Asus G51J Gaming Laptop

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Hailing from Asus’ Republic Of Gamers series and equipped with Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology and powerful hardware, the Asus G51J gives a different dimension to gaming, in the true sense. It’s a mean machine with a rich feature set, but can it handle the intensive rendering when it comes to 3D gaming? Let’s find out!

Design
The laptop follows a dashing blue-black theme, where the lid is glossy and deep blue with an illuminated ROG emblem and lights at either edge. The interior is all-black, with a hint of brushed satin chrome around the touchpad. Thankfully, there aren’t any loud or annoying colorful blinking lights, something rather typical of gaming laptops. On the contrary, this one is quite sober to look at. Open the lid and you’ll notice a glossy but solid screen frame, good-quality hinges, and a matte rubberized wrist rest with a nice matte touchpad. The touchpad is rimmed with a brush finished metallic frame, which extends to double as mouse buttons. The overall build quality and the ergonomics are top notch, but we weren’t impressed by the chiclet keyboard, because it flexes a little too much.

Gaming laptops are large in size, heavy in weight and they certainly can’t be carried around on a regular basis, and the Asus G51J is no exception. Owing to its overall size, ruggedness, and rich feature set, this laptop weighs almost 3.5 Kg and its maximum thickness is almost 5 cm. So, what goes without saying is that, you’ll have to use it on a desk, unless you want a sore lap. Also, while benchmarking and gaming, we noticed the temperature of the base soaring to 70 degrees Celsius, so you wouldn’t want to play games when on the move. Another good reason for using it on the desk is that, this laptop doubles up as a high-end desktop PC, thanks to the powerful hardware.

Features
In terms of hardware, the biggest asset of this laptop is the processor, while others include RAM, the two hard drives and the discrete graphics. Built around Intel’s performance chipset, an Intel PM55, the machine is powered by an Intel Core i7 720QM processor which is clocked at 1.6 GHz. There is 4 GB DDR3 RAM and two 320 GB hard drives (7200 rpm). So there is not only enough number-crunching power but also ample room for storing games, music, movies and such. The discrete graphics is courtesy an Nvidia Geforce GTX 260M.

Coming to the highlighting feature; the laptop bundles with it the Nvidia 3D Vision glasses and a classy Razor Abyssus optical gaming mouse. So you don’t need to go hunting for these must-haves. Also, you don’t need to worry about compatibility, because the 15.6-inch screen is a 120Hz panel (1366 x 768) which is suited for the 3D vision kit. Want something more to drool over? This machine has a Blu-ray drive and multi-channel sound, so even watching movies is truly a treat. Options for external display are common, HDMI and VGA. The standard connectivity options include gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth. Then, there are 4 USB ports, a 2.0 megapixel webcam, a FireWire port, a memory card reader and the laptop is pre-loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit). Finally, in addition to the Nvidia 3D Vision kit and the Razer mouse, the laptop bundles with it a sporty rucksack, an OS-recovery disc, drivers, manual and a cleaning cloth.

The processor
Most powerful and high-end in Intel’s new series of Core processors, the Core i7 features Hyper Threading (HT) and Turbo Boost. While the Intel Core i3 and Intel Core i5 series of CPUs are common to entry-level and mid-level machines respectively, the i7 is the workhorse when it comes to performance. The CPU used in this laptop (the Intel Core i7 720QM) is a quad-core variant so you can see eight threads processing simultaneously (thanks, to HT). Also, it has a whopping 6 MB L3 cache, which again helps boost the performance of a CPU.

Nvidia 3D Vision
Remember the blockbuster flick Avatar? Well, now you can enjoy a similar experience in your home, with Nvidia's 3D Vision glasses. These glasses have brought about a new twist to the gaming world. They offer a stereoscopic 3D experience during gaming and even while watching 3D images. But, for the glasses to work, you need a 120 Hz LCD monitor.

While the G51J bundles these glasses, you can even buy them separately to experience the 3D realm on your desktop PC. Since there is wireless technology involved, in the kit you'll find a wireless receiver which connects with the USB port. Also, they wouldn't work with any game you throw at it, there's a handful of games, that are optimized for this technology.
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The 3D Experience and overall performance
Playing games in 3D is not only fun but it is a different experience altogether. With over 400 games and counting, there is no dearth of titles optimized for 3D. However gaming in 3D is not something that most laptops or desktops can handle. That said, the 3D performance on the ASUS G51J was definitely fun but needed to be scaled down some games to get playable frame rates. Take for example Crysis, the game could barely go above 20 fps in 3D, but with 3D switched off, the game ran at a playable 40 fps. So basically you will be swapping details and frame rates to be able to game in 3D.

Moreover in an open world environment, the added dimension is quite lost for objects that are at a distance. The only time when you actually get the 3-Dimensional effect kick in, is when you are actually up close to the object or person. So it actually makes little sense to swap details for an added dimension, in Crysis WARHEAD. But, we played Batman Arkham Asylum and the results were stunning. This game is better-optimized and looks excellent in 3D. We’d say, that if you’re playing Batman, choose the native resolution of this laptop, 1366 x 768, leave the settings to ‘High’ and turn off AA. This gave us about 42 fps with 3D stereoscope switched on. But be warned, despite the graphical treat, even half an hour of intensive game play might give you a heavy head.

As far as the overall performance of this machine is concerned, there’s obviously nothing to complain about. Use the most intensive applications like audio and video encoding and editing, image-editing and such, these applications are a piece of cake for this machine.

Bottom line
If you are a mid-level gamer who wants to experience 3D vision in games, and who wants a very powerful desktop replacement, at Rs 99,000 (excluding taxes), this 3D-gaming package is definitely for you. But, if you’re a hard core gamer, who likes to keep all game-settings maxed out, there’s little for you in this package, especially if you want to play with 3D switched on.

Specifications:

  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 392 x 48 x 270 mm
  • Weight: 3.47 Kg
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 720QM, 1.6 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB DDR3
  • Hard disk: 2 x 320 GB
  • Screen size: 15.6-inch
  • Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth

    UPDATE: Asus proudly announces that the Asus G51 3D laptop has received the 'Best Choice of the Year' award at Computex 2010, along with a 'Best Choice' award in the 'Display and Digital Entertainment' category. Click here to see the entire press release.