With more brands competing for the best laptop in the gaming scene, ASUS isn’t getting themselves left behind from it by releasing their newest line of entry-level to mid-range gaming laptops. The ROG Strix GL503 series aims to provide gamers a well-rounded laptop capable of playing the latest hit games at a much competitive price, featuring the latest Intel Core i7 Processor and the Nvidia Gefore 10 series card. We got our hands on the GL503VD to see on how this newest gaming laptop perform well on the daily demands of a gamer.
Here’s a rundown on the laptop specs for the ROG Strix GL503VD:
|On board processor||Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ Processor 2.8 GHz (6M Cache, up to 3.8 GHz)|
|Operating System||Windows 10 (64bit)|
|Office||Includes 1 month Trial for New Microsoft Office 365 Customers|
|Display||15.6’//Ultra Slim 300nits//FHD 1920×1080 16:9//Anti-Glare//NTSC:72%//Wide View|
|Chipset||Mobile Intel® HM175 Express Chipsets|
|On board memory||N/A|
|Memory Speed||DDR4 2400MHz|
|DIMM Memory||DRAM DDR4 8G|
|Total System Memory||DRAM DDR4 8G|
|Storage||SATA 1TB 7200RPM 2.5′ HDD
SATA3 128G M.2 SSD
|External video display modes||HDMI 1.4|
|Video Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050|
|IGPU||Intel HD Graphics 630|
|Video memory||GDDR5 4GB|
|Video Camera||HD web camera|
|Wireless(Module)||802.11ac+Bluetooth 4.1 (Dual band) 2*2|
|Card Reader||Sepc: SD、MMC|
|USB Port||1x USB 2.0
3x USB 3.0
1x USB3.1 Type C (Gen 1)
|Interface||1x Headphone-out & Audio-in Combo Jack
1x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert
1x mini Display Port
1x USB3.1-Type C(Gen1)
Built-in array microphone
|Weight (Kg)||1.95 KG (Without Battery)
2.30 KG (with 4 cell battery)
|Dimension (cm)||38.4(W) x 26.2(D) x 2.00 ~ 2.30 (H) cm|
|AC Adapter||150W AC Adapter
Output : 19.5V DC, 7.7A, 150W
Input : 100~240V AC, 50/60Hz universal
|Battery||64WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion|
|Keyboard type||Illuminated Chiclet Keyboard 4-Zone RGB|
|Software||ASUS Gaming Center
ASUS Sonic Suite II
ROG Game First IV
The GL503VD features a similar appearance that from the ROG GX501 Zephyrus that is visible from the cover up to the keyboard design. The cover features a black-brushed finish for its aluminum build that is a staple to the ROG’s sleek look on their gaming laptops, and even underneath the laptop, the sleek feature is still visible with the sharp mesh on its vents and removable cover. When the GL503VD is turned on, the ROG logo will start to illuminate in red that gives out a better presentation to the overall sleek feel to the laptop. However, just like with any gaming laptops with metallic bodies, it is prone to smudges from fingerprints which it can be visible if not cleaned regularly.
The keyboard features a standard layout which includes the numerical pad that is now becoming a standard for most laptops, with the exception for the spacebar, most of the keys including its font style are more of a modern feel instead of a sleek and futuristic look but still managed to blend well to the sleek design of the GL503VD’s body, the keyboard also features 4 dedicated multimedia functions as well as a quick launch button for the ROG Gaming Center software. The touchpad is now placed to the further left for easy access with the left hand when navigating on the operating system or browsing on the internet, a simple adjustment but works really well. The grooves on the speakers also helped give a nice sleek look, the LED indicators can be found on the upper left corner of the keyboard where it shows if the laptop is reading or writing data so it’s easy to take a glimpse on it as compared to the conventional lower corner placement.
Despite having the lower body made out of plastic, the GL503VD is still sturdy, the removable cover form the lower body is easy to remove where you can upgrade the RAM and hard drive and the lid feels sturdy for it to be intact. The air vents behind the laptop features a sleek angled grills to match with the overall body without compromising its ventilation. Weighting at around 2.5kg with the battery installed, it is just as the same weight as with the other 15 inch ROG laptops in the market.
Running at the latest Intel Core i7 CPU, the GL503VD is screaming of high computing performance, this ensures that gamers will get the best performance from the latest Kaby Lake processors. The included entry-level Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 card lets gamers run some of the popular esports titles and newer games at a smoother framerate, though pushing the card to its limits may require some graphic settings on a game if aimed for better visuals. Equipped with an 8GB DDR4 RAM, it can still handle enough load to run any modern games, but you can expand the memory up to 32GB if you want to fully optimize it for video editing software and other high demanding games. It features a SATA3 M.2 solid state drive for a fast loading performance for games and software to ensure gamers will be able get more into the action with less waiting time.
