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ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 review – industrial package with a huge potential

Here is another member of the Zephyrus family. It is part of one of the biggest gaming brands – Republic of Gamers. As we tested the highest tiers – the S-series, we are eager to see how a mid-tier is going to feel and work. This is why we got the ROG Zephyrus M GU502. Expectedly it looks like the ROG Zephyrus S GX502. In fact from some distance away, one would easily mistake them for one another.

However, there are some features that distinguish the Zephyrus M GU502 from its more premium sibling. For example – it doesn’t use the proprietary design of the lifted base but is more conventional – like the ROG Strix series. Additionally, on the inside, the 15-inch version can be maxed out with the RTX 2060, while the other option is the GTX 1660 Ti. Display-wise, ASUS offers you two incredibly swift 1080 IPS panels – one with a 144Hz refresh rate and one with the whopping 240Hz.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-rog-zephyrus-m-gu502/

Contents


Specs Sheet

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 review – industrial package with a huge potential - Specs

  • LG LP156WFG-SPB3 (LGD0625)
  • Color accuracy  2.2  1.1
  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 4000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 48GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home
  • Battery
  • 76Wh, 4-cell, 76Wh, 66Wh, 4-cell
  • Dimensions
  • 360 x 252 x 18.9 mm (14.17" x 9.92" x 0.74")
  • Weight
  • 1.90 kg (4.2 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-C
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps), DisplayPort, Sleep and Charge, HDMI
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI
  • 2.0b
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ac (2x2)
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.0
  • Audio jack
  • 2x 3.5mm audio jacks
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Kensington Lock

What’s in the box?

Expectedly for a gaming device of this price, it comes in a premium box. Inside, there is the laptop itself, some paper manuals and a 230W power brick. We would like to compliment the organized packaging, that always leaves you with good feelings after you unbox the laptop.


Design and construction

ASUS has given the ROG Zephyrus M GU502 a boxy, even edgy look, that looks pretty stunning. In order to build a sturdy chassis that is only 18.9 mm thick and weighs 1.90 kg, the manufacturer had to improvise with unorthodox materials. This is why this laptop has a magnesium-alloy body that not only feels very strong but is also pleasant to the touch. Also, it comes in two colors – Glacier Blue and Brushed Black, both of which look simply stunning.

Its lid is capable of single-handed lifts, and it impressed us with its super thin bezels around the top and the sides. Interestingly, this is yet another laptop that excludes the camera from the entire build – something we don’t really care about since if you want to stream games, you wouldn’t do it with the crappy “HD” camera, manufacturers put on their laptops.

Beneath that, there is an RGB backlit keyboard which, of course, is AURA compatible. Actually, it has its dedicated AURA buttons, that can switch between modes and increase/decrease its brightness. Well… they are not exactly dedicated, but more precisely embedded into the “arrow” keys. As of the rest of the keyboard, it is pretty comfortable for gaming with very clicky feedback and decent key travel.

Additionally, there are four really dedicated buttons above it. With them, you can adjust the volume or mute your multimedia and you can call the ARMOURY CRATE app. On the other side of the keyboard – below it – is located the touchpad which happened to be amazing. It is super responsive, very accurate and in combination with the 144Hz display feels super immersive. Moreover, it is centered to the palm-rest area, unlike the majority of the gaming laptop touchpads.

Let’s turn the laptop upside down. There we see two ventilation grills directly beneath the fans. In addition to that, there is one that coincides with the heat pipes, one for the SSD and two for the speakers.

Ports

This laptop’s connectivity is scattered across both of its sides. On the left is where you charge your laptop and can connect to an RJ-45 connector, HDMI 2.0b port, a USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 2) and two audio jacks, while on the right, there are two more USB Type-As (this type 3.1 (Gen. 1)), and a USB Type-C 3.1 (Gen. 2), but no Thunderbolt.


Disassembly and upgrade options

This is one of the few devices, on which we would have loved to see a service lid. Can you guess the main reason for that? Yep… there are 15 screws (Phillips-head) that you need to remove before you pry the bottom plate up. Interestingly, inside we see pretty much the same chassis as the ROG Zephyrus S GX502.

