Review: ASUS G1S

I’ve decided to write about my experiences with some hardware and software I’ve been using on this blog. These obviously are not professional reviews (I’m not a writer) and don’t examine everything in detail, but I think its important that we all share our actual experiences with our equipment and I hope to contribute to that.

First up, the ASUS G1S gaming laptop.

The G1S is a good budget gaming laptop and features a Core 2 Duo CPU and an Nvidia 8600GTM.

The good:

The monitor is a glossy 15″ but has a high PPI (DPI) and a high resolution of 1680×1050 native. The resolution is excellent. The thick border around the screen, although adding to the dimensions, makes the monitor feel larger. I don’t mind the glossy screen as I use this at home exclusively but some may be put off by it.

The keyboard is good. Not excellent, but for a laptop its definitely good. The keys aren’t too loud and provide good feedback for typing. The keyboard layout is compact with the numpad accessable with the function key. This is unfortunate but there isn’t enough room in a 15″ to add this. This unfortunately kills flight simulators for me such as Enemy Engaged which don’t feature key remapping.

The graphics card and CPU are quite powerful. I’ve also got 2 gigs of RAM, which now days is considered minimum, but it does the job very well. I’ve run my laptop next to my brothers desktop with an Nvidia 7800 (not GT model) and I find the 8600 GT to be slightly worse usually on average. The graphics card is soldered in so it can’t be upgraded.

The GPU can create a fair bit of heat in the top left of the keyboard (around the QWER keys) but never enough to be considered too hot to touch.

There are 4x USB ports on the rear right (looking from the front) which are grouped together, this may be a problem if you have large USB devices. I haven’t had any issues.

The web camera is good with decent resolution and colour. The default XP drivers cause the image to be inverted which I eventually corrected with an updated driver.

The exhaust fan is located at the rear with no fans at the bottom. This is important for laptops that you want to actually use on your lap or on a bed, etc. Laptops with bottom fans tend to overheat unless they have good clearance.

Has both VGA and HDMI output, memory card readers, etc.

The styling is just so retro/kitch that it is awesome.

The bad:

The speakers are horrid. Featured at the front edge facing downward, they cause vibration on the surface the laptop is on. The sound is tinny and quiet. This is ok as I use headphones or external speakers, but hopping into bed for a DVD is not the best.

The “eye” between the touchpad buttons gets confusing and I find myself trying to click it instead of the buttons themselves when I’m “mobile”. A minor issue as I usually use an external mouse.

The default Vista install is bloated beyond belief. It took over 2 hours for the initial setup to sort itself out and it used terminal windows with no output that some people may try to close.

Minor points:

“Upgrading” to XP requires SP2 install CD or the installation startup will fail.

The mini LCD’s drivers only work in Vista and above. The default display is the ASUS logo and I ended up with the ASUS logo burnt into the display (the information display, not the monitor!). I now use LCD Hype but its a pretty horrible piece of software and the G1S scripts are broken so I just set it to clear the display.

The side lights don’t have drivers in XP. The drivers in Vista were apparently CPU hogs anyway.

Final thoughts:

This is a fantastic laptop. Compared to a Toshiba A500/040 that we also have (which has been a nightmare at times), this laptop is a dream to use and run. I don’t remember having a blue screen or over-heating issue in its life. Great value for money and I will definitely be considering ASUS laptops for my next upgrade.


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