We’ve spent time with several different AMD Ryzen 4000 laptops lately and this right here, the ROG Zephyrus G15 from Asus, is one of the more balanced products available right now with this new AMD hardware.
It’s not as well made or as compact as
the Zephyrus G14, and also not as powerful as the TUF Gaming A15s, but it has one major advantage over all the other options: a good quality display, which is the main culprit of all those other AMD notebooks out there, at least for now.
Otherwise, our G15 is based on a Ryzen 7 4800HS processor, with 32 GB of RAM, 512 GB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia GTX 1660Ti graphics chip. This is a MaxQ 60 W version and not the
full-power model available on the TUF A15 and other full-size gaming laptops, so if performance is what you’re primarily interested in, this G15 might not be the one for you. And RTX 2060 configuration is also available, and we’ll explain what to expect from the two chips in the performance section of this article.
Update: If interested, our detailed review of the updated 2021 Zephryuys G15 with Ryzen 5000 and RTX 3000 hardware
is available over here, while our review of the 2022 Zephyrus G15 is available here, with Ryzen 6000 and RTX 3000 Ti hardware.
Specs as reviewed – Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA502IU
Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA502IU
Display 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 px IPS 240 Hz 3ms, 16:9, non-touch, matte, Sharp LQ156M1JW16 panel
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS, 8C/16T
Video AMD Radeon Vega 7 + Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti Max-Q 60W 6 GB GDDR6 (with Nvidia 445.87)
Memory 32 GB DDR4 3200 MHz (16 GB soldered, 1x 16 GB DIMM)
Storage 512 GB SSD (M.2 80 mm PCIe x4 – Micron 2200 MTFDHBA1T0TCK) + 1 extra M.2 80 mm slot
Connectivity Wireless 6 (Intel AX200) 2×2, Bluetooth 5.0, Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit LAN
Ports 3x USB-A 3.2, 1x USB-C gen 2 with DP, HDMI 2.0b, LAN, headphone/mic, Kensington Lock
Battery 76 Wh, 180 W power adapter, USB-C charging up to 65W
Size 360 mm or 14.17” (w) x 252 mm or 9.92” (d) x 20.4 mm or .79” (h)
Weight 2.02 kg (4.46 lb), .56 kg (1.23 lbs) power brick and cables, EU version
Extras white backlit keyboard, no webcam, stereo bottom speakers
Asus offers this 2020 Zephyrus G15 in a couple of different configurations, with either a 1660Ti 60W or RTX 2060 65W GPU, various amounts of storage and RAM, and either a 144 Hz or 240 Hz screen. The 240Hz is the one to get, with 300+ nits of brightness, 3ms response (with overdrive), and 100% sRGB color coverage.
Also, keep in mind that part of the RAM is soldered, so you might have to buy ane extra stick of RAM on this unit to benefit from dual-channel memory, which makes a big difference in games.
Design and construction
The Zephyrus G15 is a compact and lightweight 15-inch laptop, at a little above 2 kilos or 4.4 lbs. Brushed black metal is used for the lid-cover, with a black and non-lit ROG logo, while the interior and bottom are made out of plastic.
Overall, it looks neat and professional, with muted branding and no annoying lights, but the status LEDs and the power button are still always lit and placed beneath the screen.
The build quality is OK as well, with little flex in both the lid and the chassis, and friendly edges and corners. However, both the lid and the interior show smudges and finger-oil unlike few other laptops I’ve tested recently. I’ve purposely haven’t cleaned this laptop before taking some of these pictures, so I can better illustrate how it looks after a few hours of use, and I don’t even have oily fingers. The nicer magnesium materials on the higher-tier Zephyrus models have probably spoiled me, but I’m pretty sure owning this laptop and having to constantly wipe it clean would drive me crazy. In comparison, the dark gray versions of the Zephyrus G14 and Asus A15 do a much better job of hiding these smudges.
This aside, I should also mention the IO placement. Most of the essential ports are on the left side, but towards the middle, to accommodate the thermal design on the back, and that means the power-plug and LAN and HDMI cables would get in your way if you decide to use them. The right only includes USB slots and leaves that part free for your mouse. This laptop lacks Thunderbolt 3 support or a card reader, but the USB-C allows charging if you don’t want to bring along your included power brick.
