Asus G74SX

The G74SX is a good laptop marred by painful concessions — namely the awful trackpad, cheap speakers and droves of crapware. All of these things can be overcome by the user spending more time and money, but we sure wish this wasn't the case.


7.5
CNET Rating
9.0
User Rating

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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.


It's rare to see monstrous laptops these days, but luckily companies such as Asus like to keep gamers in mind. The G74 is the follow up to, yes, the G73, and as a result looks quite similar. Internally, though, we have a machine fit for a new generation.

A Core i7 2630QM is the order of the day, paired with 16GB RAM and a GeForce GTX 560M. Not quite the 580 then, but still an impressive beast. Dual-750GB hard drives are inside, and the 1920x1080 screen looks great — even if it does only use TN technology. The backlit keyboard is rather swanky, making night-time play enjoyable.

Sound is handled by Realtek hardware but powered by Creative/THX software. It does give a better definition to treble when enabled, but the sound is vastly disappointing considering the size of the laptop — Asus has cheapened out on speakers.

There's an easy access panel underneath, removable with a coin, that gives access to four RAM slots and the two hard drives. With some dexterity you could swap out the wireless card if you want to as well — which is only 2.4GHz; Asus strangely not opting to give power users 5GHz.

Ports include an SD card reader, one USB 3.0 port, three USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI and gigabit Ethernet. The front and rear are empty; the rear only featuring one of the most serious air vents we've seen. There's a Blu-ray drive installed here as well, but the overall feeling is how incredibly sparse things are. eSATA is missing, and surely more USB 3.0 ports could have been put in.

For the first time in a long time, a Sentelic touch pad has turned up again. Carrying a reputation of making the absolute worst touch pad we've ever used, we were interested to see how the Asus implementation went. To give an idea of how bad things were: people were actually buying OEM parts and replacing the touch pads themselves.

Performance issues aside, Sentelic never makes drivers available on its website, and MSI, host of previous Sentelic attempts, never included any driver either, making users scour the web for something to make their lives more bearable. Thankfully, Asus knows how to bundle a driver — even if it is embarrassingly unfinished and terrible to use.

There are gestures, but the control panel doesn't actually tell you what they do. It's accompanied by a very amateur video showing you how to do the gesture, but once again, with no information as to what the gesture does.

Two-finger tap is middle click, three-finger is right-click and there's a full palm gesture, but who knows what it does. There's pinch-to-zoom and rotate, although this time rotate involves holding the thumb still while the index finger swipes. Two-finger scroll is in, but annoying. By default it's incredibly fast, often zooming to the end of the page, the velocity unchangeable. You're better off using single-finger scroll for normal scrolling.

Our advice? If you buy the G74, get an external mouse. You won't be using the touch pad.

Another major concern is the overwhelmingly vast amount of crapware installed, and you'll find yourself pulling your hair out at the sheer volume of pop-ups that assault you. It's just a shame that the first hour or so of your laptop experience has to be removing all the superfluous effluence with something like IoBit Uninstaller.

On the first run, after leaving things alone for five minutes, we were greeted with a horrendous amount of pop ups. There were even more the next time we booted into Windows.
(Screenshot by CBS Interactive)

Performance, as to be expected, is rather spectacular. 3DMark06 and PCMark06 were eaten for breakfast, returning 15,215 and 10,608, respectively. That's some serious power right there, sitting at the base end of high-level gaming machines. If you need more, you'll likely need to look at Alienware's M18x.

High power typically means low battery life, and with all power-saving features turned off, screen brightness and volume set to maximum and an XviD video played back, the battery lasted one hour and 36 minutes — this isn't something designed to be away from the wall for long.

The G74SX is a good laptop marred by painful concessions — namely the awful trackpad, cheap speakers and droves of crapware. All of these things can be overcome by the user spending more time and money, but we sure wish this wasn't the case.



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MoniG Facebook
9
Rating
 

"Top notch graphics and performance is guaranteed, all in all well worth the money."

MoniG posted a review   

The Good:The upgradable laptop!

