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Ultrabook reviews, guides and comparisons
Asus Zenbook Pro UX501uw Andrei Girbea Rating: 4.0 out of 5

Asus Zenbook Pro UX501 (UX501VW) – impressions and review

73 Comments

  1. Hal

    April 18, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Could please post a review of the G501? It has a matte screen.
    Surprised to see a Samsung panel(used on y50 4k) instead of the Sharp 4k panel.

    Hope to see Skylake and the new PCIe 3.0×4 Samsung Nvme ssd later this year!

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 18, 2015 at 7:41 am

      I will as soon as possible. I was a bit surprised to see the Samsung panel as well, but aside from the brightness and slightly unnacurate colors, I can’t complain.

      • Hal

        April 19, 2015 at 7:16 pm

        Nice to see your reply Andrei! Keep up the good work, I enjoy reading your in-depth reviews. Performance aside, I think the Skylake mobile quad cores are going to be 35W TDP along with SM951 Nvme SSDs. #BatteryLife Definitely worth waiting for these upgrades from @Asus @Apple
        PS: After switching to the Acer V17 nitro, its going to be difficult for me to downgrade to 15.6″ :)
        Loving my V17 but if Acer would improve upon it in Skylake, I would buy it again!

  2. Peter Vdd

    April 18, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Does the panel use PWM for the brightness? I would like to know for eye fatigue reasons, since G501 apparently uses such a panel.

    • danwat1234

      October 11, 2015 at 10:02 pm

      from that article labeled ‘ASUS ROG G501 vs ZenBook Pro UX501 in-depth comparison – battle of the thin and light ‘beasts’’ , the G501 regular full HD panel has PWM issues if you turn down the brightness at all from 100%, but, good brightness, matte. I just wish the G501 had a touchscreen like the UX501.

  3. ROG User

    April 21, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Andrei, thank you for the review.

    Could you check if the 4k panel in UX501 is a true RGB, or instead an RGBW?

    So far all “4k” panels from Samsung were RGBW, and they are not really 4k. Because Samsung counts each 1 group of 4 RGBW subpixels as 2 pixels, not as 1 pixel.

    As a result, fake “4k” screens with fake ~280 dpi from Samsung are looking much worse than for example ~220 dpi screens of 15 MacBook Pro Retina.

  4. Nils Nilsson

    April 21, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Thanks for the preview. I’m a bit confused about the keyboard, you say that the new keyboard is much better than the one on the NX500 but in the summary you say that it is not a welcome change. Even though I couldn’t agree more about Asus being stupid with silver keys, it still seems like a better keyboard than on the NX500? Also, despite the speakers not being as good as the NX500, how would you rate them all in all? Are they still “good enough” speakers for a laptop? Asus still seem to make a big deal regarding them, so I guess they can’t be too bad, right?

    By the way, the matte UHD version is already out and in stock in Sweden so I can confirm that it does exist, although with lower specs (at least in Sweden).

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 25, 2015 at 11:54 am

      The feedback is better than with the UX500. Overall the keys are firmer and have a nicer finishing. ON the other hand, there are still things that could have been done better, like I said.

      It’s great there’s an UHD matte model already available, will need to check it out. I’ve also heard about a FHD matte option

    • Dorothy Singer

      April 27, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Nils,
      Where did you get this in Sweden? I would love a tip about a shop or an online store. I am new here (Malmo, Sweden), but would like to buy this… I was almost going to buy the Dell m3800 but then the ASUS came out with this. What specs did you get? Found a version with less RAM but was hoping for 16GB from the beginning. Thx…

      • Nils Nilsson

        April 28, 2015 at 1:30 pm

        Sure, here you go:

        komplett.se/asus-zenbook-pro-ux501jw-156-uhd-touch/838751
        komplett.se/asus-zenbook-pro-ux501jw-156-uhd-matt/838750

        • Dorothy

          May 8, 2015 at 10:31 am

          Thanks. Though I put of getting it due to the size of the keyboard. I dont like the numbers pad. Also dont need it. Can anyone comment on a similar laptop? Using for video editing and graphic design on the go? What about the Dell m3800? Wait for the new Macbook pro 15 inch? (Though i would miss the touch screen) Or ? Cheers

          • Andrei Girbea

            May 8, 2015 at 3:02 pm

            Other options are the Dell XPS 15 2015 or the Asus Zenbook NX500, which has a very good display, the kind of keyboard you want and improved speakers.

