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Asus G75VW review: Asus G75VW

Asus G75VW

Scott_Stein.jpg
Scott Stein
Scott_Stein.jpg

Scott Stein

Editor at Large

I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets.

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7 min read

When it comes to gaming laptops, most people think of Alienware and Origin as the prime providers of high-end, high-performance, high-cost PC hardware. There are other players in the field, however; Asus has made its own gaming laptop under the Republic of Gamers brand for years.

Asus G75VW-AS71 (Core i7 3610QM)
7.9

Asus G75VW

The Good

The <b>Asus G75VW-AS71</b> has a cutting-edge processor, a new Nvidia GPU, a slightly thinned-down body, a matte antiglare screen, and faster ports and connections than its predecessor, including tons of USB 3.0 ports and Thunderbolt.

The Bad

This laptop's still not cheap; it may not be $2,000, but it's far more expensive than the average laptop. And, let's face it: this machine's still a boat. Also, in performance it lags behind more powerful gaming laptops like the Origin EON17-S.

The Bottom Line

If you want to buy a "budget" gaming laptop, the Asus G75VW-AS71 offers plenty of horsepower and features in its heavy 17-inch body. Just don't expect anything svelte -- or good battery life.

Next-generation Intel processors are always seen first in higher-end laptops, and true to form, the Asus G75VW-AS71 incorporates a quad-core third-gen Core i7 processor and upgraded Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M graphics, a big upgrade from the Asus G74SX-A2 CNET reviewed at the end of last year.

While the internal specs are upgraded, the body is largely the same: a heavy 17.3-inch black laptop that's as far from easily portable as a laptop could be, although its clever angles and matte finish hide a lot of its bulk from casual view. While it may not seem so, the G75VW is actually lighter and thinner than the G74SX-A2, too.

Sarah Tew

At $1,499, the Asus G75VW-AS71 is a far more affordable laptop than most Alienware gaming rigs, or the through-the-roof Origin EON17-S. It's also less powerful. However, it's more than capable of running mainstream games very well. It's hard to call a $1,699 laptop a bargain, but with all that this gaming laptop brings to the table, that might be the best description I can think of.

Price as reviewed $1,499
Processor 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM
Memory 12GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 750GB 7,200rpm
Chipset Intel HM77
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 16.3x12.6 inches
Height 0.9 - 2 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 17.3 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 9.5 pounds / 11.7 pounds
Category Desktop replacement

Much like last year's G74SX, the G75VW is a big, big beast of a machine: weighing in at 9.5 pounds, this is a laptop you'll want to keep on your desk. Place it on your lap and you'll realize how much of the G75V's bulk is hidden with sleek angling and a hinged-forward screen that masks a big rear with a race-car-like vent exhaust. With this laptop on my lap I felt like a tiny child with a very large cookie. As I mentioned, however, this year's model is lighter and thinner, at 9.5 pounds and up to 2 inches thick at the beefiest point, versus the G74SX's 10 pounds and 2.4 inches. We'll take the improvement, but most people won't notice; it's still the Lincoln Town Car of laptops.

Sarah Tew

Mock it if you must (I sometimes did), but the Asus G75 has a somewhat attractive design. Somewhere between dorm-room gamer chic and something more understated, Asus has saved most of the glaring sports-car touches for that rear vent. Some might like to appreciate such over-the-top design elements head-on, but I prefer my laptop grille out of sight.

The interior of the laptop holds only a keyboard, a large touch pad, a few status indicator lights (HDD access, Wi-Fi, and so on), and power/quick-launch buttons. You're unlikely to ever deliberately use the quick-launch pre-Windows operating system, especially as this laptop is designed to stay tethered to your desk full-time, but since the two buttons sit right next to each other, it's easy to accidentally hit the wrong one. When the system is already running Windows, that second button activates a quiet mode to reduce fan noise.

The whole affair feels several notches below a premium product, which is a shame because it's certainly not a budget-priced machine.

The huge amount of keyboard tray space means that the raised backlit keyboard and adjacent number pad are plenty far apart. The directional arrow buttons are placed in between. The key travel is comfortable and crisp, matching what you'd normally find on a midrange laptop. Due to its size, this Asus has plenty of comfortable palm-rest space, even with the touch pad shifted over to line up with the keyboard's off-center spacebar. A soft matte finish offers good traction and grip without collecting too many smudges.

Sarah Tew

A larger-than-average multitouch touch pad underneath has discrete buttons with a rubberized finish. Like most Windows touch pads, it doesn't handle two-finger gestures as smoothly as you'd expect. Scrolling down a Web page, for instance, was touch and no-go.

