November 08, 2018

PAX Australia 2018 - Hands on with the Asus Zephyrus S

Checking out some of the hardware on show at PAX Australia is one of the things I look forward to the most, this year ASUS brought their big guns and by that, I mean their thin and light gaming laptops.

Without a doubt the star of the line-up is the Zephyrus S, which looks a might odd, but has some wickedly deceptive tricks up its case. The model that was on show at PAX was rocking a 1060 GTX, in addition to an Intel i7, all coming across on a screen that had an impressive refresh rate of just 3ms. While fancy specs are important when you are taking gaming into consideration, it means nothing in a laptop if you need to bring a trolley with you, in order to carry it around and thankfully the Zephyrus S is really light, especially for what its packs.

The device is just a tiny 14mm thick, but also weighs just over 2kg, making it one of the lighter gaming laptops out there, that is actually useful for gaming with. But perhaps the part that makes the laptop stand out as much as it does, is its very cool and unique cooling system, something that I can see other companies adopting in the future. When you open the lid, the underside of the laptop expands, allowing an extra 5mm of space to appear, which in turn allows for an increase of airflow, of just over 20%, meaning that the laptop maintains it temperature, even when you are asking a lot from it.

The expanded case though, had me concerned that dirt and such might find its way in, but not only does it have a special case, the fan system is designed to keep as much dirt and such from stick inside as possible. Both of the larger fans have a massive 80+ blades each, meaning that there is very little room for things to stay tucked away, before the force of the fans blows it out. On top of those fans, the case looks like a giant touch pad, but it is all grills, again designed to maintain a constant airflow, so you can game longer.

One look at the device and you will notice what I did, the keyboard and touchpad layout is, odd to say the least, and while the touchpad can double as a number pad, it will likely take a lot of adjustment, in order to adapt to its special layout. With the keyboard being at the front, it also means that your hand will not be resting across the likely quite warm surface, where the fans are located. It was explained to me that the keyboard was moved closer, to make it easier to game, but also as they needed the space for the fans and heat syncs, so a lot of thought was put into all parts here.

For those thinking that its all about what is inside, then you will be happy to know that the Zephyrus S has all the connectivity needed for gaming on the go. There are two Type-C ports, one each side of the device, with one supporting Display Port and for those countless devices that we all have, a few Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 2 and USB 2.0 ports are also on both sides. Perhaps the coolest thing is that there is a HDMI 2.0 at the back, meaning less cables to clutter around your playing space and that port supports 4K UHD displays up to 60Hz, so you can game and entertain on big-screen TVs.

ASUS also had more on display, the TUF Gaming series, both he FX705 and FX505GE, as well as the Strix Scar II GL704, but after seeing the Zephyrus S, they seemed a little bland in comparison, though that TUF series casing is nice. The Zephyrus S however is not going to be for everyone, as it is pricey, coming in at a starting price of $3499, but if the promise is kept, this could be one of the best gaming laptops around for quite a while.

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