The G75 weighs in at 4.3kg (9.5 pounds) and is about 15% thinner than its predecessor, the G74. Asus has managed to make it thinner without sacrificing the excellent cooling. The back of the display and the palm rests are covered in a nice soft touch material and the keyboard base is actual metal. The keyboard itself is a full keyboard with a number pad and typing feels nice on it. There is also no keyboard flex when typing which is great. The large touchpad tracked smoothly and the two touchpad buttons aren’t too stiff.
Overall the notebook is solidly built with no flex or overly cheap feeling parts.
The non-3D versions of the Asus G75 feature the Chi-Mei CMO1720 panel. Unlike the G73 and G74, the G75 features a matte type screen instead of glossy. Everyone has their preference – I personally prefer a matte screen. Glossy screens can give you better perceived contrast but at the expense of reflections and the slightest speck or fingerprint standing out like a sore thumb. The vertical viewing angle isn’t very wide but the horizontal viewing angle is decent, allowing a few people to gather around the screen without anyone having a horrible view.
Using a Spyder4Pro Colorimeter I measured the following brightness and contrast values at the display’s maximum brightness:
Brightness: 267 cd/m²
Blacks: 0.47 cd/m²
These are above average, but not spectacular numbers. Most notebooks tend to be closer to 200 cd/m² brightness. Contrast is also quite nice for a notebook screen. For photo editing and other critical work I found I had good results with 70% display brightness after calibration with the Spyder colorimeter. When there is a lot of ambient light it can be cranked up to 100%. Color wise the display is 3% shy of covering the entire SRGB gamut and covers 75% of AdobeRGB and 71% of NTSC colors. This is about average for displays of this class. SRGB color space is what you view 99% of the time – most everything on the web is in SRGB for example.
The G75 has above average connectivity but is unfortunately lacking a eSATA port. With USB 3.0 that is less of an issue that it used to be though; all four of the USB ports on the G75 are USB 3.0.
Left side: 2x USB 3.0, DVD/BD drive, card reader, headphone and microphone
Right side: 2x USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, Gigabit ethernet and power
There are no ports on the rear because that is where all the hot exhaust comes out of. All that is back there is a Kensington lock port.
The G75 comes with an average but serviceable Atheros AR9485WB-EG Wireless Network Adapter. It supports B/G/N networks but only at 2.4GHz and it also supports Bluetooth 3.0. The maximum wireless sync is only 150Mbps but even in the same room as the router I only seem to be able to sync at 72Mbps. I encountered no major issues with it except sometimes it would only get a partial connection to my network when it came out of sleep. I would have to manually disconnect and reconnect it. Also the wireless card is in a very hard to reach spot, it is not easily accessible like the HDDs and RAM.
You will void your warranty if you go digging where it’s hidden. For this reason I think Asus should have spent the extra couple dollars to ship it with a 300Mbps Intel Wifi card. These can be bought at retail for $20 or less, nevermind the wholesale price. If it was easily accessible I would have already replaced it with a superior Intel adapter. That being said, the adapter does function, but with a better one you would get improved latency and also support for 5GHz networks.
As mentioned earlier, the G75 has two user-accessible hard drive bays that can accept any combination of 2.5-inch SSD’s or HDD’s with support up to SATA3. My particular model shipped with only one bay populated with a 750GB 7200rpm Seagate Momentus. I installed a 128GB Crucial M4 to use as a boot drive in the other bay. I have included benchmarks for both drives to give you an idea what performance you’ll get with SSDs and HDDs in this notebook.
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Like the wifi card, this is another area I feel Asus was a little too cheap with. The G75 features a Via VT1802P sound card which according to the Via site is only a 4 channel card. It has a very basic software package that allows you to adjust the EQ or change environment effects and not much else.
The G75 features 2 speakers plus a very small subwoofer on the bottom. Unfortunately the sound quality is quite poor. I’d say it’s average at best for a notebook, but this isn’t a regular notebook. Asus should look at what MSI does for the audio on their higher end gaming notebooks. I’ve heard the audio on those and it isvastly superior to this. The good news is you will probably be using headphones or a headset most of the time.
But once you plug-in your headphones you will be presented with another problem – a very annoying software bug with the Via audio drivers. You see, because the speakers are setup as a 2.1 system the Via drivers have a setting to enable 2.1 (without enabling it for the speakers, the subwoofer is not active and the sound is even worse). However, when this 2.1 setting is enabled with headphones plugged in you get the opposite effect and that is NO bass from your headphones below the subwoofers crossover frequency (yes, even though the subwoofer is not in use – how stupid!). To get full-range sound restored to your headphones you must disable the 2.1 setting. If you ever use your speakers they will have no bass until you re-enable it again. When you plug-in your headphones it should switch this automatically but it doesn’t. If you plan on using headphones all the time this is less of an issue, but if you switch often you will get annoyed. As of July 23, 2012 there are no updated drivers with a fix for this on the Asus site (and I cannot find drivers for this card at all on Via’s site).
On an otherwise superb notebook, I would say the audio package was Asus’ biggest blunder.
August 23, 2012 update: Asus now has updated drivers (version 10.6) on their site which has fixed the above sotware bug for me. This has improved usability but I still feel the speakers themselves are lacking in quality.
Noise and Temperatures
Asus gaming notebooks have arguably the best cooling in their class. Most notebooks will rev up like a hair dryer when gaming but the Asus stays relatively quiet. While browsing or doing non-intensive tasks there is only a very faint air whooshing sound in the background.
During a long series of benchmarks I measured the max GPU temperature to be 62 C. This is with an ambient temperature of approximately 19-20 C. Running a prime95 stress test for 30 minutes got the average temperature (across all 4 cores) to 74 C. The CPU is never stressed that hard in gaming though and won’t get nearly that hot.
Even though the G75 is thinner than its predecessors, cooling performance was kept intact. In addition there is somewhat easy access to the fans so you can clean the dust out of them every once in a while and keep cooling performance high. The fans only become noticeably loud during stress tests (prime95, furmark, etc.)
Gaming notebooks aren’t really meant for portable usage like this, if you want battery life you should look elsewhere. Asus did not enable a switch so you could swap between the integrated graphics on the Ivy Bridge CPU and the nVidia GTX 670m, you must use the 670m at all times even on battery.
Web browsing, wifi on, low screen brightness: Approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes
Video playback: Approximately 2 hours
Heavy load/gaming, higher screen brightness: 1 hour or less
On the next page we’ll look at gaming performance…