  5. Mike

    April 21, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    There’s a report of muddy/mustardy yellows on this model: UX501JW-FJ162H
    Sounds similar to the unresolved issues with the Samsung panel on last year’s UX303.
    Can you confirm you did not see this on your unit?

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 25, 2015 at 11:55 am

      No, that wasn’t the case on this model I got to play with, as you can see from the color profile. It’s a different panel than the one on the UX303 though.

      • Daniel

        April 26, 2015 at 1:42 pm

        Well, Andrei!
        I’m writing right now from a UX501JW-FJ061H (bought in Romania) and it looks really ugly: yellow looks mustard/greenish. The colours are simply flat – no vibration, and way off.
        Furthermore, the keyboard is one of the worst I have ever encountered. With only one gentle push, one can bend the flat surface of the keyboard to a risky curve (I am always afraid it will crack something inside).
        I don’t understand how Asus can be offer such an expensive unit (1500Euro) and offer such a bad quality.
        All in all, dissapointed. Tomorrow I will bring back my 2 days old UX501JW. Asus does not deserve my money.

        • Andrei Girbea

          April 26, 2015 at 6:03 pm

          Ouch, this sucks… Could you please check the panel ID? HWInfo will tell you the exact number. Is it the same Samsung SDC434B I had on my test unit?

          Also, could you check if the yellows are always skewed, regardless of the brightness level OR the Power profile chosen?

          I’m not sure I understand what you don’t like about the keyboard though. Is it the flex? I didn’t find it that bad…

          • Daniel

            April 29, 2015 at 2:21 pm

            Yes, it really does suck.
            The panel is the same panel as yours.
            I took a picture (not the best one, but good enough to check the mustard colour), don’t know if possible to upload here.
            ASUS replyed to my email and said I should do a Win8 calibration (didn’t work), install and activate an ICC profile (they told me to install “SAMSUNG/LTN156FL02-101” compatible profile – I could’t make any sense of this). Nevertheless, tried other ICC profiles, no change. That’s it.
            And yes, the yellows are always skewed, geting worse with lower brightness.
            The keyboard doesn’t feel solid and the press feeling is not clear.
            Hope that helped.
            Thank you.

          • Andrei Girbea

            April 29, 2015 at 2:31 pm

            Thanks. If you have the time, please send me that picture on the email address in the contact page: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/contact/ .

            If the problem is similar to the one on the older UX303, no calibration will change it. It’s a software issue and only a BIOS update could affect it.

        • Andrei Girbea

          April 26, 2015 at 6:22 pm

          In the meantime I updated the screen section and mentioned the yellow problems you and other readers reported. BTW, your feedback is much appreciated. What are you going to pick as a replacement for this thing?

        • Lam

          July 7, 2015 at 10:00 am

          Same problems with Daniel! I ordered from Amazon UX501JW-DS71T and shipped to Viet Nam. Yellow looks as same with your complaint and keyboard is nightmare. Disappointed for this zenbook.

  6. @qushery

    April 22, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    could you review the base model (1080p screen , i7-4720HQ , GTX 960m GPU . 8GB of ram and 1TB HDD )
    it’s available is my country (Saudi) for 1130$ jarir.com/441051-laptops-zenbook-asus.html

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 25, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Chances are slim. I’m probably going to receive a high end retail model for reviews and not the base version, but stay close anyway.

  7. xdeez

    April 23, 2015 at 11:13 am

    The UHD panel has the problem with yellow color, it’s more mustard than yellow.

