ASUS offers a wide assortment of gaming laptops under “Republic of Gamers”, or 'ROG', with models such as the G752 lineup, the liquid cooled models in the GX800 series, and a few models for those who need more gaming per dollar. Today we are looking at the ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS, which ASUS labels “Compact and Potent”. The Strix branding has morphed a bit over the years, and now tends to signify the more economical products from ASUS, and the GL502VS certainly fits that bill, with quite a bit of hardware packed into a reasonable budget.

There are a couple of models of the GL502, and the VS version here for review is the top end version, featuring an Intel Core i7-6700HQ, NVIDIA GTX 1070, and up to 32 GB of DDR4. There are both 3840x2160 and 1920x1080 displays available, and both feature NVIDIA G-SYNC for a smoother gaming experience. SSDs are available for the boot drive, up to 512 GB, and ASUS also includes a 1 TB 5400 or 7200 rpm HDD for bulk storage to cope with the size of today’s games.

The laptop is fairly compact for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop, with the GL502VS model being 30.1 mm (1.18 inches) thick, and 2.34 kg (5.15 lbs) in weight. But it is not the thinnest or lightest gaming laptop of this size. The lower powered GL502VM model drops the GPU down to a GTX 1060, shaves 7 mm off the height, and 140 grams off the weight.

ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS
CPU Intel Core i7-6700HQ
4C/8T
2.6-3.5 GHz
6MB Cache
45W TDP
GPU NVIDIA GTX 1070 4/8GB
2048 CUDA Cores
1442 - 1645 (Boost) MHz
Memory 2 SODIMM Slots, 32 GB Max DDR4
Display 15.6" 1920x1080 IPS 60 Hz w/G-SYNC
Optional 3840x2160 IPS w/G-SYNC
Storage 1 TB 5400/7200rpm HDD
Optional 128/256/512GB M.2 SSD, SATA or PCIe
I/O 3 x USB 3.0 Ports
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-C)
1 x HDMI 2.0 output Port (with HDCP)
1 x mini DisplayPort 1.3 output Ports
SD Card Slot
1 x Headset Jack
1 x Realtek PCIe GbE RJ-45 LAN (10/100/1000Mbps)
Dimensions 390 x 266 x 30 mm
15.35 x 10.47 x 1.18 inches
Weight 2.34 kg / 5.16 lbs
Battery 62 Wh, 180W AC Adapter
Wireless Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC8260
2x2:2 with Bluetooth 4.1
Price $1650+

As Tested: 6700HQ, 16GB (1x16) DDR4-2400 ,
GTX 1070, 256GB SM951 M.2, G-SYNC FHD
$1650 USD

Although I’m not a huge fan of ASUS’s laptop naming schemes, I am a fan of them putting in the latest and greatest technology into their devices. They were very quick out of the gate to transition to SSDs, PCIe SSDs, and USB-C, and that’s the case here as well. The GL502VS features an NVMe Samsung drive, along with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, but they’ve also kept plenty of older I/O as well, including three USB 3.0 ports, mini Display Port, HDMI, RJ45, and a SD card reader.

Wireless is supplied by the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 card, which has been a strong performer on all laptops this year. The 62 Wh battery is certainly on the small size for a gaming notebook, but as with most gaming notebooks, they are mostly designed to be plugged into the wall for almost all scenarios, with a battery for the odd time where you need to be a bit more mobile.

The GL502 lineup is quite a bit of performance for not a lot of money, with the GTX 1060 based GL502VM starting around $1300, and the higher performance GTX 1070 based GL502VS starting around $1600.

Design
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  • mobutu - Sunday, December 11, 2016 - link

    Look at those big fat ugly bezels ... pathetic @2016
    Nowadays I'm not even reading a review if bezels arent slim. No way I'm buying that shit.
    This is valid for monitors too.
    Reply
  • Mikuni - Sunday, December 11, 2016 - link

    Fire the guy who keeps butchering the Insert key on their latest laptops; I returned my last Asus for that, won't buy again with this bullshit. Reply
  • sarth1 - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    How about testing this laptop with recent games. Civ 6 fine, but seriously, Dragon Age 3? Try it with Witcher 3, Dishonored 2... Reply
  • seanh81 - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    Bought this one and owned it for a month.
    ASUS ROG GL502VS-DB71 15.6" Full­HD Gaming Laptop,Intel Core i7­6700HQ,NVIDIA GTX 1070,256GB PCIE SSD+1TB HDD,Windows 10,Black

    Month into owning it the OS disappeared after plugging the laptop in. Re-loading OS not an option as Samsung SSD would not be read consistently so opened RMA and sent it back. Paid my own shipping to return it. Got it back and they reloaded the OS. OS installed on the IDE drive overwriting my data drive and the SSD is not being read in device manager or disk management. Asus will not refund my shipping. No information provided as to what they performed on the laptop except problem: error message. Asus manager says they perform qc/testing before sending laptops back but states that informational is internal and will not share. They wanted me to return the laptop again.. no confidence in there support. Returning it to retailer
    Reply
  • sundragon - Friday, December 23, 2016 - link

    This scares me as I've had mine a week and it's been performing well thus far. Reply
  • VirtualRay - Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - link

    I bought this laptop a month ago or so, and I've been having a blast with it! It's worked great so far for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift + Touch. I was actually able to run the Rift + Touch and a Kinect at the same time (using a type C adapter to plug in the Kinect).

    I've been able to simultaneously play WoW in 4k on my 4k TV while watching streaming video in my web browser, too, which was pretty sweet. This laptop is a real beast!

    The only complaint I have about the laptop is that I ran into a lot of weird boot hangs when I had secure boot enabled. I didn't dig into it much though, so I'm not 100% sure whether it was Asus' BIOS' fault or mine.

