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High-end laptops

Asus ROG G73Jh review

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Real gamers hate marketers' lures. Those suits ambush gamers with branded drinks, razors and PCs. Just create great products instead of selling extreme attitude and garish designs. The Asus ROG G73Jh will impress the authentic gaming crowd as a strong laptop. But its high end internals and neutral case will find appeal beyond the gaming-set target: anyone looking for a big-screen portable should consider this model. While the G73Jh skimps on some media features, its nimble performance can make it your primary rig for anything from BioShock 2 to Adobe CS5.

The £1,769 Asus ROG G73Jh laptop swings hard in our benchmarking, scoring 111 points in our WorldBench 6 test suite. An Intel Core i7 Q720 running at 1.6GHz powers nearly any application, from content-creation to gaming. In the Unreal Tournament 3 test (at high-quality, 1024x768 settings), the laptop pulled in an average of 92.5fps; that shows enough power to keep any current title smooth.

We pushed the Asus ROG G73Jh laptop further, testing the latest titles, including Just Cause 2 and Metro 2033. Both look and play great. With the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 GPU and a gigabyte of dedicated graphics RAM, it might be a while before some upcoming title causes this system to break a sweat.

The Asus ROG G73Jh feels like a solid laptop. At 3.85kg and with a huge footprint, you're not going to tote this around without a toll to your chiropractor. But somehow, the PC feels more agile than its weight suggests, comfortably sitting on a your lap. The big surface area lets the keyboard and touchpad stretch out. The Asus ROG G73Jh laptop includes a full numberpad, but those keys are slightly narrower than normal. The keyboard feels tight and responsive to typing, and the big wrist rest helps you stay comfortable. You even have enough room (barely) to use the included Razer Abyssus mouse directly on the wrist rest.

The Asus ROG G73Jh laptop's simple two-button-and-scroll mouse includes high-speed modes to better track your movement. We didn't notice any difference with those settings, but the pointer feels light and good in-hand overall. The trackpad misses, however. While the big surface feels great for moving the cursor, it includes a teeter-totter button for left- and right-clicks. Push near the middle, and you'll have to use a lot of pressure. Push directly in the centre, and it won't click at all.

The 17.3in, 1920x1080 screen looks great in most situations. You can view multiple spreadsheets or get absorbed into games and movies. Text looks clean, and it shows off a bright range of colour. Contrast is good, but it sometimes suffers under the slightly glossy surface; the Asus ROG G73Jh laptop can handle a fairly bright room, but reflections can overpower the image near windows or outside. The screen also doesn't tilt back quite far enough. You'll probably never have a problem with its angle on a desk, but you might want it to lean a little further if it's perched on your lap.

The Asus ROG G73Jh laptop's audio performance meets expectations. It'll never blow you away, since it favours mid-tones instead of fully balancing the highs and lows. But it gets loud enough to fill a room without becoming distorted. Stereo separation might be the biggest disappointment here - unless you lean your head over the top, most of the audio seems to come from the same place. It's not a big deal for most music, but gamers won't be able to easily hear the direction of an approaching enemy. However, the fan stays fairly quiet in most situations, so you can concentrate on those footsteps.

The usual ports and extras complete the Asus ROG G73Jh laptop. It packs four USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI, audio-in and -out, and an eight-in-one card reader. Its webcam takes good-enough pictures and video. You also get 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, gigabit ethernet and Bluetooth. But throwing in an eSATA port would have been nice.

Battery life is also just a touch disappointing. The Asus ROG G73Jh laptop lasted 1hr 48 mins in our testing. Sure, the high specs require a lot of power, but even big laptops should last at least 2hrs.



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