ASUS offers a wide assortment of gaming laptops under “Republic of Gamers”, or 'ROG', with models such as the G752 lineup, the liquid cooled models in the GX800 series, and a few models for those who need more gaming per dollar. Today we are looking at the ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS, which ASUS labels “Compact and Potent”. The Strix branding has morphed a bit over the years, and now tends to signify the more economical products from ASUS, and the GL502VS certainly fits that bill, with quite a bit of hardware packed into a reasonable budget.

There are a couple of models of the GL502, and the VS version here for review is the top end version, featuring an Intel Core i7-6700HQ, NVIDIA GTX 1070, and up to 32 GB of DDR4. There are both 3840x2160 and 1920x1080 displays available, and both feature NVIDIA G-SYNC for a smoother gaming experience. SSDs are available for the boot drive, up to 512 GB, and ASUS also includes a 1 TB 5400 or 7200 rpm HDD for bulk storage to cope with the size of today’s games.

The laptop is fairly compact for a 15.6-inch gaming laptop, with the GL502VS model being 30.1 mm (1.18 inches) thick, and 2.34 kg (5.15 lbs) in weight. But it is not the thinnest or lightest gaming laptop of this size. The lower powered GL502VM model drops the GPU down to a GTX 1060, shaves 7 mm off the height, and 140 grams off the weight.

CPU Intel Core i7-6700HQ
2.6-3.5 GHz
6MB Cache
2048 CUDA Cores
1442 - 1645 (Boost) MHz
Memory 2 SODIMM Slots, 32 GB Max DDR4
Display 15.6" 1920x1080 IPS 60 Hz w/G-SYNC
Optional 3840x2160 IPS w/G-SYNC
Storage 1 TB 5400/7200rpm HDD
Optional 128/256/512GB M.2 SSD, SATA or PCIe
I/O 3 x USB 3.0 Ports
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-C)
1 x HDMI 2.0 output Port (with HDCP)
1 x mini DisplayPort 1.3 output Ports
SD Card Slot
1 x Headset Jack
1 x Realtek PCIe GbE RJ-45 LAN (10/100/1000Mbps)
Dimensions 390 x 266 x 30 mm
15.35 x 10.47 x 1.18 inches
Weight 2.34 kg / 5.16 lbs
Battery 62 Wh, 180W AC Adapter
Wireless Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC8260
2x2:2 with Bluetooth 4.1
Price $1650+

As Tested: 6700HQ, 16GB (1x16) DDR4-2400 ,
GTX 1070, 256GB SM951 M.2, G-SYNC FHD
$1650 USD

Although I’m not a huge fan of ASUS’s laptop naming schemes, I am a fan of them putting in the latest and greatest technology into their devices. They were very quick out of the gate to transition to SSDs, PCIe SSDs, and USB-C, and that’s the case here as well. The GL502VS features an NVMe Samsung drive, along with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, but they’ve also kept plenty of older I/O as well, including three USB 3.0 ports, mini Display Port, HDMI, RJ45, and a SD card reader.

Wireless is supplied by the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 card, which has been a strong performer on all laptops this year. The 62 Wh battery is certainly on the small size for a gaming notebook, but as with most gaming notebooks, they are mostly designed to be plugged into the wall for almost all scenarios, with a battery for the odd time where you need to be a bit more mobile.

The GL502 lineup is quite a bit of performance for not a lot of money, with the GTX 1060 based GL502VM starting around $1300, and the higher performance GTX 1070 based GL502VS starting around $1600.

