When shopping for a big, bulky gaming laptop, the kind that will take any new game and crank it up to high settings at full HD resolution without a problem, there are generally two camps to choose from. The first is a legion of smaller boutique PC builders, from Origin PC to Velocity Micro, who take ugly off-the-shelf laptop shells and stuff them with carefully tweaked gaming parts. The second is machine from an established major league PC brand, such as Asus, Dell/Alienware or Acer, which all have custom-built bodies and slick designs, but at the loss of that hand-crafted care that comes with a boutique PC.
Of the major-brand gaming systems, the ROG (or Republic of Gamers) line from Asus has always been a favorite. Last year's G751 was built like a tank, included a top-of-the-line Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M graphics card, and powered through every game we threw at it. But, it was also incredibly big and bulky -- attach a long handle and it could be used as a snow shovel.
This new revamp gives the ROG laptop series its biggest facelift in years, and trades up to Intel's latest Skylake generation of processors. But, there has not been a new mobile GPU from Nvidia in some time, so it still has the same 900-series mobile graphics chips as every major gaming laptop from the past year and a half.
Not also that this $1,799 configuration bumps the graphics down a step, from the Nvidia 980M to the 970M, but at least pairs it with a 128GB SSD/1TB HDD combo and a generous 16GB of RAM. It's hard to find the exact same Asus configuration internationally, but similar models sell for £1,343 in the UK and AU$2,699 in Australia. A DVD optical drive is also included, but largely superfluous, as PC games are almost entirely downloaded from online stores such as Steam and GOG now.
Asus ROG G752
|Price as reviewed||$1,799|
|Display size/resolution||17.3 inch, 1,920 x 1,080 screen|
|PC CPU||2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ|
|PC Memory||16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz|
|Graphics||3072MB Nvidia GTX 970M|
|Storage||128GB SSD + 1TB 7,200rpm HDD|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Operating system||Micorsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
The new look takes the classis Asus ROG matte black finish and trades it in for warmer palette of brushed aluminum with copper accents and red/orange lights. A few sci-fi-inspired touches, like carved hieroglyphic-like lines above the keyboard and honeycombed speaker grilles along the hinge, add some character. The new chassis is definitely slimmer and more streamlined than the bulky industrial look of its predecessor, but it's still way too big and heavy (at 8.8 pounds) to carry around more than once in a great while.
Along with a backlit keyboard with deep, satisfying keys, Asus includes a handful of programmable macro buttons above the left side of the keyboard. I've been playing PC games going all the way back to my first Tandy Color Computer 3, and rarely if ever use macro keys -- your milage may vary. The macro keys, good for launching apps or running through a series of key commands, can be programmed through a simple included app called Asus MacroKey.
More interesting is the Asus ROG Gaming Center app, which offers a wealth of system information, including CPU and GPU frequencies and temperatures, and allows for adjusting some display and audio settings and controlling the system lights, all from a single view. Multiple profiles can be set up, optimized for media playback, gaming, or extended battery life.