Asus G51J Core i7 Mobile Gaming Notebook Review

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: In our SiSoftware Sandra testing, the G51J-A1 showed that it was a strong performer when compared to other notebook hardware, and only lagged behind certain desktop components. Gaming was a breeze, with the potent 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M GPU handling Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Half-Life 2: Episode 2 at 1920x1080 with no problems at all. Far Cry 2 strained the system as expected, but it was still very playable with AA turned off and the resolution cranked down a bit. Multimedia playback was also no problem with this rig, though the lack of a Blu-ray Drive option is curious. The G51J-A1 is a real performer; the hardware is top-notch, but its the supporting cast of components gives us some pause.

For those that skipped out on the Asus G51VX in anticipation of Intel's next move: congratulations, your patience has paid off. By waiting just a few months, you can now select the Asus G51J-A1, a machine with Windows 7 already loaded on and a very powerful Core i7-720QM under the hood. Oh, and did we mention that the MSRP has been lowered by $200? Because it has. Asus has done a commendable job of shoving a desktop replacement into a 15.6" shell. The 1080p panel looks gorgeous even on a screen of this size, and we never had any issues with eye strain along the way. The hardware list here is no joke; this thing is built to blast through 3D titles and multimedia, and it does that job very well.

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Still, we can't wrap this up without explaining some of the corners that were cut in order to product a Core i7 mobile gaming machine below the $1500 price point. For starters, the keyboard is real low point. The flat, slick keys were a pain to type on, and the left-justified nature resulted in lots of missed keys and making lots of errors. Then there's battery life. The 6-cell will only last around 1.5 hours in normal circumstances, and far less if you're gaming or watching a DVD the whole time. Third, there's the optical drive. It's an aged 8x DVD burner on a machine with Blu-ray ambitions. Why give a unit a 1080p panel, and no movie playing device to really take advantage? We know that a BD drive would've likely added at least $100 to the MSRP, but an option would've been nice for those willing to pay the premium.

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All in all, the G51J-A1 is great at being itself, but not so great at being your "do-it-all" 15" notebook. The keyboard is just too lackluster to be used for daily typing chores, note taking, etc., and the battery is too poor to use on the road for any real length of time. It's a portable gaming rig in a form factor that's smaller than those gigantic 17" and 18.4" machines out there and that's about it. If you're willing to deal with the fact that this can never be your "everything" machine, great--you'll love it. The gaming performance is excellent, and it's really not that bad to lug around. If you're looking for a machine that you can comfortably type e-mails on and watch BD movies when you're done fragging, you'll have to look elsewhere. We'd say this is a niche machine at its finest: it's great at one thing, but far from being the Jack of All Trades. Take this "Recommended" rating as "Recommended with Reservations." If you're a hardcore gamer, it'll suit you just fine; if you plan on doing other tasks more than gaming, we'd suggest you select a different notebook.

  • Blazing Fast Core i7-720QM CPU
  • Great Value At $1499
  • Backpack And Mouse Included
  • Top-Notch Specifications
  • Amazing Gaming Results


  • Gets Warm During Normal Use
  • Awful Battery Life
  • Lots of Preinstalled Bloatware
  • Polarizing Design
  • Not Well Designed Keyboard
  • No Blu-ray Drive Option


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