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ASUS G73Jh – Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

Depending on your viewpoint, either the G73Jh is an awe-inspiring stealthy (i.e. Stealth Bomber) notebook… or it's a drab looking black behemoth. I'm inclined to go with the former opinion and find that the G73Jh really fits my personality, but others will probably hate it. Obviously, this isn't going to appeal to fans of the MacBook aesthetic, and it's not meant to. The black coating is the same soft touch rubberized paint found on the N61Jv, only this time it's on the palm rest and cover.

The interior continues the all-black motif. We were very pleased to see that there's no glossiness on any of the surfaces, except for the LCD panel. As Anand mentioned in our recent MacBook Pro review, we generally recommend matte LCDs for laptops that you intend to use outside, while most people like glossy panels for primarily indoor use. Given the size, performance, and generally low battery life it's a safe bet that you're not going to use the G73Jh outside much, so the glossy LCD works fine. Glossy LCDs also tend to improve contrast ratio by about 20%, so where the ASUS Eee 1001p had an 800:1 contrast ratio the G73Jh rates 1000:1.

The keyboard is a full size chiclet layout, with a dedicated number keypad. Again, we don't really like the half-sized "0" key on the 10-key, as we naturally hit the right arrow key with are thumb when using it for numerical data entry. Considering there's a good one inch margin on either side of the keyboard, we'd like to see ASUS move the 10-key over a bit and make room for a double-size (standard) "0" key. Otherwise, the keyboard is generally fine as far as chiclet keyboards go, with good spacing and a decent throw on the keys. We'd like a bit more travel, and even better would be something more in line with the classic ThinkPad keyboard, but we would rate the keyboard as above average overall. Another nice bonus on the keyboard side of things is the LED backlighting, perfect for LAN parties or gaming in the dark.

The palm rest is very large and spacious, and its paired with one of the largest touchpads this side of Texas. That's the good news. The bad news is that the touchpad buttons require a firm press to register, and they're on a large rocker instead of being independent buttons. The touchpad supports all the latest multi-touch gestures and works better than most touchpads we've used, but separate buttons would have made it better. Of course, if you're playing games you're going to want a real mouse, and ASUS packs a nice Razer Abyssus ($30 value) into the A2 package. The Abyssus includes two switches on the bottom to change between 125 and 1000 Hz polling and 450/1800/3500 DPI. It's not the best Razer mouse I've ever used, but it handles gaming without any complaints from me.

Perhaps most impressive out of the whole package is that the system runs stable and never gets overly hot or overly loud. At idle, the G73Jh purrs along at a very quiet 33dB; that's not "silent" but it's not intrusive either. What's better is that even under a full load (x264 encoding with 3DMark looping in the background) the notebook still maintains its calm demeanor. At maximum load, fan speed increases just a hair and the noise output is 35dB. Compared to the Clevo W870CU (which idles at 35 dB and can hit 42 dB under load), the G73Jh is very stealthy indeed!

As you might expect from the noise levels, temperatures are also excellent—perhaps the best we've ever tested, and certainly the lowest we've seen on a gaming notebook. The palm rests stay at room temperature while the touchpad is a few degrees warmer. The rear of the chassis is about 5C hotter, but we're still only talking about 31C maximum. Love it or hate it, the wedge-shaped design certainly does the job when it comes to cooling. ASUS puts a couple huge vents at the back of the G73Jh, and their size and location means you don't need a mini-vacuum fan in your notebook. The tall rear of the G73Jh also lets ASUS put in a large 75Wh battery without pushing a bunch of other pieces out of the way, so you can still get 1.5 to 2.0 hours of mobility in a pinch. Video playback doesn't fare as well, lasting only 80 minutes, but you didn't really expect more than that did you?

The ASUS G73Jh is all about putting your money where it matters most, and in this case that means delivering great gaming performance with an LCD that's a pleasure to use. The matte RGB LED backlit panel in the Dell Precision M6500 still takes the cake for the best laptop LCD we've every used, but that particular panel would eat up about 1/3 of the total G73Jh price. As long as you want high performance—size and battery life be damned!—the G73Jh delivers on all fronts. Let's see just how fast AMD's latest mobile GPU is compared to the competition.

ASUS G73Jh: Today's Top Gaming Laptop G73Jh: Test System and Benchmark Setup
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  • DoeBoy - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Yeh my g50vt is stll working well and I can vouch for ASUS meaning gaming laptop. It does get hot as hell thou. Even with a cooler running it gets very hot. I would only buy this sucker if I could see the solution they have going. The g50 does not even have a intake fan at all and the slits in the bottom are so small how could u ever pull a considerable amount of air through them? Reply
  • bennyg - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    ditto for the G51J-A1

    No dedicated intake for a single fan 45W CPU and ~58W GPU... that's why so many have been making swiss cheese of the CPU Door Assembly.

