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Asus G751J (G-Sync) review: A great gaming laptop adds Nvidia G-Sync

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MSRP: $2,499.00
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The Good Asus adds Nvidia G-Sync technology for smoother gameplay. The hefty keyboard is great for gaming, and high-end CPU/GPU combo delivers killer performance, even when outputting to a 4K display.

The Bad The clunky design feels out of date compared to newer, slimmer gaming laptops, especially for this price. The display resolution is capped at 1,920x1,080 and is not a touchscreen.

The Bottom Line While still expensive, the Asus G751 remains one of our favorite gaming laptops, especially now that it adds Nvidia's G-Sync, making games look better without taking a performance hit.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.3 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Battery 6

Review Sections

The Asus G751 was one of the first laptops we tested and reviewed with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M graphics card back in late 2014. That excellent GPU has become the standard for high-end gaming laptops because it can not only handle current games at very high detail settings, it can also easily output nearly any game at 4K resolution to an external 4K monitor or television.

Now Asus has updated the G751 line with another new Nvidia technology, G-Sync. Previously available only in desktop computers, and even then only when connected to special G-Sync-branded displays with a custom chip inside, you can now find the same technology built into a handful of gaming laptops , including this one.

Sarah Tew/CNET

For the uninitiated, G-Sync promises to eliminate tearing and screen stutter, and improve input lag (where input commands can be out of sync with the action onscreen). It does this by synchronizing the monitor's refresh rate and the GPU's render rate, so images display the moment they are needed.

In the desktop setups we've tested it on, G-Sync has performed impressively, with games looking smoother and faster, even though we we pumping out fewer frames per second, not more. That's because the GPU's output in a G-Sync setup is locked to the refresh rate of the screen, which in this case is 75 frames per second.

In this laptop, as well as on the Origin PC Eon17-X with G-Sync we tried at E3 2015, we saw similarly smooth results. But, unless you're very familiar with how PC games look and play under different hardware, the effect is subtle. The big advantage is that you can go into the settings menu of your favorite PC games and turn off the checkbox for "v-sync," shorthand for "vertical synchronization," which can be a big performance drain, even on powerful gaming PCs.

If you've read our review of the previous version of the Asus G751 , you'll find that aside from G-Sync support, little has changed. This is still a premium 17.3-inch gaming laptop that combines a high-end Core i7 CPU, a hefty 24GB of RAM, a big 256GB SSD paired with a 1TB 7,200rpm HDD, and the GeForce 980M GPU.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This configuration is $2,499, while similar configurations are available in the UK for £2,339 and AU$3,299 in Australia. Finding a specific Asus configuration in retail or online stores can be hit-or-miss.

As a comparison, for about the same price, you can also get a similarly configured Origin PC Eon17-X (with less RAM but a slightly faster processor). The advantage of going to boutique shop such as that is the very wide range of customization options and the personalized service and support. The downside is the generic off-the-shelf laptop bodies smaller PC makers use for gaming laptops. The body for the Asus G751 is big and bulky, and but it's well-designed and laid out.

If you were thinking of shopping for a system in this high-end price range, it's not a radical game-changer, but the addition of G-Sync support to the Asus G751 is a timely update to a great workhorse gaming laptop.

Asus G751J-DH71 (G-Sync)

Price as reviewed $2,499
Display size/resolution 17.3-inch, 1,920x 1,080 screen
PC CPU 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ
PC Memory 24GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M
Storage 256GB SSD + 1TB 7,200rpm HDD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system Windows 8.1 (64-bit)

Design and features

Everything G-Sync-related happens on the inside of this laptop, so the exterior is identical to the version reviewed in late 2014 with the exception of a couple of new stickers, one promoting G-Sync, the other pointing out this laptop is ready for Windows 10 (which it would presumably ship with at this point).

There have been a handful of forward-looking small gaming PC designs since that last review, including the HP Omen laptop and the Alienware Alpha mini-desktop, but overall, the G751 is as big and clunky as most high-powered gaming laptops, and our impressions remain the same. There's still a call to be made between having a thin, ultrabook-like body, and having the latest components. In this case, Asus goes for performance over style.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The chassis rises in the back but is tapered toward the front, giving you the illusion of a slimmer laptop when viewed from the correct angle. Decoration is minimal, but the matte-black lid is accented by a chrome Asus logo and the red backlit logo for the company's ROG (Republic of Gamers) gaming line, which is an inexplicably arched eyebrow. The rear panel houses two giant fan vents, painted red, so you can't miss them. If you can't hide the giant vents, you might as well accentuate them.

Inside the matte-black interior is a backlit keyboard that feels well-tuned for gaming. The all-important WASD keys are highlighted with red key shafts, a subtle effect that you only really notice when not sitting on top of it. The keys have a deep, satisfying click, and the space bar bows out slightly on the left side, presumably to make it easier to hit with your left hand while gaming. A handful of quick-launch and custom-programmed buttons sit above the keyboard on the left side. One has the familiar logo of Steam, the PC game-distribution platform. Hit the button, and Steam automatically launches (if installed). The keyboard design and layout feel superior to the ones on equally fast laptops from boutique PC makers, who almost universally use the same handful of generic off-the-shelf laptop bodies.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The large touchpad has the older style of separate left and right mouse buttons that most other laptops have done away with by now. But, odds are you'll rarely use the touchpad, as PC gaming is nearly exclusively done with a mouse or gamepad.

With the addition of G-Sync support built right into the display, the screen is even more important than ever. The one here has a 1,920x1,080 native resolution, which is still the standard for PC gaming, although higher-res screens, all the way up to 4K, are more common every day. Colors and contrast remain strong when viewed from off-angles, and the screen coating is nonreflective enough to avoid most glare. When G-Sync is turned on, it looks and plays incredibly smoothly.

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