There’s also no finger-sensor or IR camera. In fact, there’s no camera at all, much like on the entire Zephyrus lineup, but there are some microphones placed beneath the screen.
As a result, the screen gets small bezels around the side and top, and a fairly hefty chin down beneath, but I’m totally fine with it, as it pushes it into a more ergonomic position and away from the hot running chassis. The hinges are pretty good as well, allowing to easily lift the screen with a single hand and lean it back to about 145 degrees on the back, and not all the way flat.
Keyboard and trackpad
Inputs are one area where this Zephyrus G15 does not excel.
The layout is fine, with full-size chiclet keys, smaller arrows, and an extra functions column at the right, as well as dedicated volume keys in the top-left side. However, typing on this keyboard feels somewhat shallow and imprecise, and not like on the higher tier Zephyrus models. Even the G14 is a much nicer typer, at least for me, although the keyboard here looks much like the ones on the Zephyrus M/S models on a first glance.
This keyboard also lacks RGB lighting and only gets white LEDs. They’re fairly bright and the writing on each key is easily visible on this Black/White implementation, but the light creeps out quite annoyingly from underneath some of the keycaps.
As for the clickpad, it works fine with daily use, but it’s a rather small plastic surface with clunky clicks, so not something to praise on.
Asus offers two screen options for the G15, one with 144 Hz refresh rate and poorer brightness, colors and response times, and one with a 240 Hz refresh rate, 3ms response, 300+ nits of brightness and 100% sRGB coverage. This latter option is what we have on this unit here, and the one that makes all the difference. Both variants are 15.6-inch in size, matte and non-touch.
Sharp makes this 240Hz panel, and it’s a variation of the panels offered with the higher tier
Zephyrus M and Zephyrus S models. It’s a great option for daily use and gaming, with very little hosting and no tearing, thanks to Adaptive Sync, and even a fine one for color-accurate work. I’m not that much of a gamer, though, so you should look into other reviews as well for more details on ghosting, input-lag, and the likes.
Here’s what we got in our tests,
with a X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
Panel HardwareID: Sharp SHP14F4 (LQ156M1JW16);
Coverage: 99% sRGB, 70.5% AdobeRGB, 72.6% DCI P3;
Measured gamma: 2.23;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 347 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 1199:1;
White point: 7200 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.29 cd/m2;
Response: ~6s GtG.
The panel is well calibrated out of the box, and further calibration reduces the max brightness by about 10%, but addresses the slight White Point and Gamma imbalances.
However, we noticed a fair bit of brightness variation on our sample in the top right corners, as well as some light bleeding around the edges, so make sure to test for it on your unit.
The 144 Hz panel is around 300-nits of brightness, but the response times are slower and the color coverage is much more limited, at only around 60% sRGB, so that’s closer to the lower-tier 144 Hz panel
also available on the TUF Gaming A15.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a mid-specced Asus Zephyrus G15 GA502IU configuration with the AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS processor, 32 GB of RAM, 1 TB of storage and dual graphics: the Nvidia GTX 1660Ti 60W dGPU and the Vega 7 iGPU embedded within the AMD platform, which takes over with lighter use.
Asus might also offer the G15
with the Ryzen 9 4900HS processor in some regions, but keep in mind the 7 and the 9 are both 8-Core/16-Thread processors with similar traits, just slightly faster clocks and improved integrated graphics for the 9. Both of these HS APUs are pretty much the best AMD has to offer these days, and stand for power-optimized versions of the more common Ryzen H processors available in larger laptops. They are designed the run at 35W and offer nearly the same performance as those 45W variants, making them well suited for ultraportables such as this one.
Before we proceed, keep in mind that our review unit is an early-production model with the software available as of mid-April 2020 (BIOS 213, Armoury Crate 2.6.14, GeForce Game Ready 445.87 drivers). While certain aspects might slightly improve with future software updates, our results are in line with the provided AMD/ASUS guidelines, so they should be mostly what you’ll get with retail models as well.
