4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Nicest laptop I've owned,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: ASUS G55VW-ES71 15.6-Inch Gaming Notebook (Black) (Personal Computers)
I purchased this laptop four months ago. I've used ASUS motherboards in desktop builds and have the very first Eee netbook (still have it, still works, still small) and I've always had a decent experience with their hardware. I was looking for a laptop with a good display and the processing power to handle photo editing (I am a heavy duty amateur photographer, and I found my old laptop was having increasing difficulty opening RAW files). I bought this item at Amazon, and feel mildly ashamed to admit I did the "let's go into the local stores and see how displays compare" before making a decision.
The display is gorgeous. I think the 15.6" on this laptop looked nicer than the 17" on the G75. It is a matte display, and I think the G75 I saw may have been glossy, but I suspect it's more that a widescreen display starts to look off at a certain size if it's on a laptop. The only laptop I saw with a nicer display was a Samsung 7 Series 17", but that was a substantial cost increase.
I could take or leave the full size keyboard (although it does have great feedback and feels very well made), and the touchpad leaves something to be desired. It isn't horrible. I will use it in a pinch, but I usually use a wireless mouse. I wouldn't use the touchpad for gaming... but it's one of those things I guess you kind of *have* to put on a laptop, even if it is unlikely someone buying it for gaming would choose to use a touchpad.
The laptop is powerful, fast, and stable. The graphics card (a GTX 660) is great (fine, I had to get a couple of games just to see how it ran). Again, I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means, but I can say that it runs smoothly for the games I've played (Portal 2, a few Steam free to play games) and whereas my old laptop (at four years old) would get hot and shut down when trying to open ten or so RAW camera images, this one... Doesn't even get hot. Not playing games, not working with images... I wouldn't sit with it on my lap, as the vents in the back do blow some hot air, but the machine itself stays really cool and actually runs quite quietly even with the fans going.
I'm not a huge fan of the DVD drive. It feels flimsy putting disks in, but basically I've used it once, in order to make a recovery disk of the system (which you have to do... no one seems to supply those with a new laptop anymore. No worries really, as you do get a Windows registration key and ASUS will remind you -- constantly -- to make your recovery disks. I didn't disable the nagging because if I had, I would have neglected to do it).
The speakers are workable. They aren't amazing, but again, they're better than many laptop speakers and you don't generally expect the greatest sound quality out of those sort of things. The mic works fine. The webcam is... sort of a waste, but again, I think that's something that if you want a really superlative one, you get as an add on. For general messing around, it does the job.
I tend to use the laptop plugged in for the really intensive stuff, but if I do do some light photo work or internet browsing unplugged, I've found the battery life to be pretty decent. I'm sure gaming takes a toll, but I can be unplugged for more than three hours before I start to get warnings.
The laptop is hefty, and the power adapter is built to match. That bad boy is huge. Really. You could knock someone out with it. What is very cool about it though is that it has a reserve... if you lose power due to... a storm, a tripped circuit, an unpaid utility bill... the brick holds some reserve power so you can safely remove or shutdown the laptop. It's a nice, solid machine with a nice, solid adapter. Indeed, the only kind of cheapy feeling part of the computer is the DVD drive.
The backlighting on the keyboard is not strictly necessary, but it looks slick. I sort of think it's a little bit of a dorky looking machine, but I love the design functionally. It isn't piano black, so it doesn't get all smudgy, and if the fans are part of why it has that kind of dorky chunky appearance, I'm good with that. It works really well and that's most important.
For the price, I think this was well worth it, especially hardware wise. I wish I could have gotten an SSD as one of the hard drives, but again, that would have driven the cost up on me, and it isn't that critical for me. It wasn't even loaded down with too much extra bloatware, considering how some computer manufacturers handle these things (although you definitely want to remove the ASUS update utility -- it will update your BIOS automatically whenever a new one is available and the word on the street is even if you would want/need to update it, you don't want the utility to do it for you. It doesn't work right.)
Could there be improvements? Sure. But again, for the price, it is a solid machine and I don't think you could do much better. It is more than adequate for what I wanted it for (joyfully, wonderfully, entertainingly more than adequate.) I'd recommend this for a casual gamer or a sometimes gamer who needs a computer that's able to do some heavier graphical load lifting.