Asus ROG Zephyrus Max-Q Gaming Laptop Review

Battery, Thermal & Display Testing

Battery Test - Tomb Raider 2013 Battery Rundown

To test battery life, we set each laptop’s battery profile to Balanced while running Tomb Raider’s built-in benchmark at the lowest detail preset. The frame rate is locked at 30 FPS through GeForce Experience’s Battery Boost to limit the strain on the battery. Meanwhile, a script running in the background monitors and time stamps the system’s battery percentage. The laptops are set to hibernate once battery levels reach 5%. We test the battery life at 200 nits.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus is a thin-and-light gaming laptop, so we should expect excellent battery life from it, right? Well, not necessarily. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-Q design doesn’t deliver the GTX 1080’s maximum performance, but it offers 10%-15% less at peak power efficiency. Therefore, we'd assume it wouldn't draw as much power. Still, this is a GTX 1080 we’re talking about.

In our battery rundown, the Zephyrus delivered roughly 72 minutes of play time. That’s longer than the Eurocom Tornado F5, which draws more power because of its standard GTX 1080 and desktop-class i7-7700K, but only by a few minutes. Keep in mind, the Eurocom is much thicker, and therefore sports a much thicker battery—an 8-cell 75.24Wh battery to be exact. On the other hand, our Zephyrus crams a 4-cell 50Wh battery into its tiny frame, so that’s less power to go around overall, even with Max-Q’s peak efficiency. So while Max-Q laptops can achieve more power in smaller form factors (an admirable accomplishment), they’ll generally have smaller batteries. We'll stay tuned to see if a GTX 1070-based Zephyrus will offer more longevity, and for more equivalent configurations of 1080-based laptops.

Thermal Testing

Normally, we use our Optris PI 640 infrared camera to measure the laptop’s thermals. However, as we stated in the Product Tour, the chassis is incredibly restrictive, and we weren’t able to expose the Zephyrus’s Active Aerodynamic System completely, so we couldn’t capture thermal images with our Optris. Instead, we used AIDA64's GPU diode thermal logging. For more information about how we test, be sure to check out our Measurement Science article.

Another struggle imposed on thin-and-light gaming laptops is compromised thermal performance, and this is only heightened when you stick a GTX 1080 into an enclosure this small. Our AIDA64 log reports an average temperature of 74.4° C and a maximum temperature of 79° C. Keep in mind that this is measured during Furmark, which imposes a load much higher than you'll normally see, and higher than what our gaming benchmarks would produce. Also, this is well within safe operating temperatures, but nowhere near as cool as the competition, which all performed at least 9° cooler. One positive thing to note is that, because the cooling solution is separated above the keyboard, your hands won't get hot while gaming. So long as you're playing in a moderately cool environment, you won't notice the heat.

Display Testing

We used the SpectraCal C6 Colorimeter to measure the laptop's display. Be sure to check out our Display Testing Explained article for a full description of our test methodology. Also, the Zephyrus has several color profiles to choose from in ROG Gaming Center. We used the default sRGB profile during our testing.

Contrast is determined by taking the white luminance, or the highest brightness measurement at a given setting, and dividing it by the black luminance, or the lowest brightness. The higher the contrast, the sharper the display’s image will be, and a good contrast ratio to aim for is 1000:1. The Zephyrus display comes close. At minimum brightness, the display has a high white luminance of 36.26, but also a high black luminance of 0.0383. We get a solid contrast ratio of 945:1.

Contrasts are good at maximum brightness at well, but for opposite reasons. The white luminance is rather low, at 330.9605, while the black luminance is an incredibly low 0.3383, which pulls the contrast ratio up to 978.3:1.

No display has perfect RGB balance, and the Zephyrus display is no exception. From minimum brightness, the blue level hovers slightly higher than the red and green levels. As brightness is increased, the red levels drop, while green and blue levels remain constant. However, at maximum brightness, the blue levels take a sharp jump upward. The Zephyrus display has a slightly bluish tone as a result.

Grayscale accuracy is another issue to consider, and most of the laptops we’ve tested have a fairly noticeable amount of error. Ideally, we want a display to have a DeltaE 2000 of 3 or lower, where inaccuracies are unnoticeable. Thankfully, the Zephyrus’s display retains DeltaE values below 3 at nearly all brightness levels, and only reaches 3 at maximum brightness.

The gamma point chart illustrates an almost flat line across all brightness levels, with only two dips in gamma level. This makes for a clean image with only a couple points of under-saturation, and considering how shallow these dips are, most people won’t notice them.

Finally, the Zephyrus also has decent color accuracy, with a DeltaE 2000 of 3.1415. You might notice the errors, but they won’t be drastic or distracting. The biggest issue is blue inaccuracy, which become more apparent at high brightness. Green and magenta also pop higher than need be, but only by a negligible amount.

Among our comparison group, the Zephyrus stands tallest.

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