Asus ZenBook UX501VW packs it all in an elegant chassis, earning its wings as one of the top notch ultrabooks in its class.
Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW Review: Powerhouse laptop with a mesmerising display
Crafted for users who aren’t willing to compromise on looks, quality, performance and price, the Asus ZenBook UX501VW packs it all in an elegant chassis. Bringing the future technology of 4K into its display, the high-octane performance of the latest Skylake processors from Intel, and the design elements to appease even the most profound critics, the ZenBook UX501VW is an artistic piece of technology. Check out our full review below.
Design and Build
Following in the footsteps of the ZenBooks before it, the ZenBook UX501VW is encrusted with the silver aluminium casing. The beveled edges and the spun-metal finish on the lid of the notebook are a few design aspects that make it stand apart from other ultrabooks.
The keyboard deck, the lid and the bottom chassis are entirely crafted out of high-grade aluminium. However, the display bezel has been created from high-grade polymer plastic, which is not exactly an eyesore, but seems less “premium” when compared next to a MacBook or other high-end ultrabooks.
Although the Asus UX501VW comes with upgradable hardware components, there is no maintenance hatch to make them easily accessible. Thus, in order to upgrade the RAM or the storage of the notebook, the bottom chassis needs to be completely removed. With a weight of 2.06Kg, the ZenBook Pro UX501VW qualifies as one of the lightest and ultra-portable laptops in its class.
One of the selling points of the UX501VW is its captivating 4K display, taking the visual experience to a whole new level. The 15.6-inch glossy display comes with a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, and is equipped with a high quality IPS display panel with a pixel density of 282PPI.
When put to test for maximum brightness, the ZenBook UX501VW replicated a measurement of 281 cd/m2, which is fairly average. The contrast ratio is no head-turner either, ranking up to be 434:1, but the uniformity of the display’s brightness keeps the eyes glued to it.
On the sRGB color gamut, the display offers 76.2% coverage, which is below the 100% promise made by Asus. Nonetheless, this does not make the 4K UDH display anything less than spectacular, with crisp visuals and true colors, along with deep blacks. Since the ZenBook UX501VW does not come with a matte finish, the annoying reflections can be a downer when using the notebook outdoors.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Chiclet-style keyboard of the Asus ZenBook UX501VW is nothing different from that of its predecessor. The travel of the keys was measured to be 1.6mm, which could take some time to getting used to, but is profoundly comfortable. The spacing between the keys is fairly good, with a few exceptions, such as the Backspace and Arrow keys. With multiple backlight illumination settings, typing in low-light conditions is never a hassle.
Asus continues to rely upon Elan to provide its ZenBook laptops with the Clickpad, which is smooth on the fingers. While the response speed it fair, it does not stand up to that of Microsoft’s Precision Touchpads, and some of the premium ones by Alps and Synaptics. However, the glass surface is a nice finish, making it a pleasure to work with, while the click buttons have been integrated into the touchpad for a minimalist look.
Under the Hood
Adding the best of the latest Skylake architecture to its heart, the Asus UX501VW-FI016T comes with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor. This 6th generation processor from Intel clocks in at 2.6GHz, and can be overclocked to 3.5GHz with the Turbo Boost technology. The notebook comes with on-board memory of 8GB + DRAM DDR4 4GB RAM, with a total of 12GB, which can still be upgraded to 16GB if required.
What keeps the ZenBook UX501VW lightning fast all the time is not just the top dog processor and the insane amount of RAM, but also the multi-type storage drives it is equipped with. With 128GB PCIe x4 SSD storage to make the data transfers and processes fly, the additonal 1TB HDD storage ensures that you are never short on space.
The UX501VW does not fall back in terms of graphical performance either, by being equipped with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M DDR5 2GB GPU. While the Gpu is the same from the previous generation, the upgraded Intel processor and added amount of RAM make the ZenBook UX501VW a good gaming laptop. When put to test with the latest gaming titles, the notebooks fared well with a playable frame rate on almost all of the games at high settings, and few a few on ultra-settings as well.
• High quality build materials and fantastic design.
• Excellent 4K Ultra HD display.
• Powerful processor with the latest Skylake architecture.
• Formidable GTX 960M GPU for hardcore gaming.
• No maintenance hatch for easy access to removable components.
• Battery life could be better.
• It’s expensive
The Final Verdict
Earning its wings as one of the top notch ultrabooks in its class, the latest version of the Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW is much more than just a small upgrade from the previous versions. While the notebook goes out of its way to outclass the MacBook Pro is every possible way, it does have its shortcomings.
The mediocre battery life of around 4-5 hours may be a winner for a gaming laptop, but when it comes to travel-friendly ultrabooks, it is a deal breaker. While the 4K UHD display continues to be an impressive addition, it is not the best in its class in terms of color replication and brightness.
It is undisputable that the Asus ZenBook UX501VW, even with its drawbacks, is one of the most elegant beasts available in the Aussie market. For those who aren’t concerned about the battery life too much, have the necessary funds, and need a furiously fast machine, the ZenBook UX501VW is a notebook that simply cannot be ignored.