A friend from school got in touch the other day after a really long time. A high-flying information technology (IT) consultant and mentor now, I've always admired him for blowing up his first big bonus on a state-of-the-art gaming laptop roughly around the time I was taking baby steps in journalism. But years of carrying around mean gaming machines had taken their toll; as he still spent considerable time in airport lounges and on flights, he was looking for a lighter gaming notebook, he said.
A gaming laptop that's light? It used to be something of a paradox. Till I came across the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) GL552VW (Rs 82,490), launched late last month. At a shade above 2.5kg, this 15.6-inch notebook was roughly the weight of any mainstream laptop.
Boot-up was fast, though I've seen faster ones. The operating system resides on a solid state drive, while a 1TB hard drive takes care of storage. First up was Battlefield 4; the WASD keys worked fine and the backlit keyboard was a bonus. But I preferred using headphones as the sound seemed a bit low; also, there was too much play on the trackpad.
Next, up was Titanfall; but wait, while the notebook handled the game with aplomb, the colours did appear dull. I noticed the dullness of the screen again while playing Need For Speed: Rivals and FIFA 16. This dullness was noticeable even when we watched a DVD of the Hindi film Wake Up Sid.
Battlefield Hardline at maximum settings managed to become unplayable; at medium settings it was a decent game. Also, do keep in mind the video card might not support your favourite VR headset. One good thing was that despite the heavy duty gaming on, the notebook didn't scald me; it was warm but not enough to alarm me.
With this kind of hardware, I was itching to render some video files; I got hold of some HD videos I had shot on my SLR earlier this year on a trip to Rajasthan. It was way faster than my three-year-old PC. I also typed a lot on this notebook, including parts of this review; the keyboard is comfortable to use, though the keys of the number pad have been shrunk to fit them. As for battery life, I got more than four hours or so, with 30 minutes of light gaming thrown in. Suffice to say, stay near an electric outlet.
As for my friend, he is in two minds about the ASUS GL552VW because of the screen and touchpad; but at Rs 82,490, this makes a decent proposition for any gamer. Just don't expect to connect it to your Oculus Rift.
15.6-inch LED backlit; 1920 x 1080p
Windows 10 Home
2.6 Ghz Intel Core i7 6700HQ
4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX960M