ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T Review

December 8, 2015
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A laptop like ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T is totally in a different category than budget Chromebooks and Pentium based rigs. This kind of premium notebook is supposed to run all programs, even many games, without slowing down, and offer an excellent selection of ports and connectivity. Or that’s what they always say in the ad copy, but is the reality different…?

How is the performance?

Well, this ASUS should be as fast as the advertisers say it is. For one, it’s powered by Intel Core i7-6700HQ, a quad-core beast with a high 2.6GHz clock speed and even higher 3.5GHz turbo. These kind of numbers allows it to reach very good CPU Mark score, over 8000, which leaves inferior processors far behind. For example, the Core i5-5200U that was a very popular “regular” CPU reaches only 3500 points. With the score the Core i7-6700HQ gets, it even beats most desktops without breaking a sweat.

Also a nice thing, there’s 16GB DDR4 memory installed. It looks like it’s installed on one stick, that’s possible because DDR4 supports 16GB modules. No extra slots are available, but I don’t think nobody would add in more memory if he already has 16GB, right?

The storage is modern and fast, an excellent Samsung’s 512GB solid-state drive attached to M.2 PCI-e 3.0 slot. There shouldn’t be free bays or M.2 slots for extra drives, but I think such a half terabyte SSD will be enough for anybody.

Does it work for gaming?

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T is not advertised as a player’s laptop but you can surely load your favorite game no problem. The GeForce GTX960M (2GB GDDR5) is quite a strong card, in that many games will get +60FPS even when high settings and 1920×1080 resolution are used. Popular titles falling into that category include GTA 5 and Battlefield 4. In the case of also popular but notoriously heavyweight The Witcher 3 you’re getting around 30FPS on the said settings.

How’s the connectivity?

The laptop offers a great set of ports, just like an expensive laptop should. There are three USB ports – two are USB 3.0 and one is the new USB Type C. Dedicated video outputs include HDMI and MiniDisplayPort.

The wireless card supports dual-band 802.11ac standard and Bluetooth 4.0. There is no built-in RJ-45 port but USB to 100Mbps RJ-45 adapter should be shipped with the laptop.

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T is a slim notebook, there’s no space for an optical drive inside. If you need that, prepare to use an external DVD burner. There is however card reader for SD and MMC type memory cards.

The 1.2MP front-facing webcam is good for Skype video chats or even shooting some videos for YouTube.

Other important features

Let’s not forget the screen, it’s a 15.6″ display with a whopping 3840×2160 (UHD) resolution. That is neat, but remember things will look very small on the screen – if that’s a problem, just turn the resolution lower. The panel type is IPS.

This unit includes a 6-cell 96Whrs battery, I’d expect it to last 4-5 hours with a single charge.

Keyboard has backlight feature.

The body is made of aluminum. Weight for the whole package is 5 pounds.

Summing it up

ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW-DS71T is an expensive toy for power users and gamers who value quality and only want the best. There really aren’t any weak spots, it’s a well-rounded computer for heavy activities. If a budget model is your cup of tea, you’d better choose something else, but if you can afford this premium ASUS I bet you’ll be more than happy with it.

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