I have been using an Asus G1 since end of 2006. Asus service was great when I had GPU problems, their two way free overnight shipping and fastest industry turn around for repairs made me a loyal customer. The Nvidia GPU burning itself out twice made me a very unhappy Nvidia fan. Reading other Nvidia users with other brands suffering the same problem made me to never wish to use Nvidia again and want to get rid of it.
So I wanted to buy another Asus. I wanted a larger screen, 15.4" is good, but not enough anymore. I wanted to return to ATi. I had a previous Acer with a ATi 9600 which ran flawlessly in the past when I was playing UT2003 and a few Korean MMOs and RTS games. The Asus G73JH-A2 answered all of my needs.
16.5 inches wide, 12.5 inches deep
Weighs 8.5 pounds only
1920*1080 FHD LED
Intel i7 720QM (1.6-2.8 Ghz)
ATi HD5870 w/ 1GB GDDR5 128 bit
8GB Kingston 1333 DDR3
1TB (2X Seagate 500GB 7200RPM HDD)
DVD Combo Drive (I replaced with BD reader combo for only $60)
HDMI output (Audio and Video)
2 Dedicated Fans for GPU and CPU
What's in the Box:
The Asus G73 arrived packaged very well. First a large box with the packaging information. Inside was another large box with the Asus G73 information. Inside was a smaller box that contained the official G73JH box with a smaller box containing the DVDs, warranty, manual, Razer Abysses Mouse, 8 cell smart lithium battery and the power brick. Alongside that box with the backpack.
Laptop is an interesting design. The height on the front is very short at .6 inches. There is a small LED display with battery, WiFi, HDD and On display. The laptop then slopes upward all the way to the back which is about 2" tall. The top cover has a rubbery finish with lots of angles. It very much has the angular appearance of the NightHawk Stealth fighter that it immitates. The keyboard sits within angular sloped slight basin giving that stealth look.
Overall the design is great as it makes the laptop appear smaller than it is and making it carrying a breeze. The grip on the rubber finish on the top is great. This does not attract fingerprints. The entire laptop is matte black. Very professional looking.
The screen is a FHD LED with native resolution of 1920*1080. It is very bright. The contrasts are great and the games look vivid.
The view angles are not the best, but sitting directly in front of the screen, it's about perfect. Leaning the screen backwards looks ok, leaning it forward is when it starts to look darker with the lighting and colors dull. Leaning to the left and right it's OK. You notice the difference when your head is about 4 inches to the left or right with the head about 45 degrees from the opposite edge of the screen. I won't be using the laptop with my head at that position.
I am not an expert on screens as you can tell, did the best I could. Summary it's the best I've seen so far as I have not seen the RGB Alienware yet.
The keyboard is chiclet style, similar to the style of MacBooks. The wrist area also has a rubber infused surface. The keyboard has good feel and I can type around 85-90 WPM without any errors. Some have complained they cannot press the T and Y and the spacebar, but I personally believe they need to learn to type or start doing some weight training for their fingers. I prefer this keyboard over the Asus G1.
The typing area keys are spaced wider than I was used to from a 15.4" screen. For some like myself may have to adjust to this, but once you do, it's very comfortable. The keys are very soft and press down with very little effort and they do not press far either. Very shallow depth.
The keyboard has LED lights under each of the keys. This is great as the you can see them clearly at night and they are very bright. They glow a soft white with a hint of blue. The key indicators like ABCD, 12345 are all see through white so they also glow at night. The lighting can be controlled with the function key with 4 settings, off, dim, light, bright.
The numeric keypad is where it is disappointing. There is ample room to make the keyboard wider, but the numeric keypad is squished. Can I still use it without looking? Yes I can.
Flex? While typing I don't notice any, but then I don't slam the keys when I type, I like to type lightly and quickly, I am a piano player. If I press my hand down on the keyboard, yes you can see it flex. Yes there is more flex than I expected but it's not a nuisance for me personally and I don't foresee any problems.
It is a good keyboard that is responsive. It is not the best you will find, but for a lighted chiclet keyboard, I like it!
Touchpad is HUGE. The finish on it is like the rest, matte and has a good feel with fine texture to it. It sits very close to the keyboard so if you type with your wrist flat on the laptop, the bottom end of you thumb may touch it. I do not as I like to keep my fingers above the keyboard bent. The touchpad sits very flushed to the surface of the laptop.
The touchpad does allow for multi-touching and the Synaptics drivers allow for zooming. It's response is not the best but it is good enough for a gaming laptop. I have no issues with it and love it's massive size.
The laptop is minimal. It provides what you need. Minimal ports, minimal design and the multimedia keys are no different. There are three keys at the top left that glow blue. One is for turning off the lighting. Press it once, the blue glow under the screen turns off. Press it again, the blue glow on the three keys turn off and so do the lighting on the keyboard. Press it again, the blue glow under the screen and three keys turn on. You need to use the function keys to turn the glow back on the keyboard as explained above.
The middle button is for twin turbo mode. The last button is for the Splendid display, I do have this as I uninstalled it. On the far right is the power button that also glows blue. This does not turn off ever.
LED indicators sit right at the front of the laptop flushed to the surface. They are HDD, on indicator, Battery and WiFi.
The WiFi in this is the Atheros AR8131. Works great for me, I only have the 7mb from Verizon, download around 500 KBPS. Other users have reached speeds over 1mb/sec. There are only 2 antennae so you can use the Intel 6200 if you need a better one, can find them for $15 @ 300mb/sec.