The Asus G75VW is blessed with an excellent screen, perhaps one of the best I've seen in a large laptop. The 17.3-inch, 1,920x1,080-pixel-resolution display has a matte coating instead of glossy, a trend that seems on the rise in laptops.

The benefit of less glare has no drawbacks here: the screen's still extremely bright, and the viewing angles are superb. Adding that antiglare screen addresses one of our issues with the previous G74's overly glossy topcoat. It's a step below the quality of the Razer Blade's standout screen, but better than average. Colors pop, and both games and Blu-ray movies looked sharp. Unfortunately, the construction quality around the screen is less than stellar. Matte black plastic forms a thick bezel, and part of the bezel warped away from the screen in our review unit.

Stereo speakers installed above the keyboard under a metal grille and a subwoofer located on the underside offer up big, booming sound; not as high-quality as premium speakers, but suitable for immersive gaming. Adjusting the volume via the volume-control keys above the keyboard (not function-reversed, alas) was finicky on our unit, and the low-end volume still sounded much higher than the average. The volume controls are secondary functions of the F9, F10, and F11 keys, so you'll need to fumble around a bit to adjust volume on the fly.

Asus G75VW-AS71 Average for category [desktop replacement]
Video VGA, HDMI, Thunderbolt VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers with subwoofer, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers with subwoofer, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 4 USB 3.0, Thunderbolt, SD card reader 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, SD card reader, eSATA
Networking Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive Blu-ray player DVD burner, optional Blu-ray player

Thanks to the move to a newer Intel chip architecture, the port situation on the Asus G75 is much improved over last year's G74. You get three USB 3.0 ports instead of just one, plus a brand-spanking-new Thunderbolt port alongside HDMI and VGA. No complaints there.

Our configuration, at $1,499, is one of the least expensive configurations, featuring a still-impressive 12GB of RAM, a quad-core Core i7-3610M processor, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M graphics, along with a 750GB, 7,200rpm hard drive. Other configurations bump up the RAM from 12GB to 16GB, offer faster solid-state drives (SSDs) or, alternatively, a 1.5TB hard drive, and offer a bumped-up CPU (Core i7-3720) and graphics (Nvidia GeForce GTX 670M). Most models we found online didn't exceed $2,199, so the G75VW isn't exactly a backbreaker like some Alienware and Origin top-end configurations; then again, $2,000 is hardly cheap.

Like any bleeding-edge gaming laptop, you're being offered far more computing power than the average person would know what to do with. Intel's latest quad-core third-generation Core i7 processors offer a modest bump up from last year's CPUs: in our benchmark tests, the 2.3GHz Core i7-2670QM processor in the Asus G75VW brought gains of up to 20 percent, particularly in multitasking.

In the graphics department, the newer Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M GPU holds its own, and then some. Metro 2033 ran at 14.3 frames per second at 1,920x1,080 pixels with graphics settings at high. Street Fighter IV ran faster, at 99fps. Anecdotally, Batman: Arkham City and Portal 2 both played very well at full 1,920x1,080 pixels and graphics set to high. The recently reviewed Ivy Bridge-equipped Origin EON17-S outperforms the Asus G75VW, but that Origin laptop costs $3,499.

Juice box
Asus G75VW Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.82
Sleep (10 percent) 1.30
Idle (25 percent) 23.22
Load (5 percent) 65.49
Raw kWh 84.99
Annual power consumption cost $9.65

Annual power consumption cost

The Asus G75VW lasted 2 hours and 6 minutes on CNET's video-playback battery drain test: that's about par for high-end desktop replacement-type gaming beasts (actually, it's better than average). Keep that massive charging brick handy and close by.

Asus offers a standard one-year warranty with the G75VW-AS71. Asus' Web site and its Republic of Gamers portal are relatively easy to navigate for software downloads, but the overall customer experience Asus provides is a step back from the white-glove feel that more recognizable quantities like Alienware and Origin can provide.

The Asus G75VW-AS71 is a new set of processors in a slightly thinned-down gaming laptop box. The result is better than ever, but the price you're paying is still really high, even if it's less than half the price of stacked gaming rigs. If you value top-notch specs over any sort of portability, the G75VW could be your dream machine.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Street Fighter IV (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Native resolution, 2X AA, V Sync Off  

Metro 2033 (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,366x768, High, DX11, AAA, 4X AF  

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Asus G75VW-AS71 (Core i7 3610QM)
7.9

Asus G75VW

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 9Performance 8Battery 6Support 7
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