With the G71GX, Asus has a 17 inch notebook in its range, which is aimed especially at gamers with its strong components such as the Core 2 Duo T9550 and the Geforce GTX 260M. However, it should also attract entertainment fans with its Blu-Ray drive at the same time. Read in this review if this difficult straddle can be achieved.
The Asus G71Gx is the latest laptop in the Taiwanese company’s gaming line-up, and balances a powerful GPU with a high-end quad-core Intel processor. Although it only has a single graphics card, it’s also a lot cheaper than many high-end gaming machines, striking a good compromise between price and power.
A short battery life is something known in gaming notebooks and therefore the G71GX doesn’t surprise much here, either. All results were established with deactivated overclocking and without case lighting. The battery runtime under load and at maximum brightness was 1 hour and 15 minutes (Classic test from BatteryEater).
The G71GX only ran 1 hour and 25 minutes at internet surfing via WLAN and maximum brightness. The maximum runtime stayed under two hours with 1 hour and 47 minutes, which is even too little for a gaming notebook (minimum brightness, Reader’s test from BatteryEater).
The biggest disappointment then followed at movie rendering. The movie enjoyment with our Blu-Ray already came to an end after just 1 hour and 6 minutes. A normal DVD turned out to be a bit better, as the G71GX survived for 1 hour and 10 minutes at rendering.
An 8 cell Lithium-Ion model with 73 Wh is employed as a battery. The battery has a somewhat unusual position. It’s not pushed into the back of the notebook, as usual, but as in many DTR devices common, pushed into the bottom side and is so to say, “integrated into the notebook” since there is even a case foot on the battery.
The high power consumption values of 0.7 Watt in a deactivated, and 2.4 Watt in a stand-by state are eminent. This is due to the permanently turned on Express Gate light, among other things. Otherwise the power consumption is between 48.4 and 56.6 Watt in idle mode, and between 104.5 and 127.6 Watt under load.(ASUS 90-NLF1B2000Y battery)
After unpacking the G71GX, a fiery design strikes you right away. Red surfaces take turns with glossy black and matt black surfaces in a honeycomb pattern. A clear line management provides for a discerning contrast. Also, a bluish lit “Republic of Gamers” logo, a bluish bezeled touchpad and bluish blinking bars on the outer display bezel “ennobles” the already eye-catching case. The design will probably be too flashy and coltish for some, but we quite liked it. The reason: Asus uses (different than it might be thought of from the pictures) rather dark red and various (admittedly after a time annoying) light elements, which can be deactivated to a large extent.
However, the first high-quality impression vanishes quickly after picking up the G71GX. The complete case is almost completely made of plastic, even if Asus has to be given credit for this first being noticed when the G71GX is touched. In return, the workmanship is good, though; in particular the display is very stable. Only the area around the Blu-Ray drive bends slightly as soon as the notebook’s left bottom edge is lifted.
Two further things bothered us about the workmanship: On the one side, the junction between the upper side and the side area has a somewhat sharp and hard edged. On the other, the right of the two clamps, which hold the lid, can be levered out of the case without pressing the correlating closure button and without much effort. Because the case, as mentioned, has two such clamps, the lid always stays closed – despite this flaw. The hinges are stable and the notebook doesn’t lift at opening due to its height weight of 4170 grams. However, the hinges attract attention with a partially slight groaning and squealing.(COMPAQ Presario C700 Series)
The G17GX has accordingly to its size of 17 inches a variety of connections. Some are hidden behind 2 red flaps, which are placed on the case’s left and right side.
Let’s start with the front where no connections are found, aside from the status lights, the two loudspeakers and the lid closure.
On the left side a Blu-Ray DVD combo drive, an 8-in-1 cardreader (SD/miniSD/MMC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/xD), Firewire (IEEE 1394) and two USB 2.0 ports rest.
Placed on the right side is an ExpressCard slot, a Bluetooth/WLAN slider (Bluetooth 2.1, WLAN b/g/n), three sound sockets (S/PDIF, headphone-out, microphone-in) and further two USB 2.0 ports (the G71GX therefore has a total of four USB 2.0 ports).
Conclusively, the power socket, an HDMI connection, an eSATA interface, a VGA-out, an RJ45 gigabit LAN port and a Kensington lock is found on the back side.
