What we think
The Asus ROG GL552VW is an impressive bit of kit, which comes with a hefty price tag. As a high-end gaming laptop, it has dealt with everything that we’ve thrown at it in a calm and collected manner, running AAA games at full graphic capacity.
What’s in the box?
The Asus ROG GL552VW (from here on out, just “the GL552”) is a beautiful piece of kit, and one that I was eager to get my hands on. The high quality extended to the packaging, with a strong, well decorated suitcase-style box, the inside of which was split into separate, sturdy, cardboard sections.
In the box, there was the laptop (of course), the manual, the charger, a screen cloth and a cable tie. These last two were nice little additions which I wasn’t expecting, and help to reinforce that this is a high quality buy.
- High processing speed
- Nvidia GTX 960M Graphic card
- Looks great
- Battery life
- American keyboard layout
In order to deal with the high demands of gaming, the GL552 comes packing. It has an Intel Core i7-6700HQ CPU with a Nvidia GTX 960M and 16GB DDR4 RAM. This is on top of the 1TB HDD space to store all your games on.
Games with a mid-high level of graphics demand run perfectly fine on the GL552. It shrugs off the demands, just kicking out a bit of heat to indicate that it is working at all.
On the ultra-high graphic settings on the most up to date games, the frame rates can drop and the system can really heat up. For the most intensive games, the graphic settings need tweaking slightly to balance performance against frame drop and performance.
The major limp in the GL552’s stride when playing or watching is the speakers. Overall, the volume feels like it should be higher, and the bass is somewhat lacking. It simply sounds a bit quiet and thin. When using the GL552, I preferred to put on a decent pair of headphones such as the Siberia v3 Prism by SteelSeries.
If gaming on the go, you will need to make sure that your bag has enough room for a charger. The battery life on the GL552 isn’t great, and will run out after 2-3 hours of high intensity gaming. For streaming and watching video, the battery life is somewhat longer, but the laptop definitely isn’t a marathon runner.
Design and features
For a high price, you want a laptop that looks good as well as performs well. Gaming laptops have a history of producing good looking machines, and good looking accessories to go with it.
There are two versions of the GL552, each with a different casing. The one pictured, the one we have for review, is the higher grade aluminium-style casing. The other version is a more plastic style which, although cheaper, doesn’t look as good, in my opinion, and seems to offer less of a reinforced backing to the screen, leaving it somewhat flexible and vulnerable.
The design of the aluminium casing however is very nice indeed. The look was modelled on that of an F-22 Raptor, with a brushed metallic material, and sleek angles to give highlights to the design.
The keyboard is beautiful, with evenly spaced keys and a red backlight, contrasting against the dark grey aluminium and the black plastic body. The WASD keys are highlighted with an extra line of red to make them stand out, and it includes a full number pad. Adjustable brightness for the keyboard means that it will always be easy to see, even in a dark room, and the red colour isn’t harsh on the eyes. Annoyingly, the keys are labelled as a US keyboard, so if you are used to the UK standard, you will have to either get used to the hash tag and other keys being in different positions, or change the keyboard layout in the settings and learn to ignore the fact that a select few keys will be labelled something different to what they type.
The track pad is nothing special, although it is highlighted with a nice, fine line of red, keeping with the colour scheme of the laptop. As a gaming laptop, the people it is marketed for either will already have their own gaming mouse, or will be planning to buy one, so a trackpad that’s “okay” is more than adequate.
As standard, the laptop has a microphone and a webcam, which both serve, but nothing more. It also has a 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080px resolution, a matte screen to reduce glare, the battery is external and not encased, four USB 3.0 ports, one USB-C port, a HDMI port, input and output auxiliary ports and an SD card reader.
The GL552 is a rather pricey laptop, but unlike the mega-gaming laptops on the market, it doesn’t break the £1,000 mark. It has plenty of processing power, and the bright, powerful display and sharp, ominous red and metallic design of the device are beautiful. It’s a shame the battery life and audio system are poor, and that it kicks out enough heat to cook a thigh when running the most intensive of games.