ASUS Strix GL702Z Ryzen Laptop Review
Published: 2nd January 2018 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
When the ASUS Strix GL702Z arrived in our office we were intrigued. So often we have Intel based laptops arrive that all have similar specifications that testing them can be a big case of deja vu. With the GL702Z equipped with the Ryzen 7 1700 - a CPU that we've long like here in the OC3D bunker - and the RX580 GPU, you can consider our interest piqued.
After all, it seems like a strange combination. On the one hand you have the CPU that really invigorated AMD as a manufacturer again, but coupled to their GPU which was the strange middle child between their not-that-impressive Radeon GPUs and the excellence of the RX Vega. However, with a 1920x1080 display to power even the RX580 should have enough performance to be getting on with.
We'll start with the chassis. The brushed black look is very classy and works well with the red lighting accents. Although the hinges aren't as robust as those we saw on the ASUS G703 laptop, there isn't any flex when opening and the display doesn't really twist. The whole laptop is light too, tipping the scales at a mere 3KG. We like how the logo on the back is mirrored when the GL702Z is off and glows a bright red when on, in a similar way to how the keys are red whether the laptop is powered or not. The keyboard feels is as responsive as all these chiclet style keyboards are, whilst the trackpad is crisp and doesn't give phantom clicks when you're just trying to move the pointer. We prefer separate LMB/RMB offerings to the blended-into-one design, but it's just a matter of personal preference and the trackpad on the Strix works very well.
Connectivity might be more limited than some of the eye-wateringly expensive models that have come through the OC3D offices, but the GL702Z still covers all the ground you need with a combination of USB 3.1 ports in both types, as well as a built in memory card reader and two different display outputs, should you wish to beam your content to a wider audience. Sound quality is similarly good whilst not redefining the genre, although as with anything that comes to the market at such a competitive price point you're always making compromises. That isn't to say that the sound is at all bad - it isn't - just that it's exactly as good as you expect. Fortunately you don't need it to be ear-piercingly loud to drown out the fans as the Strix GL702Z is about as quiet a laptop as we've reviewed. Even when you're thrashing it within an inch of its life it never resorts to high pitched whining in a desperate struggle to keep the temperatures tolerable.
Speaking of thrashing it, the Ryzen 7 1700 is the absolute star of the show. It is fantastic in its desktop incarnation and the move to mobile hasn't diminished its excellence. With eight cores and sixteen threads it handily dispatched all of our calculation heavy benchmarks and had enough horsepower to negate a little bit of the lack of memory bandwidth that is still the achilles heel of AMDs Zen architecture as we moved into tests that put the whole of the system under pressure. Equally whilst the SSD wont trouble some of the M.2 NVMe drives we've seen, 500+ MB/s is still more than enough to keep everything running responsively. Lastly the RX580 GPU does require a little bit of a compromise to your settings to keep the frame rate above 60 FPS, but you can still get some anti-aliasing and even if you're determined to maximise all the in-game settings then you can run around 40-50 FPS in nearly every title.
About the only element that we'd like to see changed is a move to an RGB keyboard, and we'd love to see how a Vega56 would work with the Ryzen 7 1700 CPU. Otherwise there isn't anything to complain about. The ASUS Strix GL702Z manages to bring a lot of performance to the table in a high quality chassis coupled to an excellent, crisp, display and all at a very attractive price point. If you've been holding off getting a laptop until you could get one replete with AMD hardware then now is the time to buy, and it wins our OC3D Performance Award.