Asus G73Jh

Asus' G73Jh is the closest thing we've seen to the perfect gaming laptop. It stumbles in a few areas, but for the price, that likely won't matter. If you're serious about laptop gaming and don't care about the size, the G73Jh is the one to get.


8.5
CNET Rating

View more from Asus »

About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


Flying straight out of the US military's stealth hanger, the matte black, 17.3-inch Asus G73Jh pulls no punches in performance.

The G73Jh is part of the Republic of Gamers (ROG) line, where it pulls none in size and looks either, with its angular design and huge rear-facing air vents polarising the CNET office into camps of love and hate. After a quick survey, we discovered those who hated it weren't gamers, those who loved it were. In other words, Asus has perfectly hit its target market. At 3.85kg, it's also deceptively light for what's in it — still, this isn't a laptop you'll be buying for the ultimate in portability.

In the G73Jh Asus is calling out Alienware. While its configuration may not be as ridiculously overpowered as some of Alienware's machines, neither is it as expensive. A quad-core Intel Core i7 Q720 @ 1.6GHz sits as the CPU, although thanks to Turbo Boost it can hit 2.8GHz on a single thread if need be. Being an i7, this means hyperthreading is along for the ride too, offering eight threads on this beastly laptop.

The centrepiece of the G73Jh though has to be the graphics card — ATI's stonkingly fast Radeon HD 5870. Backed up with 8GB RAM, dual 500GB 7200rpm hard drives, Blu-ray/DVD+-RW combo drive, Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and a 1920x1080 screen, it almost gets the combo right. Sadly, Asus has opted for a glossy screen over a matte one, spoiling its perfect run, and the monitor doesn't tilt back very far, which may annoy some.

It also supposedly has an Audigy inside for EAX 4.0 support, but this must be in software, as the laptop itself claimed it was nothing more than a Realtek card. This isn't necessarily a downside — CPUs long ago had more than enough spare cycles to emulate a sound card, and Creative's software actually makes a difference to audio quality.

This is paired with some of the best speakers we've heard on a laptop, with decent mid and bass, and good clarity at the high end.

Connectivity includes 802.11n, Bluetooth, gigabit Ethernet, four USB ports, headphone and microphone ports, HDMI, VGA and an MMC/SD/MS card reader. Conspicuously absent is eSATA, usually present in Asus' bigger laptops. If anything, perhaps this is the sign that USB 3.0 is on the way.

Asus has opted to put its status indicators on the lip of the laptop, effectively making them useless for quick-glance diagnosis. But this does do one other thing, and that's minimise distraction during gaming. We'd just prefer they were somewhere more visible, and that you could turn them off if you wanted to.

And this is exactly what Asus has done with the three lit buttons on the top left and the unearthly glowing blue LED under the monitor. Of these three buttons, one turns the lights on and off, one gives access to TwinTurbo mode (pushing the bus up to 143.3MHz from 133MHz for more CPU and memory grunt) and one cycles through Asus' "Splendid" image presets for the monitor (which as usual, should be avoided). Sadly, the power button light stays on.

Despite the extra wide touch pad, Asus hasn't included multi-touch scrolling, instead opting for circular scrolling. There is pinch to zoom, but its effectiveness in Windows is limited and a little erratic.

Asus has also chosen to squish the number pad and arrow keys to a smaller size, an odd choice considering how much space there is to play with. Thankfully though the keyboard is backlit, making it perfect for those late-night gaming sessions.

Software

We're not sure we've seen this much crapware installed on a PC before. Trend Micro is the trial antivirus of choice, while Asus has shoehorned not one, but two toolbars into Internet Explorer in the form of the Google Toolbar and Windows Live toolbar. There's an eBay icon on the desktop, another icon that's an awful attempt to sell software, even more onsell, Asus' trial web storage and a Wi-Fi app installer from Boingo. It also gives Minority Report's advertising a good name.

Luckily there's something useful amongst the mess in the form of CyberLink's PowerDVD 9 to handle Blu-ray playback and a few of Asus' own tools have their uses, but it's mostly cruft.

Interestingly, the machine supports UEFI, which can be turned on or off in the BIOS. The machine looks no different while booting, but perhaps this might make it an interesting hackintosh target.

