It has a large footprint typical for a 15.6inch notebook, the benefit is you’ll get a full size numeric pad. The typing experience on is it nice, the keys are size same as those found on typical desktop keyboard with a width length of 1.5cm plus the spacing between the keys is decent and you won’t find yourself to miss click certain keys. The keys are not soft despite its flat profile, there is a right amount of pressure to it, feel like standard keyboard. Just that the number size are tiny for my liking. Every key is backlit, so its easier to type in the dark. Model reviewed: UX501VW-FY029T.
The touchpad is made from glass with a matte coating, smooth to glide on, with pleasing click sound when you finger taps on it. Two finger scrolling for vertical and horizontal scroll work well, pinch to zoom is great but rather sensitive if you make faster pinch, three finger gesture can be use to get to desktop view. The entire outside for the body including the outer brushed finish monitor lid, side frames and bottom chassis is made out of aluminium, giving it the strength it needs, doesn’t flex much like its gaming bother the Asus G501. Indirectly making the net weight excluding the power brick to be at 2.1kgs.
Our variant is using a 1080p screen which has a semi matte finish so you won’t face much glare during daytime, although it is not using a 4k screen the display is still sharp plus doesn’t put graphic performance strain on the GPU and not eating more battery power than the 4k counterpart. Ultra-wide colour gamut of 72% NTSC, 100% sRGB and 74% Adobe RGB. Wide viewing angles up to 178 degrees and with factory-calibrated colour temperature for consistent colour (white balance). The IPS screen is vibrant, sharp and have very good contrast.
Looking on the left side you will get the power dc input, 1 USB 3.0 port with USB charge ready, HMDI and a Type C USB port with Thunderbolt 3 support. On front side you get the LED indicators for CPU activity, Power level and Hard Drive activity. On the right you get combo audio jack, SD card reader and 2 USB 3.0 ports. On the bottom you have 4 rubber feet, air intake and speaker grills. There’s no Ethernet port, but Asus includes a USB-to-Ethernet adapter.
Performance wise it is powered by a 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ Skylake quad core that can turbo turbo up to 3.6Ghz. 8GB DDR4 RAM on board with the ability to add another 8GB. 802.11 Wi-Fi AC, and Bluetooh 4.0. I never felt any performance drop regardless if I’m using normal or high performance mode, switching between editing apps or between 15-20 tabs on Firefox, thanks to its Skylake process and ample amount of RAM. Side note just add another 8 ram if you’re heavy on editing usage in the case of video editors like us. PCMark 8 had a score of 3459 under accelerated and 3209 under conventional. Cinebench got 51fps for Open GL and 659cb for GPU.
Storage wise its using a 512GB Samsung SM951 NVMe M.2 PCI-e X4. Crystal Disk Benchmark 2186Mb/s read and 1581Mb/s write. Atto Benchmark 2231mb/s read and 1594Mb/s write. Battery life with normal word processing and simple surfing can last up to 8 hours plus with the 96 Watt hour battery. With our video streaming test it only lasted 4 hours 30 minutes straight.
Now onto graphic which GTX960M should match a GTX950 Desktop edition with the game setting as equal to our desktop test bench and the result is disappointing. The 501Pro GTX 960M 4GB GPU, could not match a desktop class GTX950. Tomb raider at Ultra yields 52fps while its desktop brother gets 85fps, Crysis at High setting just hits 26fps while desktop brother marks at 46fps. So if you are playing games on this do tweak the setting to get a better frame rate. 3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme 2014, Ultra at 1003. However this is promoted towards productivity not gaming is is somewhat okay. For rendering yes it does produce heat but much lesser than it old variants/gaming brother the ROG G501, since the fans is much better this time round and slightly quieter as well.
Speaker and audio is by Bang & Olufsen , the bass is just decent for a notebook pc clarity is there just don’t pump up the volume above 90% or you’ll face sharp peaking sound and some distortion. But for movie and video is good enough. The 720p camera is decent not the best for the price I wish the camera was better in terms in clarity and and higher bitrate.
Is a Macbook Pro killer? In our opinion is its 98% Macbook Killer/Alternative for the performance, price, battery life and if you’re into Abode applications. The 2% is where the Final Cut Pro will always outshine any Window’s based video editors. Then again, We will recommend this Asus 501 Pro to anyone who is into video editing based on price/performance.