ASUS G53JW-3DE Core i7 GTX 460M 3D Vision Gaming Notebook Review
Display, Audio, Heat and Connectivity
Gaming laptops almost universally come equipped with high-resolution displays – in fact, gaming laptops seem to be the only class of laptop that hasn’t succumb to the tidal wave of cheap LCD panels that every other laptop is saddled with.
Unfortunately, the G53 model we received is a bit step back in this regard, as it comes with a yawn-tastic 1366x768 display. The reason behind this relatively low resolution is the inclusion of Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology, which only works with specific displays and also places greater demand on the GPU. While the need for this sacrifice is understandable in light of the technology, this counts as a major strike against this specific model of G53, known as the G53JW-3DE. Every other version of the G53, including the $1349 G53JW-XA1, comes equipped with a full 1080p display.
The display is at least reasonably good, resolution aside. The contrast is superb and the black levels are best I’ve yet experienced with a TN panel laptop display. Gaming made these advantages clear. Bright colors popped forward, but dark scenes remained detailed rather than muddy. Reflections were sometimes an issue due to the glossy finish, but no more so than on your typical desktop replacement laptop.
The G53’s audio is great, both in volume and in quality. It is loud enough to fill a living room with music, but also resists most distortion at high levels of volume. This is still a laptop sound system, and so it will still be generally out-performed by a $60 set of Logitech 2.1 speakers, but relative most laptops the noises coming out of this beast are pleasant.
Heat and Connectivity
Gaming laptops are rarely cool, and the G53 is no exception. The thick, tapered design seems to be molded around the two gigantic vents in the rear of the chassis, which exhaust large volumes of hot air whenever a game is played on the system. I would not be surprised if these vents could double as a hair-dryer, so users should be careful about what is placed directly behind the G53.
The design does its job, however, as the forward bulk of the laptop’s chassis remains cool. After a two-hour session of World of Warcraft I found that the palmrest was not noticeably warmer than when I began. The G53 even remains cool enough to use in your lap, although the experience may turn sweaty if the ambient temperature of your room is high.
Temperatures were cool inside the G53, as well. According to SpeedFan, the G53 idled at between 41 and 43 degrees Celsius. Load temperatures for the CPU reached a ceiling of about 60 degrees Celsius.
Unfortunately, the large vents at the rear of the G53 have a negative impact on connectivity. There is absolutely no room for ports there, and the optical drive bay takes up a substantial portion of the G53’s left side, leaving room for just two USB ports. This leaves the right open for connectivity, so it’s packed with two additional USB ports, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, separate headphone and mic jacks and the power jack. That’s a lot of cram in and, as a result, connecting and disconnecting peripherals can be annoying.
The size of the G53’s power plug doesn’t help, either. It’s about two and a half inches long and sticks straight out from the right side of the laptop, which means right-handed people wanting to use a mouse with the G53 will frequently have to navigate around the power cord. Although a minor nit-pick, ergonomic design flubs such as this can become annoying over time.