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Asus G71Gx review

Barry de la Rosa
20 Oct 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,696
inc VAT

A huge screen and Blu-ray drive are ideal for HD films, but average 3D performance doesn't justify the price.

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Specifications

17 in 1,920x1,200 display, 4.0kg, 2GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9000, 4.00GB RAM, 1,000GB disk, Windows Vista Ultimate

Asus G71Gx is a beast of a machine, and like a lot of gaming laptops its casing consists of exaggerated lines and a patchwork of angular details mixed with blue LED strips.

It's not subtle - the glossy red panels and textured palm rests make a bold statement. It's a show-off, but it's not all for show.

Weighing in at almost 4kg, it's bigger than two netbooks placed back-to-back. The 17in screen supports a massive 1,920x1,200 resolution, which is more than sufficient for playback of Full HD video, and it provides a massive Windows desktop.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M graphics chipset has 1GB of dedicated RAM, but it wasn't as impressive as we'd hoped. In our Call of Duty 4 benchmark it scored a respectable 45.2fps, but at the display's native resolution it managed only 28.1fps. We also tried running Crysis at 1,280x800 and got 27fps, which isn't bad, but at 1,920x1,200, even without anti-aliasing, it dropped to an unplayable 20fps.

Although the G71Gx will play the majority of games, it can't compete with a PC equipped with a £100 graphics card. Having said that, image quality is great, and the backlight is bright and even. However, 3D games aren't the only reason you might want to buy the G71Gx. Its Blu-ray drive means you can take full advantage of that enormous screen, seeing every HD pixel in all its glory.

If you have a larger screen, such as an HD TV, you can connect it via the HDMI output. There's also an S/PDIF audio output, which may come in handy as the G71Gx's speakers aren't really all that loud. They are clear enough for making Skype calls, watching movies alone or playing a variety of simple games, but for real immersion and a sense of rumbling depth, you'll want to connect a beefier sound system.

We were impressed by the build quality of the case. It's chunky, and the glossy red panels surrounding the keyboard are particularly sturdy. Below the keyboard is a rubbery, textured wrist rest. The keyboard has large, well-spaced keys with crisp action and good feedback, and despite the inclusion of a numberpad, Asus hasn't compromised on the layout or squashed any keys together. In fact, the arrow keys have some space around them.

There are various strips of LED lighting around the case that can be set to flash in time with the CPU or hard disk, but it's not all for show: the touchpad is slightly recessed and has the same blue LED around the edges, making it easier to spot in the dark. Despite the shallow, one-piece button assembly, we found it accurate and comfortable to use. However, most people will simply plug in the supplied gaming mouse.

There are four USB ports, FireWire, and a dedicated eSATA port. The USB ports are conveniently placed two to a side, and they're hidden under small, magnetic flaps. The G71Gx supports Bluetooth and Draft-N wireless networking, and there's a handy memory card reader and full-sized ExpressCard slot too.

An overall benchmark score of 78 is impressive for a laptop, but Mesh's Edge 15 scored the same, also includes a Blu-ray drive, and costs only £800. Alternatively, Dell's XPS 16 scored 41fps in Call of Duty 4 but costs half as much. This means, that despite its full-HD screen, decent gaming performance and Blu-ray drive, the G71Gx still can't fully justify its very high price.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Quad Q9000
Processor clock speed2GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots3
Memory slots free1
Maximum memory6GB
Size411x300x51mm
Weight4.0kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby2W
Power consumption idle59W
Power consumption active87W

Display

Viewable size17 in
Native resolution1,920x1,200
Graphics ProcessorNvidia GeForce GTX 260M
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory1,024MB

Storage

Total storage capacity1,000GB
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST CT10N
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL BD-ROM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Total Firewire ports1
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11a/n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/54
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, SmartMedia, xD
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input, minijack S/PDIF output

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseYes
Operating systemWindows Vista Ultimate
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedWinDVD 8 BD
Optional extrasTV Tuner

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years collect and return
Price£1,696
Detailswww.asus.com
Supplierhttp://www.lambda-tek.com/componentshop

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