The built in speakers are Altec Lansing. They are above the keyboard below the screen under a very fine mesh. The mesh look awesome, and you can barely see where the speakers would be. They are VERY loud for such small speakers and they sound fine. There is a subwoofer on the bottom sitting flush to the front of the laptop. You can see it protected by a strong metal mesh. Gives it a more fuller sound. Still recommend using your headphones or connecting the laptop to an external amp and speakers. If you don't have access to these and watching a movie with friends, you will be delighted you will have no issues with volume or distortions at high volume.
Input and Output Ports
No e-SATA or Express. All others standard.
There are no ports on the front.
The built in webcam is 2 megapixel I have not used it. Other users report is it excellent for 2 megapixel.
On the right side near the front no ports. In the middle is the 8 in 1 media card reader. Behind that are two 2.0 USB ports. Then the HDMI port. Then the VGA port. Lastly the power plug port. The USB ports are situated far enough back so it shouldn't be an issue if you use your mouse. The power plug should be in the back since the power plug is a straight and not an L. Or the power plug should be an L, either one.
On the left side, at the very front is the plug for headphones and plug for your microphone. There is a built in microphone at he top of the screen to the right of the webcam. Behind the microphone port is one USB port. In the middle is your Media Drive. Then there is the 4th 2.0 USB port along with a RJ45 Ethernet port.
The rear in the middle has the battery. The battery is very fat and not wide at all as it fits between the two vents. Surprisingly small battery considering I get over 2 hours and 30 minutes of battery time browsing the web. The two vents on the left and right are 3 inches wide and 3/4 inches high. They sit angled with the slits angled. From the back they look like the turbine vents for a Jet or a the exhaust port of a Lamborghini.
The bottom is very flat. There is one large panel that can be removed to access the 4 dimm slots for ram, the WiFi card and the two SATA HDD slots. There panel has vents that are right above the ram. There is a another small vent area above near the back of the laptop, but still not near the CPU/GPU. These vents are all passive cooling and there is no airflow out or in.
Gaming benchmarks. What have I seen?
Killing Floor: 90 FPS with 1080p with 16AF, 8AA with all maxed.
Mass Effect 2: Average over 60 FPS @ 1080p all highest
NFS Shift: Average 55 FPS @ 1080p all highest
Bad Company 2: G73 users are reporting they get an average of 59 FPS @ 1080p with all settings highest, no AA.
Another G73 users got this.
Size and Weight
The laptop feels and looks smaller than it is for a 17.3" laptop, that is due to it's angular design. It is all plastic so it weighs only 8.5 lbs and you can easily grip it with on hand. Carrying it under your arm is very easy. Still large enough that you don't want to risk bumping into someone, so I carry it in the comfortable backpack.
Can see the 2 HDDs, 3 Dimm slots for ram, there is one under the motherboard, total of four, can see the wireless card also.
Heat and Noise
The Asus G73JH-A2 uses 2 dedicated fans for both the CPU and GPU. These fans are substantially large. The vent is 3 inches wide and .8 inches tall. The heatsinks are all copper and the fans are very quiet. Astonishingly quiet. They are about as quiet as a business class or casual laptop, not a gaming laptop. The Alienware M17x is literally 10X louder. Truly Impressive.
While gaming for 2 hours in Mass Effect 2, Crysis or NFS Shift, the temperature is steady @ 75C. This is about 20C cooler than an equivalent Nvidia GPU. F-ing Amazing!
I overclock the GPU by 100 clocks for both the core and memory. No heating issues, the high core temperature is 85C. I have no had any lockups or shutdowns due to heat yet. The fans are quiet for a performance laptop. They are much quieter than my G1. I cannot hear them over the typing of the keyboard and having my headphones on at the lowest volume. You cannot hear the fan if you use the laptop's speakers. Very quiet.
Considering this uses 1 TB of 7200RPM HDDs, 8GB of 1333 Ram and a bright 1920*1080 display it's surprising. I get around 2 hours and 30 minutes browsing the web with the display dimmed, but still bright enough to see clearly.
Worried about BluRay? It comes with BluRay software. The OS is Windows 7 64 Home Premium. There are the usual Asus bloatware with their splendid display, backup software, live update etc. I uninstalled all of it except Power4Gear which is used for the twin turbo and convenient for setting when I use it with power or on battery.
The recovery disk has just the Windows 7 64 Home Premium on it, so yes it is a CLEAN Windows Install. The second has all the utilities and drivers. If you want to do a clean install, install with the Windows 7 recovery DVD. When it asks for the 2nd disc, cancel and restart. When it boots into Windows, use the driver/utilities DVD and only checkoff what you want installed. Easy.
The backpack and the Razer Abysses mouse. The mouse, give it to someone that needs a small one with 3.5G DPI, 2 buttons and a mouse scroll. Mouse does have a rubbery finish on it for good grip. The backpack is all black and not shiny. This will not attract any unwanted attention. Inside the laptop compartment is padded on both front and back. There is room for a few textbooks. The other zipper compartment has room for the power brick, your mouse, a small book to read on the train, your lunch and large pair of headphones. Backpack is comfortable to wear. Made by Targus.
Pros: Price, performance, heat, fan noise, display, standard specifications.
Cons: Keyboard flex, touchpad too close to keyboard, squished number pad, cooling system could be better, no raid.
This is a great laptop if you need a 17" that can play the latest games at 1080p with all high settings but also easy to transport. It's appearance is very professional looking so looks great in the office. It does not come with e-SATA port or the RAID in the bios as many of us thought it would.
Value. That's what this laptop is all about. Everything above for $1550. Like another user, I believe this is the greatest value for a laptop in my 20 years of using computers.