Asus G71Gx notebook review

The Asus G71Gx is the latest laptop in the Taiwanese company’s gaming line-up, and balances a powerful GPU with a high-end quad-core Intel processor. Although it only has a single graphics card, it’s also a lot cheaper than many high-end gaming machines, striking a good compromise between price and power.

With bright colours and an edgy design, the G71Gx is a distinctive machine. The styling won’t appeal to all users, proving slightly fussy, but overall it’s a reasonably attractive product. As with many of its rivals, you’ll find coloured LEDs as an integral part of the design, including lights on the sides of the screen and surrounding the touchpad.

The 17-inch screen is on par with most other gaming laptops, which means you’ll find a high-definition 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution and near faultless image quality. Colour reproduction is especially good, producing bright and even colours.

Asus has fitted a high-end GeForce GTX 260M graphics card. It’s not the company’s flagship GPU, but it’s still more than powerful enough to play most games. The screen’s HD resolution does take its toll in some of the more demanding titles, however, where you may have to turn down detail settings slightly. Despite this, games still look great, and for the most part run smoothly and at high frame rates.

Along with the powerful graphics card, Asus has fitted Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q9300 processor, which runs at 2GHz. We’ve seen more powerful machines when running single tasks, but this machine is really in its element when it comes to multi-tasking. 4GB of memory rounds off the specification, resulting in smooth office performance. With a weight of over 4kg, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to take this machine on the road with you, but if you do you’ll find the battery lasts for just over an hour between charges.

The keyboard offers good levels of comfort, with a responsive and springy keyboard that has a great typing action. It’s not the quietest board we’ve seen though, and the sparkly finish is reminiscent of Asus’ Eee PC S101 netbook. Although it looks great on a £400 netbook, it’s slightly more questionable on a laptop that’s getting on for £2k.

The materials are all of a good quality, with robust plastics used, but it’s a shame Asus has abandoned the aluminium finish of the more powerful W90 gaming laptop. The thick screen surround offers loads of protection for the display, with no sign of flex under pressure, and details such as the magnetised covers for the ports are a nice touch.

The plastic flaps cover ports on both sides of the chassis. Along with a USB port, on the right-hand side you’ll also find headphone, mic and SPDIF sockets. The left flap covers a further two USB ports and 1394 FireWire. There’s an HDMI port for connections to HD screens, a VGA port for analogue displays, and also an eSATA port, letting you transfer data to external hard drives at high speeds.

There’s an optical drive that’s capable of playing Blu-ray discs, along with writing to regular CDs and DVDs. 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Gigabit Ethernet combine to make this a very well specified laptop.

Verdict

The G71Gx can’t match some of the more expensive gaming laptops when it comes to sheer power, but it does strike a good compromise between price and performance. The quad-core processor sets it apart from many of its rivals when it comes to multi-tasking and, aside from battery life, it’s a good all-round package.