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Gaming laptops are all about compromise. Manufacturers have to carefully juggle size and weight with price and performance, and inevitably these mobile monsters end up being large, heavy, expensive and - compared to even mid-range desktop rigs – underpowered. However, anyone who changes accommodation regularly or who’s tried lugging their full tower desktop to a LAN party will know that gaming laptops do have their place. Join us as we find out whether Asus’ new Core i7 G60J has what it takes.
Initial impressions are quite good, with the lid finding a nice balance between the plain glossy black often found on third-party gaming chassis and the brazen bling many other gaming laptops too frequently employ.
What you get here is an arresting but classy blue and white flame pattern against a blue-black gradient background, with the embossed transparent Republic of Gamers logo a definite highlight. Unfortunately this glossy finish is just as enamoured of fingerprints as most, so you’ll need to regularly use the included cleaning cloth (or a sleeve) to keep the machine looking at its best.
Thankfully, on the inside the only glossy areas are the screen bezel and keyboard surround, with the palm-rest coated in lovely soft-touch plastic, and a smooth, matt touchpad. This is nicely complemented by white-backlit status icons below the hinge and the touchpad’s brushed metal surround.
With its 16in screen the G60J is more compact than some of the behemoths we get through the office, but at over 4cm thick and 3.3kg with battery it’s certainly no lightweight. Build quality is generally decent enough with the exception of the hinge, which feels somewhat loose and creaks in action.
Asus has gone for its usual isolation (or chicklet)-style keyboard. Layout is pretty much spot on and there’s a full number pad included, and keys have a comfortable matt surface and are well-spaced. It does, however, have a US layout so has an elongated left Shift and a half height Enter key, which UK users may find annoying.
Feedback isn’t all that great either with rather shallow travel and severe flex if keys are pressed with any force. There’s also a hint of rattle, though with a game or film on you really won’t notice the noise. For gaming this keyboard is by no means a competitor to the Logitech G13 Gameboard, but on the other hand it lacks obvious defects and will get the job done
Although regrettably there are no gaming keys (a welcome innovation found on the Rock Xtreme 840SLI), the G60J’s entire keyboard is backlit in white, perfect for in those late-night gaming sessions. A light sensor will switch this feature on automatically when required, though there are also three manual settings - or you can just switch it off altogether to preserve battery life. It’s a great implementation, and a feature that should be standard on all gaming laptops.
The large touchpad is responsive and generally a pleasure to use. Its twin buttons are incorporated into the metal touchpad- surround and separated by an etched line, and provide decent enough feedback though they’re a tad on the stiff side.