Owning a laptop is very useful for your work, play, and even as a means of expression. There are many great laptop manufacturers out there who have excellent machines. Some of the top manufacturers today are Acer, Dell, HP, and MSI, but there is one company crafts laptops that are both affordable and performant and that computer manufacturer is Taiwanese company Asus. I am a bit of a big fan of the company, I have a desktop from them, and I actually own the Asus GL502VM-DB71, which I use with my HTC Vive, but which is the best Asus laptop on the market? Let’s take a look at some great contenders.
Asus in a Nutshell
Asus was founded 27 years ago in Taiwan, and in that time, they’ve released a lot of great laptops and computers. Keeping up with trends and providing great gaming and work options has been their calling card. Today, laptop-oriented publications like Laptop Mag greatly favor Asus laptops. In fact, in 2016, two Asus products made it into the top five spots for their top laptop rankings.
What to Look for in Your New Asus Laptop
With that in mind, before we get to my reviews, let’s take a look at some of the features that you should consider that I think are very important in a modern laptop.
This is effectively the brain of your computer. While you don’t store anything here, all of those complex and incredibly fast computations start right here in the CPU. Processor technology is progressing quickly in the laptop world and Asus does a pretty good job of picking great processors for each of its released laptops.
As a general rule, I like to shoot for multiple cores – typically four, but for a lot of processes two will do. I’d also shoot for an i5 or i7 processor, but there are other somewhat equivalent models out there. Some Asus laptops use more efficient processors that use up less battery power so that the laptop itself has a longer operational duration. If this is something that you’re looking for, there are models out there for you, but for the most part, the laptops in our review are in the Intel i7 series of processors.
Laptop Mag has an excellent write-up about the Intel chips that go into a modern laptop and how they work in a hierarchical system.
Graphics Card (GPU)
Ah, I know there are some gamers like myself out there, and whether you’re playing World of Warcraft or last year’s Fallout 4, if you want to game, you’ll need a dedicated graphics processor. I once learned the hard way that integrated Intel graphics can’t manage newer games when I tried to run Mass Effect 2 on a cheapo Dell laptop, so to help you to avoid this, all of the laptops in my reviews are kitted out with dedicated Nvidia cards.
If you really want to do some amazing gaming, then the Intel Pascal series of processors will allow you to venture into the world of Virtual Reality. This genre is growing with VR games like Resident Evil 7 providing some truly intense scares with some hyper realistic graphics. If you’re looking for an immersive video game experience; even without the VR, then shoot for an Nvidia chip that’s a GTX 1060 or better. Asus has several great laptops with this level of power; two of which you’ll see in my review section.
RAM is how your computer quickly stores and accesses the information on your hard drive. In my opinion, in 2017, there’s no real reason to shoot for anything lower than 8 GB of RAM. This amount of RAM in your laptop will provide some good gaming performance and will also keep your computer running relatively stutter-free (unless you’re doing intensive work).
If you really want some good performance, then I suggest shooting for 24 or even 32 GB of RAM for your new Asus laptop.
Hard Drive (HDD or SSD)
You have to store your media files, games, and work documents somewhere, right? There are typically two types of hard drives on the market today; HDD or mechanical hard drives and solid-state drives. Mechanical units spin and make a bit of a racket but are cheaper and fairly reliable. Solid-state drives are even less likely to break down, are genuinely faster, but are also a bit more expensive. While the price per gigabyte is beginning to approach parity, which hard drive you pick will greatly depend on your performance needs and your budget.
In any situation, I recommend picking a hard drive that’s at least half a terabyte (500 GB), this way you won’t run out of space too quickly and have to depend on portable storage like key drives and external hard drives.
Today, the display on a laptop is becoming increasingly important. There are 4K options, touchscreen options, and choices between TN or IPS display systems. Any display that’s on your laptop should have rich contrast, a good level of brightness; and in my opinion, a healthy amount of resolution. These days, it’s preferable to have an Ultra HD amount of pixels – or 4K, but if you don’t want to spend the extra money for this resolution, a standard HD display is also very useful.
