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Asus ROG Zephyrus S15 and S17 2020 updates – what to expect, vs 2019 GX502/GX701

By Andrei Girbea - @ andreigirbea , last updated on May 24, 2020

While the Duo GX550 is now the top-of-the-line offer in the ROG Zephyrus lineup, Asus have also updated their 15 and 17-inch Zephyrus S models for this generation.

First off, they went with a slight change in naming, with the 15-inch Zephyrus S GX502 being succeeded by the Zephyrus S15 GX502, and the 17-inch Zephyrus S GX701 now being called the Zephyrus S17 GX701. Sounds confusing, I know, but in the end, what you should take out of this is that the S15 is the 15-inch 2020 model and the S17 is the 17-inch 2020 variant.

This aside, the two are merely hardware bumps of the 2019 iteration, built on the exact same chassis and with the same particularities, but with an 8-Core Intel Core i7-10875H processor, up to RTX 2080 Super 90W graphics with ROG Boost, Wireless 6, and 300Hz IPS displays with Pantone validation, as well as the dual Optimus/GSync mode introduced last year.

We’ve added a quick specs sheet of the two down below, for comparison.

Update: Our detailed review of the Zephyrus S15 GX502 is available here.

2020 Asus ROG Zephyrus S15 GX502 – review 2020 Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 GX701
Screen 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 px resolution, IPS, 300Hz, 3ms, G-Sync, matte, non-touch 17.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 px, IPS, 300Hz, 3ms, G-Sync, non-touch, matte
Processor Intel Comet Lake Core i7-10875H, eight-core Intel Comet Lake Core i7-10875H, eight-core
Video Intel UHD + up to RTX 2080 Super 100+W OC Intel UHD + up to RTX 2080 Super 100+W OC
Memory up to 48 GB DDR4 3200 MHz (16 GB soldered, 1x DIMM) up to 40 GB DDR4 3200 MHz (8GB soldered + 1x DIMM)
Storage 2x M.2 NVME 2280 storage 1x M.2 NVME 2280 storage
Connectivity WiFi 6 AX with Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit LAN WiFi 6 AX with Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit LAN
Ports 3x USB-A 3.1, 1x USB-C gen 2 with DP and charging, HDMI 2.0b, LAN, headphone/mic, Kensington Lock 3x USB-A 3.1, 1x USB-C gen 2 with DP and PowerDelivery, 1x USB-C gen 1, HDMI 2.0, mic/earphone, Kensington Lock
Battery 76 Wh, 230 W power adapter, USB-C charging possible, up to 65W 76 Wh, 230 W power adapter, USB-C charging possible, up to 65W
Size 360 mm or 14.17” (w) x  252 mm or 9.92” (d) x 18.9 mm or .74” (h) 399 mm or 15.7” (w) x 272 mm or 10.7 (d) x 18.7 mm or .73” (h)
Weight 2.04 kg (4.45 lb) 5.82 lbs (2.64 kg)
Extras RGB backlit keyboard with per-key control, 2x bottom stereo speakers, FHD external webcam per-key RGB backlit keyboard, FHD external webcam, stereo front-facing speakers

We’re still developing this post and updating the final details, so there might be some errors up there.

Asus ROG Zephyrus S15

Asus ROG Zephyrus S17

For the most part, though, our detailed reviews of the GX502 and GX701 will offer you most of what you should know on these two, especially the sections that cover the design and build quality, the typing experience, the IO and overall functionality.

The changes are primarily in the hardware specs, where that 8-Core Intel CPU should provide a significant bump in multi-threaded and productivity loads, and where that 2080 Super might also offer a small boost in gaming performance. Keep in mind that Asus use a liquid metal compound for the CPU on their entire 2020 ROG lineup, which should help with both temperatures and noise levels.

That aside, the 300 Hz IPS displays are slight bumps from the 144/240 Hz options in the 2019 configuration, with mostly the same characteristics: matte finishing, roughly 300-nits of brightness and 800:1 contrast, 70%+ coverage of Adobe RGB and factory calibration with a Pantone certification. They’re great for gaming and daily use, and fine for occasional color accurate work. Not sure if a 4K 100% AdobeRGB panel option is also offered for the S15/S17 models, but it might be, since it’s a configuration option for the Zephyrus M15 and the Zephyrus Duo.

These Zephyrus S models still get the dual Optimus/GSync mode implemented in the past, which requires opting for one or the other, with a restart in between. That was cool last year, but not so much this year when other laptops implement the Advanced Optimus technology package from Nvidia, which allows the system to actively switch between the iGPU/dGPU on the fly.

Finally, keep in mind these two products are fairly different. The GX502 is a more standard design with a mid-placed keyboard and regular arm-rest/clickpad, while the GX701 is the inverted design, with a forward-placed keyboard and the entire top part of the chassis reserved for the hardware and cooling. That makes it rather impractical on the go, but nice on a desk and cooler on the hands with demanding loads. It also makes it somewhat faster, due to its more advanced thermal module.

The previous GX701 was the only ultraportable with a 100W version of the RTX 2080 chip, and this generation might carry on those footsteps as well. That doesn’t mean much in terms of real-life gains compared to the 90W RTX 2080s implemented in most ultraportables, but it’s a slight boost from the base-level 80W implementations, as illustrated below.

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Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I've been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.

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