Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
24th Jan 2015
Street Price: Rs 81,000
Late 90s were the golden years for PC gaming. Back then people talked about specifications. Not of smartphones, but of big, messy, yet adorable tower computers. Teenagers spent hours in playing awesome games such as Doom, Half Life, Max Payne etc. That was a gazillion times better than wasting time on WhatsApp. Many don't realise that gaming is actually good for your brain as it enhances problem solving skills and reflex time. Gamers are also better at spotting detail compared to less mortals.
Over the years though, tablets and smartphones replaced gaming PCs in kids' wish list. Thankfully, gaming laptops and Steam content delivery system kept the PC gaming scene alive. Alienware clearly dominates this niche segment. But, this hasn't stopped Asus from trying. The Taiwanese company has a line-up of Republic of Gamers (ROG) G Series laptops.
The one we got our hands-on is the G551JK. This laptop costs Rs 81,000. As you would expect at this price point, the G551JK is heavily accessorised. You get a nice backpack, decent programmable mouse, and not-so-great headphones.
Like any gaming machine, this laptop is a beast. It's around 3 cm thick. Weighing in at 1.7 kg, it's clearly not the lightest 15.6-inch laptop in the market. But such laptops require relatively bigger vents to disperse the heat, so I think it's a fair trade.
The laptop features a chiclet keyboard. It is well laid and features backlighting. The LEDs are cleverly placed to highlight [W], [A], [S], [D] keys — Asus knows what these buttons mean to a gamer. The trackpad is specious and works the way it should, but you're going to use the bundled gaming mouse, won't you?
The lid has a nice brushed metal finish. The red "Republic of Gamers" logo stands out below the Asus branding. The colour scheme is evident throughout the product. The rims, ascents, keys, and even mouse feature red design elements. There's no denying that you can get absolutely attractive looking ultrabooks or convertibles in this price range, but considering the target audience, I think Asus has done good job.
The laptop features a 15.6" IPS screen with wide viewing angles. That's quite useful if you are good at gaming — everybody in crowd will get to see your skills. Pixelation is not an issue since it is a Full HD screen. The screen is not glossy, which is a good thing. If in case, you want to game on a bigger screen, you can hook it up to your TV via HDMI port.
The G551JK is powered by 4th generation Intel Core i7 processor (74710HQ variant). The chip is clocked at 2.5 GHz and can go up to 3.5 GHz, thanks to turbo boost. It's based on 4710HQ board. The laptop has 2 GB DDR3 dedicated graphics card from Nvidia GTX 850M. The laptop has 8 GB RAM (1600 MHz). You can expand it upto 16 GB. Then you get a Blue-ray writer (6x), 2-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC), HDMI out, and 3 x USB 3.0 ports.
The gaming machine comes pre-loaded with 64 bit Windows 8.1 OS. Not that you want to formulate spreadsheets on this computer, but you can. Actually, apart from gaming, this laptop is good for running video editing software such as Premiere and Final Cut Pro. The machine also handles Maya and 3D MAX quite well. Don't expect it to render stuff quickly, but you can design/model stuff without any problem.
Here comes the most important part: Gaming. I tested popular titles such as Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Assassin's Creed Unity (this game sucks), Wolfenstein: The New Order (this one is amazing), GTA 4, and Road Redemption (test build). All games ran well on highest settings. The laptop heats-up while gaming, which is normal for gaming machines. Just make sure not to keep anything near the left side of the laptop, as it might block the heat vents.
Overall, the ASUS G551 laptop may not have the charm of Alienware machines, it manages to impress with performance. So if you are a gamer with a lot of money (rare case in India), the Asus G551JK is a very good option.
Hands-On: Asus G551JK ROG Series Laptop | TechTree.com
Hands-On: Asus G551JK ROG Series Laptop
The Rs 81,000 laptop pulls off impressive performance.
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