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  • milkod2001 - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    $1600 is not mainstream by all means but it has very decent specs that that price. It should last at least 3 years no probs. The only thing i would want to change is screen size, should have been 17''.
  • Brett Howse - Sunday, December 11, 2016 - link

    They do sell the GL702VM as a 17.3-inch model, but only with GTX 1060. ASUS has the GTX 1070 and up in the G752 which is a nice machine.
  • BrokenCrayons - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    Mainstream is different for everyone, but I agree that even on the low-end of its price spectrum that this laptop is absolutely not mainstream. However, I understand when you're a writer you're compelled to throw something out there that ultimately can end up the subject of unforseen debate. Let's try not to get overly hung up on it since, really, its as unimportant as calling a penguin a fish. The only thing that's changed is the label. Nothing fundamental about the squishy inside bits of the penguin are made different in doing so.
  • SharpHawk - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    No thermal data on the CPU?
  • shelbystripes - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    I got the GL502VM on sale from Amazon for a ridiculous $899 on Black Friday. At that price it's an utterly amazing system, and even at regular price is one of the cheapest Nvidia 10-series systems around, though I have some comments about its performance that this article fails to mention. The article makes it seem like it's just a GL502VS with a 1060 instead of a 1070, and that's not the case:

    1) The GL502VM doesn't come with G-Sync. At least, the lower end models don't.

    2) The base model uses a quad-core i5, which is slightly slower, but more importantly lacks hyperthreading. I've found HT to historically not make a huge difference, but it's worth noting.

    2) The GL502VM comes with 8GB RAM soldered on. It has one SODIMM slot, so if you buy a 16GB model it includes one 8GB DIMM plus the soldered-on RAM. Max memory capacity is limited to 24GB, since you can't swap out one channel of 8GB for 16GB later.

    3) The GTX 1060 inside is the 3GB model, which actually has not just less RAM but fewer cores than the 6GB model. Still sufficient for 1080p gaming in a lot of games, especially for a budget gaming laptop, but worth noting it's about more than just the RAM. (I'm not sure if there's a similar discrepancy between the 4GB and 8GB GTX 1070 models available in the GL502VS, but at least you can get the higher end model there.)

    4) This is really a comment on both machines, but the base models come with a mechanical HDD only. There's still an M.2 slot in the base models, it's just unpopulated. Still, I snagged a cheap 2.5" SATA SSD on Black Friday, and just a little simple surgery (not difficult, but 10 screws just to open it up, plus 8 screws for the HDD mount!) later, I had a MUCH faster system than I would have otherwise.

    And lastly, a general tip when self-upgrading to save money: Windows 10 doesn't come with activation keys, it syncs your system unique ID to your Microsoft account. Microsoft made clean-installing Windows 10 much easier, you can download a tool from Microsoft's website to make a Windows 10 USB installer, but you'll need to boot the system at least once on the mechanical HDD to activate the copy of Windows 10 it comes with and link it to your Microsoft account. Then you can yank the HDD, swap in an SSD, and do a clean install (even if you're adding an M.2 SSD and keeping the HDD, you may want to do a clean install onto the SSD to get rid of the crapware anyway) without any problem. Just log into your Microsoft account during the reinstall and it'll recognize you have a Windows 10 license for that device. If (like me) you were clinging to Windows 7 on your last machine, I figure this knowledge might be new and useful to you.
  • sundragon - Friday, December 23, 2016 - link

    Thank you! I may do this on my 502VS.
  • label47 - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    If you play heavy games the Battery will drain while plugged in...
  • jsntech - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    Yikes. Wonder what happens when it gets down to 0%? The ASUS rep responding to one of the bunches of people with the same complaint is unfortunate: " I've PM you a message, please check your inbox, thank you". Like they're trying to run interference instead of just openly acknowledging and working with customers. "Support" like that is one of the reasons I am hesitant to go with ASUS and others like them (though the bigger players are no better...sigh).
  • kvnobrien - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    "ASUS would have much better battery life if it just had a bigger battery" - quote of the year. Thank you this made me chuckle. I get the point you were trying to make it's just funny though.
  • marco89nish - Friday, December 9, 2016 - link

    I fail to see usefulness of G-Sync on 60Hz 1080p display with GTX 1070. It should be very challenging to drop 1070 to under 60 fps in next few years. Adding 75/90/120Hz display instead of G-Sync would yield much better value in my opinion.

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