Asus G73Jh review
Blistering pace and great looks, but going hands-on reveals a few too many flaws at such a high price
In the world of top-end gaming laptops, where glowing Alienware logos are accepted and brash is always better, Asus is going against the grain. Its latest 17in behemoth, the G73Jh, takes more inspiration from a stealth bomber than it does a souped-up car.
Asus calls it the fastest gaming laptop in the world, a lofty claim lent credence by the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 lurking beneath the brooding facade. This is ATI’s most powerful mobile graphics chip, and its specification shames that of the last generation’s best GPUs: the 40nm die has a core running at 700MHz, 800 stream processors and there’s 1,024MB of GDDR5 RAM clocked at 1GHz.
It's hugely powerful on paper, and it fulfilled its potential in our Crysis benchmarks. Scores of 71fps and 33fps in our Medium and High-quality tests indicate that the G73Jh is more than capable of running the latest games. It made a decent fist of our Very High test at a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200, too – an average of 20fps isn’t far from playable if you tweak a few settings.
Nestling beside the HD 5870 is one of Intel’s most powerful mobile processors. We've seen the Core i7-720Q in several high-end notebooks recently, and we can see why manufacturers are so keen to use it: a result of 1.64 in our application benchmarks shows few applications are beyond the G73Jh, and only the newer 32nm Core i7 parts are significantly faster right now.
The powerful internals are paired with an excellent screen. Its native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 offers plenty of desktop real estate and lends itself to watching movies, and the LED-backlit panel produces vivid colours and sharp detail with no sign of backlight bleed.
The rest of the specification is typically muscular: 8GB of DDR3 RAM is the minimum we'd want from such a high-end system, and two Seagate Momentus hard disks run at 7,200rpm and provide a terabyte of storage between them. There’s also a Blu-ray drive to take advantage of the Full HD screen.
The G73J’s stealth bomber inspiration is plain to see. The chassis is covered with dramatic angles, and the matte black finish is free of garish lights or logos: instead, the Asus and Republic of Gamers branding is kept pleasingly subtle, and the only glow comes from the blue LEDs in the status lights and power button.
As well as looking good, the chassis provides a reasonable selection of ports and sockets. The right side includes two USB 2 ports, HDMI and D-SUB outputs and a card reader, and the left has two more USB 2 sockets, an Ethernet port and a pair of audio jacks. We'd have liked an eSATA port to complete the set but it isn't a bad collection.
|Warranty||2 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||420 x 310 x 57mm (WDH)|
|Weight with extended battery||N/A|
|Travelling weight with extended battery||N/A|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core i7-720Q|
|SODIMM sockets free||2|
|SODIMM sockets total||4|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,920|
|Resolution screen vertical||1,080|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Graphics chipset||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870|
|Graphics card RAM||1.00GB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||465GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Seagate Momentus|
|Optical disc technology||Blu-ray reader|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||no|
|Wireless key-combination switch||yes|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||2|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||no|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||EAX Advanced HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Front edge, base|
|Hardware volume control?||no|
|Camera megapixel rating||2.0mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||2hr 14min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 8min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.64|
|Office application benchmark score||1.40|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.90|
|Encoding application benchmark score||1.52|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.75|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||122fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 7|