ASUS G74 Review: A Subtle Redesign
Introduction and Design
We’ve reviewed several gaming laptops here at PC Perspective, but strangely, we’ve usually reviewed systems with 15.6” displays or smaller. Although large by most any other measure, these laptops are actually small by the standards of gaming laptops. Many gamers prefer laptops with a display over 17 inches because the extra screen real estate results in a better gaming experience.
Today, however, we finally have a giant in our hands – the ASUS G74S. At first glance, this appears to be nothing more than a minor update to the original ASUS G73, adding Nvidia’s latest GTX 560M in replacement of the older GTX 460M.
Take a closer look, and it becomes apparent that laptop has been completely redesigned. While the lines of the chassis are similar, the cooling vents in the rear are larger and in different locations. A new strip of gray plastic covers the display hinge, and the optical drive has been moved further forward. All of this communicates a new internal configuration that could make or break this laptop.
Speaking of which, let’s take a look at this monstrous laptop’s specifications.
The model we’re reviewing today is the XA1 configuration, which is the only model I can find an Amazon. As before, the ASUS G74S straddles a line between high-end gaming performance and affordable pricing. It will be interesting to see how this laptop, with the new Nvidia GTX 560M, compares the previous gaming laptops we’ve tested, as they contained the older GTX 4xx series parts.
Before we delve into performance, we need to address this goliath’s redesigned chassis. The smaller ASUS G53 was praised, but does adding more bulk spoil the experience?
Love or hate the blocky, matte black ASUS laptop, one thing is for certain – the company has successfully created a brand image that’s unmistakable at a glance.
I liked the subtle ferocity of this design language. It’s not brash, but upon a closer look the hard edges of and unapologetically simple finish communicate the laptop’s purpose. With that said, ASUS has added a couple pieces of flash. The fan vents at the rear of this beast are now surrounded by chrome and the display hinge is covered by gray trim. While these are small details, they give the chassis extra pop without going overboard.
What the new chassis doesn’t offer is a more functional display hinge. Like previous G-series gaming laptops, the display on this model is hinged approximately two inches from the rear. This gives the laptop a bit of a bubble-butt and also prevents the display from tilting back significantly. Although it’s unlikely that users will often need the display to tilt more than it currently does, I did find it annoying on occasion, such as when I wanted to check on a benchmark without sitting down in my office chair. The display does not tilt back enough to give me an ideal viewing angle while I am standing above it.
This is a beefy laptop, weighing in at almost ten pounds. Despite that, I found that the chassis displayed little noticeable flex in most scenarios. The only exception was every large laptop’s traditional weak spot – the optical drive. Gripping the laptop’s front left-hand side (with the lid open) can create enough stress to spontaneously eject the optical drive tray. Such an occurrence is not unheard of with laptops of this size and weight, but it’s obviously not ideal.