ASUS ROG Strix GL503 Review: Gateway To PC Gaming?

by John Nieves  February 20, 2018

We review ASUS’ ROG Strix GL503

For PC gamers on the go, ASUS’ ROG notebooks are usually the default brand to buy. But let’s face it, ASUS’ offerings are not cheap, and you’ll have to drop quite a few thousand pesos to get a decent gaming notebook that’ll run today’s games.

The Taiwanese company is aiming to change that with their relatively entry-level ROG Strix GL503. It’s one of the most affordable gaming PC’s in the company’s current roster, sporting decent hardware that’ll run most modern games on medium with decent frames.

Shares many of the same design cues of its more expensive brother

While the Strix GL503 is technically an entry-level model, that didn’t stop ASUS from infusing it with some of the design cues present in their top-of-the-line thin and light Zephyrus notebook.

The GL503 has an understated elegant vibe to it, which is a nice change of pace from the RGB craze that’s been assaulting our senses ever since it became the norm.

The brushed metal lid has the trademark ROG logo bathed in red, which tells everyone in the immediate vicinity that you are indeed rocking a gaming notebook.¬†The chassis is also metal from the looks of it, and gets the same nice black coloration that’s present on the lid.

The only downside to the overall design is how much of a fingerprint magnet it is. If you use the GL503 as your daily driver, you should get used to seeing unsightly smudges all over the thing. It’s not the sort of thing to bother us honestly, but if you’re the OCD type, then the GL503 may not be for you.

The keyboard is big and spacious, and the notebook is big enough for a numpad on the side. The keys are backlit, and you can customize the colors according to your taste, with four distinct zones that can be customized independent from each other.

As far as the actual feel of the keyboard, it’s pretty dope. It’s not mechanical of course, but key travel feels great, and typing on it for extended periods of time doesn’t feel like a chore.

The trackpad is another matter entirely though. We found that its palm rejection is woefully inadequate, and doesn’t feel as responsive as it should be. We suggest you buy a good mouse and plug it in there instead.

There’s plenty of ports available for you to use, which includes 3 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB Type-C, 1 HDMI port, 1 mini DisplayPort, 1 Ethernet port, 3.5mm jack plus an SD card reader.

Display looks great for what it is

The GL503 packs a 15.6-inch, full HD LED 60Hz panel. If there’s one thing that really stands out with the GL503, it’s the display, as it’s pretty bright, clear and crisp considering the price of the notebook. Colors look accurate, and games really pop on the notebook’s display when we were using it. There’s an even more expensive version of the GL503 that upgrades the display to a 120Hz panel but honestly, that’s pretty overkill considering the internals of the notebook.

Internals are OK for most games, though it’s going to struggle with higher settings

While the GL503 looks the part of a killer, take-no-prisoners gaming notebook, the reality is the internals are a bit sedate for our liking. The review unit that was handed over to us had an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 8GB of RAM, NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU with 4GB of VRAM, 120GB of SSD storage and a 1TB HDD.

Don’t expect to run newer games on high or ultra, since the GTX 1050 GPU does have its limitations.¬†Realistically you’re looking at medium settings at most with your FPS hovering at around 40-50.

There’s a GTX 1060-equipped variant of the GL503 though obviously you’ll be spending more for it.

Surprisingly long endurance for a gaming notebook

Whenever we review gaming notebooks, we really don’t expect them to last long away from the charger. That’s why we were incredibly surprised to learn that the GL503 lasted us around 4 hours on a single charge. That’s still ways off the usual 5-6 hour endurance from most ultrabooks, but considering that the GL503 is a gaming notebook it’s not too bad.

Verdict: It’s good notebook, though there’s better options offered by ASUS

The ROG Strix GL503 is a pretty decent entry to ASUS’ gaming series, but the lower than expected GPU severely limits your options when it comes to playing games. Sure, you’ll be able to play most games in the market fairly well in medium settings, but with a sticker price of Php 69,995 many gamers are expecting more.

Funnily enough, ASUS’ own FX502 gaming notebook that’s identically priced is a better choice. While it loses the RGB keyboard and trades the IPS panel for a TN one, it gains a GTX 1060 GPU which is arguably more important than customizable lights.

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