Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 review: Best gaming performance at a top-tier price
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 has a lot of power hidden beneath a well-designed hood.
- Comfortable and customizable keyboard
- Excellent CPU and GPU performance
- Robust and innovative design
- Trackpad requires some pressure
- Very high price
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 (model GX703HS) is likely to be on a few best gaming laptop shortlists right now, not least because of the Asus Republic of Gamers brand's reputation - and it's undeniably a powerful laptop.
This is the latest model in the Zephyrus S17 series, and it has some of the best internal specs available in a gaming laptop right now. That also means you'll have to pay a premium to get your hands on this computer, so set your expectations appropriately.
After you've finished reading our comprehensive Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 review, we've got lots of helpful suggestions to help you complete your gaming setup: Check out our recommendations for the best gaming keyboards, best gaming mouse, and best gaming monitors.
REVIEW OF THE ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS S17: DESIGN AND SCREEN SIZE
We already know that Asus can produce visually appealing gaming laptops. The matte, rubberized finish on the keyboard and trackpad feels great on the fingers, the slit tilt to the keyboard when the laptop is open that allows for more natural hand and wrist placement, the slim bezels around the side of the display, and plenty more contribute to the ROG Zephyrus S17's reputation.
A full keyboard with a number pad is included, as is a separate scroll wheel for managing the laptop volume (which can also be used to change other settings), a fingerprint sensor built in the power button for simpler login in, and a trendy but subtle pattern on the laptop lid (alongside the Asus ROG logo). The laptop's magnesium-aluminum shell is well made, and it's the kind of laptop you can carry into an office meeting as well as use as a gaming machine.
It is, however, a large laptop: when closed, it measures 394 mm x 264 mm x 19.9 mm (that's 15.5 inches x 10.4 inches x 0.78 inches) and weighs 2.6 kg (5.7 lbs). The built-in Asus software allows you to customize the keyboard lighting in a variety of creative ways, and there are plenty of ports to choose from, including a 3.5 mm audio jack, one HDMI port, three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, one Thunderbolt 4 port, an Ethernet socket, and an SD card reader.
Our evaluation model had a 17.3-inch screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, a refresh rate of 165Hz, and a reaction time of 3 milliseconds. G-Sync and Adaptive-Sync are both supported, and we found everything on the panel to be clean, bright, and crisp, with only a slight bit of motion blur visible. If you want even more pixels to play with, the laptop is also available with a 4K resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.
Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 specifications
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 is available in four configurations on the website, with pricing starting at $2,199.99 for units with an i7-11800H CPU. The costs for the three additional machines, which use Intel i9-11900H processors, grow in a row. The three less expensive models all have WQHD (2560 x 1440) 165Hz displays with G-Sync and Advanced Optimus, as well as 1TB or 2TB of SSD storage. The top-tier models, like the $3,699.99 ROG Zephyrus S17 (GX703HS-XB99), have a 4K (3840 x 2160) 120Hz display with Adaptive-Sync and three 1TB SSDs (RAID0). The following are the specifications of our top-tier review unit:
Display: 17.3-inch UHD (3840 x 2160), non-touch IPS-level panel, 120Hz refresh rate, DCI-P3 100%
CPU: Intel Core i9-11900H
RAM: 32GB DDR4/3200MHz
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
Storage: 3 x 1TB PCle 4 SSD (RAID0)
Ports: Type-C USB with Thunderbolt 4 (DisplayPort 1.4, power delivery); USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C (DisplayPort 1.4, power delivery); USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2 x USB 3.2 Type-A; HDMI 2.0b, 3.5 mm Combo jack, Gigabit Ethernet, SD card slot.
Operating system: Windows 10 Home
Color: Matte Black
Battery capacity: 90WHr
Networking: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax 2×2), Bluetooth 5.0
Dimensions: 15.51 x 10.39 x 0.78 inches
Weight: 6.06 lbs (2.75 kg); the power brick weighs 1.9 lbs (0.9 kg)
ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS S17 REVIEW: PERFORMANCE, FEATURES, AND MORE
Our Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 review model coupled an 11th-generation Intel Core i9-11900H processor with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card, as well as 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. You may get modest variations on that - the maximum RAM goes up to 48GB – but suffice it to say that this has the power to easily handle the most demanding games on the market right now, as well as any other highly demanding jobs (like as video editing) that you may require.
On the popular 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, that all adds out to a score of 11,090, which is very good when compared to averages for gaming laptops (5,730) and high-end gaming PCs (11,085). We were getting more than 100 frames per second on most titles even with the graphical settings turned up very high, though we did notice some glitching and lagging while testing. It's difficult to say whether this was due to a temporary Windows glitch or a hardware issue.
The keyboard and trackpad on the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 are both excellent: there's a pleasingly springy yet subtle reaction when tapping away on the keys, and the trackpad is huge and quite quick. Whether you're maneuvering a racetrack or looking about an alien environment, the keyboard and trackpad provide a premium-level experience – and we appreciate how the keyboard is slightly tilted.
As is typical for gaming laptops, we didn't have high hopes for battery life: an hour of video streaming (with brightness set halfway and volume set low) depleted the battery by 16%, implying a total of 6-7 hours. You'll get far less with high-intensity gaming, although the laptop does include a number of battery-saving technology. In terms of audio, the six-speaker arrangement is excellent for both games and movies.
REVIEW OF THE ASUS ROG ZEPHYRUS S17: PRICE AND VERDICT
There are no two ways about it: as wonderful as the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 is, it will cost you a lot of money: Check the widgets on this page for the most up-to-date online prices, however at the time of writing, the beginning price for this laptop is far higher than £3,000 (or $3,000). You can acquire three very decent computers for that price, albeit they won't attain such high frame rates in today's top games.
Finally, if you want top-tier performance and are ready to pay for it, this is a compelling option. Asus appears to have done a fantastic job with the thermal cooling on the ROG Zephyrus S17, and while it does get rather loud and heated during extended and intensive games, it's nothing out of the ordinary for a portable computer of this power and size.
But there's no denying that a 17-inch gaming laptop like this is going to be enormous and heavy — this is a laptop that's best left at home, though you can take it with you if you need to (it just might be a struggle to get it open on the train). Its design is conservative enough to appeal to a wide spectrum of individuals while still incorporating some lovely embellishments (like the lighting and the tilted keyboard).
Even if we did discover some minor faults, it's difficult to complain about the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17's performance and power (which a reboot sorted). Add in a terrific screen, a plethora of connectivity options, and a certain degree of versatility in terms of customizing possibilities, and we believe it's one of the greatest gaming laptops available right now – assuming you have the money in the bank to afford it.