Accessories

It's not a gaming laptop without accessories, and Asus' bundle goes far above the average. A mouse is included which supports DPI switching, has a racing blue light running up the middle and a glowing Asus logo. It feels a bit light at first, but is comfortable and held up admirably in a game of Counter Strike: Source. Unfortunately, it is right handed though — so lefties will still need to invest.

Also in the pack is, well, a pack. While not featuring as many pockets as previous ROG backpacks, and the zips are perhaps not as heavy duty as they could be, it still feels quality made and should protect your laptop well.

Asus G73Jh accessories

The mouse and backpack that come with the G73Jh are quite decent. (Credit: Asus)

Finally is the set of headphones, the re-branded SteelSeries Siberia. While comfortable, these open-backed headphones are the weak point of the bundle — they're overly bass heavy, have a claustrophobic sound stage, and almost criminally possess only a one-metre long cable. Karnivool's Simple Boy became a mess of heavy bass and mid tones, while the highs sounded compressed like they had come from an iPod despite the CD source. Impedance is incredibly low too, so you definitely won't need an amp for these. They're fine for a throw around set on the move, but quality they're not.

Performance

Firing up 3DMark06, the G73Jh ate it for breakfast, the HD5870 inside delivering a massive 12,595 in normal mode. Oddly, this went down to 12,403 once we enabled TwinTurbo mode, but this is still one of the very rare times that the 3DMark score of a laptop has been higher than the PCMark one.

PCMark05 didn't benefit as much from the graphics fire-power, but still impressed at an excellent 7699 in normal mode, once again dipping when TwinTurbo mode was enabled to 7245. Further investigation with CPU-Z while running wPrime on both one and eight threads turned up no easily discernible clues as to what was going on — we could only assume that TwinTurbo was somehow clashing with TurboBoost.

All the same it still packs a wallop — but with great power comes great responsibility, this time in regards to battery life. With all power-saving options turned off, screen brightness and volume set to maximum and an XviD file played back, the G73Jh lasted one hour and 14 minutes before its eight-cell battery gave up the ghost. You won't want to be travelling far with this one.

Asus' G73Jh is the closest thing we've seen to the perfect gaming laptop. It stumbles in a few areas, but for the price, that likely won't matter. If you're serious about laptop gaming and don't care about the size, the G73Jh is the one to get.



Add Your Review 3


* Below fields optional


Post comment as
idiotphone4lover
9
Rating
 

"Performance for all uses"

idiotphone4lover posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Perfomance, Full HD, Blu-ray, 2 year warranty

The Bad:G73SW replaces it.

Replaced by the Asus G73SW with Intel i7 2630QM & Nvidia GTX460M.

Nick
9
Rating
 

Nick posted a review   

The Good:Grunt, reliability

The Bad:can feel clunky sometimes

I have been using this laptop now for about three or four weeks. I do some light gaming but I am not a real gamer: I just wanted a solid desktop laptop with grunt and this laptop tends to fit the bill. It is a replacement desktop laptop, large and heavy (though not as heavy as some). But those looking for portability and extended power use should look elsewhere. However it suited my needs because I mainly wanted a laptop for home use.

I had originally become interested in the Asus brand because of the Square trade report on laptop reliability which showed that Asus was the most reliable laptop brand currently on the market. This report purportedly collected data on warranty malfunction rates for 30,000 laptops. While some will quibble about the accuracy of this data, this report is nonetheless perhaps a more accurate indicator than other reliability tests currently available which merely measure user satisfaction with reliability rather than actual reported failure rate.

This is an issue which many potential laptop purchasers and manufacturers should take more seriously as one third of laptops will fail in the first three years.

I have owned apple, ibm thinkpad and nec laptops in the past and have been disatisfied with their reliability when stretched under heavy desktop type use conditions. Overheating and chronic underpowering to deal with the purported claimed features of laptops as well as multitasking are common problems with laptops which often lead to the black screen of death.

The Asus g73 seems to adequately deal with both issues. The G73 draws cool air in through the front of the unit, passes it over the internal components and expels it through extravagant cooling vents at the backside, in a similar fashion to BTX desktop systems. From my estimation and other reviews on CNET UK etc it appears to have one of the best laptop cooling systems currently on the market. Add to this I7 intel chip and most powerful video card on the market and it appears to have a resonable chance of lasting the distance over three years. In addition, unlike many other brands, Asus also offers a standard two year international warranty upgradable to three years for an additional $130 or so which represents quite good value for money - though I cannot testify to how good ASUS warranty customer care is because I have not used it.