Our configuration gets 32 GB of RAM in dual-channel and a 1 TB Micron 2200 PCIe x4 SSD. That’s a TLC drive and is supposedly connected via a PCIe x4 connection as reported by CristalDiskInfo, but returned fairly low scores in our tests. The M.2 slot is placed close to one of the GPU heatpipes, and that causes the SSD to reach high temperatures, with a potential impact on its performance and even long term reliability. There is another SSD slot inside the laptop, on the other side, and getting inside is a fairly simple task, requiring to remove the back panel, hold in place by a handful of screws. Careful they’re of different sizes, so make sure you put them back the right way.
In here, you’ll also find the thermal module, the single RAM slot (16 GB of memory are soldered on the motherboard on this configuration), the Wi-Fi slot, the speakers and battery.
Asus offers four power profiles for the GA502:
Silent – prioritizes lower fan-noise and reduces CPU/GPU speeds and power;
Performance – balanced profile with stock CPU/GPU settings;
Turbo – High-Performance profile with increased CPU power allocation and overclocked GPU (+100 MHz Core/+130 MHz Memory).
Manual – Same as Turbo, but allows to manually create fan curves for the CPU and GPU based on temperature thresholds, as well as further overclock the GPU.
Turbo/Manual are only available with the laptop plugged-in and are meant for gaming and other demanding loads. Performance is a jack-of-all-trade and what I’d recommend for daily multitasking, while Silent is great for video and light-use on battery.
This Zephyrus G15 is not just a performance laptop and can also handle everyday multitasking, browsing, and video, while running quietly and coolly, especially on the Silent profile. Here’s what to expect with Youtube, Netflix, Typing (on Silent ), and Browsing (on Performance ).
Demanding loads is where this platform shines. On to those, we’ll start by testing the CPU’s performance in taxing loads, and we do that by running Cinebench R15 for 15+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run, with the laptop on Turbo.
The Ryzen 7 4800HS processor settles for clock speeds of 3.4+ GHz, temperatures of around 78-82 degrees Celsius and scores of 1620+ points, with a TDP of above 42W for the first 7-10 runs, which then drops towards its stock 35W TDP, with a slight impact over the scores, as illustrated in the graphics below.
Switching over to Performance returns similar results, with a slight increase in temperatures and a decrease in fan noise. Further switching to Silent lowers the TDP to 25W after only a couple of runs. Finally, on battery, the power is limited between 25 and 20W, in the Performance mode (Turbo is disabled in this case). Details below.
We’ve also verified our findings with the longer Cinebench R20 loop test and the gruesome Prime 95, confirming our above results.
I’ve also added a few charts comparing the 4800HS in Cinebench/Geekbench/3Dmark benchmarks with the full-power
Ryzen 7 4800H and Ryzen 5 4600H APUs, the previous generation Ryzen 7 3750H and some of the existing Intel counterparts, such as the mainstream Core i7-9750H.
Finally, we ran some of our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook. 3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and this unit passed it with flying colors. Luxmark 3.1, on the other hand, fully loads both the CPU and GPU at the same time. The GPU constantly runs at 60W, however, the CPU frequency is not properly logged by this test. On battery, both the CPU and the GPU drop to lower power settings (20W – CPU, 30W – GPU).
Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the Turbo profile in Armoury Crate.
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 12498 (Graphics – 13691 Physics – 20594);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 5425 (Graphics – 5115, CPU – 8264);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 2864;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 9999;
Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 40.22 average fps;
PassMark: Rating: 5958, CPU mark: 19267, 3D Graphics Mark: -;
PCMark 10: 5216 (Essentials – 8782 , Productivity – 7171 , Digital Content Creation – 6116);
GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single-Core: 5181, Multi-core: 28205;
GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1117, Multi-core: 6763;
CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1711 cb, CPU Single Core 187 cb;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3663 cb, CPU Single Core 477 cb;
x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 215.22 fps, Pass 2 – 92.21 fps;
x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 38.08 s.
The GPU is already overclocked on the Turbo profile (+100 MHz Core/+130 MHz Memory) and runs hot in most games and titles, so we didn’t push it any further with MSI Afterburner in this case. The Manual profile also allows further GPU overclocking if you want to mingle with that.
