Gaming laptops are a funny breed. They're usually massive, hulking, power-hungry devices that don't offer anything substantial over a comparably priced desktop PC while also costing a hell of a lot in the first place. Now, though, there's a feature where a gaming laptop is undeniably superior to a desktop machine -- Asus' monster Republic of Gamers G751JY is a laptop with integrated G-Sync, meaning no more stuttery gameplay when things get tough.
What Is It?
- Display: 17.3in, 1920x1080 pixel
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4720HQ, 2.6-3.6GHz
- RAM: 16GB DDR3, up to 32GB
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M 4GB
- HDD: 128GB SSD + 1TB 7200RPM, up to 256GB SSD / 2TB
- Dimensions: 416x318x53mm, 4.2kg
Starting at $3299 in Australia, the Asus ROG G751JY is a gaming laptop with a 17.3-inch display and all the trimmings. As a desktop replacement machine, that means you should expect a huge swathe of ports -- four USB 3.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt masquerading as miniDisplayPort, HDMI, a full-size SD card slot, Kensington lock, even VGA. Anyone living with dodgy internet is well catered for with the real-world-data creme de la creme of a Blu-ray drive, and the G751JY's massive surface area even means that it rates a full-size keyboard with dedicated macro keys, a massive trackpad with individual left and right tactile buttons, and even a numpad.
The G751JY's build quality is excellent, although the materials used to put the entire thing together are utilitarian rather than super-fashionable. There's lots of black rubberised plastic across the interior as well as the lid, although there's a strikingly good looking brushed metal trapezoidal section complete with Asus and light-up ROG logo. It's a smart design, even if it's not especially pretty -- for example, the keyboard doesn't sit in a recessed tray, interestingly, which means good things for brushing away errant crumbs. The hinge, which is slightly recessed into the laptop's body, is thick and solid and offers a decent but unspectacular range of motion.
The standout visual cue of the G751JY, though, is the massive cooling vents that stick out like a Lamborghini's air intakes at the laptop's rear. There are two of them, with metallic red fins and a shape that's actually vaguely reminiscent of the same feature on the Aorus X3 Plus V3, and they do an incredible job of drawing in cool air and warming it very efficiently -- with the help of some very tightly packed heat-producing components. The G751JY, overall, certainly isn't as austere and professional as a less ostentatious gaming competitor like the MSI GS70 Stealth Pro.
This laptop is built around an excellent 17.3-inch display, and even from the specs you can tell that Asus has chosen it with regular gaming in mind. At 1920x1080 pixels it doesn't have the screen density of higher resolution competitors, but it's precisely that resolution on a 17-inch screen that makes for an excellent compromise between detail and the demands of higher resolutions when gaming on a mobile graphics chipset. As an IPS screen it doesn't have the pixel-perfect response times of a TN competitor, but more than makes up for it in improved contrast, viewing angles and the sharp quality of its display. It's a matte panel, but the anti-glare coating doesn't look speckled or rob significant detail.
What's It Good At?
The Asus ROG G751JY refresh improves on the old model with one huge feature boost -- G-Sync support, straight out of the box. G-Sync is useful on a desktop PC, where you have to buy a compatible graphics card and monitor and external G-Sync scaler box to get the whole thing working. On a laptop, it just works. The ROG G751JY's screen dynamically adapts to the rate of frames being supplied to it by the laptop's GPU rendering, and that works up to 75Hz at which point it's redundant anyway -- and that means that even when your gaming laptop is straining to push out high quality frames at the screen's default 1080p resolution, you don't get annoying stutter. I really think that laptop gaming G-Sync is the best thing that Nvidia has done in a long time -- I'm so happy that it's good.
Even without the allure of G-Sync, the G751JY G-Sync model is so massively powerful for a laptop that it competes with much gutsier and equally expensive desktop machines. The spec I tested ran Intel's extremely fast but surprisingly energy efficient Core i7-4720HQ, as well as 24GB of DDR3L RAM, with the combo of a 256GB SSD and 1TB mass storage drive. You can spec it up further, with up to 32GB of RAM and larger storage, but on any config you have that excellent Core i7 paired with Nvidia's most-powerful-mobile-GPU-ever GeForce GTX 980M. Save for crazy SLI 980M laptops, this is just about the most powerful portable machine that you can buy. Interestingly the notebook comes with four different partitions out of the box -- each of the two drives split in two.
The G751JY may look like an incredibly loud laptop with those massive air cooling and intake vents at the rear, but it's really not -- even under heavy load. This particular Asus ROG machine is actually the quietest 17-inch fully-fledged gaming laptop that I've ever tested at Gizmodo; that may be due to its new generation of energy efficient components, or the fact that it only has a single SSD rather than the two or three or four of its competitors, it may be the size of its internal fans. Whatever the root cause, the fact remains that the Asus G751JY can run heat-intensive applications like video rendering or transcoding, or run modern 3D games, and not sound like a jet engine constantly spooling up.
