Gaming prowess rarely comes cheap, but that doesn’t mean it can’t at least be affordable. The Asus G75VW-DH72 gaming laptop may offer pricing and performance well below what tricked out systems like the Eurocom Scorpius can offer, but when stacked against mid-range gaming systems like the Alienware M17x R4, it still holds its own, getting you on the gaming grid for under two grand.
Design and Features
While previous incarnations of Asus’ Republic of Gamers line have emulated stealth fighter jets and naval vessels, the G75VW’s design is a little more conservative, especially for a gaming machine. It’s not as slim as the Razer Blade (2012), by any means. The laptop is still large, measuring 2.0 by 16.3 by 12.6 inches (HWD), but has changed up the look a bit, adding metal accents around the keyboard and across the speaker grille, which break up the imposing all-matte-black look seen in designs past. The result is a gaming rig that looks almost professional. Now, don’t misunderstand, at 8.7 pounds (10.9 with the power brick) you won’t be lugging this laptop to and from work, but it wouldn’t look completely out of place in an office environment.
Despite the conservative look, the gaming DNA is still there. The back end of the G75VW is dominated by large cooling vents, and Asus’ designs are tweaked to keep the system cool but quiet, grouping the heat generating components toward the back of the system. The chiclet keyboard sits at a slight slope, but is otherwise competent, providing a shallow but firm key movement. The touchpad is the same high-quality touchpad found on the Asus G75VW-DS71, but with the shift to Windows 8, Asus has also added some gesture support for Windows 8-specific controls. A swipe from the right edge of the touchpad pulls up the Charms Bar, while a three-fingered swipe down cycles through open apps. Pinch and zoom and two-finger scrolling aren’t new additions, but they take on new importance in the absence of a touchscreen.
You may not be touching the screen, but the 17.3-inch display is still bright and sharp, with 1920-by-1080 resolution providing 1080p whether you’re playing Skyrim or watching The Dark Knight on Blu-ray. The sound is also pretty good (as tested with the new trailer for The Man of Steel), staying clear at high volumes and providing a fair amount of bass thanks to an integrated subwoofer.
In addition to a Blu-ray/DVD combo drive, the Asus G75VW is outfitted with four USB 3.0 ports (one with power for charging devices), Gigabit Ethernet, a 3-in-1 card reader (SDHC, MMC, MS), and jacks for headphone and microphone. You also get several options for video connectivity, with HDMI, VGA, and mini DisplayPort outputs. Wireless connections provide 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The G75VW-DH72 pairs a 750GB spinning hard drive with a separate 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), letting you shift bulk data storage to the hard drive while keeping programs on the SSD for optimum performance. Included on the drive are Microsoft Office Starter 2010, a 60-day trial of Trend Micro Antivirus, Adobe Reader X, and Asus’ Application Suite, which includes 3GB of free cloud backup with Asus WebStorage. Asus covers the G75VW-DH72 with a two-year warranty, but also includes a full-year of additional accidental damage coverage, 24/7 tech support, and 30-day “Zero Bright Dot” warranty on the display panel.
The Asus G75VW-DH72 is outfitted with a 2.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-3630QM processor with 16GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 670M with 3GB of dedicated VRAM. The combination is potent—in Cinebench R11.5, the processor scored 6.44 points, outperforming both the Alienware M17x R4 (6.19 points) and the MSI GT70 0NE-276US (6.23 points), but falling behind both the Razer Blade (6.86) and the Eurocom Scorpius (7.29). The Asus G75VW-DH72 also made short work of our multimedia tests, completing our Handbrake video encoding test in 36 seconds, and Photoshop CS6 in 3 minutes 32 seconds.
Perhaps more important than general performance is how the G75VW-DH72 does with games. In Aliens vs. Predator, it racked up a respectable 55 frames per second (fps) at medium detail settings and 1,366-by-768 resolution, but dropped to a less than playable 18 fps when resolution was dialed up to 1,920-by-1,080. When tested with Heaven, however, it scored 70 fps at medium settings and a nearly playable 28 fps at 1080p. While you won’t be able to go all out with the detail settings on high-end games, you will still see excellent performance on even the most demanding games, provided you back off on the eye-candy a bit.
The Asus G75VW-DH72 also did well in battery tests, lasting 3 hours and two minutes in our battery rundown test. While not even long enough to make it through a screening of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, it’s still pretty decent performance for a gaming laptop. Few laptops pass the three hour mark, with one of the few exceptions being the portability minded Razer Blade, which still only lasted 3 hours 53 minutes when tested with MobileMark 2006, our previous battery test.
As a decently priced mid-range gaming laptop, the Asus G75VW-DH72 offers great performance at an affordable price, letting you enjoy top of the line games (albeit with middle of the road graphics performance) for far less than a tricked out high-end system. It’s an affordable option to the Alienware M17X R4, and as such, replaces it for our Editors’ Choice mid-range gaming laptop.