As for ports, the GL503VD has generous amounts of USB ports where it has 3 USB 3.0 ports and a single 2.0 port plus a USB 3.1 Type C for those who are using newer devices that requires the Type C port. It has two options for display which includes the HDMI and mini Display Port which technically lets you have multiple displays. As for connectivity, the GL503VD can go wired with the included RJ 45 LAN port or wireless with 802.11ac module and Bluetooth 4.1
The screen has an anti-glare matte coating and can display up to 1080 resolution of full HD quality along with a wide angle up to 178 degrees of viewing range, it also include a built-in webcam for those who want to set up a livestream while they play or when they have online calls from abroad. The built-in 3.5 watt dual speakers provide some great audio for any gaming session with deeper bass and louder volume as compared to the conventional speakers found in laptops. The keyboard features RGB lighting will full customization on the lighting effects, suitable for those who loves to customize with lighting gimmicks.
We tested the GL503VD if it can perform well on the everyday use and on gaming, so we put up a series of games for tests on the gaming laptop as well as some benchmark software to further test the performance. As the gaming laptop runs on a GTX 1050 card, it can handle most of the newer games with ease with steady 60 frames per second on medium graphical settings, though it can be pushed to higher settings at a cost of lower framerate at around 30 to 40.
We tried out the action RPG Grim Dawn at a high setting with some adjustments on the shadow effects and anti-aliasing and it managed to run well on 60 fps, though there are some occasions where it can dip at 50 fps on populated areas. Next we played a couple of matches with Tekken 7, it managed to run well on 60 fps though we adjusted the settings a bit lower to ensure that it will maintain a steady 60 fps. Then we tested an MMO with Warframe and put it at the high settings and surprisingly it can run well even with any mayhem happening in the missions with explosions and effects going everywhere.
Performance for the storage drives is exceptional thanks to the PCIe SSD, it managed to fully boot up the Windows 10 operating system in around 9 seconds after pressing the power button though some high performing laptops can boot the system 2 or 3 seconds faster. It can load up software and games in a decent speed for an SSD though it may not be that as fast as some of the high-range laptops, it still does it job well. The included 1TB 2.5 HDD is already decent for its capacity which is enough to store a couple of games and other important files.
The only drawback for the GL503VD are its cooling fans, as laptops tends to get hotter real fast when running on high end-games which causes the cooling fans to spin faster and louder. We played for 2 hours on Warframe and the fans started to become louder in just 25 minutes of play time, the loudness can be annoying when playing games with the built-in speaker as it has the tendency to become louder than the game audio, playing with a headset however can remedy this problem. Heat can be a bit of a problem as some portions of the laptop especially in the middle where you rest your palm can get really warm so fast, but not enough to become uncomfortable which wouldn’t be much of an issue even with long sessions of playing. It’s because the design of the cooling fans are placed each on the CPU and GPU that it dissipates the heat on those sections, but it transferred the remaining heat in other sections.
Battery life is also probably its other main highlight, as it provided longer lifespan than in most gaming laptops today. It can last up to 3 hours when used for internet surfing and other office tool applications. Playing games can give you at least an hour and a half or more depending on how demanding the game on graphical performance. We tried watching YouTube videos for more than 2 hours and there are still some power left for us to check on Facebook for a couple of minutes before shutting down.
The display can still provide good quality image and a wide viewing angle despite not having an IPS panel,and instead uses the Twisted Nematic (TN) panel which can produce better response time. Brightness for the screen is superb as the screen is still viewable even on brighter outside lighting.
The keyboard’s layout is well-placed; where the arrow keys are a row lower from the rest to give more room for your hands to maneuver and the spacebar has a unique design that makes it easier to reach with your left hand. The power button is now separated from the layout and is placed on the top right corner instead, the same goes with the volume and microphone button placed on the upper left. A dedicated ROG button beside the volume buttons allows you to launch the ROG Gaming Center. The RGB lighting for the keyboard has some several lighting options for customizing the effects, the minor concern is that the lights are a bit dim and will be difficult to see your RGB effects on brighter rooms.
The ROG Strix GL503VD is bundled with useful software from ASUS to further enhance the laptop’s performance. The ROG Gaming Center allows for the overview of the laptop’s condition from storage space to CPU temperature and lets you tweak the performance to your liking. The ROG Aura lets you customize the RGB effects on your keyboard and save presets of your preferred effects, Sonic Studio provides clearer audio with its noise-cancelling features and voice volume stabilization and Sonic Radar gives players an edge to their gaming by visualizing the noise of gunshots, footsteps of other players and its location. ROG GamerFirst IV is the updated version of the GamerFirst software that improves the network stability of your online game sessions by prioritizing the bandwidth distribution to your game from other applications such as downloads and video/music streaming.
In the end, the ROG Strix GL503VD has both the great design and performance for an entry to mid level gaming machine. Its biggest asset is the display, as despite not being an IPS panel, it provides clearer image and smooth framerate as well as a wider viewing angle, another is the battery life, running for around 3 hours, it can last long for a quick game or 2 movies before drying its juice. The biggest gripe is the loud fans when playing performance demanding games as it can be distracting to some who prefer to play with speakers. Despite some concerns on the fan noise, the GL503VD is a good starting laptop for gamers who wants to invest on a gaming laptop with a reasonable price tag and with great performance, it is capable of running some of the latest games with some minor tweaks on the graphical settings to ensure a stable framerate, plus fans of RGB will enjoy the customization on the keyboard that they could play on to match their style.