Review: Asus G53SX

 
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Published: August 18, 2011 11:00 PM
By Alexandre Botella
Straight out the Republic of Gamers series (RoG for those in the know), here we have the Asus G53SX. It's a gamer-oriented laptop, with impressive performance in a compact 15.6-inch design.

A straight-up-and-down chassis

Whether you look on the hood, the main body or the sides, you won't see any brightly coloured diodes on this one. Even the RoG range logo is discreetly placed. Finally, a gamer machine for adults!

Black matte all over, the G53SX has a robust feel. Curve-lovers beware, Asus has gone for something very well-defined. The finish could do with a little work. The palm rest, with its soft coating, and the keyboard unfortunately sink in when you press down on them. This isn't a deal breaker but does take away somewhat from what is otherwise a quality machine.
 
X6813

The keyboard and the number pad use the chiclet (separated keys) design. Asus has had to reduce the size of the number keys to fit them all onto the chassis. An excellent solution, we reckon, because the rest of the keyboard, which gets a lot more use than the numberpad, is unaffected. Overall, the keys are well-positioned and allow you to do your word processing comfortably. The keying may however be slightly soft for some.

The multitouch touchpad is, as often, under-sized but otherwise nice enough to use. Your fingers won't stick and the glide is precise.

The webcam on our test machine didn't work and we therefore haven't been able to evaluate it.

The connectivity is a little disappointing given the available space. The essentials are there, namely 4 USB ports, including a USB 3.0, an Ethernet socket (RJ45), an SD card reader and memory stick, headphones and mic sockets as well as VGA and HDMI video outs. We would however have liked to see an eSATA port or richer audio connectivity, such as you get on the gamer laptops from Medion.

No complaints when it comes to noise levels however. The G53SX is completely silent on start-up, when you're on the desktop and even during the installation of software. When you push the components, it does get slightly louder, but won't really be audible unless you're in a really quiet environment. The lowest background hum easily covers running noise levels.

In full load, this 15.6-inch gets to a little over 50°C, which is warm but once again, not a problem: Asus has placed the vents so that the hot air isn't directed towards your knees or the sides but rather to the back of the machine. However air is taken in from underneath. This means that you may well find it gets blocked up when you put the notebook on a duvet when watching films in bed.

The G53SX's temperature readings when you push the components hard
Readings taken using a Fluke Ti25 (Distrame) camera
  
X6813
Back, hot air vent
X6813 Hood

X6813
  DVD rewriter, USB 2.0 ports (x 2)
X6813
  Headphones, mic, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and VGA outs, Ethernet (RJ45) and power socket


Processor power: all conquering

The G53X's CPU quickly dispatches anything you might like to throw at it. This was hardly a surprise as we'd already tested it (see our page on the Medion X6813). It's a Core i7-2630M, with 4 physical cores and can launch two threads at the same time on each. It will be about twice as efficient as a processor such as the Core i5-2410M with applications that are optimised for multithreading (sharing processing across all the different cores). It handles office work, file decompression, HD video encoding, 3D modelling and so on. Nothing gives it any trouble. It does it all and it does it fast.

You can also play HD 1080p (Blu-Ray equivalent) without any issues on this machine.

Windows 7 Family Premium edition (64-bit) takes 35 seconds to boot. You then have to wait another 5 to 10 seconds for the various pieces of software and connection to a wi-fi network to launch. It takes under 10 seconds to turn off.

Gaming: high-end performance

In addition to decoding HD video, the NVIDIA GTX 560M graphics card also offers excellent gaming performance. Recent video games are perfectly playable at high graphics settings. You have to say that the low native screen definition (1366 x 768 pixels) helps in the delivery of high performance. From Sims 3 to Crysis 2, no title is out of reach. If you use a Full HD (1920 x 1080p) screen however, a handful of extremely resource hungry titles will require you to reduce the level of the graphics settings.

Audio: not too bad

With a clean and powerful headphones out, the G53SX gives pretty good audio. Unfortunately, the speakers aren't up to the same standard and seriously lack power. Thankfully, though, even then, the sound is clean.

Note however, the tech spec announces an 'Audigy HD / Altec Lansing' pairing while the product tested was equipped with a Realtek chipset and no Altec logo is visible.

Heavyweight, low battery life

Gamer notebooks rarely have a long battery life. The G53SX managed 2h30 in our battery life test (video playback, screen at 100 cd/m², headphones plugged in, wi-fi and keyboard backlighting off). In any case, at 4 Kg, it's unlikely you're going to want to carry it around with you all day. It seems reasonable to think that it won't be leaving the house very much, except maybe during the holidays.
4/5 Asus G53SX DigitalVersus 2011-08-19 00:00:00

Pros

  • Powerful processor
  • Powerful graphics card
  • Quiet
  • Sober looking
  • Nice power/price ratio

Cons

  • Battery life 2hrs
  • Glossy TN panel lacking in contrast with false colours

Conclusion

In spite of lacking a Full HD panel and a Blu-ray player, the G53SX does what it says on the tin. This 15.6-inch is a powerful laptop that will satisfy the gamers amongst you.

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