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Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW review – sharper than a MacBook Pro?

Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1430
inc VAT (as of 18th May)

The Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW has a great 4K screen but its processing power could be better


Processor: Quad-core 2.6GHz Intel-Core i7 6700HQ, RAM: 12GB, Dimensions: 383x255x20.6mm, Weight: 2.3kg, Screen size: 15.6in, Screen resolution: 3,840 x 2,160, Graphics adaptor: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Total storage: 512GB SSD


Performance and battery life

As you’d expect from such a high-end laptop, the Zenbook UX501VW comes equipped with top of the range hardware. Its quad-core 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ is the same chip you’ll find in other more expensive laptops such as the Dell XPS 15, Chillblast Samurai and Gigabyte P57w-CF2, and it also has 12GB of RAM and a 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics chip.

However, despite having more or less the same components as its top-end rivals, the UX501VW couldn’t quite match them in speed when it came to our 4K benchmarking tests. While its overall score of 94 isn’t to be sniffed at, it’s still a long way behind the Dell XPS 15’s score of 111 and the Samurai’s even more impressive result of 115.

Its GTX 960M chip also feels slightly underpowered compared to the more efficient 970M chips you’ll find in the Samurai and Gigabyte’s P57w-CF2, but you can still manage some pretty admirable frame rates when playing games.

Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW

In our demanding Metro Last Light: Redux test, it managed a just about playable 29.1fps at 1,920×1,080 resolution on Ultra with SSAO turned off, but frame rates soared when I dialled back the graphics quality, so you should still be able to play modern titles with a little bit of tweaking. Running older games shouldn’t cause you any hassle, either, as it was able to run Dirt: Showdown at 70.9fps at a 1,920×1,080 resolution on max settings.

The UX501VW’s battery life was pretty impressive as well. With its score of 7h 9m in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to our standard brightness of 170cd/m2, the UX501VW bests many of its rivals, including the Dell XPS 15, which only lasted 5h 40m under the same conditions. This is a great result, and on many occasions it lasted almost a full working day without needing to go back on the mains. 

Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW


The Asus ZenBook Pro UX501VW is a highly capable premium laptop, but it does come with a few noticeable drawbacks. Not only does it have a rather flawed display, but its performance isn’t as good as it could be either. Still, it is around £200 cheaper than the similarly-specified Dell XPS 15 and 15in Macbook Pro, making it an attractive alternative to its high-end competitors.

If all you’re after is raw power, then the Chillblast Samurai is probably a better buy at this kind of price, but then you’re also settling for an off-the-shelf Clevo chassis rather than something a bit more elegant. There’s also the less expensive versions of the Dell XPS 15 to consider, as the top Full HD model costs £1,399. It might not have the same resolution as the UX501VW, but the general quality of the display is also much higher, making it a better buy overall.

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Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 2.6GHz Intel-Core i7 6700HQ
Memory slots (free)2 (0)
Max memory12GB
Sound3.5mm headphone and microphone
Pointing deviceTouchpad, touchscreen (optional)
Screen size15.6in
Screen resolution3,840 x 2,160
TouchscreenYes (optional)
Graphics adaptorNVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
Graphics outputsHDMI
Graphics memory2GB
Total storage512GB SSD
Optical drive typeDVD-RW
Ports and expansion
USB ports1xUSB 3.1 Type-C, 3xUSB 3.0, 1xThunderbolt
Networking802.11 ac
Memory card readerSD, SDXC, MMC
Other portsNone
Operating systemWindows 10 Home
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
Parts and labour warrantyOne year RTB
Price inc VAT£1,430
Part numberUX501VW-FJ098T

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