Asus G73SW Sandy Bridge Gaming Notebook Review

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Overall Design & Layout

Asus created a distinct styling for its G73 laptop line to fit in with its Republic of Gamers motif. The all black exterior is accented with aggressive curves somewhat reminiscent of a Stealth Bomber, just don't expect to fly under the radar with the G73SW. This thing draws attention without being obnoxious or gaudy, the same way a true muscle car elicits stares without the use of neon light kits or other unnecessary bling.



While most notebook vendors are infatuated with glossy finishes, the G73SW features the same rubberized wrapping as previous G73 laptops. The upshot is that you won't have to worry about fingerprints or smudges, though cleaning dust buildup off of a rubber finish is a little more challenging than wiping down a glossy or carbon fiber exterior.

Another benefit of the rubber grip is the additional friction when carrying it from point A to point B, reducing the odds that you'll drop it and turn your swank gaming notebook into an expensive doorstop.

 

There's a method to Asus' aggressive madness. The chiseled exterior is the result of thoughtful design towards system cooling, which as been a staple of the G73 line. Around the back you'll find two large, angled vents that expel hot air out and away from the sensitive components inside. The internal fans draw in cool air from the front, and combined with noise dampening technology, the end result is that the G73SW keeps heat in check without ever sounding like a jet engine. It's a design the works and one that other notebook vendors would be wise to borrow from.

Not completely without a downside, the tradeoff to this aggressive styling is that the lid doesn't bend as far back as some other notebooks. This is really only an issue if you plan to use the G73SW with a notebook stand. If you do, you might not be able to use the stand's higher incline settings, as the lid doesn't push far enough back to remain perpendicular with your line of sight.



The G73SW comes with a full-sized backlit keyboard complete with a numpad. If you plan to do a lot of number crunching or related data entry work, note that the numpad is a little squished, in particular the zero key. Otherwise, it's a serviceable solution for punching in digits.

On the top left are three physical buttons. The first one allows you to turn the backlight on/off, while the middle button toggles between power saving options. The third button controls Asus's "Splendid Video Intelligence Toggle," which is a fancy pants of way of saying you can toggle through different LCD presets, such as Gamma Correction, Vivid Mode, Theater Mode, Soft Mode, and Normal Mode.

When you're not using the included gaming mouse, the G73SW provides a large trackpad with separated left and right clickers. It's the same size as the original G73Jh, except that model used a single bar for the left and right mouse buttons. To prevent the trackpad from picking up unwanted movement, it's automatically disabled when plugging in the gaming mouse.

   

Along the right side of the G73SW, you'll find a memory card reader, USB 3.0 port (backwards compatible with USB 2.0), USB 2.0 port, HDMI output, VGA port, and power connector. Over on the left side sits two more USB 2.0 ports, microphone and headphone inputs, LAN port, and optical drive (in this case, a Blu-ray reader).

Curiously missing yet again from the G73 line is an ExpressCard slot. This is a major omission that prevents users from taking advantage of what little upgrade options notebook form factors afford, such as adding additional USB ports or external audio solutions, to name just two.

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