    Add to that the conservative fan control which kicks up to highest only when the GPU's already scorching (93C) and cycles on and off even when GPU utilisation is 100%.

    As an indication of how underutilised the cooling system is - when I tested stable max OC (16% GPU core, 20% shader, 20% memory, or 580/1500/1000), max temp is only 3 degrees higher... 96C.

    Soooo wish I'd known the g73 would be out 2 months after I got this :(
    Reply
  • frombauer - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Why 1080p? Text must be way too tiny, and it impacts game performance. Much better if this was 17" with 1680x1050 (16:10 even better). Reply
  • ATC9001 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    It may seem like that but it's really not, my 17" gateway had the 1920x1200 and I thought the same thing (I also had a 24" 2405FPW)...but these resolution is fine. I also decided to go with a 1920x1080 for my 15", worst case I just enlarge the text, but the big thing is having that much desktop space is nice, once you go big you can't go back! Reply
  • bennyg - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    This is a YMMV issue.

    I absolutely could NEVER go back to a 1280x800 or 1366x768 on a 15". Having used a high res screen for over a year, everything at the lower res just seems wierdly magnified.

    Yes fps may be lower but there are many games where 1080p on med looks better than 720p on high settings, and I'd much rather have a good game on low/med details than a borefest at Ultra High anyways.

    Besides, I don't do gaming 100% of the time on this thing anyway; I can't think of any other reason how a lower res screen would be advantageous. BTW - bad eyesight does not count (google DPI setting in Win7)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Keep in mind that you're generally closer to a laptop than you are a desktop display. I played a lot of games on the G73J and never felt text was too small, which isn't something I can say for my 30" desktop display. And as a user of 120dpi setting in Windows, I have to point out that there are drawbacks. Text is larger but images remain the same, and there are a few odd glitches in some programs where text wraps out of view because the font size changed. Most apps assume everyone uses 96dpi; MS apps are usually fine, but try it out on any PC and you'll notice some differences in how things look. It doesn't just magnify everything (which would be the ideal solution IMO... though images would then become blurry). In a pinch, you can always run the LCD at 1600x900 to increase the DPI and get the same effect, but I really do appreciate screen real estate.

    For reference, DPI on a 30" LCD at 2560x1600 is ~100 (.252mm dot pitch). DPI on a 17.3" 1080p laptop is 127 (.217mm dot pitch). 1600x900 at 17.3" puts the DPI at 106, so it's similar to what you'd get on a 30" LCD. But if you're used to 24" WUXGA and you sit at the same 2-3' distance, you'll definitely feel things get a little cramped. Given that it's hard to find good quality laptop LCDs, there's no way I'd recommend going to a lower resolution panel unless it keeps all the good aspects, and really I prefer 17" laptops stick with 1080p/WUXGA displays.
    Reply
  • chrnochime - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    I don't know about you but I'd prefer to not have to squint when I'm working away on a laptop, especially one that's already 15+" already. Besides, with the larger DPI setting, everything is just way to magnified, and which kind of make it the same as using a lower res anyway. Reply
  • just4U - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Looking at this in comparison to Anand's review on the Mac book pro I have to say .. this one seems to actually be worth the money.

    I'd have like to have seen more on heat issues as well since that's a concern for some with units like this. Still it's worth a look. I don't normally buy laptops but I'd seriously consider something along these lines. Given the option I'd probably tone down to a lesser cpu mind you.. but that's just me :)
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    Temperature data is listed on page 2:

    "As you might expect from the noise levels, temperatures are also excellent—perhaps the best we've ever tested, and certainly the lowest we've seen on a gaming notebook. The palm rests stay at room temperature while the touchpad is a few degrees warmer. The rear of the chassis is about 5C hotter, but we're still only talking about 31C maximum. Love it or hate it, the wedge-shaped design certainly does the job when it comes to cooling. ASUS puts a couple huge vents at the back of the G73Jh, and their size and location means you don't need a mini-vacuum fan in your notebook."

    If you need more clarification, around 31C for the bottom of the laptop in the middle-back section (just in front of the battery). The front section on the sides are 20-21C (room temperature) while the middle front is 24-25C. The back sides are also around 24C top and bottom. Really, the temperatures are largely uniform compared to other notebooks, and the noise levels are truly exceptional. The Clevo W870CU by comparison is horribly loud, with fans that regularly cycle between low and high speeds.
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Saturday, April 17, 2010 - link

    I don't have the item number on me, and the model isn't on the website. But it is the same as the review with a few additions

    8gb of ram
    Blu Ray Drive
    Backpack
    for $1699
    Reply

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