Asus G51J Core i7 Mobile Gaming Notebook Review - HotHardware

Asus G51J Core i7 Mobile Gaming Notebook Review

3 thumbs up

 Performance with Half-Life 2 Episode 2 and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
Gaming Performance

To touch on gaming performance, we chose two games that draw moderately on system resources, Half-Life 2 Episode 2 and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. We then ran a pre-recorded demo of each at a resolution of 1280x800 and also at a higher resolution of 1920x1080 (the panel's maximum). The resulting performance achieved is indicated in frames per second in the graph below, and we tossed in benchmarks from Asus' G51VX -- which includes the exact same 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M GPU -- for reference.

It's pretty tough to believe that we were fairly impressed with the FPS numbers put up by Dell's Studio XPS 16 just last month. With a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and a 1GB ATI Radeon HD 4670 GPU, it was about as good as it got for the money. Here we are a month (and a major Intel platform) later, and a whole new bar has been set. The 1.6GHz Core i7-720QM, assisted by a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M GPU, plowed right through our two major gaming tests. The numbers speak for themselves, but during our real-world testing, we found both titles to be buttery smooth at Full HD (1080p) with all detail options maxed. In other words, both of these titles are no match for the hardware within the G51J-A1. Of course, Far Cry 2 is an entirely different matter, requiring much more potent innards in order to play back smoothly. So, we tested this rig with that title as seen below.

FarCry 2
DirectX Gaming Performance

FarCry 2

Like the original, FarCry 2 is one of the more visually impressive games to be released on the PC to date. Courtesy of the Dunia game engine developed by Ubisoft, FarCry 2's game-play is enhanced by advanced environment physics, destructible terrain, high resolution textures, complex shaders, realistic dynamic lighting, and motion-captured animations. We benchmarked the graphics cards in this article with a fully patched version of FarCry 2, using one of the built-in demo runs recorded in the "Ranch" map. The test results shown here were run at three different resolutions (1280x720, 1600x1024 and 1920x1080), DirectX 10 enabled,  4x Anti-aliasing, and identical render quality settings.

As we suspected, Far Cry 2 really put a strain on the system. With 4X AA enabled and all other settings set to "High," we couldn't break the 30FPS barrier at the panel's native resolution. At 1280x720, the game was just playable, while the two higher settings were noticably jumpy at times. You could definitely make things more playable by disabling AA or stepping it down to 2X. Just to give you an idea of what a difference the CPU and OS make, have a look here. You'll notice that the Asus G51VX, which shares the exact same 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M GPU as on this machine, had nearly identical frame rate numbers when we tested that rig in August with Far Cry 2. The difference? It had to run at 1366x768 to reach those figures, whereas we were able to reach as high as 1080p and still not dip below 25FPS. Impressive, to say the least.

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Just wanted to let you know that you made an error in the review. You said that the keyboard is not backlit, when indeed it is (and quite well at that). This is an important point and should be edited.

Also, I think you were a bit harsh in evaluating the keyboard. Other than the flex (which I agree, is quite a lot), I think it's a great keyboard. I make a lot less typing errors on this keyboard than I did on any other previous keyboard. It might be just me, but I have no problem with the keyboard spacing and such whatsoever. Just my 2cents.

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Thanks for the input Muster.

Overall this is a positive review. Since the battery is only 6-cell, the 1.5 hour battery life is expected. I would jump for the 9-cell option if available.

Other good things: Nice hi-res screen, nice GPU for a 15" laptop, and of course the i7-720QM for under $1500. The only hesitation I have is when ATI 5000 series hits mobile devices since they have lower power reqs than Nvidia.

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I just received my Asus G51J last week and i have to completely agree with you about this keyboard.  The typing experience is atrocious.  I honestly cannot believe how bad it is.  The keyboard is just not as responsive as i am used to with my previous computer (Dell Latitude D620).  I have to type very purposefully and press significantly harder on the keys than i typically do. The textureless keys are a bother, but the bigger issue is when you try to type two of the same letter like 'tt" it will usually skip one of them unless you press really hard.  The spacebar also is so unresponsive and i frequently find myself backspacing because the space was not inserted in.  Backspacing unforunately is really slow because some of the time the backspace is not registered (same issue with the unresponsive keys but worse now b/c i have to press backspace so many times).

Its really unfortunate b/c the computer is excellent otherwise.   

I am now contemplating on buying an external keyboard.  This is just sad 

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Yes, the keyboard is horrible. I notice, after typing a sentence that two or three of the characters I've typed are not there. I'm no stranger to typos; typically I'll reverse the order of a couple keystrokes, or just mistype one. But with the G51J, characters are just missing, and this never happens to me with other keyboards, even on laptops.

The problem is not limited to specific keys, and seems to happen pretty often with the spacebar. You can't tell me that I'm repeatedly failing to hit that thumbs are resting right on top of it for pete's sake! No, keystrokes just are just ignored. Keys pressed in too quick succession seems to be the pattern, as WhiskeyPetes suggested.

It was bad enough that I initially assumed that my laptop was defective, and returned it for another, but it was pretty much the same, so I've just taken to living with it and plugging in an external keyboard. Honestly, I'm baffled as to how anybody can stand it. Possibly other people type more methodically than I do.

I would *definitely* recommend anybody considering this laptop try typing on one first and see whether it's compatable with their typing style. I expect each keystroke to register, but that's just me.

Otherwise, great gaming laptop.

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