Basically, the only difference to its more premium brother is the number of heat pipes and the fact that two of them are a little more narrower on the ROG Zephyrus M GU502. Anyways, this is completely fine, as this laptop maxes out at RTX 2060, as the S-series is topped with an RTX 2070.

Weirdly, this model comes with only one RAM DIMM, which means the rest (16GB) is soldered to the motherboard. This is not entirely a bad thing, though, as a minimum of 16GB is still plenty. Additionally, there are two M.2 NVMe-enabled SSD slots, one of which supports only PCIe drives, whereas the other can house either a PCIe or a SATA one.

Battery-wise, we see the same 76Wh unit as in the ROG Zephyrus S GX502 – it is a little smaller than those on the competition, but it will certainly do the job.


Display quality

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 has a 144 Hz Full HD panel – LG LP156WFG-SPD3 (LGD0625). Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness of 353 nits in the middle of the screen and 332 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 11%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7180K – colder the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 6970K.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 980:1 (960:1 after profiling)

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 94% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 9 ms.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

The display of ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness at any point. This means it is comfortable for long gaming sessions without harming your eyes in this aspect.


Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusion

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 has a 144 HZ IPS panel with Full HD resolution, decent maximum brightness and comfortable viewing angles. Additionally, it is able to display most of the colors on the Internet (94% of sRGB) and its backlight lacks PWM. When the specific profile is applied, the display becomes color-accurate enough for Web designers and its super-fast response times would please the gamers.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS LG LP156WFG-SPB3 (LGD0625).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 has great speakers with a Smart AMP technology that boosts the bass and dynamics of the sound. Its low, mid and high tones are clear of deviations.


Drivers

You can find all of the drivers and utilities of this laptop, should you reinstall your operating system here: https://www.asus.com/Laptops/ROG-Zephyrus-M-GU502/HelpDesk_Download/

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. Similarly to the ROG Zephyrus S GX502, the Zephyrus M GU502 has a 76Wh battery pack on board.

It was enough for five hours and a half of either Web browsing and battery life.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.


CPU options

The CPU of choice here is the six-core Core i7-9750H. It has 12MB of cache and it is able to go from a base frequency of 2.60 GHz all the way up to 4.50 GHz on a single core.


GPU options

On the GPU-side there are two pretty similar graphics cards – the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1660 Ti. In terms of raw performance both of them are doing great and on the same level. With that said, the only thing you need to take into consideration is whether you need the Ray-Tracing capabilities of the RTX 2060, as it is given or take, the only difference between the two.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 (2019) GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 (2019) models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU502 (2019) model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average90 fps59 fps44 fps

Far Cry 5Full HD, Normal (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average77 fps75 fps72 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, MAX (Check settings)
Average92 fps64 fps42 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
Average69 fps63 fps43 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
Average69 fps66 fps47 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Core i7-9750H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU5023.59 GHz (B+38%)@ 77°C3.59 GHz (B+38%)@ 84°C2.84 GHz (B+9%)@ 76°C
ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX5023.77 GHz (B+45%)@ 87°C3.69 GHz (B+42%)@ 90°C2.93 GHz (B+13%)@ 76°C
Lenovo Legion Y740 17″3.31 GHz (B+27%)@ 93°C3.35 GHz (B+29%)@ 93°C3.00 GHz (B+15%)@ 80°C
Acer Predator Helios 300 15 (2019)2.78 GHz (B+7%)@ 63°C3.03 GHz (B+18%)@ 68°C2.98 GHz (B+10%)@ 72°C
Lenovo Legion Y5402.78 GHz (B+7%)@ 74°C3.08 GHz (B+18%)@ 90°C2.87 GHz (B+10%)@ 79°C
ASUS ROG G5313.41 GHz (B+31%)@ 95°C3.23 GHz (B+24%)@ 95°C2.72 GHz (B+5%)@ 79°C
HP Omen 17 20193.44 GHz (B+32%)@ 86°C2.74 GHz (B+5%)@ 71°C2.67 GHz (B+3%)@ 71°C