Furthermore, we also ran some Workstation related loads, on the Turbo profiles:
Blender 2.82 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 3m 38s (Turbo);
Blender 2.82 – BMW Car scene- GPU Compute: –
Blender 2.82 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 11m 28s (Turbo);
Blender 2.82 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: –
Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: CPU Not properly Supported;
SPECviewerf 13 – 3DSMax: 126.27 (Turbo);
SPECviewerf 13 – Catia: 87.04 (Turbo);
SPECviewerf 13 – Creo: 111.29 (Turbo);
SPECviewerf 13 – Energy: 10.42 (Turbo);
SPECviewerf 13 – Maya: 146.88 (Turbo);
SPECviewerf 13 – Medical: 37.29 (Turbo);
SPECviewerf 13 – Showcase: 69.04 (Turbo);
SPECviewerf 13 – SNX: 14.69 (Turbo);
SPECviewerf 13 – SW: 67.91 (Turbo).
Once more, these are some excellent results, thanks to the excellent AMD Ryzen 4000 HD platform. The combined and GPU scores, on the other hand, are limited by the 60W graphics chip, even with the applied overclock.
With these out of the way, let’s look at some games. We ran a couple of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles on the default Turbo/Silent and on the Turbo + Overclocked GPU profiles. Here’s what we got:
Battlefield V (DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF) 74 fps avg (44 fps – 1% low)
21 fps avg (18 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA) 78 fps avg (57 fps – 1% low)
23 fps (21 fps – 1% low)
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Ultra Preset) 128 fps
Red Dead Redemption 2 (DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA) 62 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
Rise of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Very High Preset, FXAA) 80 fps
Shadow of Tomb Raider (DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA) 68 fps (55 fps – 1% low)
Strange Brigade (Vulkan, Ultra Preset) 92 fps
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4) 46-73 min-max fps
(62 fps avg, 46 fps – 1% low) 18 fps avg (13 fps – 1% low)
Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on
The HWinfo logs below show the CPU and GPU speeds and temperatures in Farcry 5, Battlefield V, and Witcher 3 on the stock Turbo profile.
Both the CPU and GPU run hot on Turbo, with the CPU constantly hitting temperatures in the mid and high 90s, and the GPU averaging high-70s to low-80s, with the fans ramping up to 48-49 dB at head level (47 dB in Armoury Crate). These temperatures are not unexpected given the laptop’s chassis and the thermal design.
Slightly raising the laptop from the desk doesn’t make any difference here, and that’s mostly because little air is drawn if from the bottom due to the intake cuts being covered, as we’ll explain in the next section. A cooling pad should make a difference on this laptop, though.
Gaming on the Performance profile barely tames down the fans to about 46-47 dB at head level (46 dB in Armoury Crate), but further raises the average GPU temperatures, so I’d recommend playing your games on Turbo.
Gaming on Silent further quiets down the fans to about 38-39 dB at head-level (38 dB in Armory Crate), but also greatly limits the performance of the CPU (limited to 12W) and GPU (limited at 30W). That means most games won’t run well on Silent.
Finally, gaming on battery (on Performance) is not possible here either, as the hardware is even greater limited: the CPU at around 6 W, and the GPU at 30W.
These findings are about on par with what we got in our other Ryzen 4000 reviews, but could change with further profile tweaks.
Overall, this ROG Zephyrus G15 is a good performer, especially in CPU heavy applications. Its gaming and graphics abilities are somewhat drawn down by the implemented MaxQ Nvidia GPUs, which might not be what you’re looking for in a 15-inch notebook, given the multitude of other full-power implementations out there. The G15 tries to compensate for it with its more aggressive pricing, but that also has to make up for its other quirks.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
OK, so while this Zephyrus G15 performs well in most titles, thermals are its major culprit. The cooling module seems alright for the hardware on this laptop, with three heatpipes and two fans, but the CPU averages temperatures of 90-95 degrees in most games, with the GPU averaging 78-83 degrees on the Turbo profile.
Some of this heat also spreads onto the exterior chassis, with certain parts reaching temperatures in the very high 50s and low 60s, both on the keyboard surface and the back. The palm-rest, WASD keys, and arrows stay cool though, as the thermal module is designed to draw air from between the keys to help cool these areas.
