Asus UX550 – Don’t Buy This For Gaming!


Hey, how’s it going? Dave2D here
And this is the Asus ZenBook Pro for 2017
This is the UX550, and this thing was announced quite a few months ago
I think was like March at Computex when
this thing was revealed
and I finally been able to spend some time with it
It’s a very powerful machine
It’s one of those thin-and-light work-oriented machines that also has a GTX 1050 Ti
So if you want to play some games, you can…
And this is the type of stuff that gets me excited. These are the type
of laptops that I’m most interested in because I mean,
they’re kind of stealth like, they don’t look like, they’re not designed for
gaming, but because of the video card,
you’d think they’d be able to bang if you really want them to
This one…
Errrgh, you’ll see the end of the video as to why it’s not so much of a gaming laptop
but it is a very good laptop for what it was meant for.
I want to talk with the design first. First thing, black.
This is the first Asus laptop that I’ve used that is black, so fully black finish, black top, black bottom
There is a silver chamfer as you go around the edges
But the whole idea of this thing is black. The build quality on this thing is…
Good, better than expected and let me explain. The UX501 from last year and the year before had…
okay build quality, not amazing, as the panels were a little softer
when you press down on them. This thing is…
definitely more rigid. It’s definitely better build quality than the UX501 but, it’s still not perfect
There’s still a little bit of flex on all the panels, the top, the bottom, the keyboard deck. The screen itself
If you try to torque that, it’s super solid. I couldn’t get it twisted very much.
The hinges are also well-made. The laptop on a whole
I would consider to have good build quality, not excellent
I wish it was better but, it is good.
The port selection on this thing is good. There’s actually two Thunderbolt 3 ports
and those run on all four lanes of PCIe so
If you plug up an external GPU, you’re gonna get max bandwidth
The thing that I don’t love is the inclusion of a microSD slot. Now, it’s cool that they have an SD
slot at all, but it’s microSD and this is a pro laptop, right?
This is the ZenBook Pro and working professionals
Very few of them are using microSD’s as their main like, form of data transfer
It just doesn’t make sense that they put that there. It seems almost useless because
You’re not gonna use that. I would much prefer to see a regular SD slot, but you’re stuck with that
And that kind of bugs me.
There’s a lot of good stuff about this laptop. I like the screen
I like the speakers. The speakers are actually very very impressive
It has the Harman Kardon branding and usually when you have that kind of branding on a laptop
It means nothing. This time,
There’s four speakers, two on the top, two on the bottom. The ones on the bottom are down-firing
And they sound really good. I was quite impressed with it
They don’t sound super loud, but the audio quality is there. The mids, the lows, the highs
They’re all present, and they sound good. Back to the screen up top, this one’s running a 1080p panel
They do make a 4K panel if I’m not mistaken
But this one’s 1080p. Touchscreen. The color accuracy is there. It’s not super bright…
I wish it was brighter, but the overall image is nice
And the bezels on the screen aren’t too thick, it’s like, I don’t know
It kind of looks like the newer MacBooks in terms of
the bezel thickness, but it’s just an improvement over their regular Asus ZenBook Pro line.
It’s just a thinner, cleaner looking design up top. Okay, to get to the inside of this laptop
I’ve removed the screws, but it’s pretty simple.
There’s ten screws. They all pop off pretty easily, T4
And when you get inside, things get less awesome?
So far, it seems like a really good laptop, right? Okay. On the inside
We have a fast SSD which is good
We get a great Wi-Fi card, the Intel 1865, which is good
The RAM is soldered on and this bugs me
This is not like one of those super-thin laptops, right?
So, it doesn’t make sense to me that the RAM is soldered on. Now, maybe it was a space issue
Maybe it was an energy efficiency issue because you know
when you solder on RAM, when it’s built on board
It uses slightly less energy, and if that’s the case…
Fine, but I just don’t like seeing soldered-on RAM
But the thing that bugs me is the thermal design
So, we’re looking at two heat pipes to cool a GTX 1050 Ti and an i7
7700HQ, so these are pretty hot components, it’s not like the hottest stuff out there
but they’re not cool components and
You’ll see in the thermal performance later on that they don’t do great.
And the battery down here is a 72 watt-hour cell.
It’s getting around 6 hours of battery life with the screen at 250 nits. So this is
probably in the middle of the pack in terms of battery life. It’s because it’s not a huge battery
It’s kind of a small chassis so the batteries, there’s only so much space in here
But if you’re gonna bring this thing to class or to work, and you’re expecting a full day of use out of it
You’re probably gonna have to bring the charger with you
Just because it’s a little bit tight. Um…
before I get into performance because I know that’s what a lot of people are interested in,
I want to talk about the keyboard and the trackpad. So
Keyboard is a very standard Asus keyboard. It’s a good keyboard.
