Aspire lasted nearly twice as lengthy (7:08).

Heat

Under regular situations, the Strix can beat the warmth. After we streamed HD video from YouTube for 15 minutes, the laptop computer measured 87 levels Fahrenheit on the underside, 86 levels between the G and H keys on the keyboard, and 79 levels on the touchpad. All of these temps are properly beneath our 95-degree consolation threshold.

Asus ROG Strix GL503When I performed Battlefield 1, the underside of the laptop computer climbed to 112 levels and the middle of the keyboard measured 104 levels, however the touchpad did not change.

Webcam

In my testing, I discovered that the 720p webcam on the Strix has a heat tint. While it was sharp sufficient for me to make out particular person hairs on my head, the white spots on my shirt seemed yellow, and the purple appeared too robust.

Software and Warranty

Asus caught strictly to gaming software program on the Strix. The ROG Gaming Center is the hub, which reveals you system specs, GPU and CPU reminiscence and temperature, and fan speeds. It additionally hyperlinks you to the opposite packages, like Sonic Studio, which shows audio choices, and Sonic Radar, which reveals which course sound is coming from on-display screen.

Otherwise, it is Windows bloat as common, together with Drawboard PDF, Keeper, Plex, Candy Crush Soda Saga, March of Empires: War of Lords, and Skype.

Asus sells the ROG Strix GL503 with a one-yr guarantee. See how the corporate carried out in our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Gaming Laptop Brands rating.

Bottom Line

If the display screen and design are your highest priorities, the Asus ROG Strix GL503 is the way in which to go. Its show is brighter and extra vibrant than others within the class, and Asus borrowed its premium design and utilized it to a low-finish gaming pocket book.

Asus ROG Strix GL503But you may get related specs for a decrease value. If worth is the most important issue for you, attempt the Acer Aspire VX 15, which begins at $799.99, or $1,049.99 configured equally to the Strix. Otherwise, for only a bit greater than the Strix, you may get the Lenovo Legion Y520 and improve to a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU.

But if appears are vital to you and you need the very best display screen within the worth vary, sticking to the Strix’s GTX 1050 GPU is not a nasty alternative. Just use a mouse as an alternative of that disagreeable touchpad, and take into consideration upgrading the storage drive.