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Asus ROG Strix GL753 review: Glitzy gaming laptop is a bump up from basic

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In the not-too-distant past, a good mainstream gaming laptop -- one with a decent graphics card a few notches down from the top end, and that didn't immediately feel like a plastic clamshell full of compromise -- was a rarity. Even if one did crop up, you typically had to wait till holiday shopping season to find it at a reasonable price for what you were getting.

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7.8

Asus ROG Strix GL753

The Good

Centered around its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti GPU, the 17-inch Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 has very good gaming performance, and Asus' Gaming Center software lets you quickly customize things like fan speed and the four-zone RGB-backlit keyboard. The body stays cool while gaming, and its fans don't get too loud.

The Bad

The keyboard and touchpad are small for a 17-inch laptop. The "gamer" styling isn't for everyone. The same GPU can be found in other laptops for hundreds less.

The Bottom Line

Other laptops offer the same mainstream graphics power for less, but the Asus ROG Strix GL753 dresses it up with a nice display and game-friendly extras.

Those days seem to be coming to an end, and that has everything to do with Nvidia's latest entry-level 10-series graphics cards. The GeForce GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti GPUs are bringing desktop-level 3D gaming performance to laptops like the Dell Inspiron 15 7000, a budget gaming beast that starts at just $800.

That's not to say the Inspiron is perfect for the price: Dell clearly cut some corners to get the price that low, just not in terms of gaming performance. For a better all-around package, you'll still have to spend a bit more for something like Asus' ROG Strix line, which includes the 15-inch GL553 and the 17-inch GL753. Asus leaves some of those corners intact for the higher starting price of around $1,100.

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Asus' Strix laptops are its "every-person gaming line."

Sarah Tew/CNET

The GL753VE-DS74, reviewed here, is like ordering the second-least-expensive bottle of wine at a restaurant. It sells for around $1,300 in the US or £1,275 in the UK. In Australia, Asus has a higher-end configuration with a GTX 1060 card for AU$2,600. (The slightly smaller and lighter 15.6-inch GL553VE-DS74 sells for about the same price.) The additional money over the Dell goes to things like a quad-core Core i7 processor; a nice 17.3-inch full HD display with a matte finish and wide viewing angles; a solid-state drive plus a hard drive for storage; a customizable four-zone RGB-backlit keyboard with scissor-style switches; lots of ports and connections including a USB 3.1 Type-C (gen-1); and even an optical drive.

Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74

Price as reviewed $1,299
Display size/resolution 17.3-inch 1,920x1,080 display
PC CPU 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ
PC Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti
Storage 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

There's also Asus' Gaming Center interface that lets you quickly turn features on and off, such as the trackpad or Windows key, as well as adjust fan speed to keep them quiet for when you're watching a movie or working, or to crank them when you're gaming. It's not exactly a huge reason to buy, but a nice add nonetheless.

Beauty is in the eye of the gamer

My preference for laptop design leans more toward the stealthy looks of the Razer Blade Pro than the more aggressive "gaming laptop" design of the Strix. Asus didn't go too over the top, but between the lid and keyboard lights and the ROG logos and Republic of Gamers branding, it won't get mistaken for a business system. That said, you can shut off the lid lights, and the keyboard backlight can be set to be solid white if you want to tone things down some (you can set up as many as three lighting profiles for the keyboard, too).

The keyboard does give you a comfortable typing experience, and while the scissor switches feel more like a mechanical keyboard, they don't require a lot of force and don't have the loud clicky feedback of the Razer Blade Pro's keyboard. The keyboard is oddly small given the system's size, especially the number pad on the right. It looks like Asus used the same keyboard for both the 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch models.

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The RGB keyboard is nice, but what's with the tiny number pad?

Sarah Tew/CNET

The same goes for the touchpad, which is comically small for such a large laptop. It's a good touchpad overall, responding perfectly to multitouch gestures without being jumpy. But considering there's no touch display on the Strix, a larger touchpad would be welcomed.

Although it's not an IPS screen, which are known for good off-angle viewing, the 17.3-inch 1,920x1,080-pixel display looks just fine from off to the sides (the same can't be said for the Dell Inspiron 15 7000). It means you don't have to be sitting dead-center with the screen at just the right angle for the best picture. Plus, the matte finish keeps you from fighting glare while gaming.

Go ahead, set it to high

Nvidia said from the get-go that you'd be able to play old and modern games with the GTX 1050 laptop GPUs at full HD at 60 frames per second. At first I dismissed this claim as hype, but it turns out to be true and you can turn up detail settings to high. Of course, that's all going to depend on the game, but playing Metro: Last Light, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Battlefield 1 looked and played great. And unlike slimmer game systems I've tested lately, it doesn't get uncomfortably hot under load.

As for regular use, the system's 16GB of RAM and seventh-gen Intel Core i7 offered plenty of power for multitasking. Plus, with the big screen, I could easily leave Netflix streaming in the corner while working, web browsing and photo editing on the rest of the display. And if your plan is use this as more of a desktop, there are HDMI and mini DisplayPort outputs for monitors in addition to one USB 2.0, three USB 3.0 and one USB 3.1 Type-C (gen 1) ports, mic and headphone jacks, Ethernet and an SD card slot.

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The GL753 has a full port assortment.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Battery life was on par with other recent gaming systems we've tested coming in at four hours and 22 minutes on our streaming video test. The Inspiron 15 7000 is a notable exception, streaming for more than nine hours. But in either case, gaming on the battery is going to get you an hour or two at most.

More than just a GPU

You can certainly spend less than the Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 costs to get a laptop with the GTX 1050 Ti card and get the same solid graphics performance. If you're planning to connect it to an external monitor and peripherals, it's not a bad way to go. Likewise, you could spend a bit more and get a laptop running a VR-ready GTX 1060 GPU, including Asus' own GL702. The GL753 is simply a very good step up from a basic gaming laptop.

Multimedia Multitasking test 3.0

Asus G752V 159Razer Blade Pro 176HP Omen (17-inch) 184Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 200Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming 335
Notes: Shorter bars indicate better performance (in seconds)

Geekbench 3 (Multi-core)

Asus G752V 15,562Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 13,708HP Omen (17-inch) 13,362Razer Blade Pro 13,313Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming 10,247
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

Streaming video playback battery drain test

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming 578HP Omen (17-inch) 270Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 262Asus G752V 256Razer Blade Pro 229
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

Razer Blade Pro 4,456Asus G752V 4,126HP Omen (17-inch) 3,816Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming 1,871Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 1,822
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

Bioshock Infinite gaming test

Asus G752V 190Razer Blade Pro 161.31HP Omen (17-inch) 137.56Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 89.35Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming 89.34
Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

System configurations

Asus ROG Strix GL753VE-DS74 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
HP Omen (17-inch) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070; 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Asus G752V Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,800MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070; (2) 256GB SSD RAID 0 + 1TB HDD
Razer Blade Pro Microsoft Windows 10 Home; (64-bit); 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080; (2) 256GB SSD RAID 0
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7300HQ; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 256GB SSD
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7.8

Asus ROG Strix GL753

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 8Battery 6Support 0