All connections are well distributed, as Asus hasn’t placed any ports other than the Blu-Ray drive in the G71GX’s front half. The given bandwidth of connectivity also convinced us fully.
Furthermore, Asus has also included the one or other treat in the package. In the box there is a small antenna with the according cable (for TV tuners) and the fitting player software for Blu-Ray movies along with a WinDVD 8 (Blu-Ray 2CH), for which a registering for updates is required, though.(ASUS AL32-1005 battery)
The keyboard convinces with its standard layout, merely the numerical block calls for a short accommodation period due to its different arrangement (only three instead of four vertical rows). The slightly glittering keys have a pleasant size (merely the arrow keys are a tad too small) and a deep and well-defined pressure point. Unfortunately, they often unpleasantly attract acoustic attention with clattering. Asus exemplary placed the Fn key left of the Crtl key. Various actions can be controlled with it, such as volume, brightness, WLAN/Bluetooth and switching or deactivating displays. The keyboard, regrettably, gives away considerably on the level of the F keys and especially in the left, respectively the right corner, which barely incommoded us subjectively. The rest of the keyboard gave in only slightly at most.
There is a touch sensitive bar above the keyboard, which gets along with a minimum of buttons. The lighting behavior of the “Republic of Gamers” logo and the notebook lid’s side areas can be altered via the “Direct Console”. The next button takes care of various modes for image representation, such as “Theater” or “Vivid”. A further button controls the integrated overclocking function via the mode “Energy savings”, “Normal”, and “Overclock”. The touchpad can be deactivated with the fourth button. And last but not least, the standard power button waits.(ACER AS10D31 battery)
We were very pleased about the touchpad, as it has a good position and is sufficiently sized. As already mentioned, the touchpad’s edge is appropriately lit in blue, with which you can orientate yourself faster in the dark. Both mouse keys are found under the touchpad, worked into a silver bezel of brushed aluminum and make a very high-quality impression. The response could quite convince us also, as the keys have a very clearly defined pressure point and the click noise at triggering gives the necessary feedback. But then there is a minute point of critique. The effort needed to press the mouse keys has turned out to be a bit high.
The display has a screen size of 17 inches and is, unsurprisingly, reflective. This already causes unpleasant reflections in interiors and at a normal surrounding brightness. It’s no wonder then that there is almost nothing to be seen on the display outdoors. Therefore, outdoor mission are not to be recommended.
Furthermore, it’s not conceivable why Asus has built a Blu-Ray drive into the G71GX, but the correlating display then just has a resolution of 1440×900 pixels. Of course, if an external monitor is connected via HDMI, every resolution up to FullHD (1920×1080 pixels) is available. The image is brilliant and razor sharp on an external monitor via HDMI.
First, before the benchmarks could even start, the system was up for a thorough cleaning up. The programs and tools that Asus had preinstalled, weren’t exactly funny. This resulted in an eternally long system start, a few programs in autostart and many programs in the task bar wanted to attract uncalled for attention. The application for overclocking the processor called “AI Gear”, which can be seen in the task manager, is always open.(SONY VGP-BPS9A battery)
Talking about overclocking: The processor rate can be increased by either three or five percent. Then the Intel Core 2 Duo (1066 MHz FSB, 6 MByte L2 cache) doesn’t clock with its usual 2.66, but with up to 2.78 GHz. That’s “only” 120 MHz more. The efficient Geforce GTX 260M with an opulent 1 GByte DDR3-VRAM is used as the graphic card. This upper-class graphic card with a 500 MHz chip, 800 MHz memory and 1250 MHz shader rate, isn’t based, as the name might suggest, on the desktop series with the same name and therefore isn’t an equivalent to GTX 260. In truth, it’s based on the G92b core, which is already used in the mobile Geforce 9800M GTX and is therefore rather comparable with the performance of an average 9800 GT of the desktop field. Anyway, the performance of the Geforce GTX 260M is very good for a mobile model, as we will see in the benchmarks.
The G71Gx can’t match some of the more expensive gaming laptops when it comes to sheer power, but it does strike a good compromise between price and performance. The quad-core processor sets it apart from many of its rivals when it comes to multi-tasking and, aside from battery life, it’s a good all-round package.