Battery life, too, is something that doesn't usually strike a chord with gaming laptop manufacturers, or basically ever matter to anyone that buys one of these machines. The truth is, they're just not made to work away from a power point for more than an hour or two at the most, even with But the Asus ROG G751JY makes big improvements over last gen models, in part due to Asus' power saving software and in part due to the relatively large 8-cell, 6000mAh nonremovable unit; in the absolute lowest power mode possible I managed a hair over four hours of 720p video playback. Load up a demanding game and it won't last long, but you might reach a solid hour.
What's It Not Good At?
It's big. It's so big. This is true of any 17-inch laptop, to be fair, and more true of any gaming laptop -- but put the two together in Asus G751JY form and you have a 4.2kg, 416x318x53mm behemoth. This is not a portable machine by any stretch of the imagination. I almost strained my arm carrying the laptop for the 10-minute walk between my car and the Gizmodo office -- and that's without carrying the 780g power adapter, which is one of the largest that I've seen and one of the most powerful at 230 Watts. You could carry it in a backpack, or you could get an oversized briefcase for it, but this is not a laptop that you can reasonably travel across the world with.
While the G751's display has some excellent properties overall -- that high quality matte finish, an excellent maximum brightness level, excellent contrast, beautiful colour accuracy and equally good viewing angles both vertically and horizontally -- it's let down by one small fact. It's a little uneven in its backlighting; across the four quadrants of its layout, the lower right was slightly but perceptibly darker than the other three which were much closer to each other. It's hardly a crippling problem, but it stands out on a stark white or dark black background, or any block colour in between -- and if you're an absolute stickler for quality, you might come away slightly disappointed with that one flaw. Similarly, the internal speakers don't have much oomph behind them -- they're OK, just not great.
This Asus laptop, despite its massively high-end gaming cred, does not have the multiple SSD RAID array of competitors like the MSI GT72 Dominator Pro, which can be ordered with up to four drives running simultaneously. This config actually doesn't boost the base access time -- and therefore the feeling of responsiveness -- that even a single SSD brings, and therefore the ROG G751JY has the lion's share of the advantage that a solid state drive brings to any PC, but for sustained transfers a SSD RAID is obviously preferable, especially given the capacious bandwidth of next-gen external storage standards like USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt on the G751JY.
As with any high-end gaming laptop, especially in the larger screen size, the Asus G751JY is very expensive. You'll be paying upwards of $3299 for the G751JY, depending on the configuration you select -- my particular rig was slightly more expensive than that, with the inclusion of a 256GB SSD and 24GB of RAM versus the base config's 128GB and 16GB, coming in at around $3599. That's a lot of money to pay for any laptop, even considering the unlimited power that this particular one has. Make no mistake about the fact that the ROG G751JY is an investment, and as (vaguely) portable computing goes it's one of the best that you can make, but it's just a bit exxy.
Should You Buy It?
Do you need an extremely powerful PC for Windows -- including Windows 10, obviously -- and you're willing to make a significant investment to get that machine? As with any laptop, extra power and performance comes at a markedly increased cost ramp-up, and the $3299-plus G751JY is just as guilty as its close competitors in this. It's very expensive to start with, and as you start ramping up features and storage and RAM you'll find it gets more so. But that price aside, the Asus ROG G751JY remains one of the most powerful laptops you can buy today, and amongst its gaming brethren it's very well constructed and is replete with high-speed connectivity and I/O and has an excellent cooling solution. It also has G-Sync.
There are probably better laptops out there in terms of price versus performance. As a demonstration of how awesome Nvidia's frame-rate smoothing G-Sync tech is, though, the G751JY reigns supreme in my mind. Playing games on a laptop has never been a perfectly smooth experience, just due to the restrictions necessarily placed on mobile GPUs by size and heat output and power consumption and instant battery drain, and as much as the most recent generation of Nvidia's 9-Series GTX has improved that, it's still a consideration that has always worried gamers. G-Sync just fixes that -- when frames drop, there's no stutter. Simple.
As a desktop replacement device, there is really no issue I can bring up with the ROG G751JY. It has an excellent level of connectivity for a laptop, even a large one -- two external monitors is a breeze, as is fast Ethernet connection, as is temporary high-speed storage over USB 3.0, or Thunderbolt for pros. I also genuinely appreciate it not having any ports on the rear to impede cooling performance. Its screen is big and bright and beautiful and impressively matte, marred only by imperfect screen brightness uniformity. If you can ignore the lack of multiple SSD connectivity, or if you're prepared to drop out the mechanical internal storage later on to insert a high-speed SSD scratch disk, then there's no real impediment that exists in the G751JY's hardware config.
It's big, it's well built -- if not exactly beautiful -- and it's powerful. As gaming laptops go, there are always compromises to be made and I think I'm not alone in thinking that size and bulk and weight is probably the compromise that I'd most happily make, in the pursuit of more power and performance. It doesn't have amazing audio, to be fair, but any gamer worth their salt will be using an external headset alongside their external mouse anyway, right? The Asus G751JY makes the same compromise that I'd make, and because of that, it's probably the gaming laptop that I'd buy right now.