ASUS K501UW-AB78 Gaming Laptop Review

While ASUS likes to brand the K501UW-AB78 as a multimedia laptop I think it also has all the features to make for a very good gaming laptop. TheASUS K501UW-AB78 will be the first affordable gaming laptop I will be reviewing in the next couple of weeks. Let’s see if it is as good as I think it is.

The Exterior

From the onset the exterior of the ASUS K501UW-AB78 is in keeping with the thin, minimalist and elegant design ASUS gives its laptops. The top cover is finisher in a gun metal grey brushed aluminium finish with a chrome ASUS logo right in the middle.

On the inside we find the FullHD 1920 x 1080 pixel matte screen. While it isn’t the newest IPS technology screen and just a TN-Panel it still is a very good screen. The screen is surrounded by the typical matte black plastic borders. The built in webcam and dual microphones are located above the screen. Below the screen there is a large chrome ASUS logo.ASUS K501UW-AB78 top cover

The palmrestgets a matte aluminium finish only being contrasted by the full sized black keyboard with numerical pad. As is typical with laptops with full sized keyboards the touchpad is moved off centre to the left so that it doesn’t interfere with your typing. The entire palmrest is made out of solid aluminium for added stiffness and rigidity. The power button is located on the top right corner above the keyboard. All the status LEDs are located on the front edge of the laptop.

As a final detail, the speakers are built underneath the body on each side. I for one have never been a fan of this placement as they tend to get covered and muffled when used on your lap or in bed or on a couch. Another thing I don’t particularly like about this laptop, but can understand considering the price is the plastic back cover. ASUS could have made the back cover out of the same aluminium as the palmrest but decided save some money and use that on the components.
ASUS K501UW-AB78 palm rest and screen view

Overall the design ASUS K501UW-AB78 is very sleek, thin, minimalist and because of the aluminium chasis it is a very sturdy laptop.

The Connectivity

The connectivity options of the ASUS K501UW-AB78 gaming laptop

The connectivity options of the ASUS K501UW-AB78 are very good and everything you would come to expect from such a laptop is present.

The left side of the body features the power connector, the ethernet LAN port, HDMI-out, and 2 USB 3.0 ports. The other side of the body features the Lock-port, Headphones/Mic-combo-jack, 2 USB 2.0 ports and the built in SD Card Reader.

On the inside it only has WiFi 802.11 b/g/n connectivity(I was honestly expecting it to have AC for a device so new) and Bluetooth 4.0.

The Performance

This is where we come to the main reason I’m reviewing the ASUS K501UW-AB78 and why I think it is a very good affordable gaming laptop. Just like most other affordable gaming laptops it is priced around the 850 dollar mark, it comes with the all important dual-fan setup I recommend, and has a good nVidia GeForce GTX960M graphics card with 2GB of video RAM.

With the main points covered to ensure it is worthy of being in the gaming laptop category we come to the remaining specifications. It comes with a 6th generation Intel Core i7-6500U processor running at 2.5GHz, 8 GB of DDR4 RAM that is easily upgradable up to 16GB and a very fast 512GB M.2 SSD for storage. With all this hardware on board the ASUS K501UW-AB78 has everything it needs to run even the latest games.

The 3-cell 48Whr battery is what you would normally find in your average laptop. With this battery the ASUS K501UW-AB78 is good for up to 6 hours of web browsing.

Thanks to the big plastic back cover this laptop can easily be upgraded to 16GB of RAM and also has the necessary space to accommodate a 2.5-inch mechanical HDD or SSD.

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ASUS K501UW-AB78 Gaming Laptop
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Who is it for? discussing who would benefit most from this laptop...

  • Gaming
    The main reason I decided to review the ASUS K501UW-AB78 was because it is the perfect budget gaming laptop. It has a good graphics card, a high resolution screen and plenty of power and performance to be able to handle even the newest games out there. ASUS did save some money on the build quality and put a plastic back panel and a TN-panel, but because of that you are able to get an i7 and a large SSD for the money. Let's not forget that the ASUS K501UW-AB78 also offers plenty of upgrade opportunity under the hood.

  • Student
    If you are an engineering major or want to be able to play with your friends after class then the ASUS K501UW-AB78 is the perfect laptop for college. While the battery isn't very special compared to other laptops, it still is just enough to get you through a day of courses. High DPI screens are always welcome when there is a lot of reading to do. The numerical pad is a god send when you have to input a lot of values for class. I highly recommend this laptop for college.

  • Power User
    The ASUS K501UW-AB78 is as is already a very good laptop. What it does offer for the power user in particular is that it can be easily upgraded to more RAM and the storage can be swapped out in a few years when faster SSDs come out. The CPU is fast enough for almost anybody and the aluminium body should help with the longevity of the laptop. The only thing that I think might become a weak point over time is the N-connectivity wireless card, but that can also be upgraded.


When it comes to affordable gaming laptops the first good models appear at the 800 to 900 dollar range. The ASUS K501UW-AB78 is no exception to this rule, but compared to most other would be gaming laptops, this one has an Intel Core i7 processor, a very fast and big enough M.2 SSD and a good dedicated graphics card.

My main gripe with the ASUS K501UW-AB78 has from the start been that ASUS decided to cheap out on some important parts. I can sort of accept the TN-panel, those have improved over the years, I can even understand the plastic back cover, but Wireless N-Connectivity isn't acceptable anymore. I can find AC-enabled laptops even in the most affordable laptop ranges and it's not like there's such a big price difference of the WiFi module.


With the K501UW-AB78 ASUS saw the trend most other manufacturers followed and built a good budget gaming laptop. I think ASUS succeeded and I think it comes with a lot more power under the hood compared to the competition. To do this ASUS had to switch to some cheaper parts where it doesn't influence the available performance. It is good they put the priorities right and focused on what is important to the average gamer.
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Technical Details

Processor Intel Core i7-6500U 2.5GHz
Video Card nVidia GeForce GTX 960M
RAM Memory 8GB DDR4
Audio Two Built-in Stereo Speakers with High Definition Audio
Operating System Windows 10
Display 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080px
Storage Drive 512 GB SSD -rpm
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
USB 2.0 Ports 2
USB 3.0 Ports 2
Built-in Camera Yes
Built-in Microphone Yes
Optical Drive none
Memory Card Reader Yes
Bluetooth Yes
Headphone-out Yes
VGA-out -
HDMI-out Yes
LAN-out Yes
Color Silver
Width 15.6 in.
Depth 10 in.
Height 0.8 in.
Weight 4.4 lbs.
Battery Life up to 6 hours
Warranty 1 Year Limited Warranty & ASUS 1-year Accidental Damage Protection

Updated on April 23rd, 2017

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