Asus ROG GL552VW-DH71 Review
The Asus ROG GL552VW-DH71 is the latest midrange gaming in Asus’s Republic of Gamers line. It sports a thin and light design, potent power and performance, the latest Skylake processor, 16 GB memory and a few rough spots that need some work.
- Sleek, slim design. Brilliant 4K display
- Backlit keyboard
- Thunderbolt support
- Decent collection of I/O ports
- Graphics card can't properly support gaming on the 4K display
- Storage is on the stingy side
- Would do with an SSD drive
Asus has always had a solid foothold with gamers, thanks to the popularity of its Republic of Gamers line of gaming rigs, desktops, and components. With the Asus ROG GL552VW-DH71, it is extending its reign into the new breed of gaming laptops boasting premium designs and impressive performance.
With the ROG line of laptops, ASus is making its entry into into the portable mobile gaming category from its previous reign high-end mobile gaming machines with thick-bodied designs. The Asus ROG stacks well against other midrange gaming systems like the Dell Inspiron i5577-5335BLK-PUS, our Top Pick for entry-level gaming laptops.
As mentioned, the ROG GL552VW marks a paradigm shift into more portable and affordable gaming laptops. True, measuring 1.30 by 15.10 by 10.10 inches (HWD) and weighing just 5.6 pounds the system is way thinner andf lighter that its other siblings, like the 17.5-inch ASUS ROG G752VS-XS74K (12.7 x 16.4 x 0.8; 9.5 pounds). The 15.6-inch, matte-finish In-Plane Switching (IPS) display gives you the benefit of both a wide viewing angle and reduced reflections from any room’s ambient lighting.
It gets a bright screen with a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, which on first flush can seem a little small when high-end ultraportables have 4K screens, but 1080p is better for mobile gaming. In fact, smooth animation in 3K or 4K gaming would require at least three GPUs, which is quite impractical in a laptop. For instance, the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K has trouble maintaining smooth frame rates at its native resolution of 2,880 by 1,620.
The keyboard is backlit, but don’t expect the rainbow of custom colors you’ll get on the Alienware 15 or the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K. Instead, the lettering glows red, with extra red accents glowing on the WASD keys. The touchpad is clickable across the entire surface, with the right and left buttons integrated into the touch surface.
The system comes with a DVD burner drive, so you can install older games and watch movies on disc. Speaking of movies, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M can drive up to three displays simultaneously (the internal display, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort/Thunderbolt), allowing you to have game screens, instant messaging, Web browsing, and a movie all playing at once in addition to the 1.2MP webcam for keeping up with your gaming pals on video chats.
Ports and Storage
Connectivity is excellent: The sides of the system are chock full of I/O ports. You’ll find an Ethernet port, a headset jack, an HDMI-out port, a line-out jack,, two USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 port as well as the latest USB 3.1 port. For wireless connectivity, there’s 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. You’ll also find what looks like a mini DisplayPort, but is actually a Thunderbolt port. What does this mean? Well, Thunderbolt offers some speedy data-transfer capabilities that a mini DisplayPort does not, along with serving as an output for connecting an external display.
For storage, the system comes with a 1TB, 7200rpm hard drive. While it is enough for storing games, downloads and other movies, it doesn’t beat the storage options we are seeing on most gaming laptops, lately. For instance, the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VE gets a 256 SSD (for Windows and programs) and a further 1TB hard drive for storage, and the MSI GS73VR Stealth 4K-223 leads the pack with a whooping 512GB SSD plus 2TB hard drive. There’s a M.2 connector (with 2.5” SATA III interface) so an SSD could ideally be installed there.
The quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor runs at 2.6GHz stock speed, and is based on the latest sixth-generation (Skylake) microarchitecture that is both powerful and energy efficient. Asus includes overclocking utilities to tweak performance of the CPU and GPU, which is a rarity in most gaming laptops in the same price range. That CPU paired with 16GB of RAM, gives the GL552VW-DH71 decent performance of 3, 027 points on PCMark 8 Work Conventional, which is at par or even better than the competition since most of them hover at the 3,000-point mark.
Gaming is the main highlight here, and the system with its Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics card performs impressively. In 3DMark Cloud Gate (our medium-setting test) the ROG GL552VW-DH71 scored 14,619 points, beating only the entry-level Alienware 15 (12,382 points). Scoring 1,971 points in the more demanding Fire Strike Extreme, it fell to the back again.
This is quite acceptable considering that it was released in 2016, when it was among the high-end systems with the best configuration around. Still, for budding gamers, it will deliver acceptable playability on most title like Fallout 1 (31 fps), the Witcher 3 (24 fps) and GTA V (43 fps), all played at Full HD (1,920-by-1,080) resolutions. Battery life is average for a gaming laptop, thanks to the 48Whrs 4-cell battery that will last between 2-3 hours if you’re playing a game.
Well, that was last year, but in 2017 we’ve seen gaming laptops get thinner and lighter, but with immense power in those tiny packages. For instance, we’re now seeing more powerful gaming systems outfitted with the latest seventh generation processors, that offer better performance over the sixth generation chips.
In that list are systems like the Acer Predator Helios 300 that is fitted with a Intel Core i7-7700HQ, Nvidia’s latest GeForce GTX 1060 (with 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM) graphics card and 16GB memory, packed in a lightweight system. Still, as configured the GL552VW-DH71 is strong enough for daily productivity tasks including photo editing and video decoding among other media projects.
A Horde of Gaming Performance
As gaming laptops go, the ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 signals a step forward from Asus’s usual blend of high-octane gaming rigs, slimming down and becoming portable each day. Unfortunately, it sacrifices more in way of gaming performance that made past systems in the Republic of Gamers line popular. While this is probably just a bump in the road as Asus gets a handle on the ins and outs of making an ultraportable gaming laptop, this is clearly a first-iteration product.
Still, I have seen things improve significantly on this system in ways of eye-catching gaming aesthetics, a glare-free Full HD IPS panel, great audio output with SonicMaster and AudioWizard setups as well as Asus’s own GameFirst III Technology that reduces lags in between games. All these plus other components such as the latest processors and 16 GB of RAM make the ROG GL552VW-DH71 worth an extra look as you shop around.
In 2017, Intel did introduce newer seventh generation chips and around the same time Nvidia launched its Pascal line of graphics cards, both of which steered mobile gaming to newer frontiers. What we now have are tiny and extremely laptops, with immense gaming prowess than never before, some rivaling desktops in modern titles.
For the midrange gaming category, the Acer Predator Helios 300 (Intel Core i7-7700HQ; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060) and Acer Aspire VX 15 ( Intel Core i7-7700HQ; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti) offer class-leading gaming performance, while remaining incredibly affordable and portable. They are worth having at the top of your list as you shop around.