ASUS G74-SX-A1 Gaming Notebook Review

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Design & Layout

The design of the Asus G74SX-A1 was inspired by the Sea Shadow, a U.S. Navy stealth ship, as well as modern-day aircraft, and the comparison is apt. This notebook isn’t flashy at all, eschewing blingy decor in favor of a silent-but-deadly allure. Instead of hot red racing stripes, it has matte black rubber; instead of bright lights, it has brushed black metal. Its lines really do evoke the subtly intimidating profile of a stealth warship.

The only design feature meant to “pop” is the backlit keyboard--and that’s strictly for the user’s pleasure and accessibility under low-light conditions.

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On the left side of the G74SX-A1, you’ll find the disc drive, headphone and microphone jacks, two of the four USB ports, and the lock. Around back are the two vents. The AC adapter jack, LAN port, HDMI port, VGA port, the other two USB ports (including the lone USB 3.0), and the 5-in-1 card reader are on the right side of the notebook.

Unlike on the G73, the G74's numpad is separated from the main keyboard. The solution to the space issue, compared to the G73, was apparently to move the keys closer to the edge of the notebook, thus creating the extra room. We like the change, as it feels more like a spacious desktop keyboard than a typical notebook's cramped keys. Additionally, the keys themselves are sufficiently large and are labeled with big letters, uncluttered by markings for secondary and tertiary functions.

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Ergonomics is the name of the game here. The G74SX-A1’s keyboard (which features a full numpad) is designed with a 5-degree incline, and the entire palm rest is wrapped in a rubberized finish for better comfort. After a long session at the computer, the rubber finish is definitely easier on the palms and wrists than plastic.

Further, Asus built this notebook to eliminate heat as much as possible by getting creative with the vents. The intake fans are located just under the LCD and draw in air from the front of the machine; meanwhile, the back vents push all the air from inside out the back. 

The result is impressive; not only did my lap stay cool after a couple of hours of gaming (yes, it’s a sacrifice we reviewers all have to make), but the fans maintained a low hum throughout, never once kicking into high gear and interfering with the game’s audio experience.

Another welcome design idea is evident when you flip the G74SX-A1 over to access the internals. One large panel pops off with one large screw to reveal the HDD bays and RAM slots. This makes it easy to swap out one of the drives for an SSD or add another 4GB SODIMM to bump up the total system memory. 

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Accessory-wise, the G74SX-A1 includes the Asus ROG Laser Gaming Mouse, which nicely matches the overall look and design of the notebook itself, and a ROG backpack for toting the machine around.

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