  8. kousuke

    April 24, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Please feedback to Asus to release a version with low-power broadwell dual core i7, 1080p non-touch matt screen and thunderbolt. 4K is pointless with all these scaling issues in windows, 5hrs battery life is not acceptable in 2015

  9. Hemgath

    April 25, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Is it possible to have the pci express 512go and an aditional SSD emplacement (because 512go is actually too short) ?

  10. Nils Nilsson

    April 27, 2015 at 9:49 am

    This is just crazy, finally I thought someone had managed to make a PC laptop BETTER than Apples MacBook Pros but now reports are coming in about bad screens, horrible yellows, nightmare keyboards etc. I am a 100% Windows user/developer, yet, my last 4 laptops have been MacBooks Pro (running BootCamp) which is just crazy. Expensive, yes, but you get what you pay for. I don’t want to buy a fifth MacBook Pro but I really don’t know what else to get now :(

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 27, 2015 at 10:38 am

      You could give the 2015 Dell XPS 15 or the MSI GS60 a try.

      • Nils Nilsson

        April 27, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        Yes, those are actually the ones I’ve looked into. But perhaps the GS70 more than the GS60 as the later is said to have more “problems” with heat and noise due to smaller chassis. Owning a XPS13 as well and it’s bezel less screen the XPS15 seems like it might get the same which would make it really attractive.

      • Nils Nilsson

        April 27, 2015 at 12:51 pm

        What’s your take on the UX501 vs XPS15?

        • Andrei Girbea

          April 27, 2015 at 1:41 pm

          I haven’t seen in in action. Also, I haven’t reviewed a final version of the UX501. My concerns would be temperatures, noise and potential overheating/throttling. Most of the other boxes should be checked by these two.

          • Nils Nilsson

            April 28, 2015 at 9:55 am

            XPS15 seems nice but I’m a bit concerned about its “ancient” GPU, which I wonder if it has the power to drive the 4K screen as well as the 960M (not talking about gaming here).

            Andrei, you have partly answered it in the article but how would you rate the UX501 compared to the NX500 all in all? It doesn’t seem to be so easy that the UX501 is better in everything, screen for example where the NX500 doesn’t have the “mustard yellow” problem AFAIK.

          • Andrei Girbea

            April 28, 2015 at 1:55 pm

            I’d say the keyboard is better on the UX501, but other complained about it. Also, the graphics, but performance wise the 860M and 960M are very close. I’d expect the latter to be more efficient, but I can’t tell for sure just yet.

            The speakers and screen are worse than on the NX500.

  11. Don

    April 29, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Looks nice but where’s the ventilation? I think this will throttle like crazy.

    • Andrei Girbea

      April 29, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      In the hinge, like on the previous NX500 and most other Asus Zenbooks. Other manufacturers use a similar approach, including Apple.

      • Don

        April 29, 2015 at 6:25 pm

        Andrei I’m an idiot, I meant from where the cpu/gpu supposed to breathe?

        • Andrei Girbea

          April 29, 2015 at 7:56 pm

          They draw air from some cuts behind the hinge as well (in the middle) and exhaust it towards the sides of that grill. This pic might help: http://www.ultrabookreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/cooling-grills.jpg

          Not the best solution for a thin and powerful device, I agree. The previous NX500 had some throttling problems. This one might as well, but can’t say for sure, I’ve yet to test a final production unit. The metallic body will get pretty hot though when running games for a few hours…

  12. hrrmph

    May 5, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Can you comment on the ability to add a second SSD (SATA or mSATA), or the lack of that ability.

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 5, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      There’s no extra slot from what I can tell, unlike on the older NX500 that had two M.2 slots.

  13. Nils Nilsson

    May 9, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Any plans to make a real review of the UX501 (production unit)?

    That said, I’ve now received my UX501 (Europeean version, UHD, Touch, 512GB SSD, 16GB RAM)) and the screen is horrible. The problem with the yellows are just as bad as ever, and also, my unit has some enormous light bleed, so bad I can even see it on non black background. The speakers are unfortunately also really bad, no match for my MacBook Pro from 2011. The keyboard also does flex quite a bit when pressed, but is not all that bad when actually typing (although again it’s not close to the one on the MacBook Pros).

