What Laptop Should I Buy?

Asus RoG G752VM

If you’re looking for a gaming laptop with the latest generation of graphics card, the G752VM could well fit the bill. Aside from a couple of minor issues, this is a stunning machine. Here’s our Asus ROG G752VM review. This GTX 1060-powered gaming laptop is expensive, but also good value.

The Asus ROG G752VM is one of the first laptops to offer one of Nvidia’s new generation of graphics cards, which get much closer to offering desktop gaming performance in a normal laptop shell.
It’s the second in this new class we’ve reviewed, but this belongs in a class above the Gigabyte P57 we looked at couple of months ago. While not cheap, The G752VM is a no-compromise machine that is worth saving up those pennies for.

Price

You can buy the G752VM in the spec we’re reviewing for £1599 from Amazon. It has an Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU, Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive for all the files you don’t need to access at lightning speed. Right now this is the only spec widely available in the UK.

If you’re after a machine with an even faster graphics card, the model number changes a bit. The Asus ROG G752VS has a GTX 1070 GPU and costs around £2299. If you have money to burn or are obsessed about fps figures, the monster Asus ROG G701VI has the top-end Nvidia GTX 1080 card.

There’s also an option if all of these are far too expensive for your budget. The Asus ROG FX502VM costs £1399, has a 3GB GTX 1060 card and some lesser components including a less adept cooling system. However, it’s also a lot lighter and slimmer. But let’s get back to the laptop in front of us.

Design

A new generation of graphics hardware makes the G752VM exciting, but this laptop’s design is much like the older G752 model we reviewed before Nvidia’s 10-series GPUs arrived. You wouldn’t mistake it for anything but a gaming machine.

The angular two-tone keyboard surround, Matrix-a-like keyboard font and moody red keyboard backlight tell you this isn’t a laptop designed to be used to check emails in Starbucks. It’s also far too big and heavy to be taken far comfortably.

The Asus ROG G752VM is 43mm thick and weighs 4.06kg. Just the 17-inch screen footprint alone is enough to make you want to groan every time you have to take it room to room. This isn’t a criticism as such, just a reminder of exactly the kind of laptop we’re looking at. If you want something to entertain during a horribly long work commute, consider getting something much smaller and lighter. This is a performance machine foremost.

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Like most gaming laptops, it’s largely made of high-quality plastic rather than the metal used in light lifestyle machines. However, it’s solid throughout and the lid is topped with brushed aluminium for a little show-off extra touch. The colour strips and logo on the lid also light-up, a classic gamer gear move, but you can switch these lights off if you like.

One of the main positives of such a large laptop like the Asus ROG G752VM is that it can easily replace a desktop. The screen is huge compared with most laptops and the large frame means Asus has been able to fit in many connections.

Connectivity

There are four USB 3.0 ports, two on each side, and a USB-C to let you plug in your peripherals past and future. In a couple of years we may wish Asus had sacrificed another USB for a second USB-C, but at the moment we just don’t know how much life is left in the full-fat plug.

Other connectors include a full-size HDMI, mini DisplayPort and a Gigabit Ethernet socket. There’s also an unusually good array of audio connectors, with separate mic and headphone 3.5mm jacks plus a SPDIF output to let you plug in a digital headset without using up a USB.

The Asus ROG G752VM has a tray-loader optical drive too, in this case a DVD multi-writer. Asus also offers a Blu-ray drive in other configs.

Like a lot of gaming laptops, though, the Asus ROG G752’s screen spec may not blow you away. It’s a large 17.3-inch display, but the resolution is only 1920 x 1080 pixels. You’ll notice this on the Windows desktop, icon text looking pixellated just as it would appear on a 1080p monitor.

However, the GTX1060 graphics card our test model has it actually perfectly-suited to 1080p gaming. It has enough power to let you max-out the visuals in current games, where doing to at 4K would be too much of an ask.

If you must have ultra-high resolution gaming, check out the Asus ROG GX800, which has an Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU and a 4K screen option.
Other than unremarkable resolution this is a good screen, though. Colour is solid and the matt screen finish takes the edge off reflections. Max brightness is excellent too at 354cd/m2. We’ve been using the Asus ROG G752VM as our normal work PC, and even at 40 per cent brightness it seems a bit too bright with indoors lighting, if anything.

Performance

Arriving just before Kaby Lake CPUs are set to arrive, the Asus ROG G752VM uses a Skylake-generation CPU, which has been around for quite some time. It’s an Intel i7-6700HQ, a quad-core CPU with a clock speed of 2.6GHz and a Turbo Boost of 3.5GHz. While we haven’t tested a Kaby Lake laptop yet, it’s unlikely to prove a good reason to wait: we don’t expect a massive performance increase.

This CPU is paired-up with 16GB of DDR4 RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive for all the data that doesn’t need to be accessed too quickly, like photos, video files and music. The SSD reads at 757MB/s and writes at 749MB/s so is not an entry-level drive, but also isn’t as fast as the quickest PCIe SSDs.

The companion hard drive reads at 141MB/s and writes at 135MB/s, so while nowhere near as fast as the SSD it’s clearly a decent 7200rpm model rather than the lumpen sort of drive you’d find in a cheap laptop.

With that out of the way, we can tackle the Asus ROG G752’s Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, the main reason to get excited. The claim for this “mid-range” graphics brain is that it is 30 per cent faster than the GTX 970M, the model up from the last generation of Nvidia laptop cards. It’s a good time for gaming laptops.
It can handle Alien Isolation with all settings maxed-out and resolution set to 1080p at an average 75fps, and at 188fps with the visuals dropped and the resolution at 720p.
It sails through the more challenging Thief too, managing 70fps with all the effects turned up and the resolution at 1080p, and at 80fps with the visual quality dropped.

The Asus ROG G752VM is an excellent 1080p gaming laptop, with enough reserves to ensure top-end games will be playable (if not necessarily at a rock-solid 60fps) for some time to come.
While there are smaller, lighter laptops with this same CPU including Asus’s own FX502VM, the ROG G752VM has a cooling system designed to take the heat produced with ease. It’s extremely quiet. Like almost any laptop with a high-performance CPU, the fans run constantly, but will be drowned out by even minor ambient noise when you’re just browsing or reading emails.

We were surprised by how well the G752VM copes even after 30 minutes of gaming. It remains alarmingly quiet, a lot quieter than we remember the last generation of G752 being. If you’re looking for a laptop you can play for hours without the keyboard getting hot and fans sounding like a Dyson hand-dryer, this is a great option: the best we’ve reviewed to date.

You only need to look at its back to see how it words. The chunky rear of the laptop is all-grille, giving the large internal fans room to push out all the hot hair.

Our Verdict

The Asus ROG G752VM is a terrific gaming laptop for those who want top performance in a form designed to handle that power with ease. It doesn’t get overly hot or loud, even under a good amount of pressure, making us confident that even the step-up model with the Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU will also be a joy to use. As the prices of top-end style laptops like the MacBook Pro and HP Spectre 13 increase, the Asus ROG G752VM starts to look like an even better buy than last year’s models. And, as hoped, the latest 10-series Nvidia graphics cards blow away what came before.

Despite being two rungs lower, gaming performance is not all that far off the former top dog GTX 980M, and similar to that of the desktop-grade GTX 970. In other words, it’s perfect for 1080p gaming. There are just a few issues. A textured glass (rather than plastic) trackpad would have been appreciated and we’d like to see Asus put a little more work into the sound quality of the speakers, rather than just trying to make them as loud as possible.

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