    Oh, and it gets a little wind-noisy when you run perf-heavy software like Gears of War 4 or VR games. It's not a problem for VR at all, obviously, since you're wearing headphones, but it could be a little annoying for flat-screened gaming. Lightweight games like WoW didn't tax the graphics card enough to make it spin up at 1080p, though.
    Reply
  • Nephelai - Wednesday, December 21, 2016 - link

    Did you test whether this laptop can be woken from USB external devices? I just bought the P35x v6 only to find it doesn't (not supported as per Gigabyte tech). This is disappointing for me as I often use the laptop as a day to day machine plugged into a monitor, KB and mouse and it's a pain to open the lid and press a key to wake up.

    I'd be interested to know if the Asus does wake up (so I could swap) or if disabling it is a thing with higher end laptops. Maybe to prevent ppl gaming and overheating with the lid closed?
    Reply
  • sundragon - Friday, December 23, 2016 - link

    So I've owned this laptop for about a week and I've got some observations and reservations so bare with me. I’ve also updated it to the most recent BIOS .300 and that corrected some of the issues with battery drain, keyboard, etc.
    I bought this along with a 2016 Razer 14 1060 to see which one I'd like better. I got the laptops because those of us who live in small apartments in the city don't have the luxury of building a desktop PC to game and not a console.
    Why didn’t the review compare it to a 1060 laptop? That would benefit people trying to decide if they want to purchase a 1060 vs 1070.
    1. The build quality is good but the materials are CHEAP and the logos/accents make it look like I'm a 16 year old and I live in my parent's basement because a Ko0l H@cKerb0i ... It's almost stereotypical /sigh... How about basic black or silver? (Yes this is totally a personal preference).
    2. The little orange speakers work well compared to the Razer 1060's. They are louder but less clear. Where they fail is in ergonomics, my left wrist almost always covers the speaker and it's got a noticeable effect on sound quality. Mounting them higher on the deck (like the Razer) or on the front edge (like Alienware) would have taken care of this.
    3. More ergonomic issues: How about a beveled edge on the deck so it's not digging into your wrists when you try to play? These reviews are great for components but holy crap, please spend a little time playing with the system to test out simple stuff like that. I've got to put it on a laptop desk at an angle to correct. The Razer1060 beats it in ergonomics hands down.
    4. Graphics - It's absurdly fast. Like everything you throw at it currently is buttery smooth with everything set to ULTRA. Witcher 3 with all the setting set to ULTRA and hair turned on was pure joy. I will say the Razer160 plays everything as well but the 1070 will be more future proof in a year or two. Plus if you hook this up to a UHD or 4K monitor, you can actually play the same titles, just not on ULTRA
    5. BLOATWARE - Really!?!? I love how this article says there wasn't any - I'm not sure if it's because they send it knowing it would be reviewed but I spent an hour uninstalling all sorts of BS from the computer that have NOTHING to do with gaming. I left the basic ROG software - Literally a few GB of data. Why is this an issue today? FWIW, the Razer had none, literally nothing aside from the basic drivers and Windows Defender for Virus protection...
    6. Battery life… The screen flickers when I play Witcher 3 on battery, not sure what causes this but plugging it in fixes that issue. This thing is meant to be near power for any use thanks to G-Sync goodness.
    7. 4.8 LBS?!? ASUS marketing lies!! LOL. I believe they are weight thinner 502 with the 1060 not the thicker 502 with the 1070. It’s 5.7 LBS – please weigh it before stating that in the review. OH and the power adapter weighs 1.3 lbs, and you won’t be leaving the house without it so the total package weight is important to note (at least with G-Sync laptop battery life). TOTAL package weight for me is 7lbs if I want to move it out of the house (which I probably won’t).
    8. Storage and System performance: It’s is buttery smooth (and it should be). It’s got a 256GB SSD plus a 7200 TB HDD, which is a lot better than the measly 256 GB SSD in the Razer. The screen on the Razer is smaller but slightly better quality – really only noticeable when you’re looking at them side to side.
    9. Fans are inaudible at idle and audible but don’t overpower the speakers when I’m playing Witcher 3. The Razer Blade 1060’s fans are audible at idle and sound like a small turbine when playing Witcher 3. Thermals – The razer being thinner and aluminum transmits heat to your hands. Temps are well within normal ranges when playing demanding games but the benefit of plastic plays out here where the heat isn’t transmitted to your hands. No throttling for either laptop.
    It’s a great value, I bought it for $1399 before tax on sale at Microcenter. The Razer is $1799 with a “weaker” 1060 and only 256GB of SSD. But you get 4.2 lbs weight and the power adapter is tiny and .9lbs for about 5lbs total package weight. An overall 2lbs difference.
    If you’re looking for a purely gaming machine, then it’s the one I’d recommend. If you plan on using the laptop outside and care about build quality, and what the aesthetics look like (yes I will be the first that this is subjective) then go with a Razer or a Gigabyte which are understated. You can cover up the Razer fanboy logo with a Dbrand skin to boot.

    I'm still on the fence as to which one I'll keep. A lot to like about it but the ergonomics, and build materials apparently matter as much as the cost/build quality/better GPU.

    Any questions or hate?
    Reply
  • Hal422 - Friday, April 14, 2017 - link

    I believe the flicker when unplugged is due to the 180 watt PSU the 1070 needs 200 at full power. Reply
  • inperfectdarkness - Tuesday, January 03, 2017 - link

    I was unable to find any of these with 4k screen AND the 1070 GTX card. I ended up getting the Gigabyte P35X v6 instead. P35X is not only thinner, lighter & cheaper...if I'm going to be saddled with only 1 backlighting color on my keyboard...I'd rather have white. Reply

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