The Good A rare attempt at building a 15-inch gaming laptop comes close to succeeding; bold design; surprisingly strong battery life.
The Bad Frame rates can't compete with bigger gaming laptops; nonconfigurable; as heavy as some 17-inch models.
The Bottom Line The Asus G1 is an interesting concept--a gaming laptop squeezed into a midsize case--but its lack of 3D muscle will fail to satisfy hardcore gamers.
Laptop-loving gamers are often stuck with portable systems that are nearly as bulky as the desktop computers they so studiously avoid. Recently, Asus has scored with interesting design ideas such as the leather-bound ultraportable S6F, and the company's industrial-flavored G1 is also something you don't see every day: a midsize laptop marketed as a gaming system. While high-end 17-inch gaming rigs from Dell and Alienware can easily set you back more than $3,000, the Asus G1 gives you a decent set of specs--a couple of steps down from the top-of-the-line--squeezed into a 15.4-inch form factor for a reasonable $1,799. Too bad the gaming scores weren't up to snuff. If you need more video-card muscle, or if the black-and-green design doesn't appeal to your sensibilities, a few hundred dollars more will get you a better 3D chip and larger display in Toshiba's Satellite P105-S9722.
Measuring 14 inches wide, 11.2 inches deep, and 1.6 inches high, the Asus G1 sits somewhere between the mainstream and desktop replacement classes of laptops. The physical measurements and 15.4-inch display say mainstream, while the sheer weight edges into the desktop replacement category--meaning this system is best set up on a semipermanent perch in your office, dorm, or computer room. The G1 is heavier than most 15-inch laptops, weighing 7 pounds (8.2 pounds with the A/C adapter), which is about 2 pounds lighter than the 17-inch Dell XPS M1710, but almost the same weight as another 17-inch gaming rig, the Toshiba Satellite P105-S9722.
Asus offers some unique touches with the system's design, and you're likely to either love them or hate them. The chassis's basic-black look, upon closer inspection, reveals a subtle crosshatch pattern, which adds some pleasing depth to the flat surfaces of the laptop. Metal rivets in the lid on the hinges add an industrial flavor, but the day-glo green accents on the sides of the lid and on the built-in Webcam are decidedly less high-tech looking. The crosshatch pattern extends to the mousepad, while the green theme is carried over to a plastic eyeball logo that sits between the mouse buttons and stares at you though a glowing green light. As if to firmly reinforce the gaming message, the W, A, S, and D keys--the main control keys for many PC games--are thoughtfully highlighted in green. This is a laptop that by no means looks unattractive, but it would have a hard time doing double duty in a serious office environment.