We have witnessed the growth of gaming devices globally, it took merely 3 years for the OEMs to launch and grow each of their gaming sub-brands. Currently, the competition is tight since whoever takes the top spot in this category will eventually have domino effect on the branding of their products as a whole. ASUS is a perfect example here in the Philippines. 3 years ago, their ranking in notebook market share was about between 4th to 5th place only, their direction back then were more into budget-level laptops which is hard to market and sell against the competition. Year 2015 is when they decided to launch Republic Of Gamers (ROG) locally. They allotted budget to it by hosting media events, roadshows, esports competition and sales trainings nationwide. They brought more ROG-branded laptops in their product portfolios which surprisingly embraced by the end-users.
Fast forward to 2017 and ROG now has lots of variants to choose from, ranging from a whopping 300k laptop down to just 40k. But what exactly is the right gaming notebook? Given that you’re on a tight budget and wanted to have the best portable gaming device. We take a look at the latest ROG GL503 (Scar Edition). Read on for our full review below:
Design language has changed with the ROG GL503, from orange/red/black accents, ASUS made it look simpler with black aluminum with diagonal lines leaving just the red ROG logo that lights up when in use. Although I prefer the look of its predecessor the GL553 for a more gamer look, the GL503’s aesthetics and design gives it a premium finish since it does have resemblance with their current flagship, ASUS ROG Zephyrus. Overall, I don’t have any complains and it looks really nice.
Upon lifting the aluminum lid of the GL503, you can see its perfectly placed RGB -backlit keyboard. I can rest both hands while typing comfortably, although when I play games, every press on the key seems to feel a little too shallow compared to the others. It has a pre-installed ROG Aura which allows you to customize and mix the colors of the four (4) regions of the keyboard.
I like the idea of having a dedicated keys for the volume adjustments, microphone and ROG Gaming center because I can easily access them during gameplay and monitor the temperature of my device.
Next we take a look at the ports available for the GL503. On the left side is where you can locate the RJ45 ethernet jack for wired network connection, display port, HDMI 1.4, two (2) USB 3s and a 3.5 audio jack. On the right side are the Kensington lock, a USB 3.0 and 2.0 and a USB Type-C (Not a thunderbolt 3) and memory card slot.
ASUS decided to remove the ODD (Optical Disk Drive) which is a good thing since we mostly just download the games via blizzard or steam. It also helps more air to flow in to help regulate the processor and graphics card.
The trackpad feels solid and balanced when pressing it. I tried placing my finger from all sides and surprisingly I didn’t encounter any inaccuracies nor deadzones with the pointer. The Windows 10 gestures are enabled in the trackpad at default which allows me to also use the device for my office works.
The ROG GL503 has a 15.6-inch Full HD display with matte anti-glare. The color and details are quiet good, I actually noticed it during gameplay, the colors are more saturated compared to other models that I used for gaming. The 250 brightness nits is just enough for me, other than that I have no complains when it comes to display. In terms of screen refresh rate we’re using the 60Hz model but you can get the 120Hz with GTX 1060 which is slightly priced higher.
I have nothing much to say with the sound quality since I’m not an audiophile, but for me its just okay. However I noticed that it produces less bass as the volume increases but the loudness levels is just good enough for listening to music. Fortunately, it has a pre-installed Sonic Studio III to help you balance the sound settings in a jiffy.
Inside the GL503 is an Intel Core i7-7700HQ quad core processor with hyper-threading technology and 4GB of VRAM GTX1050 GDDR5. As what the title of this review says, this is for casual to mid-gamers. it means it can run most games in 1080p at 60fps. I tried playing Overwatch at high settings to it and didn’t notice any lags even at its fastest pace. Dota 2 is no question with this, even at its maxed settings the GL503 can run it buttery smooth (given that you have great internet connection while playing).
PUBG is a different story, it requires a GTX1060 to run at high settings in 60fps or higher. But what you can do with the GL503 is to just set it to medium or low settings to achieve 60fps at 1080p. Here’s a video for reference (take note this one has a different processor, results may change)
In terms of memory and storage, it houses an 8GB DDR4 RAM at 2400Mhz. You can upgrade it up to 32GB but it gets a little tricky in terms of accessing the RAM slots. ASUS made a dedicated “easy access” on the right part of the unit. This easy access is where you can find the additional RAM slot and the HDD/m.2 slots. The other one is separated in a much harder location. The default storage of the ROG GL503 GTX1050 variant comes in at 2.5-inch 1TB HDD and m.2 SATA 128GB SSD. Preferably I’ll upgrade it to 2.5-inch SATA SSD for faster launching of applications and games.
Temperature is kicks in as high as 60-75 degrees at the top part when I played overwatch for 2-3 hours straight.
Expect the battery life of this unit to be underwhelming. With only 64Whr to power-up such powerful processor and graphics card I managed to squish 3.5 hours of work-related stuff and haven’t even played a single game with it.
I like what ASUS did to the ROG GL503, from changing the design language, getting rid of the ODD to good overall performance. This is actually an ideal gaming laptop for those who wanted to play the latest games without breaking the bank.
You can get the latest ROG GL503 with the retail price of just PHP69,995.00 and also ASUS has a Christmas promo in which you can get Php8,000.00 worth of freebies from November 15th, 2017 to January 15th, 2018.
FULL MECHANICS BELOW: