Product Asus ROG GL552VW
Specifications 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5-6300HQ processor (Intel Core i7-6700HQ also available), 8GB DDR3 RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M GPU with 2GB VRAM, 15.6in IPS LED display at 1920x1080, 1TB HDD with 128GB SSD (2TB HDD and 256GB SSD also available), two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one USB Type C, Ethernet, HDMI, microphone and headphone ports, 2-in-1 SD card reader, DVD R/W drive, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11ac, 384x256x35mm, 2.59kg, 3,200mAh li-ion battery
Price From £899.99 (as tested)
SOMETHING THAT costs a penny under £900 can seldom be considered an 'entry-level' device, yet this Skylake-powered hunk of aluminium and plastic sits towards the cheaper end of Asus's Republic of Gamers (ROG) notebook range, and the gaming laptop market as a whole.
We're a fan of video games and having to spend less money, so the Asus ROG GL552VW sounded right up our alley and we've spent the past week playing, working and travelling with it. Here's what we found.
Let's get this out of the way first: the build quality is seriously iffy. At 384x256x35mm and 2.59kg, it's a full 1cm thicker than the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition we tested last year, as well as 190g heavier. The lid is made from cheap, flexible plastic, which gained some scuffs after its very first trip out of the office, and the trackpad's right-click button promptly sunk and got stuck, requiring some frustrating jimmying to pry it free.
On the bright side, not everything about the Asus ROG GL552VW belies its 'budget' nature. The keyboard is full-sized, backlit and has some nice subtle colour accents on the WASD keys, while the internal fan manages to banish heat from the left side-mounted vent without producing very much noise at all. We found that the chassis never got uncomfortably hot, even when it was on our lap instead of a cold, hard desk.
There's also a fairly wide array of ports on offer, including two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, one USB Type-C, one RJ45 Ethernet connector, HDMI, separate headphone and microphone audio jacks, an SD card reader and a pop-out DVD R/W drive. This handily covers all the bases, whether you need to plug in a headset or hook up the laptop to a larger display.
The ROG GL552VW comes with a wired Asus GX850 mouse in the box. It lacks the satisfying weightiness of higher-quality gaming rodents but is otherwise pretty good for a freebie, featuring two side buttons, a soft-touch grip, rubber thumb rest and switchable sensitivity profiles from 1,250dpi to 5,000dpi.
Like most gaming notebooks, the Asus ROG GL552VW is equipped with a 15.6in FHD display, putting out a pixel density of 141ppi and running at a refresh rate of 60Hz.
That's enough to show off games, images and videos in decent detail - you can make out individual pixels, but only if you squint - and the IPS LED panel combines high brightness with wide viewing angles. An anti-glare coating effectively minimises light reflectivity without compromising the clarity of whites too much; some coatings add a much more noticeably oily effect, which happily isn't the case here.
However, colours are balanced somewhat flatly. Cool tones such as a blues are fine, but reds and oranges lack warmth and blacks look more like very dark greys. At least this can be partly rectified by using Windows' colour calibration wizard.
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