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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  • anishannayya - Monday, April 19, 2010 - link

    Just though you might want to know.
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Added a new link to a laptop drive. They're hard to find in stock! :-)
  • layman_user - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Can you guys also test the laptops for thermals? My friend bought a laptop recently and it "burns" when running games. Can you include some tests in your analysis to measure temperatures of chassis and cpu? It would be nice to know the "cool" laptops out there
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Page 2 has the temperature information. If the exhaust is cool and the noise levels are low, it's pretty safe to say that the CPU and GPU aren't running hot.
  • layman_user - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Thanks Jered. Can you guys do a comparision of 5 popular laptops for thermals? It would be interesting to see which laptop out there is the "coolest" .. Thermals is a huge factor these days and we hardly see any comparisions across notebooks for thermals
  • jfmeister - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Sorry to come in late, I haven't gone all the way through the comments, but I would really like to see a MSI GX640 Review or at least some comparison. It seems to be a great compromise in size, battery life & performance.

  • FesterSilently - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Um...what about the Toshiba Qosmio Q870?

    Same price (~$1,400), slightly different specs:

    Intel Core i7 720qm
    2 x 2GB PC 10666
    nVidia 360m (1GB GDDR5)
    1680 x 945 native resolution*
    1 x Hitachi 500GB HDD (7200rpm)
    Mitsumi Blu-Ray burner

    I mention this as an alternative/comparison gaming laptop...well, mainly because it IS! ;-D

    I'm curious as to how the 360m compares (in general) to the mobile 5870, though...DX11 aside.

    *I understand the (aesthetic and practical) difference between 1920 x 1080 and 1680 x 945, but I think of it as a benefit: a) that's some TINY goddamned font, etc. on that hi-res/tiny 17" screen, vs. b) better GPU performance because of the slightly lower resolution on the Toshiba, neh?
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    It's not just the resolution that changed, though. That LCD may be a good contrast ratio or it may not. By and large, 95% of LCD panels for laptops right now are crap, so the odds are against it. For $1400, it's not a bad laptop, and the Blu-ray drive makes it a viable alternative. As a gaming laptop, though, the G73Jh is clearly the superior choice based on specs alone. Even if the LCD is the same quality, I'd still go for the ASUS.

    As far as performance, the GT360M is a 96 SP part with 128-bit RAM, so the GTX 280M in the Clevo W870CU is going to perform about 30% faster at a guess. Whether the particular unit has GDDR5 or GDDR3 is going to be pretty important... The Toshiba has 1GB GDDR5, so all told it's about the same bandwidth as the GTX 280M but still nowhere near as much shader processing power. It will be slower than the GTX 260M as well, and we have results for that on 3DMark at least (page 6).
  • FesterSilently - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    Interesting (and, if you hadn't guessed, I *own* said Qosmio, and, I lovelovelove it...except for the dark, murky are correct) - thanks for the reply, sir.
  • jjcpa - Tuesday, April 20, 2010 - link

    I am not a gamer and use laptop for photo editing (photoshop). Is G73 a good buy for my purpose? The spec and price is very attractive. Only concern is display. Other laptops meet my need are Dell M6500/M17, Lenovo W701, HP Elitebook 8740p, but cost for them over $3000 if the displays are RGBLED or IPS. The only option left in my price range is Dell XPS 16 (1645). But XPS 16 with RGBLED and similar spec as G73 are over $2000. And I can get G73 at $1550 Canadian dollar. I saw your comparison for display. Except gamut, compared to XPS 16, G73's display is ok. I would like to hear your opinion in this area.

    My current laptop is Lenono T61 with WUXGA. Any opinion how this compared to G73's screen

    thank you very much

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