Design and Build Quality
The first thing we noticed about the G51VX was the notebook's unique design. The lid is made from heavy duty, white composite material that proudly displays the Asus Republic of Gamers logo and accents. The logo along with three bars on the lid emit a soft white light that stays lit during normal operation. While the system is off, the lights slowly pulsate.
As you can see, the top cover is made of a smooth white composite material that does not show fingerprints or handling marks. On the bottom, we find a large, round air intake used to increase cooling performance.
The right side of the notebook is home to a microphone input, audio input, SPDIF / headset output, two USB 2.0 ports, and a Supermulti DVD+/-RW / CD-RW drive with dual-layer support. Its worth noting that the drive hums and vibrates occasionally when reading disks. If desired, the mono microphone jack can be used to connect an external microphone. Doing so automatically disables the built in microphone. Along the left side, the G51Vx features a 15 pin D-sub VGA port, air vents, and USB 2.0, Firewire, eSATA, and HDMI ports. We also find an 8-in-1 media reader that supports the following types of flash media: SD, miniSD, MMC, Memory Stick (Pro, Duo, Pro Duo), and xD-picture card.
Along the rear edge of the notebook, we find a Kensington lock port, a USB 2.0 port, an RJ-45 LAN port, and DC power input. The Kensington lock port allows the laptop to be secured using Kensington security products, which include a metal cable and lock combo that prevents theft. The front edge features a wireless switch that enables or disables the built-in wireless LAN. Also, a set of status indicators light up blue or red to represent various hardware conditions.
Under the lid, the G51Vx sports a full size keyboard and number pad. All of the keys have good travel and cushion while providing an excellent typing experience. In addition, the Fn+F3/F4 buttons provide keyboard illumination which improves key visibility in low light conditions. There are four levels available: off, low, medium, and high. With a bright LCD screen just a few inches away, a backlit keyboard might be unnecessary but it sure does look cool. The touchpad works without any major complaints. It is relatively large and smooth with a dedicated scroll area, while the left and right mouse buttons felt secure and responsive. The audible clicking noise is a bit loud but bearable.
On top of the screen, we find a built in web cam. It features a 1.3 megapixel resolution and a microphone to the right of the lens, along the edge. We couldn't find any more details about the webcam but the video it produced was clear and detailed, unless there was rapid movement by the subject. At the base of the screen, we find a series of touch sensitive media buttons. From left to right, there is an activity indicator, number lock indicator, caps lock indicator, display mode button, performance option button, touchpad enable/disable button, Express Gate key, and power on/off switch.
While the notebook is off, pressing the Express Gate key launches the streamlined environment within 5 seconds. From here, commonly used applications can be quickly utilized. Express Gate provides instant access to web browsing, Skype, music player, and photo library, all without entering the main operating system. Keep in mind the Express Gate key will not function under the Microsoft Windows working environment.