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 11, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      Chances are slimmer everyday, from what I’ve been told by my contacts at Asus. They probably won’t have a final release unit for me to review :(

      • Nils Nilsson

        May 12, 2015 at 8:58 am

        Based on my impression of this laptop as well as others, I can understand that they don’t want anyone to review it. Seems like Asus has really missed a golden opportunity here, ie not as good as it should have been.

  14. KSinner

    May 13, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Hello everyone. They say that the problem with the yellow creates utility ASUS Splendid. If you remove it, then the problem is solved with a yellow.

    • Nils Nilsson

      May 14, 2015 at 11:46 pm

      That would have been great if true but unfortunately, it isn’t. Have tried it myself and so has others which can confirm it makes no change at all on the UX501.

    • kousuke

      May 15, 2015 at 12:45 am

      What do you mean? solved with a yellow??

  15. hassan

    May 14, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    is it good for gaming ?

    • Christopher

      May 16, 2015 at 5:31 am

      A 4K screen on a laptop is never conducive to gaming. Too many pixels to push at 4K unless you game at 1080P, but still, why have the screen in the first place? These companies need to get it through their head that 1080P is sufficient, scaling isn’t going to get any better and I’m not willing to give up Win32 applications for the sake of competing with apple for pixel density.

      • Michael Burgoyne

        July 12, 2015 at 1:51 am

        The point of 4K is for photo editing. NOT GAMING!! This is supposed to be ASUS version of the MBP. Everyone expects so much out of an ultra thin laptop. ASUS ROG laptops are specifically for gaming and do not offer 4K. So buy one of those.

  16. Andy Chen

    May 28, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Hi Andrei Girbea,

    Really great article. I’m really struggling between this one and the XPS 15. I have saw you have a comparison between NX 500 and XPS 15. Based on the improvement of NX 501, which one is the one you prefer more? Thank you so much!

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 29, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      I don’t think the NX501 is necessarily an improvement. Yes it gets the faster graphics, but it looses on keyboard, speakers and screen. So I’d get the Mac for sure, or maybe the NX500 is available and within budget. The MSI GS60 could be another option, a bit too intrusive aesthetically, but a nice laptop nonetheless. There’s a review here on the site.

  17. Galaxy Legend

    July 10, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Hey !
    Have you got hold of the 1080p version of the review unit ? If not, could you tell me if the yellow screen problem may also affect this model since its a 1080p and not 4k.
    Thanks.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 10, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      I haven’t but that one should be OK. Only the pentile 4K panel is affected by the skewed colors.

  18. Sven

    July 17, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    I own the NX500. The hardware upgrade is only logical. I don’t like that
    a) they used a keyboatd with numpad again (who needs that? NX500 doesn’t have a numpad, neither does Dell’s XPS 15)
    b) obviously switched a good LCD panel for a very bad panel (it’s probably cheaper)
    c) you can only buy models with a 128GB SSD + 1TB harddisk in Germany. Because of the harddisk, the models have the smaller battery

    If I wanted to buy a new laptop, and if it wasn’t urgent, I would wait for the new Dell XPS 15. The thin border around the panel should make it smaller and maybe lighter. Also, they will probably leave out the numpad and Dell usually has pretty decent keyboards. The NX500’s keyboard is not too bad, even though the silver keys with background lighting is really a joke. Those engineers should be fired. Also, I have the impression that the NX500’s keys are bigger than the N550JV’s (I also have a N550JV) and thus I suspect that the UX501’s keys are also smaller than the NX500’s.

    • Andrei Girbea

      July 18, 2015 at 9:07 am

      I agree. I’d also add that if I could wait for the end of the year, I’d do it. I expect many new models to pop-out with Skylake in q$-2015 and early 2016.

      Also, the UX501 has the same keyboard layout as the N5XX series from what I can tell. Not sure if the keys are smaller though, didn’t have them both for a side by side comparison.

