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[Review] ASUS K501UW-AB78 Best Bang for Buck Gaming laptop


When striking for a great price, how do you determine compromises? Building a great laptop is not an easy thing to do, because different people like different things, and even though some consumers will prefer bigger storage, you can bet there is another that will prefer a smaller size for a great screen.

Gamers are a specially demanding group of consumers, so pleasing them is no easy task. In this review of the ASUS K501UW-AB78 we will try to answer: is this the best all-around gaming laptop available? Let's find out!

Pros: powerful performance, portable construction, solid state drive, amazing value.
Cons: screen is not IPS.

ASUS K501UW-AB78 Detailed Review of a remarkable gaming powerhouse

Screen and design

Asus’s emblematic design is present on the K501UW-AB78, which often focuses on silver tones with black keyboards (this one being backlit!) and a brushed aluminum back. This elegant style is special because most gaming laptops often look a bit too extravagant for most adult consumers, so the change is a welcomed one. Additionally, we’re dealing with a fairly thin machine, specially for the specs it carries (more on that ahead!).

We are pleased to see a 1080p resolution on the 15.6 inch display, which will certainly make anything from games to web browsing look great. The size is considered medium, but coupled with the thin design you can expect to have great portability. To makes things even better, the panel is matte, which means it’s anti-reflective, so using it under direct sunlight shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Power and multitasking

The K501 takes its power from the latest Intel Skylake generation with a Core i7-6500U processor, which has two cores clocked at 2.5 GHz (turbo up to 3.1 GHz). This chip comes from the ultra-low voltage line from intel that improves power consumption and form factor, hence the thin design.

Gamers shouldn’t be too afraid when reading the “ultra-low voltage” spec, since the GPU is what matters most when running games. That’s not to say this is a weak CPU. On the contrary, you’ll be able to do not only simple tasks like browsing, office work and multimedia consumption, but also run demanding applications. So for those games that do rely a bit on the CPU, don’t worry. You won’t run into trouble.

Multitasking is on par with today’s standards. You’ll have 8 of DDR4 SDRAM with a 2133MHz speed. That means you’ll be able to run several applications at the same time like a champ, and if you want to go the extra mile, you can expand this to a whopping 16 GB with the empty slot available.

It should also be noted that DDR4 RAM is extremely rare since most laptops still run with a DDR3 module so this is another major pro to consider when looking at the ASUS K501UW-AB78

What games can I play?

The NVIDIA Geforce GTX 960m graphics card with 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM present here is a mid-level GPU that will play most modern titles on high settings and will only struggle with absurdly demanding titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The good news is that even in those cases, lowering a couple of settings will make the game completely playable while still looking great.

The review of the ASUS K501UW-AB78 wouldn’t be complete without some data, though, so let’s look at some specific examples in NotebookCheck’s benchmarks.

The latest hit, Overwatch scores above 30 fps on ultra settings and above 60fps on high, for example. Metal Gear Solid V gives similar results with above 30 fps on ultra. GTA V is a tougher case: maybe you shouldn’t strike for ultra settings with this one, but high ones will get you comfortably above 40 fps.

Battery life

Thanks to its low voltage chip and the 3 Cells 48 Whrs battery present, the K501UW-AB78 should have an above-average battery life than most gaming laptops. Asus expects 7 hours when watching movies, a bit less for web browsing and doing office operations. Based on those claims, you probably can expect a solid 6 hours, though gaming on the go will surely deplete your reserves a lot faster.

Connectivity and storage

On the connectivity side, we’re looking at a total of 4 USB ports; two of them 2.0, the other two of the more modern 3.0 variant. There’s also a super-useful HDMI port for external displays and an Ethernet port for wired internet connection. An SD card reader makes its way too, and the lack of a DVD drive is probably a fact that no one will miss.

One of the nicest surprised this time around is the inclusion of a 512 GB solid state drive. This is because it strikes the perfect balance between performance and space available. You’ll get incredibly fast load times compared to a regular hard drive and still lots of storage for your games. It’s a win-win.

What’s the verdict?

In short, we were impressed after analyzing the ASUS K501UW-AB78 in review. What we have here is one of the most compelling bang-for-the-buck gaming laptops around, if not the most compelling of them all. The low price coupled with specs you usually reserve for pricier models is just too good to pass.

If you’re searching for a gaming machine for a bit less, this is probably the strongest case right now. The 960M not only handles modern games modestly, it also opens a door to the amazing back catalog the PC platform has. Couple that with portability and a Full HD screen, and you start to get why we say this is such a good deal.