The Home, Page Up, Page Down buttons are on the side
and I like them there but not everyone does because
if you’re not used to them being there, if you’re trying to hit Backspace or
Shift or Enter, you might hit those keys
But I like them there because if you want to,
you can use them
And you will get used to their positioning, it doesn’t interfere with my regular typing anymore
But for people that haven’t used an Asus keyboard like this before
There’s a bit of a learning curve. The keystrokes themselves are a little bit soft, but firm at the same time
It’s hard to describe but basically the pressure that it takes to activate the switch is
a little more than your average keyboard, but the spring feels softer
So, it’s a different type of experience than I’m used to. I just haven’t used an Asus keyboard for a while
but…
You’ll get used to it quickly because when I use this thing for like
three to four months before, not this one, but a keyboard very similar to this
You get used to it, and it’s not a problem. Trackpad, good trackpad
Probably its best feature in terms of the inputs
It uses Windows Precision drivers, so it’s got accurate tracking and
has a fingerprint sensor for quick logins and stuff in Windows Hello.
Okay, let’s talk about performance because that’s probably the
most important thing because if it doesn’t have good performance,
Nothing matters, right? Okay.
The performance on this thing, I got to open her back up to
kind of show what I’m talking about, is…
good for certain people, and not so good for other people
so this is running, like I said earlier, the 1050 Ti and
a 7700HQ, the Kaby Lake i7.
And…
Because the thermal output on these two chips is quite high
It’s difficult to cool something like this in a chassis this small
and this compact, and with the heat pipes that they have, there’s only
two, maybe even one and a half heat pipes
You’re not gonna get the best cooling. If you’re doing work stuff
If you’re doing like video edits and renders and stuff
This is sufficient because
You’re not stressing the GPU at 100% all the time
and your workload because you’re kind of using the GPU here and there as
you do stuff in Photoshop or Premiere. So I ran some video edits
and I ran some renders. This thing runs really well. You’re getting the performance
you would expect just on the paper specs. The 1050 Ti
is a good card for video editing, but when you start playing games
That’s when issues start to rise
The temps creep up and after like 20-30 minutes of gaming, you’re gonna notice
some serious thermal throttling and you could probably resolve this
If you re-paste it, or if you undervolt it
and I mean you can, I’m not gonna do it on this unit and
I’m positive that if you did, if you repasted this and
if you undervolt this, you would get better performance.
But I wouldn’t pick up this laptop if your main purpose is to play games
It’s a really nice looking laptop, and it’s slim, but because of the thermal issues
I can’t just openly recommend it for people who are quote, unquote, “gamers”.
The fans don’t come on very often. When it’s idle,
it’s actually very quiet, but at full load,
It’s a little bit loud, not super annoying or anything, but it can get loud
So this is a laptop that was designed for professional users, right? It’s a ZenBook Pro
and I think because of what it’s equipped with, because it has a 1050 Ti, because it has
an i7, I think a lot of people are drawn to the specs and
think, “Hey, I can pick this up and play games really well on it,”
but that’s not what it was designed for, unfortunately. It’s a really nice looking laptop. It’s not super expensive
I think the base model starts at 1400-1500 dollars. This unit here with everything
I’ve decked it out with, $1700, but…
Yeah, if you’re a gamer and you’re hoping that this would be like,
the gaming laptop that didn’t look like a gaming laptop,
This is not that laptop, I’m sorry.
I was disappointed, and I feel like a lot of my viewers
were really interested in this thing because it had such potential…
But, no, it’s not the one.
Okay. Hope you guys enjoyed this video!
Thumbs if you liked it, subs if you loved it!
See you guys next time!
If you’re curious like, if you’re looking for other options
I don’t know if anyone is still sticking around to this part of the video,
but, if you’re curious, I’ve been using…
the Aero 15X so this is the upgraded model
This is not that different in size from the ZenBook Pro. It’s a completely different price point
This is significantly more expensive, but they’ve designed this thing to house a GTX 1070.
It’s a significantly more powerful video card, but it’s similar in size
But the way that they’re doing is that they have to crack this thing open
and like, they’re putting a ton of venting on this thing
to make it more viable for gaming and
That’s not what the ZenBook does. They try to keep it clean and minimal, and just very nice looking
It does look a heck a lot nicer than this. Like, look at this
But this thing is where you’re gonna get performance.
If you want something that’s built for gaming, look at other options like this
Errr, the Aero 15, this is actually the Aero 15X.
Okay. See you in the next video.

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