ASUS G73JW-A1 Review

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (122,764)
Editor's Rating
8.86

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 9
    • Usability
    • 10
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Features
    • 9
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 8.86
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Great build quality
    • Very functional design
    • Excellent display
  • Cons

    • Limited multitouch features
    • No onboard RAID
    • Not as fast as G73JH

Quick Take

The ASUS G73JW is a formidable 17.3-inch gaming notebook equipped with a quad-core Iprocessor and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M graphics card.


The ASUS G73JW is a new 17.3″ gaming notebook powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M graphics card. Earlier this year we reviewed the ATI Radeon 5870 equipped G73JH, so now we have the chance to see how NVIDIA’s GPU stacks up. Read our full in-depth review to see how well the ASUS G73JW-A1 with the NVIDIA GTX 460M performs.

Our ASUS G73JW-A1 Specifications:

  • 17.3-inch 1080p (1920×1080) display with LED backlighting
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-740QM processor (1.73GHz/2.93GHz Turbo Mode, 6MB L3 cache)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M with 1.5GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 8GB DDR3-1066 RAM (4x2GB)
  • Two 500GB 7200RPM hard drives (Seagate Momentus 7200.4/ST9500420AS) (Non-RAID)
  • Atheros AR9285 802.11n Wireless LAN adapter
  • Built-in Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
  • Blu-ray reader/8X DVD Super Multi drive
  • Two-year limited warranty (one year on battery pack) with one year of accidental damage protection
  • 8-cell battery pack (14.8V, 5200mAh, 75Wh)
  • Weight: 8.79 pounds
  • Dimensions: 16.3″ (W) x 12.6″ (D) x 1.8″ (H)
  • MSRP: $1,745

Special thanks go out to GenTech for loaning us this ASUS G73JW


Build and Design
At first glance the ASUS G73JW looks like a slightly bulkier than average gaming notebook because of its large posterior. The depth is slightly greater than that of the 17-inch Alienware m17x, but it is for a very good reason. ASUS went above and beyond to create a superior cooling system for the G73JW which uses two large exhaust grills located on the back edge of the notebook to exhaust the heat from the GPU and CPU. In testing this design worked out very well, making it hard for us to really think of the bigger backend as a con.

The overall design of the ASUS G73 is very stealth-like with a matte-black exterior with only relatively small ASUS logo printed on the screen cover. Not counting the LCD-surface itself, the G73 has no glossy surface located anywhere on the exterior or interior of the notebook. If you plan on taking this system to a large gaming event with bright overhead lighting, as long as you position the screen just right, you won’t see any glare bouncing off glossy plastic.

The interior does include some custom blue LED-lighting, but none of it was bright enough to be overly apparent or annoying. The four quick-access buttons above the keyboard are backlit with LED’s as well as the trim underneath the screen. Under normal lighting conditions the lighting under the screen was barely visible and in a dark room didn’t seem to increase visibility around the notebook. Keyboard illumination was not a problem though, as the entire keyboard was backlit with white LEDs. The brightness level was adjustable and ranged from a strong level to weak enough that viewing it in a dark room wouldn’t hurt your vision.

The ASUS G73-series has excellent fit and finish and feels very strong. Panel gaps around the notebook were even from side to side and all plastic sections were flush with each other. The screen cover gave great protection for the LCD, which has no distortion even as heavy pressure was applied from the back. The screen hinges felt strong and kept the screen in position with very little wobble. Once the screen was in the desired position there was no play in the hinge mechanism. The palmrest had no flex under strong pressure, although the keyboard did show some sag in the area located above the optical drive. It wasn’t severe enough to be noticed under normal typing conditions, but was still enough to be mentioned.

Users looking to upgrade the G73-series notebook will find the process to be particularly easy through a single panel on the bottom of the chassis. Underneath the cover you gain access to three RAM slots, both hard drive bays, and the wireless card. Considering the configuration this notebook included from the factory, the only useful upgrade we imagine some users doing is swapping out the hard drives for solid state drives (SSDs). Even then, you may decide that the high-capacity hard drives are worth keeping even if it means slower game loads compared to SSDs.


Screen and Speakers

The ASUS G73JW has a beautiful 17.3-inch 16:9 display with a resolution of 1920×1080. It is a glare or glossy style display so you do have some reflections to deal with, but it is nowhere near as bad as all-glass displays which have another glossy layer on top of an already glossy LCD. Color vibrancy and contrast were excellent, with exceptionally good black levels. We measured an average brightness of 160nit and a contrast ratio of 909:1 with our Gossen Mavo light meter. Viewing angles were above average, with colors staying true to about 20 degrees of vertical movement forward or back. Horizontal viewing angles were better with the screen staying visible until about 75 degrees, where reflections off the screen overpowered what it was displaying.

The onboard speakers work pretty well for a gaming rig, but fall short compared to similarly sized multimedia oriented notebooks. The speakers are of average size located just above the keyboard, hidden by a mesh cover that extends below the screen. The notebook also features a subwoofer mounted on the bottom which helped add to the low-end and midrange. They work well for listening to in-game audio, playing music, or watching a movie, although you can still get higher quality audio from headphones or an external stereo. In our tests they adequately filled a medium sized office with sound at max volume.


Keyboard and Touchpad
The ASUS G73JW features a spacious full-size keyboard with numberpad and still has plenty of space left over thanks to its wide 17.3-inch chassis. The keyboard is comfortable to type on for extended periods of time and with its built-in backlit it was easy to use under night or day conditions. The keyboard is a Chiclet or island-style design which increases the spacing between each key which in some cases can reduce typing errors. Individual key action was smooth and quiet, requiring very little pressure to activate a key.

The G73JW has a large Synaptics touchpad that is very responsive. The touchpad is larger than average and very easy to use in games or when navigating webpages. Multi-touch features were limited to just pinch-zoom in the control panel, so don’t expect twp-finger scrolling or other advanced features. The matte touchpad surface is easy to slide across even with a moist finger and wide enough that you don’t have to frequently double-back for more room. The touchpad buttons have shallow feedback and give off a quiet click when pressed.


Ports and Features

Users looking for a lot of cool features will enjoy the port selection on the G73JW. ASUS includes three USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, Ethernet, VGA and HDMI-out, and a SDHC-card reader. The new configurations also sports a Blu-ray reader and DVD-burner combo drive to enjoy newer high-definition movies. The only item missing in my opinion is an eSATA port, which still offer better transfer speeds than USB 3.0, and has greater aftermarket support.


Front: Activity lights


Rear: Battery, Kensington lock slot


Left: LAN, USB 2.0, optical drive, USB 2.0, audio jacks


Right: SDHC-card slot, USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI-out, VGA-out, DC-power input


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