The Bad:The sound!! (but who cares get some logitech speakers or turtle beach headsets)

Ive had my babe for half a year now, still runs fast, still in tip top shape and no signs of slowing down =) I have always been a bit skeptical of laptops, because i though they would suck. but boy have i been proved wrong.

For what it's worth, around AU$2000 it's worth it all. Asus has created a laptop that is not only good for $$ but also performance. It has 1920x1080 crisp pixles, which don't kill your eyes at night haha.

NVIDIA Gforce gtx 560 3GB, as graphics is utterly amazing. you seriously don't have to worry about lag with heavy games like Skyrim or Rage, even with full graphics! (NVIDIA constantly patch and update with graphics too, just go to the site) 3D NVIDIA graphics, glasses sold separately apparently it's pretty good, but it would be better to have the 3D when it's a little more advance.

i7 intel processsor 2.2Ghz, is a decent processor, would be nicer to have a duel processor though.

Ram is 8GB, very nice, most games don't even reach that, so you'll have no problem with ram for some years.

The sound it's not too good, but asus has kept gamers in their mind to keep it affordable.

Additional extras:
-textured touch pad, no palm pain no sweat and feels good.
-buttons can be lit up! great for nights.
-special buttons to gives more control over your computer like: wireless, enable/disable touch pad and another special asus logo button next to the on/off which switches your computer more suited to eg:movies, games, office work.
-UPGRADES ARE POSSIBLE! this is what I love! the bottom of the laptop can come off, allowing you to upgrade ram and graphics! YAY!!
-you don't have to use the battery! keep the battery out, save it's life and just keep the laptop plugged in.
-if you close the lid, it goes to sleep, unplug it, get home and plug it back up, it resumes what you were doing!
-factory restart, if you didn't get a backup windows cd with your purchase, don't, it comes with a factory rest =)

SammyS1 Facebook
9
Rating
 

SammyS1 posted a review   

I bought this laptop a week ago on 10/11/11. Absolutely love it. It is a total desktop replacement.
From my point of view
The sound (from build in stereo speakers) is good and clear. Not too sure if there is a build in sub-woofer, like the predecessor G73 series. But the overall sound quality is very good, not the best I would say.

Ports: Asus should throw more USB 3.0 ports rather than just one available on the laptop with AU$2000 price tag. Ideally, there should be at least 2 USB 3.0 available.

Track pad: It feels good to me. No hassles of using it, probably because I had Asus laptop before. I also like the feel of it. Not too sure about previous Sentelic story, but the control panel allows users to customize the gesture. I did find two fingers scrolling with no customising scrolling speed functionality, which is available on Asus N series, is a bit annoying. However, there is fix. Rather using the two fingers scrolling, users can enable %u2018horizontal and vertical scrolling%u2019 and %u2018on-pad sliding page%u2019 in order to scrolling smoothly by using track pad. To be honest, it works really well.
%u2018There are gestures, but the control panel doesn't actually tell you what they do%u2019 (direct quote from CNET review). This statement is only half true. The control panel does not tell you what they do because it allows users to customize it to suit user%u2019s personal preference.
At the end of the day, I personally would not use the track pad but external gaming mouse for any gaming laptops.

The crapware is clearly an issue. However, most of them can be uninstalled by just using windows program manager rather than third party apps.

Performance: You get what you pay for, superb.

Battery life: since the whole unit is not quite portable, like the desktop, 1 to 2 hours battery life seems reasonable

Verdict
Absolutely love it, best laptop I have ever owned. 9/10




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User Reviews / Comments  Asus G74SX

  • MoniG

    MoniG

    Rating9

    "Ive had my babe for half a year now, still runs fast, still in tip top shape and no signs of slowing down =) I have always been a bit skeptical of laptops, because i though they would suck. but bo..."

  • SammyS1

    SammyS1

    Rating9

    "I bought this laptop a week ago on 10/11/11. Absolutely love it. It is a total desktop replacement.
    From my point of view
    The sound (from build in stereo speakers) is good and clear. No..."

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