Asus G51J Core i7 Mobile Gaming Notebook Review - HotHardware

Asus G51J Core i7 Mobile Gaming Notebook Review

3 thumbs up

Windows 7 is upon us, and with the launch of Microsoft's self-proclaimed "best operating system" comes a slew of new desktop machines, notebooks, and netbooks looking to take advantage of its added stability and features. One of the companies that is looking to serve up a number of new Win7-based rigs is Asus, and without a doubt they have assembled an interesting and compelling offering in their G51J-A1 notebook. Hitting the sweet spot between the average-sized 15" machine and the full-on desktop replacement, the refreshed G51 maintains the 15" form factor yet packs enough horsepower to plow through even the latest game titles.

If you'll recall, we reviewed the prior G51 back in August, a machine that went by the name of G51VX-RX05. The G51J-A1 (which we're looking at today) is exactly, spec-for-spec, the same machine except for three huge differences: the processor, chipset, and operating system. At the heart of the G51J-A1 is the brand spankin' new Intel Core i7-720QM CPU, which is clocked at 1.60GHz with a 2.8GHz Turbo Boost function, pared to the mobile PM55 chipset. And of course, Windows Vista has been replaced by Windows 7 Home Premium, an OS that feels more solid and less resource intensive from top to bottom.

What you're left with is a really capable gaming machine with plenty of power to handle day-to-day duties, multimedia playback and pretty much anything else you'd expect from a portable machine. All within a case that's just marginally thicker than "standard" 15" machines. It's a nice package for those desiring high-end performance normally found only within 17"+ desktop replacements, but in an enclosure that won't break your back when lugging it around. So, the only question now is how well does it really perform. Follow us through the pages to come to find out.

Asus G51J-A1 15" Gaming Notebook
Hardware Specifications - As Reviewed

  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-720QM 1.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (2.8GHz Turbo Boost)
  • Intel's PM55 Express Chipset (1333MHz FSB)
  • 4GB of DDR3 RAM (1066MHz)

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M Mobile GPU
  • 15.6 Inch Glossy Full HD Display (1920x1080)
  • VGA and HDMI Outputs
  • Two (2) 320GB ST9320423AS Seagate Momentus 7200.4 Hard Drives; 7200RPM
  • 8x Super Multi DVD Burner (Hitachi HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GT30N)
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (Intel WiFi Link 1000 BGN)
  • Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 2.0
  • Integrated 2.1 Altec-Lansing Speaker System (Bottom-Mounted Subwoofer)
  • 2.0 MP Camera
  • 3-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader (SD, MMC, MSPRO)
  • ExpressCard 54 Slot
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Ports; 1 x Mini 1394 (FireWire); 1 x USB 2.0 compliant / eSATA port with PowerShare; 2 headphone jacks; 1 audio input
  • 14.6" x 10.3" x 1.3" - 1.6" - Dimensions
  • 7.2 Pounds - Weight
  • Bundled Backpack And Razer Mouse
  • 6-Cell  Battery
  • Retail (Before Discounts) Price As Tested: $1499
  • 2 Year Standard Warranty, 1 Year Accidental Damage, Free Two-Way Shipping

Article Index:

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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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