While desktops have retained their edge over notebooks with regard to visual and processing prowess, making them the preferred choice for gaming, notebooks are gradually encroaching into this segment because of their undeniable portability. Although there are some notebooks out there that tout themselves as the ultimate gaming notebook, their bland exteriors do not have the 'l33t' look. It is perhaps a good thing that the ASUS G2S gaming notebook manages to convey that impression instantly.
The top of the G2S is a matte silver color that is the same as the palm rest below its trackpad. The rest of the notebook sports a black and classy look, with areas of red found near the speakers and the 1.3-megapixels camera. A circular ASUS gaming logo below the trackpad is lit in a prominent red and only turns off when a users disables the trackpad function. The two red sections located on both sides of the LCD lights up and blinks when user launches any DirectX application so there's no concealing your gaming with a quick ALT-TAB.
The keyboard of the G2S is well laid-out, spacious and is more than ready for those First Person Shooters (FPS) games as the W, A, S, and D keys have been specifically marked in red. There is also an abundance of I/O ports as it includes five USB ports, FireWire port, LAN and modem ports, VGA and S-video Out, an ExpressCard/54 slot, headphone and microphone connectors and a media card reader to boot. There's even a HDMI output for those times when you want to show off your game demos. No wonder the G2S ends up weighing around 4.4kg. Users may naturally find this notebook to be on the heavy side. ASUS addresses this problem by providing a large backpack that will carry the notebook together with its accessories around.
This Santa Rosa based ASUS G2S notebook is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 processor together with Intel's PM965 Express chipset and ICH8M Southbridge. The all important graphics chipset is NVIDIA's mid-range GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of video memory and the system comes with 2GB of DDR2 RAM. ASUS has a few configurations available and users can choose exactly how fast the CPU or the amount of RAM they require.
These powerful specifications gives it the juice it needs to run current games and applications without any issues. We gave Quake 4 a go, running it at the 17-inch LCD’s native resolution of 1440x990 and found it smooth and lag-free. However, games like F.E.A.R and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory should be played at a lower resolution as they do lag the system slightly.
Perhaps because of its powerful components, the ASUS G2S is not the most energy-saving of notebooks and lasted only 114mins in our MobileMark 2005 battery life test. Additionally, it managed to last 95 minutes during our DVD playback test, which was none too ideal either given the average length of a movie. At least movies and games sounded good even at its maximum volume, thanks to the speakers located at the sides of the keyboard.
The ASUS G2S Gaming Notebook is not your average notebook and this 17-inch monster will surely meet anyone’s expectation for a gaming notebook. Even if the G2S comes with a hefty price tag of S$3988, it is still reasonable for a 17-inch desktop replacement notebook. If you are looking for a fine gaming notebook with a large screen to boot, then the G2S is for you. Otherwise, the lighter G1S with its 15-inch display may be more practical for gamers on the go.