Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
- Speakers, LED display, design, supplied accessories, connectivity
- Can't play games at maximum quality settings
The Asus G2P is not intended to run the latest games at the best quality settings, but with all the accessories and gadgets it's an excellent portable gaming machine
Price$ 3,189.00 (AUD)
With a new look, big sound, some flashy trimmings and a few cool accessories, the Asus G2P gaming notebook is a great solution for the gamer on the move. The solid black, red and metallic looking chassis houses some of the nicest mobile hardware available, and the inclusion of Windows Vista Ultimate edition only adds to the already impressive list of features.
Using an Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 (2.0GHz) CPU, 2GB of DDR2 667Mhz RAM and an ATI Radeon Mobility X1700 graphics card there's no doubt this machine has plenty of power under the hood. It also includes a 120GB (5400rpm) hard drive and a DVD-rewriter with dual layer support. We were able to run a number of games at medium settings, even newer games such as Supreme Commander, but cranking the detail and resolution up with the Radeon Mobility X1700 caused some serious frame rate issues. In FEAR's in-game benchmark we ran it at maximum quality, including 4x anti-aliasing (AA) and 16x anisotropic filtering (AF), at a resolution of 1024x768 and it only scored 24fps (frames per second). When we let the game auto-detect the detail levels it managed to score an average of 40fps, while still looking quite nice. In 3DMark 2006 it achieved a result of 2264.
But it's more than just the components that make this machine. A number of vendors have offered gaming notebooks, but only a handful have stylised the machines for gaming needs the way Asus has done with the G2P.
The G2P has an LED placed above the keyboard in the top-left corner. In default mode, which normally displays the time, this LED will alert the user of incoming messages or caller id from the Skype phone software. If you'd prefer not to know the time then a personal message can be added with a choice of funny face icons. We opted for "stop playing and go to bed", but thought that a well placed romantic message might also be handy for when too much gaming interferes with the relationship.
Sidelights on the edge of the LCD are linked to DirectX 9 activity and react to on-screen action according the intensity of what's going on. This function is a little bit of a gimmick, but will add a certain level of panic to a dark room when the heat is on. There's also a 1.3 megapixel camera built into the LCD bezel for video chat or still images.
Listening to music, gaming or watching movies is great with the supplied speakers. They are loud, and reproduce clear sound over a good range of frequencies with some impressive bass. The 17in screen (1440 x 900) has good brightness and contrast levels, and the viewing angle is wide enough to see the LCD clearly from either directly in front or at an angle. There was some minor colour shift at sharp vertical angles, but it was still possible to read text. The Asus G2P has a display preset button above the keyboard that quickly and easily switches between a number of display presets. Also amongst these buttons is a shortcut to the Power for Phone software, which can be used for Skype or regular calls, another for power mode settings, another which turns the touchpad on and off, and of course the power button.
As this machine is intended for gamers on the go, the G2P comes with a more than ample carry bag out of the box. In fact, this carry bag is by far the most endowed notebook carry bag we've laid our hands on. Rather than the standard shoulder strap design, this G2P bag is a backpack, and comes with more pockets and sleeves than can possibly be filled. The notebook itself slides into its own compartment with plenty of padding to protect it. Fitting the power supply and any peripherals is easy. We found the cushioned handle and padded back support quite comfortable, even with a lot of heavy objects inside.
The supplied mouse is branded with the Asus G2P colours, but is actually a Logitech MX518 and is very nice to use. The keyboard is spacious and the WASD keys have been highlighted in red, which is a nice touch. On the front edge of the notebook are media navigation keys and a power button that fires up Windows Media Center.
For networked gaming there's a gigabit LAN adapter, plus Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g and Bluetooth 2.0. With five USB 2.0 ports there's plenty of room for peripherals and a FireWire port means devices like camcorders can also be connected. There's a media card reader that supports MMC, SD, MS and MS-Pro cards as well as an Express card slot. There are three options for video out. A VGA and DVI port allow for a connection to a monitor, while the S-Video port means it's also easy to hook up a TV.
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