Now, to some extent, I was expecting the G15 to run hot, given its slimmer chassis and our experience
with the 2019 GA502 model, but Asus also made some weird design choices on the bottom of this laptop. Fresh air is drawn in from the bottom and the interior, and pushed out through the back edge, but the intake grills on the actual fans are covered with a plastic film, to channel the airflow over the heatpipes and the components. There’s no way to take out those covers without breaking the plastic pins that keep them in place, and thus voiding warranty.
I couldn’t take them out and test the impact on this unit, but other reviews mention a 7-10 degrees decrease in CPU and GPU temperatures once that’s done, as well as a slight increase in performance.
From what I understand, Asus claims that channeling the air this way is required to cool other components on the motherboard and keep the keyboard at lower temperatures, but I’m inclined to consider this a flawed design and I’m not comfortable with the hardware running at this sort of high temperatures long-term, especially when that hardware is merely a Max-Q mid-range GPU in a 15-inch chassis. In comparison, the 14-inch G14 reaches similarly high temperatures, but in a smaller chassis, while the full power Asus A15 runs just as hot, but offers a more powerful hardware platform.
As far as fan-noise goes, here’s what we got:
Turbo – 48-49 dB with games (47 dB Armoury Crate), 48-49 dB with Cinebench loop test;
Performance – 46-47 dB with games (46 dB Armoury Crate), 37-44 dB with Cinebench loop test;
Silent – 38-39 dB with games (38 dB Armoury Crate), 35-39 dB with Cinebench loop test, 32-35 dB with Daily use.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Silent Profile, fans at 32-35 dB (23-27 dB in Armoury Crate)
*Gaming – Turbo– playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Turbo Profile, fans at 48-49 dB (47 dB in Armoury Crate)
*Gaming – Silent– playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, Silent Profile, fans at 38-39 dB (38 dB in Armoury Crate)
We’re using a
CAT S61 smartphone with a FLIR module for our thermal readings.
For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6 and Bluetooth 5 through an Intel AX200 chip on this unit. Our G15 performed well both near the router and at 30+ feet away with obstacles in between, without drops or other issues.
The speakers are OK, but no great. There’s a set of them firing through cuts on the bottom and bouncing sound of the table, and they can get fairly loud. However, you’ll most likely have to keep them at around 60-70% of their volume or lower, as otherwise, they transmit a lot of vibrations into the plastic chassis. The audio output is pretty good, though, and you’ll most likely want to hook up some fine headphones to cover the fan noise when playing games anyway.
As for the camera, there’s isn’t any on this laptop, but there’s a pair of microphones at the bottom of the screen.
There’s a 76Wh battery inside this Rog Zephyrus G15, and paired with the moderately efficient hardware, that allows for pretty good runtimes on a charge.
Here’s what we got on our unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120-nits (60%):
10.5 W (~7+ h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
10 W (~7+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
9.8 W (~8- h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Silent Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
18 W (~4h of use) – browsing in Edge, Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
50 W (~1h, 30 min of use) – Gaming – Witcher 3, Performance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON, no fps limit.
Asus pairs the laptop with a fairly compact 180W power-brick, which still weighs .6 kilos with the included cables in this EU version.
A full-size brick is required to power the components in this notebook, but USB-C charging is also supported through the USB-C port on the left side, at up to 65W. That means you can grab a USB-C charger for your daily commute (not included), and only lug around the bigger brick when you plan to run demanding tasks or games. Only the Performance power profile is available while on USB-C PowerDelivery, with limited CPU/GPU power, but plenty enough for daily multitasking.
Price and availability
This updated Zephryus G15 is available in stores around the world at the time of this review, mostly in two configurations:
Zephyrus G15 GA502IU – Ryzen 5/7 CPU, GTX 1660Ti 60W, 144/240 Hz screen
Zephyrus G15 GA502IV – Ryzen 7 CPU, RTX 2060 66W, 240 Hz screen
In North America, the GA502IU is listed with the 144 Hz screen, starting at $1299 for a Ryzen 7 configuration, while only the GA502IV variant gets the 240 Hz screen for $1399.
The same IU model goes for 1299 GBP in the UK and 1399 EUR in Germany, while the IV variant goes for 1499 GBP / 1699 EUR. Lower-tier Ryzen 5 4600HS configurations should also be available at some point, for slightly less.
Follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time you’re reading this article.
OK, so who’s this Zephyrus G15 for, then?
If you’re primarily looking at performance in multithreaded applications and games,
I’d go with the TUF Gaming A15 model instead. Just make sure to get the 144 Hz screen model and be aware of the slow-response time that can translate into ghosting in fast-paced games. At the same time, if you’re after a more premium and more portable notebook, the Zephyrus G14 offers similar hardware specs in a superior chassis, with slightly better thermals and nicer inputs, but at a higher price.
Update: If interested, our detailed review of the updated 2021 Zephryuys G15 with Ryzen 5000 and RTX 3000 hardware
is available over here.
That leaves the G15 somewhere in between these two, as an all-round portable 15-inch laptop. It performs admirably in demanding loads and pairs the hardware with a compact build and a punchy and fast screen, a great option for daily use and gaming, and even a fine one for color-accurate work. However, the smudgy materials, the shallow keyboard, and the MaxQ-only GPU options, combined with the thermal design and those very high internal temperatures, these all eat into its potential, both as a gaming ultraportable and as a multi-tasker.
In most markets, the G15 compensates fro its quirks with a slightly lower price than the higher tier Intel models. However, right now, the Zephyrus G15 goes for $1399 in the US for the RTX 2060 Max-Q version with the 240 Hz screen, or $1299 for the GTX 1660Ti with the poorer 144Hz display. At the same time, roughly $1450 can get you a
discounted 2019 Zephyrus M with a Core i7 processor, full-power GTX 1660Ti, better thermals, a metallic chassis and a nicer RGB keyboard, which makes that Zephyrus M a much better option in this price range. Of course, configurations and pricing vary a lot between regions, so there’s a chance the G15 could be a better buy in your area, and we’ve factored this into our final score of 4 out of 5.
However, I feel that the Zephyrus G15 needs to further drop in price to compensate for its quirks and compete with the existing 2019 ultraportables such as that
Zephyrus M, the Predator Triton 500 or even the base-versions of the Razer Blade 15 and MSI GS65 Stealth. Those are still slightly more expensive, at around $1500-$1600, but also better products overall, and worth paying the extra for. Sure, the G15 has the AMD platform on its side, but if you absolutely need an AMD-based notebook, there’s just better value with the other Asus options, such as the compact Zephyrus G14, and especially the full-size and much more affordable TUF A15, despite their own share of flaws. We’ll pitch these against the G15 in separate articles.
Anyway, this pretty much wraps up our review of the 2020 Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 GA502, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this product, and whether you agree or disagree with mine. Get in touch in the comments section.
Andrei Girbea Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief
. I've a Bachelor's in Computer Engineering and I've been covering mobile technology since the 2000s. You'll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site, as well as some occasional first-impression articles.
April 23, 2020 at 3:25 pm
Heat has always been AMD's weak points for decades and it still prevail in 2020.
April 23, 2020 at 7:31 pm
It's the laptop cooling itself that makes it look bad lol.
May 11, 2020 at 2:38 pm
Do you think you could start including the minimum brightness reading for each laptop display? I noticed that you used to do it and then recently seemed to stop.
May 11, 2020 at 2:45 pm
I'll have to look into it, but I might not be able to anymore.
I've moved to a better X-Rite sensor and no longer use the same software as before. This software only measures brightness at 25% and up, which is available in the uniformity pic: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/screen-uniformity.png . I'll have to check if a 0% reading is available anywhere.
May 11, 2020 at 10:10 pm
It would be greatly appreciated if you could. It looks like you're still using DisplayCal. So if you just set the screen brightness to 0% and run another "report on uncalibrated display device", it should give it to you. That's what I've been doing.
I have chronic migraines, so the minimum brightness measurement is always the first thing I look at when it comes to reviews.
May 12, 2020 at 10:14 am
Got it, I'll try and remember that
April 23, 2020 at 5:05 pm
Don't you think you're being a tad unfair comparing it to the Razer Blade 15 Predator Triton 500 and MSI Stealth? All those start over $2000. If those computers are the next step up and they cost $600 more, then I'd say this computer offers amazing value.
