Technophile

Bang for buck gaming laptop

Visvaksen P | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on May 11, 2016

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The new ASUS GL552VW strikes the right balance between power and price



At a certain point in the evolutionary curve of portable computers, it was simpler and more economical for gamers to lug full-blown desktop machines around in order to engage in multiplayer LAN parties.

It wasn’t that powerful laptops didn’t exist back then. But the cost of packing the kind of processing and graphics capabilities required by high-end games into a laptop form-factor was stratospheric.

Now, on the back of decades of continuous progress in reducing chip sizes and increasing transistor efficiency, computing power has become a lot more affordable – making capable yet reasonably priced gaming laptops like the ASUS Republic of Gamers GL552V a possibility.

Design

The GL552V may be fat in comparison with the anorexic ultrabooks that dominate the market today, but for a gaming laptop, it is extremely well-proportioned – not to mention relatively lightweight at a little over 2.5 kg.

It is also a treat to look at. The lid features a classy brushed metal finish and when opened up, the matte black plastic combines extremely well with the red keyboard backlight and detailing to present a picture of an imposing, no-nonsense gaming laptop.

The trackpad is a standard multi-touch affair that responds well to taps, swipes and simple gestures while the keyboard is full-sized and offers plenty of travel. The area above, typically occupied by speaker grilles, is dominated by a rather-fetching pattern comprised of symmetric white lines, with four rather tiny speaker vents positioned in between them.

However, build quality isn’t exactly top-notch. The plastic frame of the laptop offers a fair bit of flex at several points including the screen, which will undoubtedly necessitate careful usage. The usual assortment of ports and vents abound with the one surprise being the inclusion of a USB 3.1 Type-C port on the left.

If upgrades are important to you, this ASUS will be an absolute delight thanks to the easy-access panel on its underside that allows you to reach the hard disks and memory by removing two screws and sliding.

Display & Sound

The 15.6-inch Full HD panel on this laptop offers decent colour reproduction and contrast. It isn’t the brightest or the most accurate screen available, but it offers excellent viewing angles and delivers a good visual experience overall. And thanks to the matte coating on the panel, the irritating experience of having to stare at your own face on the screen is avoided.

Audio output on the other hand, is a massive letdown. The inbuilt speakers produce nowhere near the requisite amount of sound for the laptop to qualify as a standalone multimedia unit. Headphones or external speakers are going to be mandatory .

Specs & Performance

A gaming laptop demands heavy duty specifications and ASUS hasn’t skimped in that respect. The GL552VW is powered by an Intel Core i7 6700HQ processor clocked at 2.6 GHz. The Skylake chip also features the HD 530 integrated graphics processor and a dual-channel DD4 memory controller which ASUS has used to provide 16 GB of RAM.

Throw in the additional graphics processing heft provided by the NVidia GeForce GTX 960M with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM, and you get quite a potent combination of internals that should keep most gamers happy. The graphics card is admittedly mid-range, but it is capable of running most titles available on the market today at mid to high settings and maxing out older games. It goes without saying that casual usage, including browsing with a bazillion tabs, is unlikely to stress this machine in the least.

Booting up takes less than 20 seconds on average thanks to the ultra-fast read/write speeds of the 128 GB SSD while the slower but much larger hard disk provides a terabyte of storage space.

Battery life varies significantly depending on usage, with 5 hours being the maximum we managed to extract out of the machine through extremely light usage involving a web browser, text editor and minimal brightness. The minimum really depends on the game you’re playing and what settings your playing it at – we were able to manage a little over two and a half hours of Counter Strike: Global Offensive at ultra settings.

Verdict

ASUS’ Republic of Gamers brand has built a reputation for itself as a wellspring of reliable and competitively priced gaming products outside of the exalted space occupied by the Razors and the Alienwares of the world.

The GL552VW is a laptop that continues the tradition, providing the maximum gaming performance available at a relatively affordable price point and also ensuring maximum upgradeability.

Don’t let the branding scare you off if you aren’t a gamer though, this is a versatile computer that could also double as a desktop replacement for those looking for a portable multimedia machine or even as a productivity tool for creative professionals.

Price: Starts from ₹82,490

Love: Design, specs

Hate: Speakers, build quality

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Published on May 11, 2016
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