Handling, design and build: sobre, discreet and comfortable to use
In spite of its design inspired by a stealth plane, the G73Jh can't really be said to be stealthy because of its imposing size. It is nevertheless sober overall in comparison to what you often see in the small world of PC gaming. We like the fact that it's discreet and not too garish. It will no doubt be too neutral for some, too austere. There is however a nice blue lighting under the screen (you can disactivate this) which breaks up the massive feel of the G73Jh. Entirely in black, the G73Jh is made with matte plastics that are soft to the touch. The wrist rest area and the hood of the screen have a rubber stype finish which is also nice in texture. Overall it gives an impression of robustness and the screen hinges seem designed to last.
The wide keyboard is very comfortable to use and the keys separated (15 x 15 mm). Typing is supple, quiet and soft. There's a number pad to the right. The keyboard is backlit in white with a 3-level intensity setting, which is practical in low lighting. 3 buttons at the top left above the keyboard allow you to activate the blue lighting under the screen or activate the TwinTurbo mode (slight overclocking of the processor), or change the calibration profiles.
The multi-touch touchpad is really wide (104 x 55 mm) and comfortable to use. It is both precise and with a good glide. A real pleasure to use and there's really no need for the mouse most of the time (except in gaming of course). The only drawback is that you can't scroll with two fingers but have to use the right side of the touchpad. We like the fact that the bar of touchpad buttons is so quiet and responsive.
The webcam gives a good quality image. The colours are good, contrast satisfying and fluidity up to the mark. The white balance is pretty good, as is the resolution of the webcam in dark and brightly lit rooms (no burnt areas).
Asus has come up with a very efficient fan on this G73Jh. It doesn't heat up too much and remains pretty quiet given the components that are used. They use plenty of power and give off levels of heat which it isn't always easy to evacuate. The fan accelerates during more demanding processing (games, video encoding and so on) and makes the machine much more audible. That said, it remains reasonable all things considered.
The G73Jh's connectivity is standard, no surprises. There are 4 USB 2.0 ports, an RJ45, an HDMI, a VGA, a headphones socket (+ S/PDIF) and a mic and an 8-in-1 card reader. There is of course Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It's a shame there's no e-SATA port, FireWire, ExpressCard and even USB 3 on this model. In terms of the optical drive, there's a Blu-Ray player / DVD burner combo that adds a high definition touch. Very nice to be able to watch your films on the Full HD 17.3 inch screen.
There's a big panel underneath that gives access to the main components: RAM, hard drives, Wi-Fi card and graphics card.
|RJ45, USB 2.0, combo Blu-Ray/DVD, USB 2.0, mic, headphones
||Card reader, 2 USB 2.0s, HDMI, power
|Asus G73Jh from above
||Touchpad and click bar
Processing: high level performance!
Windows 7 index: 5,8. Details: CPU 7.0 - Memory 7.4 - Graphics 7.2 - Gaming graphics 7.2 - Main hard drive 5.8.
Equipped with the latest 4-core Intel Core i7-720QM, the G73Jh offers excellent performance. It scores 138 on our index in our test protocol! Our reference machine, the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi3650 (equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400) scores 100 on the index. With such a score, this laptop will be just as much at ease with multimedia tasks (photo, video and gaming) as office doc work.
High definition video playback (HD 1080p, Blu-Ray equivalent) is no challenge for this Core i7 processor. In spite of this, we advise you to use the video decoding capacities of the ATI graphics card. For this, all you require is software that handles the graphics card hardware decoding. Power DVD 9 or Media Player Classic HC (with the right codecs) do this. The processor is then totally freed up which reduces power consumption and allows it to take on other tasks.
3D gaming: the best in mono-GPU graphics cards for laptops
Although the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 is no revolution (it's pretty much a cut down Radeon HD 5770 or a pumped up HD 4870) it offers the best performance on the market for laptops (outside of double GPU models). Recent video games are perfectly playable at high graphics settings. In spite of the Full HD 1080p screen (which doubles processing demands compared to the 1366 x 768!), the most demanding games are perfectly playable. Even Crysis isn't a problem at high graphics settings (26 fps on average).
Audio: better than average
In contrast to most laptops, efforts have been made on the audio for this G73Jh. The 2.1 speakers give a nice homogenous sound. Of course, you can't expect too much bass but there is a good balance between the high and medium notes. The headphones out is clean with no hiss. What's more it also serves as an optical S/PDIF out.
Mobility, battery life: it eats up the watts
With just 1h21 of video playback (brightness at 100 Cd/m², Wi-Fi disactivated and headphones plugged in), the G73Jh is certainly not the sort of machine you'll be dragging around with you everywhere. Best not to stray too far from a power source.
The charger does nothing to improve the situation. Although less imposing that those for some 18.4 inch models, it is nevertheless heavy and takes up plenty of space in your bag. The machine itself is also relatively heavy at 3.4 Kg. This could have been worse as some 15.4 inch models already weigh as much (the G51J for example). You'll need broad shoulders to carry this one around for any length of time.