For all its prowess in applications, the G73Jh will ultimately be judged by its performance in games. To start with we ran the same tests we run on all laptops, which include the relatively undemanding TrackMania Nations and the more demanding STALKER: Call of Pripyat. In both instances they’re run at 1,366 x 768 at medium detail settings, with STALKER running in DirectX 10 and TrackMania in DX9.
In TrackMania the results from our three laptops are pretty similar, though the Asus G60J holds a somewhat inexplicable and ultimately pointless advantage – at these settings the game isn’t pushing the hardware that hard at all. In STALKER, though, the superiority of the G73Jh is plain to see as it records a comfortable 81fps. Clearly we needed to turn up the settings to see what this system could really handle.
First we switched STALKER into DX11 mode, upped the resolution to the native 1,920 x 1,080 and moved the detail setting to ‘Ultra’. Even at these more extreme settings the G73Jh carded an impressive average of 48.6fps, making it eminently playable. You may have to turn the detail down if you want to apply anti-aliasing and retain playability, but the game will still look very good.
Next we fired-up that perennial favourite, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite being a few years old now, COD4 is still very popular and gives most gaming laptops a good workout. Here we tested at 1,920 x 1,080 at Max Detail and with 2x anti-aliasing, and the G73Jh recorded a comfortable 66.2fps. When we ran the same test on the Toshiba Satellite X500-10T, it produced a far less impressive 38.5fps.
Even older than COD4, but still the yardstick for gaming hardware even now, is Crysis. We decided to really push the boat out and ran the game in DX10 at 1,920 x 1,080 and with detail set to High. A result of 23.8fps was playable and is the best we’ve seen from any laptop at these settings, though you’ll probably want to tweak the settings a little get a slightly smoother experience – we tried 1,280 x 720 and got a stable 36.8fps.
To summarise, the Asus G73Jh will handle any game you’d care to throw at it, as long as you’re prepared to compromise here and there with demanding titles. To avoid this you have to go the mobile CrossFire or SLI routes, which will put you well above £2,000 – at which point you’re probably better off buying a desktop anyway.
Speaking of price, despite costing near £1,700, the G73Jh actually presents pretty good value for money. One must only spec a similar Alienware M17x to realise this, as it would cost you a staggering £2,410! Admittedly it has some advantages, such as a larger battery, more configuration options (e.g. RAID) and one of Dell’s excellent RGB-LED backlit displays, but most of the price goes into superficial elements like the lighting and expensive industrial design. It’s not as if the Asus is ugly, so we’d happily pocket the difference and enjoy nice extras like the bundled bag and headphones.
The Asus G73Jh is an excellent desktop replacement gaming laptop. It offers sleek and rugged good looks, comfortable ergonomics, whisper-quiet operation, very good specs for the price and an above-average aural and visual experience. Best of all, thanks to the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 it uses, it performs admirably in games. It’s not quite the perfect gaming laptop, but it’s a damn good one and just sneaks a recommendation.