Asus ROG G752VS-XS74K OC Edition review

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THE GOOD: The Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition offers excellent gaming performance and plenty of power for other tasks like high-resolution photo- and video-editing. The screen’s 120Hz refresh rate keeps games looking smooth as does Nvidia’s G-Sync tech.

THE BAD: The laptop is big and heavy, with a shape that keeps it from fitting in normal 17-inch laptop bags. The touchpad is too unreliable for a $2,500 laptop. Missing the RGB keyboard found on the lower-end Asus Strix models.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition not only looks the part of a gaming laptop, it has the insides to tackle whatever you throw at it. Too bad some of its other pieces don’t match its price and performance.

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Gaming laptops are not known for being small and unassuming. High-performance components need room to stay cool, and gaming systems typically have aggressive-looking designs as a sign of what’s inside. And that’s precisely what you get with the Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition.

The over-the-top design is a carryover from last year’s G752V models. With its giant rear exhaust fins and copper heatsink, it’s built to keep its overclocked seventh-gen Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card cool under load and let everyone around you know there’s considerable power under the hood. There are the bright red lid lights, too, and there’s even a tinted plastic panel on the bottom so you can have a bit of a look at the components.

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It is a large and heavy laptop, too. You probably weren’t expecting a small body considering its 17.3-inch screen size, but this borders on ridiculous with a frame that’s about 16.5 inches across, 13 inches deep and 2 inches thick at the back (41.6 by 32.3 by 4.8 cm). It won’t fit in most 17-inch laptop bags easily or at all. Not that you’ll want to haul its 9.5 pounds (4.3 kg) around regularly anyway.

Again, none of this is new: It’s the processor, memory and screen that have been updated. Even the list price stays the same at $2,500 (about ¬£3,825 in the UK, and approximately AU$3,270 converted for Australia, though it’s likely going to run much more than that). It’s a fair price for the components, but there are some things about it that might keep you from laying out money for this over some of its competition.

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ASUS ROG G752VS-XS74K OC EDITION

Price as reviewed $2,500
Display size/resolution 17-inch 1,920 x 1,080 display
PC CPU 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HQ
PC Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,800MHz
Graphics 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070
Storage (2) 256GB SSD RAID 0, 1TB HDD 7,200rpm
Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)

The keyboard isn’t one of the shortcomings. Unlike the company’s lower-end 17-inch Strix models, this laptop’s keyboard is big and spacious with excellent travel and full-size keys are used for the main keyboard and the number pad. There are discrete shortcut buttons above the keyboard for setting up macros and quickly launching Xsplit Gamecaster (Asus includes an unlimited recording license with the system, too).

Another shortcut button in the number pad pulls up the company’s Gaming Center software, which lets you see system performance at a glance, set up profiles for different games, and adjust things like fan speed and display color. The keys are backlit in red, which is fine, but considering the cheaper Strix has an RGB backlight, it seems like a misstep.

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The touchpad is far more disappointing for the system’s price and size. It’s big, but given how much keyboard deck space there is, it should be bigger. Its performance is also too unreliable with frequent cursor jumps.

The argument could be made that, since this is a gaming desktop replacement, you’re probably going to use it mostly with a mouse and perhaps even a gaming keyboard. That’s fair, but even if all the travel it sees is from your desk to a couch for work or web browsing or whatever, wouldn’t you still want a good touchpad experience? If I were laying out $2,500 for a laptop, I’d want a touchpad that didn’t send my cursor skittering across the screen with every errant palm drag while typing.

Don’t use the speakers. Just don’t.

When I first listened to the speakers, they sounded so bad I thought something must be wrong with them. I checked the drivers, played with the audio software and settings, and it turns out they’re just terrible. It didn’t matter the source — everything came out hollow and weak.

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Again, the argument could be made that this is a gaming system and you’ll likely be using it with headphones or a set of speakers. And I would say, “this thing is $2,500 and shouldn’t sound like a budget laptop.” This, however, is the last bad thing I have to say about the G752VS, so if you’ve shrugged off all my complaints till now, this might be the laptop you’ve been waiting for.

For instance, say you do plan to use this more as a desktop than a laptop. The G752VS has HDMI and Mini DisplayPort outputs, separate mic and headphone jacks, Ethernet, four USB 3.0 ports, one USB-C 3.1 with Thunderbolt, an SD card reader and a combo optical drive. That’s more than enough to hook up all your gear and if you want to game elsewhere, just disconnect and go.

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Ready for games and everything else

Performance, for gaming and everything else, is really good. I tested with Metro: Last Light, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Battlefield 1, all on high detail settings, and gameplay remained smooth throughout. Plus, with the full HD 120Hz display and G-Sync technology everything looked fantastic. (There is no configuration with a higher resolution or touchscreen.)

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That said, I experienced similar gaming performance with the far-less-expensive 17-inch HP Omen, so if you’re just after playable frame rates on old and new games, that might be all the computer you need. The G752VS crushes more CPU-intensive tasks, though — the HP lacks some of the extras of the Asus such as the 120Hz display and macro keys, and the Asus keyboard in general is better. Basically, if your day-to-day requires things like video encoding, this is the better choice if your budget allows.

Another area where you won’t gain or lose much is battery life. This Asus hit 4 hours and 16 minutes on our video-streaming battery test. That’s pretty much on par with similarly configured systems. No one should buy a gaming laptop expecting great battery life, and frankly, gaming on battery power isn’t a great experience anyway.

A portable desktop and occasional laptop

For the $2,500 investment, the Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition likely won’t leave you wanting for more mobile performance. My issue — aside from its heft and size — is that for the money, it should really be more polished when it comes to things like the touchpad and speakers. But, if you’re just going to hook up a mouse, keyboard and speakers anyway, these things take a backseat.

(cnet.com, https://goo.gl/YgRprj)

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