April 23, 2020 at 5:13 pm
No they don't. 2060 version of the 2019 Triton, GS65 or Blade Base can be found for as low as $1600, even less, with various discounts. 1660Ti Zephyrus M or even the Predator Helios 300 are cheaper, and there are also the Eluktronics models to consider. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't think this is good value at $1399, and would rather pay more for a better product, or less for the A15s.
Perhaps prices are different in your region? I tried to factor this in with the final score, otherwise I would have rather rated it at 3.75
April 23, 2020 at 5:44 pm
but here is a much more powerful processor and battery life.
April 23, 2020 at 6:18 pm
April 23, 2020 at 8:56 pm
Thank you! I bought both this and the 2020 Tuf from Best Buy last week, and will return the one I don't like. I have been finding myself crazy for preferring the Tuf (though the one noticeable difference is the fan noise is more on Tuf, to me) – as this Rog cost $200 more. So far, the Tuf seems both better and cheaper. Going to read that review now! The only other con I can find to my Tuf is the Wifi is gen 5. Oh, and it came with an accessory, 4 screws and I don't know, more RAM or SSD? I don't know what it is.
April 23, 2020 at 9:17 pm
Does it look like that piece in this picture, next to the battery? If yes, then it's a HDD/SSD cage: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/internals-2.jpg
Also, Wifi can be upgraded, the module is placed under the main SSD.
April 24, 2020 at 7:22 am
Seems like reducing fan size and flipping it so that the support will block more air flow can still cool the system down…
Let me introduce the "Air Blocking" fan filters!
May 26, 2020 at 11:11 am
SSD Slit is NVME Right? Or sata?
April 24, 2020 at 8:08 am
asus totally messed up cooling by blocking vents.
April 24, 2020 at 9:20 am
AMD getting stuffed again!! Intel's incentives for OEM's to keep AMD's true potential under the carpet is just ridiculous!! Come on ASUS it's been made very obvious the AMD CPU's run way cooler than Intel's so you block off the fan intakes. You should be embarrassed!!
June 3, 2020 at 4:43 pm
Between a 16GB RTX2060 1TB SSD Zephyrus G15 2020 and a 2019 1660Ti 512SSD MSI GS 65 which one would be your pick if they are priced the same at about 1800 CAD/ ~1400 USD.
June 3, 2020 at 4:49 pm
What do you need it for?
G15 – better CPU performance, longer battery life, but plastic build, non RGB keyboard, etc.
GS65 – better combined and gaming performance, nicer build quality, better inputs.
I'd lean towards the GS65 unless you really need that extra CPU power for certain loads
June 4, 2020 at 7:41 pm
Thanks ! I'll use it for university as well as some gaming. A good display, battery life and build quality should all be pretty useful. The RTX G15 is coming soon to Canada as well as G14 which is also another good option given the price. The 144HZ G15 and MSI Gs65 are the only ones available currently. Waiting now while all the sites have backordered.
May 6, 2020 at 11:50 pm
I got the GA502IU from Best Buy (granted the cruddy 144hz panel) for $899. Seen it go on sale for that multiple times. For that price it's very hard to turn away from.
May 12, 2020 at 9:34 pm
I am confused about the "only MaxQ options" statement. As per the official website, the RTX 2060 is a non-maxQ version.
May 12, 2020 at 9:48 pm
No it's not: https://www.asus.com/Laptops/ROG-Zephyrus-G15/Tech-Specs/ . 2060 65W is MAx-Q
June 7, 2020 at 7:46 pm
Zephyrus G15 GA502IV – Ryzen 7 CPU, RTX 2060 66W, 240 Hz screen
This is the model I bought. I had it upgraded by HIDevolution (Newegg). They put better thermal grease on the heatsinks, upgraded to 40GB DDR4 3200, and 1TB NVME SSD. I think the sound is great, at least better than my last 3 laptops. Yes the NVidia fan does get loud when gaming but it does not bother me. My desktop did the same thing. Nothing a headset won't cover. So far this machine has been everything I've been looking for. I bought one for my son and plan on buying one more for my wife. To me it's worth the money. I'm a fan of AMD and have always been since the AMD 486 CPU's.
June 11, 2020 at 3:23 am
How is the keyboard? I love the keyboard layout. Programmer friendly.
