Asus G73Jh review

17 May 2010

Blistering pace and great looks, but going hands-on reveals a few too many flaws at such a high price

Price when reviewed 
1,799
5

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.

Asus G73Jh front view

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £1,531
Price inc VAT £1,799
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 4
Performance 6

Warranty

Warranty 2 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 420 x 310 x 57mm (WDH)
Weight 4.000kg
Travelling weight 4.9kg
Weight with extended battery N/A
Travelling weight with extended battery N/A

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i7-720Q
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 2
SODIMM sockets total 4

Screen and video

Screen size 17.3in
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
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 465GB
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Seagate Momentus
Optical disc technology Blu-ray reader
Battery capacity 5,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset EAX Advanced HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge, base
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case yes

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