Hands On Use
After all the testing was out of the way, I spent some time just playing with the ASUS G73JW-A1. This machine with its Blu-ray drive, glossy screen and powerful GPU is as at home watching movies as it is gaming. The playback with Blu-ray films is very good with great color, clarity, and no stuttering or issues with video playback. Colors are lifelike and the screen has nice contrast with deep blacks. The glossy screen is hard to see in a bright room, which is common to the screen type.
The ASUS G73JW-A1 GPU is very much up to the task of streaming HD video and playing movies. I streamed video from Hulu in the highest available resolution and the ASUS G73JW-A1 played the video smooth as silk with no stuttering or other noted video issues. It's clear that ASUS spent time and money being sure that this machine was up to the task of multimedia. Playing games on the computer was much the same; you won't get to run Crysis with all the bells and whistles the game offers, but you can get very nice image quality and playable frame rates with tweaks to the settings.
The ASUS G73JW-A1 has a large screen, which means the chassis of the notebook is large. That is good news when it comes to keyboards. The keyboard ASUS crammed into the ASUS G73JW-A1 is very nice. It has backlighting for gaming and working in the dark and has very good typing feel. The keys have nice tactile feel and good feedback for touch typists. All of the keys are sized well, placed where they need to be, and the machine has a full number pad as well.
The trackpad is offset on the wrist rest to the left a bit and has lots of area to work with. The sensitivity and accuracy of the track pad is very good and it is easy to navigate around the screen. Gamers will find the included gaming mouse a necessity when playing their favorite game or working from the machine for a long time. ASUS even includes a very nice backpack with plenty of room for the notebook, its accessories, and other gear like books you might want to take with you on the road.
The onboard sound system of the ASUS G73JW-A1 is much better than the average notebook sound system. The speakers have good volume and more bass than I typically hear with onboard speakers. The sound system also supports EAX and THX surround audio for more realistic playing. This particular notebook also supports 3DTV play from NVIDIA, allowing you to shoot video out to your big screen via HDMI 1.4 output, that supports 3D video.
I really like the design of the ASUS G73JW-A1 as well. The machine is very angular and has a soft touch matte finish that looks good and hides all but the worst smudges and smears. That means you won't have to look at a messy lid as you do with glossy notebooks.
Other than a surprisingly poor showing in the 3DMark Vantage benchmark, the ASUS G73JW-A1 is an all around decent performer with placement in all other benchmarks in the top five. Battery life was mid-pack, which is impressive for a multimedia/gaming machine as large as the ASUS G73JW-A1 is.
The machine is expensive with an average price near $1750, but you do get some nice features for that money. The key feature with this notebook is the new NVIDIA GPU, which is excellent for multimedia use and works well for gaming as well.
If you are a gamer at heart that needs a machine that can play high-end games and still be able to play movies on the go with decent battery life, the ASUS G73JW-A1 is a good all around compromise with a machine that offers solid performance in the categories that matter.