Asus G60J, an A-List laptop that runs the most demanding games at native resolution

Recommended
Asus G60J, an A-List laptop that runs the most demanding games at native resolution
Rating
Overall:

Power, strong build and an added splash of style make the Asus G60J a gaming laptop worth paying top dollar for.

Performance:
6
Features & Design:
5
Value for money:
5
Price
Price: $2524
> Pricing info
Specs
Price 2524
CPU model/brand Intel Core i7
Memory capacity 4GB DDR3

In a world where technology is steadily shrinking, gaming laptops are a stubborn exception to the rule. Uncompromised gaming power requires powerful components, and while that's fine in the roomy environs of a desktop tower, it's more of a challenge in a notebook chassis.

Asus' G60J adopts the usual solution to the problem: make the laptop twice as bulky as usual.

To be fair, though, it's nowhere near as big as some of the monsters we've seen recently: at just 3.46kg, it's feather-light in comparison to the 6.1kg Asus W90, and Alienware's 5.5kg gaming goliath, the M17x.

And where many of Asus' previous gaming laptops resembled a souped-up HSV - all UV lights and hulking exhausts - the G60J ushers in an altogether more understated charm. The glossy blue lid shimmers attractively, and stands in stark contrast to the minimalist interior. Matte-black surrounds the metallic trackpad, with gloss-black engulfing the keyboard surround and screen bezel.

Under the hood Asus hasn't held back. Partnering the new Core i7 Mobile 820QM with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M graphics chipset, there is a lot of muscle to go around.

The kind of person interested in a gaming laptop probably isn't too concerned with how fast Microsoft Office will run, but the Asus definitely feels turbocharged, as a score of 1.65 in our real-world benchmarks demonstrates.

Turn your attention to more entertaining pursuits and that Nvidia chip comes into its own. We pitted it against our Crysis benchmarks and it wasn't until we cranked the resolution to 1600 x 1200 with high detail settings that the Asus finally admitted defeat; even then an average of 22fps is close to playable.

But unless you decide to hook up an external monitor or HDTV, you're never going to have to run games at such a high resolution. Its rivals might pack in 17in and 18.4in displays, but the Asus saves weight, and money, by opting for a more modest 15.6in screen with a relatively low native resolution of 1366 x 768.

The lower resolution has its downsides - such as a slightly cramped desktop - but image quality isn't one of them. Colours are bright and vibrant, and strong contrast helps maximise detail in darker scenes.

And that lower resolution does mean you'll be able to run even the most demanding of current titles at the native resolution they deserve. Re-running our Crysis benchmark at 1366 x 768 and high detail settings proved as much, the G60J averaging a respectable 25fps.

With good looks, great performance and a tempting price, the Asus G60J already looks to be one of the gaming bargains of the year. But turn your attention to more workmanlike pursuits and there's still much to recommend it - as long as you don't stray far from power.

As you might expect, battery life is far from stellar - 1hr 14mins of light use is barely enough for the occasional jaunt to the garden.

Even the backlit keyboard and metal-rimmed trackpad do their bit. The wide chassis leaves room for a numeric keypad alongside the keyboard and, while the keys don't have much travel, the crisp and precise feel makes typing a pleasurable experience.

Plus, if your interest in the keyboard stretches no further than the WASD keys, you can always turn off the trackpad to avoid jogging the crosshair at that crucial sniper-scope moment.

There's no question you pay a hefty premium for gaming laptops, but at $2524 the Asus G60J is one of the most affordable around.

The generous specification makes much of the competition look stingy, and the combination of good looks, sturdy build quality and overall panache makes this one of the most tempting gaming laptops we've seen.

This Review appeared in the December, 2009 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine

Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing

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