ASUS G51J 3D gaming notebook
ASUS G51J review: An expensive 3D gaming notebook for early adopters
- Fast hard drive, 8GB RAM, quad-core CPU, can be used as a media centre, Blu-ray drive
- Could use a high-end graphics card considering the high price, screen needs to be perfectly positioned in order to get the best out of the 3D effects, 3D ecosystem is cumbersome to set up
The ASUS G51J is a pricey 3D notebook that's aimed at gamers. It has a powerful CPU, lots of RAM and a fast hard drive, but it needs more graphics grunt to compete against conventional gaming notebooks. Consider this model only if you want to be an early adopter of 3D technology and want a more immersive notebook gaming experience, but don't expect all of your older games to look good in 3D. That said, when you do run a good 3D game or watch a well-shot 3D movie, the experience is a very pleasant one.
Price$ 2,799.00 (AUD)
ASUS G51J: The 3D experience
A button on the chassis next to the power button lets you switch the G51J into 3D mode. While you're in this mode, every game will require you to wear the supplied 3D glasses in order to view them properly. There is a list of games on NVIDIA's Web site, which rates their 3D effects from 'Excellent' to 'Not recommended' so that you know what to expect when older games are run in 3D. Using a random selection of older titles, we found the 3D effect to be somewhat lame. For example, in certain titles only dialogue boxes or overlayed scores would be shown in 3D, while the main content was not given much extra depth at all. For games that have been designed with 3D in mind, the effect is much better as you can see much more depth, as well as things flying at you. The G51J ships with some gaming demos to whet your appetite, including Batman Arkham Asylum. If you're a keen gamer, and you should be if you're considering this notebook, our advice is to consult the list and go for all the games that have an 'Excellent' rating rather than anything lower.
Sample videos running in NVIDIA's stereoscopic video player looked great in 3D, but as is the case with most notebook screens, the vertical viewing angles on the G51J aren't great. You really have to tinker with the angle of the screen in order to get the best effect and brightness.
ASUS G51J: Physical design
Despite having a strong and somewhat intimidating mishmash of a design (it mixes glossy and dull finishes and also has some weird shaping), the G51J is a gentle giant. It has one of the softest keyboards and one of the smoothest touchpads we've ever used, and its palm rest is very comfortable for long periods of typing — after the annoying stickers are removed.
The keyboard is backlit and you can choose from one of three brightness levels; it looks great from above while typing at night, but the backlights are annoyingly visible if you sit back away from the notebook. It's a full-sized, chiclet-style keyboard with a number pad (although the number pad is slightly squished and we hate the position of the '0' key) and there are touchbutton shortcuts above the keyboard for toggling the 3D mode, changing the power profile and disabling the touchpad. However, these buttons weren't always responsive. We're also not fans of the touchpad's buttons, which are a little too hard to press.
The glasses that you have to wear in order to experience 3D are a tad uncomfortable (especially if you're not used to wearing glasses) and you can see out of the sides, which makes for an annoying viewing experience if you're using them with the room lights on, for example. The glasses also need to be charged (a cable is supplied) or plugged in to the notebook to work, and a receiver also needs to be plugged in to the note in order to complete the 3D ecosystem. All up, it's a messy affair for 3D gaming content that sometimes doesn't look all that good.
Around the edges of the notebook's base you will find a Blu-ray player, an ExpressCard/54 slot, an SD card slot, four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, eSATA, FireWire, microphone, headphone and line in ports and a VGA port. The Gigabit Ethernet and power ports are located at the back of the unit, which is a great place for them considering the G51J will primarily be used as a desktop PC replacement — they won't get in your way. You also get a 2-megapixel webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi (although not dual-band) and Bluetooth.
We won't go into the weight and battery life of the G51J in too much detail: suffice to say you won't want to carry it around with you, you can't use it on your lap, and it lasted only 51min in our battery rundown test.
While the ASUS G51J won't appeal to many users, and it may even miss the mark when it comes to gamers who want to be early adopters of 3D technology — it could definitely use more graphics grunt under the hood in order to compete with other dedicated gaming machines on the market, especially considering its asking price. Furthermore, the 3D capability of the notebook will only be put to good use if you want to watch 3D movies (although there isn't much of a selection at the moment) and if you run the right games; lots of older titles may not show any worthwhile visual improvements at all and they will also look darker due to the glasses you have to wear.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Acer Swift 7
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Surface Pro 4
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
- In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10
- Dell: Mainstream laptops with wireless charging are still years away
GGG Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)QLD
- TPSystem AdministratorVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst - Cyber SecurityACT
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- CCFinance Analyst/ Project SpecialistVIC
- CCSharepoint Business AnalystACT
- FTInfrastructure Architect (Adelaide Based)VIC
- FTSalesforce Technical Business Analyst (Brisbane based)Other
- CCDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Contract - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- CCCommercial Contract AdministratorACT
- CCSenior Technical Business Analyst - Wealth AdviceNSW
- TPFront End DeveloperWA
- TPSenior Applications Support OfficerQLD
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- FTSenior Systems AdministratorWA
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- TPICT Contracts Compliance ManagerWA
- TPSenior Test AnalystQLD
- FTData AnalystQLD
- FTJava Developer - Fixed Term ContractQLD
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | Enterprise Information SharingQLD
- CCContract - System Access Administrator - major Telco in MelbourneVIC
- TPSenior Network EngineerWA
- CCLevel 2 IT Service DeskQLD