Not all laptops are created equal. Some are small, portable little things while others are monstrous, turbo-charged beasts. The G75VW is the latter.
This gaming-specific laptop packs a potent Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce graphics card with 3GB of VRAM inside a whopping chassis with a design reminiscent of a stealth bomber.
That lot doesn't come cheap though. It's available from Amazon for the princely sum of £1,630, but if you're a dedicated gamer wanting to explore Skyrim from the loo, it has much to offer.
Should I buy the Asus G75VW?
If you're looking for a portable laptop for work on the move then no, absolutely not. The Asus G75VW is a huge, hulking lump of laptop, designed to live on your table at home, rather than in your bag on the go.
It might come with an equally big price tag, but it offers a lot in return. Its Full HD screen is bright and bold and its burly Core i7 processor tears through even the more demanding tasks without a second thought. For the gamers, there's a strong Nvidia graphics card that chews through the top titles at full resolution.There's no touchscreen though, so you'll be forced to make your way around Windows 8 with the standard trackpad, and its stealth-bomber stylings certainly won't appeal to everyone. If you're after a laptop to enjoy the glossy world of PC gaming from the comfort of your sofa, the Asus G75VW is a good option to consider.
There are alternatives though -- Toshiba's Qosmio X870 put in a similarly good performance in my tests, but has recently been updated to give it even more power. It'll cost you £1,800 though, making the G75VW seem a bit more reasonable.
Design and build quality
After a super-light laptop to whisk off on your travels? Keep on moving, chum, this isn't the machine you're looking for. The G75VW is an unquestionable beast. It's 415mm wide, 320mm deep and is 52mm thick at its fattest point. It's certainly not going to slide easily into your backpack.
That's not much of a problem though as at 4.5kg you're not likely to ever want to carry it out of the house. Instead its home is on your desk, among bottles of Mountain Dew and empty Doritos packets, or perhaps periodically undertaking a shift to your lap when you want to shoot your virtual friends in the face from the comfort of your sofa.
Its design isn't too far removed from the angular, aggressive stylings of the Asus Lamborghini VX7. This recent iteration's been slightly toned down, but you can certainly spot the family resemblance. The ridges on the lid are present, as are the angry-looking "exhaust" vents on the back -- thankfully there are no pretend brake lights here.
In most other ways it's every bit as daft though. The Lamborghini logo has gone, but the stealth-bomber aesthetic will still get the pulse of every teenage gamer racing faster than a can of Red Bull and an espresso. The matte black coating, steel grey keyboard tray and lack of any glowing LEDs make it look just suave enough that it might appeal to those of you old enough to hold a UK driver's licence.
Construction seems generally quite good -- great news, considering how much you're expected to shell out for it. There's little flex in the lid and practically none in the keyboard tray or wrist rest. The rear 'bumper' seems much more firm than it did on previous iterations too. Rather than being right at the back, the screen's hinge has been brought forward, which makes the opening action feel very sturdy and helps it sit firmly on your desk when you're typing -- or, more likely, attacking civilians -- for hours on end.
On the sides you'll find four USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, separate headphone and microphone jacks, a mini display port, HDMI out and an Ethernet port. There's also a Blu-ray drive to enjoy your high-definition discs on the Full HD screen. Storage is taken care of by a pair of 1TB hard drives, giving a generous 2TB of overall storage -- plenty of room for games, movies and TV shows.
The G75VW stuffs in a whopping 17.3-inch display, which should be plenty big enough for all the gaming and movie fun you could want. It has a full 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, which is of course what I'd expect on a machine of this size and price. Small text is sharp and the flurries of snow in the visually stunning snowboarding documentary The Art of Flight look delightfully crisp.
It's bright too, and deliciously bold, making gory headshots appear more stomach-churning than ever. Your films and TV shows will look great on this display, and even if you do find yourself wanting to fix your eyes on a massive telly screen you can always hook up to one via the HDMI port.
Sadly though it's not touch enabled. That's not going to matter to the hardcore gamers among you who'll no doubt plug in all kinds of fancy controllers, but it does mean you can't swipe and poke your way around Windows 8. Instead, you have to use the touchpad, which isn't as pleasant or indeed as fun.
The screen has a matte coating though which helps dramatically reduce the amount of reflections. Even under the harsh office lights of the CNET UK office, I wasn't left staring back at my face as I generally find on glossy screened laptops.
Power and performance
As a gaming laptop with such a princely price tag, you'd be right to expect a blistering set of specs inside. Thankfully, that's exactly what you get. An Intel Core i7-3610QM processor clocked at 2.3GHz provides the driving force, backed up by 8GB of RAM. To help smash your way through the polygons, you'll also find an Nvidia GeForce GTX 670M graphics card with 3GB of VRAM.
Unsurprisingly, it churned out an impressive score on my benchmark tests. It achieved 13,605 on the Geekbench tool, putting it squarely in the top-performing laptops around. By comparison, MSI's GT680 -- a gaming brute from 2011 -- scored 7,713 on the same test. Asus' own Zenbook U500 scored a similarly impressive 12,345, but it doesn't have the same graphics grunt inside.
Toshiba's Qosmio X870-11Q managed to achieved almost exactly the same score. It isn't directly available now but its direct replacement, the X870-144, has been given the latest processors and has double the RAM. It's a bit more expensive, but it could be worth a look if the extra RAM is important to you.
The G75VW has enough juice to tackle any general computing task you can throw it without so much as a hint of argument, and will casually tackle more demanding requests like photo and video editing with ease. Of course, what you really want is to crack out the energy drinks and get down to some serious gaming.
As it happens, it puts on a great show here too. When playing Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD -- which runs on the demanding Unreal graphics engine -- it was able to achieve an impressive frame rate of 62fps at full 1080p resolution. It coped similarly well with Skyrim too. The settings were automatically set to 'ultra high quality' and it was still able to achieve an average of around 40fps.
It wasn't quite so keen on Metro 2033 however. At full resolution and with the settings ramped to the max it only managed to provide around 10fps in intense scenes, making the game stuttery and unplayable, where it's usually glossy. With the settings dropped to 'normal' though, it managed around 25fps in high intensity areas and up to around 40fps in quieter scenes. It won't keep the hardcore elite gamers happy, but it's enough to satisfy the more casual player.
Toshiba's Qosmio X870, however, managed to maintain around 25fps on Metro 2033. They both achieved upwards of 75fps on rally racer Dirt 3 though, so there doesn't seem to be much between them -- surprising, as the G75VW boasts, on paper at least, a more burly graphics card.
The Asus G75VW might be pricey, but it offers a lot for your money. The Full HD screen is excellent and its performance for both computing tasks and gaming is great. If you want a laptop to take in and out of work then it's not for you, but for fragging your friends from the sofa, it's a good option to consider.