Asus G73Jw Laptop

Gamers looking for a powerful yet portable machine can stop looking. The Asus G73Jw is here. It's only a mild update to Asus's most recent previous lean, mean, gaming machine, the . But with a slightly faster processor (a 1.73GHz 740QM vs. a 1.6GHz 720QM), a Blu-ray combo drive, and improved battery life (2.5 hours vs. 1.75 hours), the G73Jw is definitely an upgrade. Unfortunately, Asus didn't redesign the notebook's exterior features at all, and the keyboard remains a serious weakness.

Our review model, priced at $1745 as of November 10, 2010, features the 1.73GHz Q740 i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB of space (spread over two hard drives), and the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium. It also has twin rear exhaust fans (for effective heat dissipation), an Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M graphics card, a 2-megapixel Webcam, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a USB 3.0 port, and a Blu-ray combo drive.

The G73Jw looks exactly like the earlier G73Jh. It weighs a hefty 8.8 pounds (though is less of a burden to carry if you stow it in the Asus Republic of Gamers laptop backpack, which came bundled with our model) and measures 16.6 inches wide by 12.8 inches long by 2.3 inches thick. The G73Jw's power brick is considerably lighter than power bricks of some competing high-power (the comes to mind), but it still adds 2 pounds to your bag if you decide to carry this monster around.

Asus houses the G73Jw in a dark gray chassis that tapers off at an angle on all sides. A rubbery, fingerprint-resistant dark gray material covers the lid and makes it easy to grip. I didn't test it , but the rubbery material seems likely to be much more prone to scratching from normally nonthreatening metal objects (such as paperclips and keys) than a typical hard-plastic lid is.

The G73Jw has much the same array of ports as other notebooks in its league. Its shining feature is a USB 3.0 port, but it also has three USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI output, a VGA output, an ethernet port, microphone and headphone jacks, and an eight-in-one card reader. It lacks an ExpressCard slot and eSATA ports, but most people aren't looking for these in a laptop today. The G73Jw also carries a Blu-ray combo drive, which is perfect for your HD movie needs.

The G73Jw's keyboard is one of the worst I've seen--a huge disappointment in a gaming-oriented desktop replacement. Most 17-inch notebooks have great (or at least well-laid-out) keyboards, but the G73Jw's keyboard is cramped, slippery, and generally frustrating to type on.