Asus Zenbook UX501 Review
The Zenbook UX501 is a new laptop made by Taiwanese manufacturer Asus. Officially called the Zenbook Pro UX501, the laptop is priced at around $1,500. Here’s our review.
What Is the Zenbook UX501?
The Asus Zenbook UX501 is a new laptop that comes outfitted with a GTX960M graphics card, an i7 processor, and other high-performance technology designed to power you through everything from gaming to office tasks to video processing.
The new Asus laptop, like other members of the Asus lineup, has been updated to feature the latest Intel Skylake CPUs. The laptop is generally well-reviewed, but faces some stiff competition in its price range from similar laptops like the Dell XPS 15.
So is this UHD laptop worth the price? Let’s take a closer look at its tech specs and performance.
Zenbook UX501 Tech Specs
The Zenbook UX501 comes with all of the following tech specs:
-Display: 15.6 inch touchscreen with 3840×2160 (UHD) resolution
-Processor: Intel 2.6 GHz Core i7 4720HQ
-RAM: 16GB DDR3
-Hard Drive: 512GB SSD
-Video Card: Nvidia GTX960M with 2GB of GDDR5
-Operating System: Windows 10 (or Windows 8 on some older models that are still being sold on Amazon and other retailers)
-Connectivity: 802.11 A/C Wi-Fi, 3 x USB 3.0 Ports (including USB-C port with Thunderbolt 3)
The processor can actually be overclocked (with Turbo) up to 3.6GHz.
Pros Of The Zenbook UX501
The Zenbook UX501, like many higher-priced Asus laptops, is generally praised for its solid metal chassis, which is the first thing you’ll notice about this laptop before you turn it on. The all-metal chassis just feels sleek in your hands.
Reviewers also, understandably, praise the vivid 15.6-inch screen, which delivers UHD resolutions without a hiccup. The GTX 960M graphics card keeps up with most of the latest PC games – although as you’ll learn below, you can’t expect the battery to last long anytime you’re accessing the video card.
The touchscreen is responsive and may help your productivity (assuming you purchased the more intuitive Windows 10 model). However, it’s either something you’ll use a lot or not at all.
Surprisingly, the Zenbook UX501 comes equipped with a full numerical pad – which is something we don’t see from many 15-inch metal laptops. Typically, manufacturers throw out that numerical pad in favor of a sleeker, slimmer design. The keys themselves feel like most other Ultrabook and MacBook keys, which is to say that they feel very nice to the touch and have a crisp, shallow feel. It’s like a MacBook Pro but with softer click feedback.
Battery life is hit and miss depending on your activity. If you’re just doing normal office tasks and browsing the internet, then the battery life should last for around 5 hours. However, as soon as you start doing any performance-intensive tasks, the i7 and GTX970M will begin sucking away your battery life. A more performance-intensive game will cause your battery life to last about 80 to 100 minutes.
Of course, short battery life may not be a problem for most people, because this is a heavier laptop anyway that you’re probably not moving around very often. For the most part, this laptop is designed to be set on a desk and plugged in, in which case it delivers rock-solid performance for the price.
Cons Of The Zenbook UX501
On the negative side of things, the Zenbook UX501’s all-metal chassis can lead to a heavier weight than you might like on your laptop. If you’re going to be doing a lot of transportation with this thing – like taking it to and from school – then you may want to go for a lighter option. The laptop weighs 2.2kg (4.9 pounds).
It’s also not the greatest laptop for outdoor use: the super-glossy screen can make certain viewing angles and bright nesses more difficult. However, those who use it inside away from sunny windows likely won’t notice much of a difference.
Aside from these complaints, reviewers will often complain about the average speaker quality. Despite the fact that the laptop features speakers from Bang & Olufsen, they’re nothing too special.
Should The Zenbook UX501 Be Your Next Laptop?
The Zenbook UX501 is cheaper than similarly-specced 15-inch laptops from Apple and Dell while offering the same high-quality performance – thanks to the Skylake i7 processor and the GTX 960M video card.
It’s generally well-reviewed across the internet, where reviewers appreciate the solid performance, competitive price tag, and sexy metal chassis. Typically, when you get a cheaper laptop with similar tech specs as its competitors, you need to sacrifice case design. With the Asus Zenbook UX501, that’s not the case, as the solid metal chassis gives this laptop a luxury feel.
Ultimately, the Zenbook UX501 has few downsides compared to the Dell XPS 15 – a slightly worse display, worse speaker quality, and worse battery life are the key drawbacks – but if you can save a few hundred dollars on the Zenbook UX501 compared to the XPS 15, then you may decide these drawbacks are worth the price difference.