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 kind of reputation that the Asus Republic of Gamers brand has – and it's undoubtedly a laptop that comes packed with power.
This is the latest in the Zephyrus S17 series, and it boasts some of the best internal specs you'll find in a gaming laptop at the moment. That also means that you're going to have to pay quite a bit to get your hands on this machine, so adjust your expectations accordingly.
Once you've finished reading through our in-depth Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 review, we've got plenty of other tips to help you finish off your gaming setup: take a look at our advice for the best gaming keyboards, the best gaming mice, and the best gaming monitors.
Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 review: design and screen
We already know that Asus can make fine-looking gaming laptops. and the ROG Zephyrus S17 doesn't do any harm to that reputation: there's the matte, rubberised finish on the keyboard and trackpad that feels great on the fingers, the slit tilt to the keyboard when the laptop is open that makes for a more natural hand and wrist placement, the slim bezels around the side of the display, and plenty more besides.
You get a full keyboard with a number pad, a separate scroll wheel for controlling the laptop volume (it can be customised to modify other settings too), a fingerprint sensor embedded in the power button for easier logging in, and a stylish but subtle pattern on the laptop lid (alongside the Asus ROG logo). The magnesium-aluminium body of the laptop is really well crafted, and it's the sort of laptop you can get away with bringing into an office meeting as well as using it as a gaming rig.
It's a big laptop though, there's no getting around that: 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 in at 2.6 kg (5.7 lbs). The built-in Asus software enables you to customise the keyboard lighting in all kinds of creative ways, and in terms of ports you're well covered too: 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 review model came with a stunning 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution screen, with a 165Hz refresh rate and a 3 ms response time. Both G-Sync and Adaptive Sync are supported, and we found everything on the display looking sharp, bright and crisp, with a minimum amount of motion blurring noticeable. The laptop is also available with a 4K resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, if you want even more pixels to play around with.
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Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 review: performance and features
Our Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 review unit combined an 11th-gen Intel Core i9-11900H processor with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080, throwing in 32GB of RAM and 2TB of storage for good measure. You can get slight variations on that – the maximum RAM goes up to 48GB – but suffice to say this has enough power to easily cope with the most demanding games on the market at the moment, as well as any other highly demanding tasks (such as video editing) that you might need taken care of.
On the popular 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, that all equates to a score of 11,090 – compare that with averages for gaming laptops (5,730) and high-end gaming PCs (11,085) and that's a very decent score. We were getting over 100 frames per second on most titles even with graphics settings ramped up quite high, though we also noticed one or two periods of glitching and lagging while testing. What that was down to, whether a temporary Windows bug or a problem with the hardware, is hard to say.
It's hard to fault the keyboard or the trackpad on the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17: there's a pleasingly springy yet subtle response when tapping away on the keys, and the trackpad is large and superbly responsive. Whether you're navigating your way around a racetrack or peering around an alien world, the keyboard and trackpad give you the feeling of a premium-level experience – and we do like the way the keyboard is on a slight tilt.
As usual for gaming laptops, our expectations weren't too high when it came to battery life: an hour of video streaming (with brightness set half way and volume set low) knocked the battery level down by 16 percent, so you're looking at around 6-7 hours overall. You'll get much less with high-intensity gaming, but the laptop does at least come with a variety of battery-saving technologies on board. As for the audio, the six-speaker setup does a fine job with games and movies alike.
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Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 review: price and verdict
There's no two ways about it, as fantastic as the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17 is, you're going to have to pay a lot of money for it: check the widgets on this page for the latest online prices, but at the time of writing the starting price for this laptop is well above the £3,000 (or $3,000) mark. You can get three very capable laptops for that, albeit ones that are not going to get such high frame rates in the top games of the moment.
Ultimately, if you want top-tier performance and you're willing to pay for it, then this is an appealing prospect. Asus seems to have done a good job with the thermal cooling on the ROG Zephyrus S17, and while it does get relatively loud and warm during periods of prolonged and intense gameplay, it's nothing beyond what you would expect from a portable computer of this power and size.
Be in no doubt though that a 17-inch gaming laptop like this is inevitably going to be on the large and heavy side – this is a laptop that's best left where it is, although you can of course take it on the move with you too (it just might be a struggle to get it open on the train). In terms of design, it's restrained enough to appeal to a broad range of people, while still offering some nice flourishes (like the lighting and the tilted keyboard).
It's hard to complain about the performance and power you get from the Asus ROG Zephyrus S17, even if we did notice some occasional issues (which a reboot sorted). Add in a great screen, lots of connectivity options, and a certain amount of flexibility in terms of configuration options, and we think it's one of the best gaming laptops around at the moment – provided you have enough in the bank to be able to afford it.
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