Matte-black and menacing, the design inspiration for Asus's G73 may be the technically invisible B-2 Stealth Bomber but this laptop is anything but subtle.

It's big, eye-catching, the entire surface is rubberised and two enormous vents behind the screen glow a hellfire red, presumably making a visual reference to afterburners or something.

Gaming powerhouse

You can turn the lights off if you want to tone it down a bit, but the G73 is a bold, confident machine with an attitude that doesn't just come from its distinctive looks.

We've seen other notebooks based on Intel's top end Core i7 920 quad-core processor, but this is the first that's coupled with a suitably high-end graphics card and a massive 8GB of RAM.

Alienware's M15x and MSI's G740 looked good but were held back by a poor GPU, Novatech's X70 was better equipped but came in a generic chassis.

With the G73 there's no compromise. It's incredibly powerful, capable of running games like Modern Warfare 2 at the native resolution of its 1920x1080 monitor with image settings maxed out. The supersonic performance more than justifies a bit of aeronautic arrogance in the design.

Strangely quiet

Those two air vents round the back aren't just for effect. Even with everything running at top speed, and there's a themed 'Twin Turbo' setting for overclocking the system, the cooling design is so good that it runs almost silently. It's one of the few gaming laptops that really can sit on your knees without inflicting third-degree burns.

And so long as you aren't gaming, you can get a couple of hours of use out of it before recharging the battery, which isn't bad for this class of machine.

And if, for some crazy reason, you want to use the excellent 1080p screen for something other than just exploding stuff up, there's a Blu-ray drive built in too.

Chiclet keyboard

At four kilos, the G73 isn’t the heaviest notebook we've ever seen but it is weighty enough to make it a single-purpose design. If you aren't a gamer, something like the MacBook Pro or Acer's Timeline will serve you just as well without straining your shoulders.

That makes the keyboard something of a mystery, though. Low-profile chiclet keyboards look great and are comfortable for typing, but if you're trying to switch weapons, jump, sprint for cover and throw a grenade all at the same time you want buttons that are big, bouncy and have plenty of travel.


The other concern is that although the G73 is available for a very reasonable $1,649 on NewEgg in the States, it's a massive £1,900 in the UK.

Then again, a 17in Alienware would cost you over £2,000 and arrive with an older, slower graphics processor, and you get a top-end set of Steel Series headphones and a Republic of Gamers laser mouse with the G73, too.

If you're happy to pay the premium, it's absolutely the best choice for games right now.


Stuff says... 

Asus G73 review

Pricey, but it's a dream list of components in a remarkable and distinctive case