Ok so - so much for my rave on reliability - what about the laptop.

Things I like:

- it does not look like a gaming laptop (despite the small, almost hidden republic of games embossing) and could be easily mistaken for a cool looking work laptop computer, notwithstanding its apparent resemblance to a US engine of death stealth fighter.
- Good keyboard, great high resolution screen
- 1tb of hard drive space, plenty of storage
- great sound
- Great portable entertaimnent centre, gaming and movies as well as decent work laptop when I go on holiday with my kids
- solid exterior body build as well as components
- bag and accessories, better than most

Things I don't like:
- can feel heavy after extended periods of use- this is a big laptop if you are not used to a 17 incher
- large touchpad - good for somethings will pinch scroll like an iphone - but you have to be careful not to accidentally touch the pad, occasionally the cursor also appears to stick and you need to use two fingers.
- power is limited on battery

Nick
9
Rating
 

Nick posted a review   

The Good:Grunt, reliability

The Bad:can feel clunky sometimes

I have been using this laptop now for about three or four weeks. I do some light gaming but I am not a real gamer: I just wanted a solid desktop laptop with grunt and this laptop tends to fit the bill. It is a replacement desktop laptop, large and heavy (though not as heavy as some). But those looking for portability and extended power use should look elsewhere. However it suited my needs because I mainly wanted a laptop for home use.

I had originally become interested in the Asus brand because of the Square trade report on laptop reliability which showed that Asus was the most reliable laptop brand currently on the market. This report purportedly collected data on warranty malfunction rates for 30,000 laptops. While some will quibble about the accuracy of this data, this report is nonetheless perhaps a more accurate indicator than other reliability tests currently available which merely measure user satisfaction with reliability rather than actual reported failure rate.

This is an issue which many potential laptop purchasers and manufacturers should take more seriously as one third of laptops will fail in the first three years.

I have owned apple, ibm thinkpad and nec laptops in the past and have been disatisfied with their reliability when stretched under heavy desktop type use conditions. Overheating and chronic underpowering to deal with the purported claimed features of laptops as well as multitasking are common problems with laptops which often lead to the black screen of death.

The Asus g73 seems to adequately deal with both issues. The G73 draws cool air in through the front of the unit, passes it over the internal components and expels it through extravagant cooling vents at the backside, in a similar fashion to BTX desktop systems. From my estimation and other reviews on CNET UK etc it appears to have one of the best laptop cooling systems currently on the market. Add to this I7 intel chip and most powerful video card on the market and it appears to have a resonable chance of lasting the distance over three years. In addition, unlike many other brands, Asus also offers a standard two year international warranty upgradable to three years for an additional $130 or so which represents quite good value for money - though I cannot testify to how good ASUS warranty customer care is because I have not used it.

Ok so - so much for my rave on reliability - what about the laptop.

Things I like:

- it does not look like a gaming laptop (despite the small, almost hidden republic of games embossing) and could be easily mistaken for a cool looking work laptop computer, notwithstanding its apparent resemblance to a US engine of death stealth fighter.
- Good keyboard, great high resolution screen
- 1tb of hard drive space, plenty of storage
- great sound
- Great portable entertaimnent centre, gaming and movies as well as decent work laptop when I go on holiday with my kids
- solid exterior body build as well as components
- bag and accessories, better than most

Things I don't like:
- can feel heavy after extended periods of use- this is a big laptop if you are not used to a 17 incher
- large touchpad - good for somethings will pinch scroll like an iphone - but you have to be careful not to accidentally touch the pad, occasionally the cursor also appears to stick and you need to use two fingers.
- power is limited on battery




Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments  Asus G73Jh

  • idiotphone4lover

    idiotphone4lover

    Rating9

    "Replaced by the Asus G73SW with Intel i7 2630QM & Nvidia GTX460M."

  • Nick

    Nick

    Rating9

    "I have been using this laptop now for about three or four weeks. I do some light gaming but I am not a real gamer: I just wanted a solid desktop laptop with grunt and this laptop tends to fit the ..."

  • Nick

    Nick

    Rating9

    "I have been using this laptop now for about three or four weeks. I do some light gaming but I am not a real gamer: I just wanted a solid desktop laptop with grunt and this laptop tends to fit the ..."

CNET Speedtest

Recently Viewed Products