The first laptop in my review is the ASUS X550VX-MH71. This laptop has a lot of good performance for a machine that only costs $700. It doesn’t have a current generation Pascal graphics chipset, so you won’t be VRing it up that much with this machine. That being said, it runs a Nvidia GTX 950M GPU that can easily run some of the more modern games and graphic intensive applications like AutoCAD.
While it seems that Asus cut some corners like only providing a baseline level of RAM (8 GB) to bring the price down, it also has some impressive components like an i7-6700HQ, which is a quad-core, high performing processor for the price point. In fact, in Laptop Media’s review, they said that the “X550VX’s performance is unmatched in this price range.” It comes with the latest Windows 10 OS.
Our second Asus laptop is a great lightweight machine that’s perfect for taking your computing on the road; it even has a dedicated graphics card onboard that can grant a somewhat reasonable level of gaming chops. One of my favorite features on the Asus ZenBook UX303UB is its fairly spacious solid-state hard drive. While some may balk at 500 GB of space, the fact that this is on a $1300 laptop is amazing, because; as a rule, solid-state outperforms rotational drives in almost every way.
As mentioned, this laptop is very lightweight; it only weighs about 3.2 pounds and is also incredibly thin at 0.7 inches in thickness. This featherweight form factor makes this a very portable PC that still manages to pack in a quad-core i7-6500U and 12 GB of memory.
When I mentioned some of the possible display features to look for, I talked about IPS displays and this has a great one. IPS stands for in-plane switching and these types of monitors are widely considered to be some of the best for media viewing, art viewing, and design. This is because IPS monitors don’t lose viewability when you look at them from different angles and the colors are also some of the most vivid that you can find.
To round off the great display on this laptop, the graphics card is a Nvidia GTX 960M, which can provide some great graphics; just don’t expect top-of-the-line gaming or VR. Additionally, Asus packed in 16 GB of RAM and an i7-6700HQ, which is the same powerful chip found in our first reviewed laptop.
My only complaints about this laptop are that despite its IPS panel display, its glossy screen can catch a glare from time to time. Additionally, it has an okay battery life of six hours.
Our first VR-ready laptop is the Asus GL502VM-DB71. Outside of its compatibility with devices like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, this laptop has some overall solid performance that can be used for gaming or even more professional tasks like video encryption and editing. Its Nvidia GTX 1060 has a full 6 GB of video RAM, so you can really run a lot on this laptop.
I really like how Asus incorporated two hard drives into this laptop. One drive is a solid-state unit and is a half terabyte and the other is a mechanical drive that is a full terabyte. This combination one and a half terabytes is nice for both storing files and ensuring quick program load ups. My chief gripe is the battery life – it’s only rated at a little more than three hours, which will be even more reduced when the laptop is taxed.
Now we’re playing with power; this Asus ROG G752VS-XS74K is as high performing as you might expect from a $3000 laptop. This means that it has one of the more powerful Pascal chipsets; the GTX 1070 that comes packed with an impressive 8 GB of video RAM. In addition to this, it has an excellent 64 GB of RAM.
Additionally, this gaming-ready laptop has the latest Intel Kaby Lake i7-7820HK quad-core processor that is even unlocked for overclocking. This laptop has the same storage options as our last; a 500 GB solid-state and a 1 TB HDD. The display is nice for gaming because it is matte, which means that glare shouldn’t be much of an issue.
My only issue with this laptop is for the price, they probably could have thrown in more storage space.
Table of Best Asus Laptops
|Asus ZenBook UX303UB||$1,300|
|ASUS ROG G752VS-XS74K||$2,950|
Wrapping it Up
Asus definitely knows how to make a quality laptop. All of the best Asus laptops that I’ve reviewed here are designed to provide some great performance for Asus devotees like myself and non-devotees alike. If you have any questions about these Asus models or you just have general inquiries, pop a comment in the comment section, and I’ll get back to you.