Asus G53JW review: Asus G53JW

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The Good Great performance;. Built-in 3D capability;. High usability;. Can't be seen on enemy radar.

The Bad Highly questionable design;. No VGA port.

The Bottom Line The 15.6-inch Asus G53JW-IX162V offers great performance and built-in 3D capability. As such, if you can get past its unique design, this gaming laptop is sure to satisfy.

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8.3 Overall

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Here at CNET UK we love nothing more than getting shoulder-deep in a high-spec computer. We're lucky, then, that the Asus G53JW-IX115V just landed on our laps. This behemoth gaming monster will set you back around £1,450, and puts games right in your face thanks to some nifty 3D technology.

It's a good thing the G53JW didn't really land in our lap, because it would have crushed our legs, and probably dropped us (and our office chair) through the floor. Weighing a colossal 3.6kg and measuring 391 by 297 by 50mm, this 15.6-inch laptop doubles as an effective murder weapon.

Top gun

In terms of styling, the G53JW puts us very much in mind of a stealth fighter jet, with its all-over matte black finish, angular chassis and thick, chunky corners. Around the back, there are two massive fan exhausts that look like jet engines.

Twin fan exhausts at the rear of the G53JW remind us of fighter jet engines.

We're in two minds about this style direction. On the one hand, it's certainly unique, and if you like your tech to stand out from the crowd, this will definitely draw looks. Plus, it has a certain cool factor that's typical of gaming laptops, even if this particular machine is a little low on flashing LEDs. On the other hand, it's extremely heavy, and not in the slightest bit portable, so you'll need a good deal of stamina if you're planning on hauling it to lectures or work.

Opening up this monolithic machine, you'll find everything is still very matte black in appearance. The keyboard is pleasingly wide, however, and there are great big spaces between each individual key, which will cut down on accidental typos. The trackpad is also satisfyingly wide, and we found it to be very responsive. In saying that, the left and right click buttons are quite stiff. Still, we reckon most users will connect a mouse to this laptop, rather than making do with the standard trackpad option.

Both the keyboard and trackpad are sufficiently wide, which is a vital requisite for comfortable gaming laptops.

The display is a 15.6-inch panel with a maximum resolution of 1366x768 pixels. It's hardly the biggest, brightest screen we've ever witnessed, but it looks just fine to us -- colours are rendered vividly and everything looks very sharp. You might want to plug in a monitor if you're playing games at a competitive level, though.

Movement on screen looks very smooth, thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. It's a necessary spec, though, for the 3D magic that lurks within.

All up in your grill

The G53JW supports 3D gaming using Nvidia's 3D Vision kit. A set of glasses is included, and the IR emitter necessary to keep the glasses in sync with the laptop is helpfully built into the laptop itself, on the top of the bezel, to the left of the webcam. It's a thoughtful addition, and means less faffing around with USB IR emitters.

We've dealt with this 3D tech before, on machines such as the Toshiba A665. Our general feelings are that it works better with some games than with others. Nvidia helpfully lists which games work best, and, for the ones that don't work, it sometimes provides hints on how to improve the 3D effect by tinkering with the settings. It's a cool addition, and it's certainly fun to play with, but you might find that after a while you just turn it off and play in the regular two dimensions.