This facelifted ASUS G-series gaming notebook features a new backlit keyboard and the latest technology including an Intel Core i7-3610QM processor and 2GB Nvidia GTX 660M graphics card. Is the new G75VW a worthwhile upgrade for those players with aging Tgaming notebooks? Keep reading to find out more.
The basic design of ASUS' G-series notebooks stays the same - it's designed to resemble a stealth military aircraft and pulls it off rather well. This facelifted model includes a more aggressive-looking rear cooling exhaust vents, a new brushed aluminum keyboard inlay and softer rubber surfaces.
The changes are welcome; the notebook looks classier with the addition of another color (previously the G-series was all black). I especially like the gray plastic surrounds on each side of the notebook around the input/output ports. The brushed aluminum keyboard surround looks infinitely better. I'm pleased to see there is no glossy plastic anywhere on this notebook.
The build quality isn't rock solid but strong enough to withstand the rigors of gaming and everyday use. The G75VW is made almost entirely of plastic and rather thick plastic at that. The lid provides ample protection for the actual display panel; I could not get ripples to show up on the screen by pressing in on the back. The palm rest is hard to press in by pushing on it. Overall there are no weak points.
Ports and Features
The G75VW has a healthy array of input/output ports including a total of four SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, the most we've seen on a notebook to date. The G75VW has plenty of video output options including HDMI, VGA, and mini-DisplayPort (I find it puzzling ASUS didn't simply use a full-size DisplayPort).
Front: Status lights
Back: Cooling exhaust vents
Left: 2x USB 3.0, tray-load Blu-ray drive, 3-in-1 media card reader, microphone and headphone jacks
Right: 2x USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, Ethernet, VGA, AC power jack
Screen and Speakers
ASUS switched gears and went with an anti-glare display (versus glossy/reflective), for which I'm grateful. It's easy to clean and there are no more annoying reflections. The display has a full HD resolution ("1080p" or 1920x1080 pixels) - and I'd expect nothing less on a 17.3-inch display, especially considering this notebook has a Blu-ray drive (Blu-ray content is native 1080p). 1920 horizontal pixels means using two windows side-by-side is doable. The display is slightly more colorful than those on rank-and-file notebooks sold in stores, so there is room for improvement.
Contrast levels are slightly better than average; the command prompt window is black but not completely black. Viewing angles are noticeably better than average; there is about a 40 degree vertical viewing range; this means the display doesn't have to be tilted exactly right to get a good picture. Compare this to the 20 degree angle I find on most inexpensive consumer notebooks. It's a good display overall; I wouldn't change much about it. I can't stress how nice the anti-glare finish is for usability.
The sound system is the most underwhelming aspect of the G75VW; it's muffled and has little bass despite the inclusion of a separate subwoofer. ASUS probably should have tried a little harder with the audio considering the target market for the G75VW and the fact that engineers went to the trouble of including a subwoofer in the design.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keyboard and touchpad are much improved over ASUS' past G-series gaming notebooks like the G73JH, which we reviewed here. The full-size keyboard is a "Chiclet" style model with a separate numeric keypad. It has a beautiful brushed metal surround and truly feels solid.
The white backlighting has three brightness levels or can be turned off completely. The keyboard has communicative tactile feedback and is easy to type on quickly. Keys make an almost metallic clicking sound when pressed; it's pleasant and not too loud. The layout is standard.
The oversized touchpad is centered below the keyboard. It has a practical anti-glare surface. The most notable difference compared to past ASUS G-series notebooks is the buttons; they're nearly silent and have ample depth to provide feedback.
Overall I couldn't be happier with the quality of input devices.
Our ASUS G75VW review unit has the following specifications:
These are specifications we'd expect to see in a high-end gaming notebook. Our G75VW has a whopping 1.5TB of total drive space. It also includes a Blu-ray drive and 12GB of RAM. Lesser-priced configurations - which still include the Intel Core i7-3610QM quad-core processor and Nvidia GTX 660M graphics card - are available with reduced memory, hard drive space, and a DVD burner in place of the Blu-ray drive. Overall $1,739 is a decent price for this configuration though it doesn't jump out as a fantastic deal.
Performance and Benchmarks
Overall performance - specifically gaming performance - is the top reason to buy this notebook. The G75VW comes in many different configurations; ours is more of a base level model with the entry-level (albeit more than powerful) Intel Core i7 quad-core processor and the lesser of the two graphics cards offered in this notebook, the GTX 660M. Pricier models come with a GTX 670M which is about 15-25% faster but runs hotter (that shouldn't be an issue for the G75VW thanks to its excellent cooling system but we can't say for sure since we haven't tested it). The GTX 660M is able to play all modern games at full HD (1080p) resolution with medium to high visual settings - so it's fast enough for almost everyone.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark Vantage measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
PCMark 7 is a newer benchmark which measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 mesures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark Vantage measures overall graphics performace for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark11 measures graphics performance in DirectX 11 games (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
We ran two of the latest games on our G75VW test unit: Mass Effect 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. We used maximum visual quality settings for benchmarking. All games were run at the notebook's native screen resolution (1920x1080).
Mass Effect 3:
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:
30 frames per second (FPS) is the accepted minimum for smooth gameplay; the G75VW and its Nvidia GTX 660M didn't have any trouble maintaining above this number at all times (notice the minimum FPS). It's an impressive performer. Those wanting more performance can opt for a slightly more expensive G75VW with a GTX 670M graphics card, which is about 15-25% faster as we noted above (according to Nvidia, anyway).
Heat and Noise
Cooling is one thing ASUS has done well on its 17.3-inch G-series notebooks and the G75VW is no exception. The cooling systems for the processor and graphics cards are cleverly separated; the left exhaust vent is for the processor and the right is for the graphics cards. They use completely separate heatsinks. Air is pushed through the rear vents at a slightly upward angle, improving efficiency as opposed to just pushing it at the ground. At idle the notebook is silent for all intents and purposes and even under full load, there's just a quiet rush of air out the back. This is one of my favorite cooling systems -- it just works so well.
I managed three hours, three minutes of battery life during our standard battery run-down test (Windows 7 Balanced power profile, 70% screen brightness, wireless active and refreshing a web page every 60 seconds). It's not a spectacular time but certainly not something I'm going to complain about. The second hard drive undoubtedly adds to the drain on the battery life. The Nvidia Optimus technology helps improve it by turning off the dedicated Nvidia graphics card and switching to the integrated Intel graphics card (which is actually part of the Core i7 processor) when no 3D processing power is needed. This also helps keep the heat and noise level down.
Battery life could be further improved by reducing the screen brightness to minimum and installing an SSD in place of one of the hard drives.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
I have no reservations recommending the ASUS G75VW to enthusiast gamers. It excels in nearly every area as have previous-generation ASUS G-series gaming notebooks. I like the design tweaks of this iteration including the much-improved keyboard and touchpad and anti-glare screen coating.
Build quality is good; it gets a respectable three hours of battery life and overall performance is outstanding. It plays all the latest games including Mass Effect 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 at maximum settings. The G75VW has an excellent cooling system; the fans are almost inaudible and the chassis is lukewarm even under maximum load. The only item that sticks out as needing improvement is the speakers - but that's hardly a con on a notebook.
Gamers wanting a bit more power can opt for a G75VW with a slightly faster GTX 670M graphics card.