Asus Zenbook Pro UX501 (UX501VW ) review and in-depth impressions

60 Comments

  1. 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: https://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…

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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??

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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….

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    • LawrenceB

      December 7, 2016 at 4:26 am

      Hi Alex, is your model with uhd 4k display + anti glare/non glossy? and is it possible to upgrade the ram to 24gb or 32gb?
      thanks

  19. LawrenceB

    December 6, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    Hi,
    I'm looking for a sleek laptop with a matte UHD/4k display, min 960 gtx and 32gb ram, so i'm hoping the UX501VW (or G501) is the one. In your review the UX501 supports 32gb, and you said a matte one's coming later. Do you mean this one: UX501VW-FI011T? Do you know if this version supports 32gb ram, because I can't find anywhere that it supports more than 16gb max.
    thanks :)

  20. Morteza

    February 17, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Hi, I am in Sweden, but I like to buy this laptop and send from America to Sweden, can?

  21. Petar Lupic

    March 3, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Serius yellow color problem! I returned it back for full refund. Dont buy this if your photogrpher!

    • Andrei Girbea

      March 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm

      This review already warns about that, in the eventuality you actually read it :)

  22. Davorin

    May 12, 2017 at 2:51 am

    I send the laptop back for warranty they nedded to change the whole motherboard.
    The motherboard didnt last a year YOU SELL SHITTY PRODUCT never again I WILL BOUGT shitty asus..

    tHANK YOU FOR YOUR NO SUPPORT ASUS

  23. Andrei Oprescu

    May 31, 2017 at 5:17 am

    Hi Andrei,

    I bought the Zenbook Pro UX501JW – FJ061T (1400 euro from Romania one year ago) 128 Gb SSD + 1tb, 8 gb ram DDR, nVidia GTX 960m (I regret not buying the Skylake version 256 gb ssd, 8/12 ram DDR4 maybe was better but I don`t know how much better the prices were very similar), I use it primarly in Lightroom and it`s slow, I am very dissapointed how it performs in Lightroom, I feel like the SSD is not fast enough, even if I copy/paste a big file on SSD the speed is oscillating between 26-50 mb/sec but mostly around 26 mbps. I installed a fresh copy of windows 10 but still it`s the same.
    After 15 minutes of using only Lightroom (not even a browser opened) it really slows down, after a restart is working ok but then after 10-15 minutes again slows really bad (it takes 6-8 seconds if I want to just zoom on a picture).

    I would have prefferd the version with the matte FHD display, thats why I stayed blocked on this configuration.

    Do you have any advice on how to make it run faster? Maybe I have to install or update a driver?

    Thank you, any advice is welcomed even another system.

    • Andrei Girbea

      May 31, 2017 at 9:44 am

      Hi Andrei,

      That sounds like throttling, you should use HWinfo to monitor CPU and GPU speeds during your loads and see if the noticeable drop in performance is corroborated with a drop in frequency and high temperatures. If there's indeed thermal throttling, repasting the CPU/GPU might help.

      Ont the SSD, I don't remember exactly if this computer supports PCIe SSDs, but it probably doesn't. So I don't think you can get a faster SSD. Could try updating the ASCII drivers though, these have been a problem in the latest Windows 10 updates.

  24. Rick

    November 24, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    I actually purchased a used ux501v for work. I use it on the weekends to play fps games with my kids in multiplayer mode mostly with wifi connectivity. I purchased it instead of the XPS 15 because of the 10key pad which I use constantly at work (when off the dock). I wiped the ssd and installed an unbloated Win 10 pro and currently have the insider preview version of the os running. I use it as an outside salesman part of the time and love the touch screen as well as the needed 10key. I personally prefer the silver keys over contrasting keys for looks. I used to have a Mac Powerbook G4 and have never gotten over the appearance of the body colored keys with available backlight for the evenings. I also keep the screen at 1080 instead of 4k. It works better visually when I have it docked in my office with 3 screens running and makes little difference to me when out on the road. The scaling from a 4k to 2 HD monitors was hard on the eyes although the computer made it appear seamless. I was going to upgrade the removable ram stick to give me 24 gigs of ram, but I have had no issues with performance in any game, photo editor, or video editor yet. I've only had it 5 months, so I may still upgrade it and the 512gb hd to a 2tb, but for now, I have the fastest and most versatile computer in my company. The only disappointment is the speakers. They are basically the only weak spot on this machine. For me, it's not a big deal since I have speakers on my HDMI in the office and bluetooth in my truck. I wear headphones for gaming, so I rarely use the speakers. The battery power in my office (just a test) was just over 5 hours. In my truck, it was on and off a lot more, but it lasts a 10 hour day with 22% or better left if I don't plug it in between visits.If the battery gets weak, I will probably do all the upgrading at once. For now, it does everything I need with style and grace.

  25. Alicia

    June 9, 2018 at 5:07 am

    I've purchased my Asus Zenbook Pro UX501V in January 2016 when i just released it for not long. The model i got was built in December 2015(shown at the back of the laptop itself).I still remember that when i first bought it and turned it on when i reached home, the touchpad is faulty. Had to send it back and get a brand new laptop. Was already losing a little confidence at the time.

    So since then I've been using that laptop. However in Late May 2018, my laptop died. Sent to the service centre and was told the motherboard is faulty, cost AUD $800 to get it replaced, excluding labour cost.

    I was in shock and disappointed!!! It's only been 2 1/2 years of using it! And I spent about AUD$2.7k when I bought it! I don't think I'm a heavy user as tasks I carry out are usually, Autocad, Sketchup, Done Lumion rendering few times and that's it! I dont use it for gaming at all!

    Utter disappointment!!

    I WILL NEVER GET AN ASUS ZENBOOK AGAIN! Something for you guys to think about.

  26. Peter

    October 4, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    What is the value now of this? Do you think this is better of a macbook pro 15”, mid 2015?
    I mostly use it for photo retouching (photoshop, lightroom), sometimes doing also the video part (premiere).
    What is now the best laptop I can get around 1000$?
    Thanks

    • Andrei Girbea

      October 4, 2019 at 4:04 pm

      This is old and the hardware has come a long way since. I'd reckon you need good hardware, do you also need a good screen?

      Around $1000 can get you something like the Lenovo legion Y540 or the Acer predator helios, both with fast processors and decent graphics. They don't get the most color-accurate screens, but those aren't that bad either at about 75% AdoebRGB

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