June 14, 2020 at 8:35 am
May I ask if the screen was set at 240Hz for the battery life tests?
June 14, 2020 at 10:41 am
Normally, Asus laptops automatically switch over to 60 Hz when unplugged, but I'm not entirely sure if the G15 does that as well. I did not that details at the time of the test and no longer have the laptop around to retest
July 26, 2020 at 1:17 pm
I can confirm it does not go down to 60fps.
June 14, 2020 at 10:37 am
The g15 gets the 60W max-q 1660Ti.
June 16, 2020 at 4:32 am
Would you recommend this laptop if I get the RTX 2060 (non-max q) and remove the paper under the vents? I plan to buy an extra cover so I still have my original if anything does go wrong.
This is what I was looking at. https://www.newegg.com/brushed-black-asus-rog-zephyrus-g15-ga502iv-xs76-gaming-entertainment/p/N82E16834235422?Item=N82E16834235422
June 16, 2020 at 10:46 am
I's say yes, especially if you need that powerful AMD platform. I'd still consider the Intel-based M15 as well, it's slightly nicer built imo and offers better graphics and thermals, but looses at multi-core CPU performance and battery life. Up to you
June 23, 2020 at 7:45 pm
Did you think that the G15 with the 240hz for around 1199$ USD is a good deal or is better to look at the A17 or Zephorus M.
June 23, 2020 at 8:27 pm
it's a good deal, just ask yourself if you need that Ryzen CPU. If not, the Zephryus M is a better balanced product imo
June 23, 2020 at 8:35 pm
ok thanks Andrei
June 24, 2020 at 11:32 am
I keep seeing the G15 with a 4800HS, RTX 2060, 16 gb ram, and 1 tb SSD with 240 Hz display for 1799 Canadian dollars. I feel like this is a good deal, something like a Zephyrus S GX502GV with a 2060 usually costs over 2000 dollars here, and the G15 has better CPU performance (I honestly don't even need anywhere near an RTX 2060 for gaming but it would be a nice-to-have if I started delving into AI programming for the tensor cores, CPU performance is much more important to me), do you think this is a good deal?
My current laptop is a Dell XPS 15 9570 with an i7 8750H, 4k touch display, GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q, and 16 GB ram, do you think I could sell it, scrape together a few hundred more dollars, and be able to afford the G15?
I'm the kind of person who doesn't care about inconveniences that you can get around, so things like a lack of biometrics won't bother me, and if I needed video calls, my secondary laptop (the Chinese edition of the Huawei matebook e) has a surprisingly good webcam anyway. I haven't ever used RGB keyboard backlighting and doubt that it will be important to me, but I would love good battery life and a display that would actually let me fulfill my gaming potential. The poor response time of the XPS display combined with low refresh rate and thermal / power limit throttling has seriously impeded my ability to play, hence why I want to switch to a G15.
June 25, 2020 at 11:18 am
If the CPU is that important, then yes, this should be a one of your better options. the RTX chip is max-q, but still only within 10-20% of the full power versions, so good enough for most games.
Not sure about the local prices for used XPS notebooks, but you can check eBay and what other similar sites are there locally. Going with the G15, you'd take a step backwards in overall build quality and materials compared to that XPS, though.
August 3, 2020 at 1:39 pm
so the Ryzen version of this laptop has a black paper what blocking the ventillation. the intel version has unblocked vent holes. oh intel … why im think its another bribe again?
August 23, 2020 at 2:05 pm
Laptopmedia review says that LQ156M1JW16 screen actually has PWM at brightness below 35%.
August 27, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Hello there, in China we got 4800hs+2060Q+240hz configuration which costs ￥8999 ($1269)or ￥8599 on sale – the mighty Legion 5i (4800H+2060+144+16/512) costs $1057 as a comparison. As a muti-purpose slim gaming laptop it doesnt lack competitiveness IMO,that is ,if you are not disgusted by their airflow blocking trick.
I also noticed a modest power consumption increase when a higher refreshrate is activated, on both my smartphone and my old laptop. I wonder if the subject in the article is tested at 60hertz with independent GPU disabled in battery life section.
I am new to this website. The review is professional, instructive, and enjoyable to read, thanks for the work.