CPU-wise the laptop managed to do extremely well. It started off with a good 3.59 GHz, which it was able to hold on to for at least after the second checkpoint. Additionally, the temperature never surpassed 90C, as we saw from the Zephyrus S GX502. However, we should note that it was also running on slightly higher clock speeds. On the other side, it seems like ASUS are using a weird fan curve, that boosts the fans in order to cool down the CPU, and when a certain temperature is reached they roll back to a very quiet condition before it starts thrusting them again.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
ASUS ROG Zephyrus M GU5021454 MHz @ 76°C1394 MHz @ 85°C
MSI GS65 Stealth 8SE1305 MHz @ 77°C1267 MHz @ 80°C
Dell G5 15 55901400 MHz @ 72°C1438 MHz @ 70°C
Lenovo Legion Y7401526 MHz @ 70°C1499 MHz @ 74°C

Clearly, the ROG Zephyrus M GU502 is not kind to its graphics card. Apparently, the cooling headroom from the CPU is simply not enough for the RTX 2060 to live well. On the other side, we didn’t notice any inadequate throttling.

Verdict

It is becoming ever so hard to pick a laptop that will do the job for you. Whether you are a gamer, use it for business or you are a student, the options would differ extremely for one another. Usually, there is not one laptop that would be – okay this is the best one, I cannot get anything better! Of course, you can. Especially, given the fact that ever so often different retailers or the manufacturers themselves put some extreme discounts on chosen devices.

With that said, we want to say that the ROG Zephyrus M GU502 is one of the great laptops for gaming on the market, should your budget allow it. It has subtle design features, that drive it away from the old days of aggressive and bulky ROG laptops. In fact, it weighs less than 2 kg, it is thinner than 19mm and is build out of magnesium-alloy, which makes it extremely durable, a premium to the touch and manages to keep the weight down. This didn’t prevent ASUS from putting a 76Wh battery pack inside of it though – it will last you 5 hours and a half of Web browsing or video playback.

As of the performance, we noticed that it is able to run all of the latest AAA titles at Full HD and ultra settings. However, if you decide to put the settings just a little bit down in order to get more fps and a smoother image, it lacks behind its competitors like the Legion Y740 and the MSI GS65 Stealth. Additionally, it ran pretty hotly during gaming – both on the inside and on the outer body. Nevertheless, this is something usual for a laptop of this size – the MSI GS65 Stealth also has this problem.

So should you pick the 144Hz or the 240Hz IPS panel? Well, we had on our hands the former (LG LP156WFG-SPD3 (LGD0625)) and it was astonishing. It has decent maximum brightness, fast response times, it doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness and covers 94% of sRGB. In addition to that, the laptop can be used by Web designers, as the colors are pretty color accurate, and they can become even better if you install our Gaming and Web design profile.

What we didn’t like is the lack of Thunderbolt support and an SD card reader. However, you also have to consider that this laptop has RAID 0 support and its keyboard and touchpad are pretty alright for a gaming device of this size.

Finally – the age-old question – should you buy it? Hell, yeah! It is an amazing device that does a great job of immersing you into your game. With all of its hardware and software features – like the Armoury Crate, you can easily personalize your device.

Pros

  • Acceptable battery life
  • Decent input devices
  • Good color coverage – 94% of sRGB (LG LP156WFG-SPD3 (LGD0625)) and accurate color representation
  • Doesn’t use PWM to adjust brightness (LG LP156WFG-SPD3 (LGD0625))
  • Super responsive 144Hz display with a lot of built-in customization options (LG LP156WFG-SPD3 (LGD0625))
  • Supports RAID 0
  • Thin and light magnesium-alloy design


Cons

  • Gets pretty hot after long gaming sessions
  • Lacks an SD card slot and Thunderbolt support

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/asus-rog-zephyrus-m-gu502/