The Asus ROG Strix GL502 hits the sweet spot for a 15-inch gaming laptop.
At $2,698, it is competitively priced for a gaming notebook equipped with Nvidia's latest Series-10 graphics card.
This graphics card is significantly faster than the previous generation.
Powering the Strix is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, which is more than capable of supporting a virtual reality headset.
It also blew past our gaming benchmarks, scoring over 100 frames per second in Doom at the maximum graphics setting.
Unfortunately, the Strix does not have the looks to match its performance. The rubber feet at the bottom of its plastic chassis feel like something you'd find on a cheap toy. The palm rest feels rough and the touchpad does not inspire confidence with its loud clicking noises.
I also found the Strix's garish appearance a turn-off. The Asus ROG logo on the laptop's aluminium lid glows neon orange like the keyboard backlight. The WASD keys are orange-coloured too.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6700HQ (2.6GHz)
GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5
SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, Ethernet port, SD card slot, audio jacks
BATTERY: 64 watt-hour
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
However, I must admit that the Strix, at around 2.3kg, is relatively portable for a 15-inch gaming machine, even if it looks chunky.
Having been spoilt by fast solid- state drives (SSDs), I was extremely frustrated by the Strix's slow hard drive. I no longer had the patience to wait for programs to launch, resulting in my repeatedly clicking on the program icon, which exacerbated the issue.
The laptop can accommodate both an SSD and a hard drive, but my review set came with a single 1TB hard drive.
Asus actually equips the lower- end $2,498 version of the Strix GL502 with a 128GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive. But that model comes with a slower, albeit still decent, GTX 1060 graphics card.
Obviously, the ideal solution is for the Strix to have both the 1070 graphics card and an SSD, but this configuration would cost more. This lack of customisation is typical of PC manufacturers, and tends to push power users towards smaller but custom-friendly vendors such as Aftershock.
Like most gaming laptops, the Strix runs relatively quietly until it is running a game. The cooling fans would then ramp up in speed and become fairly audible. Despite the fans, the laptop gets quite warm, especially above the keyboard.
As usual, Asus has installed a plethora of apps and utilities on this laptop. I found little use for them, except for the ROG Gaming Center app.
While you cannot overclock the Strix's processor and graphics card using this utility, you can monitor their temperatures and clock speeds, as well as create custom profiles that can launch a game with a specific set of audio and display settings.
• Verdict: If you don't mind its chunky, garish appearance, the Asus ROG Strix GL502 provides excellent performance for its price.