ASUS G73Jh gaming notebook

A powerful ASUS gaming laptop with an Intel i7 720QM processor and Mobility Radeon HD 5870

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ASUS G73Jh

Pros

  • Beefy components, excellent 17.3in display, good performance in benchmarks, low-key design

Cons

  • Reflective screen, connectivity could be more robust, low-key design

Bottom Line

The Asus G73Jh is a gaming notebook for grown-ups and professionals: its drab, no-nonsense exterior hides an ultra-powerful machine capable of running high-end applications. In other words, the gaming notebook has finally matured.

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The ASUS G73Jh is a high-performance notebook aimed primarily at hardcore gamers. Unlike most desktop replacement models, this gaming laptop is capable of competing with high-end PCs; not just in size, but also functionality.

Chief among the ASUS G73Jh's charms are a 1.6GHz Intel Core i7 720QM processor, a Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics card, a 17.3in LCD display with a 1980x1080 resolution, and up to 16GB (!) of RAM. On the downside, it looks kind of drab for a gaming notebook (although this may be a plus for some) and it's prohibitively expensive.

With an RRP of $2799, the ASUS G73Jh is fairly pricey, even by gaming notebook standards. The Toshiba Qosmio F60 (PQF65A-00Y002) costs just $1899, for example. Fortunately, ASUS has installed plenty of grade-A components beneath the G73Jh’s hood to justify the premium. Simply put, it’s one of the fastest and most powerful notebooks on the market.

The ASUS G73Jh comes equipped with a top-of the-range Intel i7 720QM processor running at 1.6 GHz. The CPU's core clock speed can be boosted to 2.8GHz thanks to Intel's Turbo Boost technology. The version we tested came with 8GB of DDR3 RAM and an ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5870 graphics card with a whopping 1GB of GDDR5 memory. Two 500GB hard drives running at 7200rpm and a Blu-ray optical drive round out the ASUS G73Jh's impressive components.

With dimensions of 420x310x57mm, the ASUS G73Jh isn’t something you’ll want to lug around on a regular basis. The highly reflective screen also makes it unsuitable for outdoor use on sunny days. On the plus side, the 17.3in Full HD display produces spectacular images and has great viewing angles: our Blu-ray edition of Terminator: Salvation has rarely looked this good.

The 2.1 channel stereo speakers are suitably crisp and robust. All in all, the ASUS G73Jh is a superb home entertainment unit. This is bolstered by the pair of zippy 7200rpm hard drives: in our data transfer tests, the ASUS G73Jh recorded a time of 46.5 megabytes per second (Mbps), which is very impressive indeed.

The ASUS G73Jh offers no surprises when it comes to connectivity. The enormous vents at the rear of the notebook mean that all connections are relegated to the sides. In addition to the obligatory HDMI, it comes with a VGA output for older monitors, an Ethernet port, an 8-in-1 card reader, microphone and headphone jacks, and four USB ports. The notebook also includes integrated 802.11n Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, there is no USB 3.0 controller, which means expansion is limited to USB 2.0.

According to ASUS' Web page, the G73Jh’s design was inspired by the F-117 Nighthawk — a stealth fighter aircraft used by the US military. We think this might be wishful thinking on ASUS’ part; nothing about the notebook's appearance screams out ‘stealth’, ‘aviation’ or even ‘gaming’. In fact, it kind of reminded us of an oversized business notebook. (Admittedly, this doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as ‘F-117 Nighthawk’.) For a more overt take on the F-117, check out the In-Win B2 Stealth Bomber desktop PC: it has wing-shaped vents and everything.

On the other hand, if you’re put off by the ‘loud’ designs of most gaming notebooks, the ASUS G73Jh might be right up your alley. Its understated matte black finish is a tasteful departure from the usual immature fare. Even the backlit keyboard is a work of subtlety — especially compared to the gaudy likes of Alienware's Area-51 M17X. Indeed, you could plonk the G73Jh down in the middle of a corporate boardroom without feeling the slightest bit embarrassed (er, provided the table doesn’t collapse underneath it — it weighs close to 4kg after all).

The ASUS G73Jh is more than capable of handling modern 3D computer games. We ran the Crysis timedemo benchmark in Gamer mode (1920x1080) and recorded a average frame rate of 25.14fps. This is a pretty solid result for a gaming notebook. In 3DMark06 the ASUS G73Jh received a total score of 12,535, which is also a respectable showing.

In our Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tests, the ASUS G73Jh recorded times of 46sec and 1min 12sec, respectively. Both these results were faster than ASUS' deluxe Lamborghini VX5 notebook (RRP: $3499), which returned a time of 1min 14sec and 1min 23sec in each test. Make no mistake: this is a speedy notebook that will be able to handle almost any application you care to throw at it.

In our battery rundown tests, the ASUS G73Jh lasted for 87 minutes. Annoyingly, this means it will conk out at the pivotal moment in most feature-length movies. That said, it would be unfair to expect anything more from a desktop replacement model. Our advice is to use a wall outlet.

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