The Asus brand name may not carry the same weight as Sony in this country and may not shift as many notebooks as say, Dell but when it says its entering the gaming market with something special, you have to expect something special.
The design is great. So, while the styling is clearly Asus with carbon fibre on the lid and palm rests, there are nods directly at the gamer, such as the highlighted WASD keys – used for FPS games primarily – and coloured lights around the edge and on the mouse buttons. The overall build quality is highly impressive and while the keyboard isn’t as robust as others in the range, it’s comfortable to use.
The Asus G1 is billed as the lightest gaming notebook available and true to the claim, it’s a lightweight machine in more ways that one. Weighing 3.3kg, it’s not an ultra-slim machine but it’s over a kilo lighter than its rivals. The 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen has a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels (WXGA), which isn’t ideal for gaming but if a satisfactory compromise.
In order to meet this slimline design, Asus has had to sacrifice out-and-power gaming prowess. So, you won’t find it sporting the latest high-end graphic that we find in the Dell XPS and the Rock Xtreme machines, for example. Asus has opted for a fairly mainstream option, in the form of the Nvidia GeForce Go 7700, believing that gamers want something they can carry to LAN parties with ease and keep their main gaming machine as a desktop PC safely at home.
We have to admit that it’s a solution we like. After all, this adapter may not allow you to switch everything up to full but when you’re playing networked games, you want as much speed as you can muster and it doesn’t disappoint. We’ve happily been playing deathmatch Far Cry and F.E.A.R. on our G1 with little to complain about.
Away from the gaming aspect, this is a great all-round machine. Designed around the Intel’s Core 2 Duo T7200 chip and backed by 2048MB of DDR2 memory, you’ll be able to run tasks with no delay. There is even a 160GB hard drive in place, so you won’t need to worry about overloading it with games. In daily use, we found the G1 gave stunning results, being able to handle everything with ease. Add to this a battery life well in excess of four hours when using it for office tasks – sadly we never got the chance to use it for gaming on battery power – and you have a winning machine.
Along with the standard laptop features, you’ll also find a 1.3-megapixel webcam built-in, along with DVI and VGA-out ports. A nice touch is the addition of a gaming specific external mouse, which makes gaming easier and more enjoyable.
If you’re willing to accept that this isn’t a cutting-edge gaming notebook and accept the it as compromise, you won’t be disappointed with the Asus G1, we weren’t and look forward to the company expanding on the range in the not too distant future.