  19. Shanks

    August 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Hello, i am a student looking for a laptop for decent gaming and study. My budget is very low (around $550) but i dream of buying at least a core i5 laptop. Can you please educate me?

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 23, 2015 at 9:50 am

      You could find some 15 inch mainstream laptops with Core i5 processors within your budget. Go through the available listings and try to find something that meets all your needs and your budget.

  20. Fp

    September 9, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Hi everyone
    I really want to like this laptop, but the comments in here sounds disappointing :(
    I heard there is a newer version of this laptop that has the keyboard and screem problems fixed. How can I know if the zenbook pro that I bought is the newer version? Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      September 9, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      I’m not aware of any newer version. Asus will update this with Skylake hardware later this year, but I don’t know if they’ll address any of these issues.

  21. danwat1234

    October 11, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    The GPU in the UX501 has 2GB of RAM not 4GB. 4GB is in the G501 though, both having a 960m.

    • danwat1234

      October 11, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      I wonder where the fans suck air in from if the air is expelled out the back?

      • Andrei Girbea

        October 12, 2015 at 9:47 am

        From behind the hinge and through the keyboard

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 12, 2015 at 9:47 am

      Have you seen the GPUZ printscreen? This version came with an Nvidia 960M 4GB chip.

  22. Yngve

    October 23, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Do you know how the screen sharpness looks when run at 1080p instead of 4k? I generally like the greater pixel density, but would need to run non-adapted applications at lower resolutions for them to be useable.

    Thanks!

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 23, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      Running these 4K panels at anything else but the native resolution results in fuzziness. It’s advisable to keep the native resolution and play with scaling, if that’s an option. It it’s not, then you’ll have to live with the blurry images.

  23. kk

    October 24, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    i just want to ask that does i can separate the screen from keyboard body…..and used as an tablet….

  24. Bakr

    December 11, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks for your review , but i wanna ask if the laptop support samsung 950 pro m2 PCIe

  25. John

    January 15, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    in your review you say the colors are inaccurate that being said do you recommend this laptop for my photography or not and if so can the colors be adjusted and how? thanks in advance.

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 17, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      There was no fix at the time of the review and I can’t tell for sure if there is one now. If there’s not, then no, don’t get this laptop, unless you plan to use an external monitor for color accuracy.

      You should go on the forums on notebookreview.com, find the UX501 owner’s thread and ask for a potential solution there.

  26. Kousuke

    January 19, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Hey Andrei,

    the skylake version with thunderbolt 3 and NVme PCIe SSD variant is now avaliable

    Would you be able to review this model and let us know if a FHD version exist?

    store.asus.com/us/item/201511AM230002951

    Cheers,
    Andrew

    • Andrei Girbea

      January 21, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      I’ll ask for a review unit, but there’s no promise. The FHD version of the previous UX501 was not available in the US from what I remember, so there’s a fair chance this won’t be either. That’s too bad, cause the 4K panel was highly inaccurate and I don’t know if they changed it or not.

    • Hugo

      May 2, 2016 at 12:09 am

      Hi, could you tell me the difference between the ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501JW-UH71T Laptop and the VW edition?

  27. Igor Z

    August 6, 2016 at 4:21 am

    Hey,could u please let me know if this model (ASUS 15.6″ ZenBook Pro Multi-Touch Notebook) is somewhere close or identical to the one that u have reviewed,upgraded (Zenbook Pro UX501VW).
    I’m looking into buying a stable all around 15inch for photography n graphics design. price up to 1500$us.
    thank you in advance, what ur doing..very appreciated!

    • Andrei Girbea

      August 6, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Can you post a link? Sounds like the same product, but I can’t be sure without checking it out.

  28. Alex

    September 8, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I have the UX501VW-GE004T model (no touch screen – bought in Romania ) and I have not noticed any problems with the colors. After 2 months of use – mostly photo and video editing, must admit I’m quite satisfied with the purchase.The only drawback is the scaling of text in some programs but I was aware of this problem before buying the laptop.

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