Let’s be real here, the recent announcement of the 30 series Nvidia RTX cards has, without a doubt, marred the existence of current generation 20 series RTX powered devices. The ROG Zephyrus S17 comes around at a very different time from all its predecessors not just because of that but more on the fact that the global pandemic is still pretty much active and wreaking havoc all over. That said, this Php 209,995 piece of equipment is not without its merits and it is with great pleasure that I tell you guys of my time with the mechanical masterpiece that is the ROG Zephyrus S17.
This particular SKU boasts of the highest configuration to be made available locally – equipped with an Intel Core i7-10875H, an Nvidia RTX 2080 Super Max-Q with 32GB RAM and 1TB of PCIE Hyperdrive. The screen is a 17″ FHD IPS with a blazing fast 300Hz refresh rate at a 3ms response time, not all that critical for creatives but navigating around the interface is so smooth it’s quite refreshing.
Lets talk about the unboxing experience shall we. When this package came to my door I literally thought “hey I was expecting a computer, not an appliance you know” the box is absolutely massive as you can see in this video right here:
The reason being that the Zephyrus S17 comes along with peripherals that would make for a complete gaming battlestation without having to purchase anything else. An ROG Delta – gaming headphones, an ROG Gladius 2 RGB gaming mouse, and an ROG Eye USB Webcam (as well as it’s own backpack) fill up the space around the computer within the package. It is a significant value add especially since you hardly need anything else beyond those to immediately jump onto a game and decimate the competition.
The sound is incredible, especially that initial rush of wind that comes with the ROG Logo making its appearance once the unit is turned on. It did take some time for the unit to turn on when I first took it out of the package and you might experience the same thing but know that it is completely normal for the initial boot sequence.
The overall experience with the device is practically no different from its earlier generations, still rising up with its active-aerodynamic system (AAS) although without much lighting over there now which is a bummer. The keyboard and the trackpad remain situated away from the screen and much closer to the user. The familiarity of the keyboard layout along with the promise of making the trackpad into a numpad perpetually (if you wanted), are all very welcoming.
There’s also all the ports you’d dare to use when deep inside of a skirmish populating both sides of the Zephyrus S17. Three USB-A ports one Thunderbolt USB-C, another USB-C port with display capability, an HDMI port, and the all important audio combo jack.
The Zephyrus S17 also has a dedicated media volume scroll wheel to quickly control the sound for when something untoward like a screaming teammate happens. Because it does happen… all too often.
The trackpad on the Zephyrus S17 is a bit small and would probably not cut it especially for some activities that would merit the use of the entire screen. This is 17.3″ after all and when completely utilized with this tiny mousing area, one would find the need to constantly lift the finger to move across the entire width of the display. A very minor issue that is completely blown out of the water because of the presence of the Gladius 2 trust me when I say you’d want everything that comes along with the massive box out and configured for the best experience in a stand alone gaming setup.
To put things into perspective, I’ve never really been a fan of RGB since I mostly run laptop devices. I did work on desktops before but I never got to the gamer side of the spectrum and had never ran lights on my devices except for the keyboard backlight which is pretty important for work that goes on till the wee hours of the morning. Using the Zephyrus S17 with the Delta and the Gladius 2 actually made me want to spruce up my setup quite a bit and that is saying something.
Speaking of which, the updated Armoury Crate is packed with even more features… this is the first time that I’ve seen the custom lighting program but it was a bit hard to get grips to so I didn’t get to play around with that as much.
When using the Zephyrus S17, the behavior of the device is vastly different when under power from its normal charger (the big one). The Zephyrus S17 comes bundled with a 65 watt USB-C charger that would give the device some juice at least through power delivery. I can’t really imagine bringing the S17 around with only just that as it would be such a waste to not use the full potential of this machine and open up the engine so to speak.
Before I forget, there is another minor problem that I had encountered which is the lack of a full sized SD card reader. Granted that this device is specifically dedicated to gaming, so much so, that they had removed the webcam from the Zephyrus S17 altogether. The package does come with its own ROG Eye which is a pretty good webcam that can do 1080p 60fps which can be mounted to tripods and the like through its base attachment – it can certainly be put to good use for *cough* streaming *cough* conferences and classes nowadays whenever necessary.
The usual Vray and Cinebench tests are performed here and because they’re both newer than the ones we previously test with, We’ll match them with my own system for some perspective.
Yes I know my setup is ancient by comparison and getting something like the Zephyrus S17 to work for me would be quite the significant speed upgrade on all known fronts. That is quite literally three times the value on the benchmarks there. Barring any triple A games, which I’m absolutely certain the Zephyrus S17 would smoke, as a workstation, nay battlestation, this is definitely a prime contender. The RGB and the flair, that’s just a bonus.