Perhaps the most significant problem with the G51J is the relative lack of 3D content available. There are plenty of games -- according to Nvidia's Web site, the laptop's 3D system is compatible with approximately 450 titles -- but that's about it. Compatible movies are pretty much non-existent and, while it's possible to create your own 3D photos with a 3D camera, doing so simply to look at them in a darkened room while wearing a pair of gaming shades strikes us as rather sad.
The G51J's low screen resolution is doubly disappointing considering it has a built-in Blu-ray drive. The laptop's 120Hz refresh rate means film playback is silky smooth, but movies are shown in 720p, rather than 'Full HD' 1080p. That said, you do have the option of outputting the image to an external display via an HDMI socket.
If optical storage isn't your thing, you'll be pleased to learn that the G51J has a massive amount of more traditional storage. It ships with up to two 500GB hard drives, providing 1TB of storage -- that's enough room for approximately 85 copies of Far Cry 2, or 20-odd backed-up Blu-ray movies.
As a gaming laptop, it's no surprise that the G51J has an impressive specification. Our test model was powered by a quad-core Intel Core i7-720QM CPU, 4GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M graphics card. Our test machine failed to run the PCMark05 and 3DMark06 benchmark tests, but it proved a willing worker in terms of everyday desktop tasks, and didn't miss a beat in our Unreal Tournament test, racking up 93.9 frames per second at a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels.
It's worth noting that, throughout testing, the G51J ran very hot -- to the point where placing a hand next to its main vent was uncomfortable. Also, its battery life was poor, but that's understandable given the machine's power. It lasted just 57 minutes in Battery Eater's Classic test, which runs the CPU at full tilt until it runs out of juice.
The Asus G51J lets itself down with its limited screen resolution, but its 3D capability makes up for this. Provided you can find compatible games to play, and you don't mind looking like a complete dork when wearing the glasses, you'll probably appreciate the added level of immersion afforded by the impressive 3D system.
Edited by Charles Kloet