Laptops are funny old things style-wise and as we found out with our last gaming laptop review where we looked at the Kobalt Comanche SLI in Ferrari Red, everyone has their own tastes about how a laptop should look.
There are those who want laptops which are just ordinary black slabs that won’t grab attention, then there are those who want custom paint jobs and decals. Finally there’s the camp that wants something which is different by design, something that’s truly striking and good looking. It’s to those people that the Asus G70 is probably going to appeal.
And yeah, probably some of the teenage l33t-loving crowd too; the type of person who really buys into that whole ‘Republic of gamers’ rubbish.
Still, despite it’s ‘haxxor’ inspirations and aspirations, the Asus G70 still looks really, really good. It has one of those quasi-futuristic design themes, but unlike most of the laptops which attempt that look, the Asus G70 actually does it right. The mixture of faux carbon fibre, plastic and brushed aluminium veneer means that the whole aesthetic ties together beautifully.
And it gets even better when you open the lid and take a peek inside, at which point a casual observer would see how your grinning face would suddenly be cast aglow with a beam of neon blue. It’s like a hackers version of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, except this time you actually get to see what’s inside and you don’t have to spend half the time belabouring on and on about how bloody great Quentin Tarintino is – which is good, because he’s no Chuck Norris.
Before you get inside though you’ll undoubtedly want to turn the G70 over a few times and take it all in – there are lights secreted on every inch of the chassis, with two large ones on either side of the lid being the most obvious. Then, if lights on the outside weren’t enough, there’s illumination coming from within too, as the vent hole on the back of the G70 has rays of light pouring out of it as it flashes like disco hall. Wonderful stuff.
Inside the Asus G70 there’s a whole load of different tweaks, touch-sensitive buttons, and gizmos... but we’ll get to all that in a minute. Instead, now, it’s important to look at the system specs as well. It’s no good having a fantastic looking machine if you’re only able to use it as a paperweight so check out the system specs below.
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T9500 (2.6GHz) Memory: 4096MB (2048x2) DDRII 667 Graphics card: 2x Nvidia GeForce 8700M GT DDR3 512MB in SLI HDD: 640GB (320GB x2, 5400rpm) Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium Disc Drive: DVD Super-Multi Light Scribe/ Blu-Ray Reader/ Blu-Ray RW Network Connectivity: 10/100/1000, 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth V2.0+EDR Screen: 17" TFT WUXGA, Colour-Shine, 1,440 x 900 native res Weight: 4.9kg with battery Extras: Two year global warranty, Asus branded Razer Copperhead mouse, super-cool Asus rucksack
So, a few things to bear in mind. Firstly, this hardware set-up is a complete mix of high end and mainstream - Asus doesn't seem to know what the system really deserves. It’s running a 32-bit version of Vista for starters, not the 64-bit version offered in other laptops like the Kobalt Comanche SLI so it's 4GB of memory is instantly limited.
The screen is only 1,440x900 - far less than the 1,680x1050 minimum, or even 1920x1200 we were expecting. In fact Asus includes a sticker on the casing which claims "Full 1080p HD" that's obviously complete codswollop. The graphics cards aren't even G92 cored, they are 8700M which was high-end 18 month ago, and even then wasn't considered fast. The hard drive space is smaller (there are only the pair, not three) – in fact, everything pales in comparison next to the Kobalt.
There are advantages though. The screen has a smaller native resolution than the Kobalt, which should prove to be less demanding on the hardware, so the scaled down rig shouldn’t matter so much and you’ll be able to up the ante graphics-wise to compensate. Surprisingly Asus compensate for the core hardware by including Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless and even a DVDRW Lightscribe and BD-RE drive combo! The Asus G70 is also considerably cheaper than the forbiddingly expensive Kobalt.
On the other hand, you have to question whether getting excited over lesser resolution and Blu-ray is something that anyone would realistically do, but we digress…