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Getting back into positive mode Asus has apparently decided that for a laptop such as this nothing less than the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate will do, which as its title suggests is the best Microsoft OS money can buy. Over the Home Premium version found on most machines you get: Windows XP Mode, Backup and Restore to Networks, full file and drive encryption plus Bit-Locker anti-theft, the ability to switch between 35 languages, location-aware printing and virtual hard disk booting.
Asus also makes sure that from the moment you start this laptop up you know you’re dealing with a gaming machine here (just in case the chassis and price weren’t enough to convince you), as the BIOS splash screen showing off the Republic for Gamers logo is accompanied by the sound of an explosion. Boom, baby!
Despite a fairly high-capacity nine-cell (4,800mAh, 53Watt-hour) battery, as with most gaming laptops the G60J won’t survive for long away from a mains socket. MobileMark’s Productivity test wouldn’t complete a single run, while running a DVD (albeit at full screen brightness) killed the machine after a mere 53 minutes.
If it’s any consolation, turning down the screen brightness and configuring Asus’ Power4Gear application should allow you to get well over an hour out if it, and poor battery life is an unfortunate disadvantage of nearly all mobile machines powerful enough to play games. The innovative Asus UL50Vg is one of the few exceptions, but it’s far too weak to be classified as a real gaming laptop.
So how does the £1540 G60J compare? Thanks to its Core i7 CPU, the only direct competitor we’ve reviewed is Novatech’s X70 CA Pro, which comes in at £1635. For the extra £95 you do get a superior GTX280 graphics card and Full HD screen, so usually we wouldn’t even hesitate in recommending it over the Asus. However, you also get a chassis that’s not without its faults (including the rubbish keyboard and touchpad buttons) and lose out on the EAX HD 4 sound card, backlit keyboard and twin hard drive configuration. In addition you get Windows 7 Premium instead of Ultimate.
Throw in Asus’ longer warranty and the choice is really up to you, depending on whether you’re happy to use external peripherals with the Novatech and can actually afford the £95. Also keep in mind that at native screen resolutions, the G60J’s GTX 260M can actually run games like Crysis at a better frame rate than the X70 CA Pro’s GTX 280M, arguably giving you a better experience. As for the likes of Alienware, you’ll pay £1625 for a similar configuration except with only a single 500GB hard drive, so in that scenario Asus is the clear winner.
To get good gaming performance on a laptop you still need to go for an SLI setup which limits you to Intel’s Core 2, but if you’re after one of the new Core i7 laptops that will at least let you at least play the latest games, the Asus G60J is definitely worth considering.