The Asus FX503VD-EH73 combines the same top-notch design as its predecessor, with cutting-edge components, a full HD screen, and plenty of extras for one of the most formidable gaming laptops in the market.
PROS: Superb 1080p gaming performance. Thin, light-weight construction. Strong build quality. Nice Keyboard.
CONS: Middling trackpad. Passable speakers.
The ideal midrange gaming laptop you can ever get is one whose price is fairly below the range of high-end systems, but still has the muscle to deliver on modern games. The Asus FX503VD-EH73 hits the sweet spot, with pricing that’s several hundred dollars less the competition, but delivers similar –and, in some cases, better performance.
It also boasts a discrete GTX 1050 graphics card and a very thin profile, making it a better value proposition. If you need a portable gaming laptop that won’t lag you on daily commute, the EH73 is good choice. Casual gamers and those on a budget will find real value here.
The Asus FX503VD-EH73 measures 1 by 15.4 by 10.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 5.1 pounds, the same ballpark with most 15-inch gaming laptops. The Acer predator Helios 300 weighs 5.95 pounds, and the MSI GL62M 7REX-1896US weighs 5.29 pounds. Currently, 6 pounds isn’t zenith on these sides, the ASUS ROG STRIX GL703VD-WB71 weighs a massive 6.7 pounds, though we have lighter alternatives like the MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro-230, weighing a paltry 3.96 pounds. You aren’t getting GTX 1080 performance at this price, so you better enjoy the weight savings made possible by the newer Pascal GPU and a light-weight case.
As always, Asus gave the FX503VD a clean design, with an aluminum lid, with the rest of the case being plastic, though; its faux-metal brushing gives it a false black metallic look. The case doesn’t pick fingerprints easily, and won’t keep traces of oily fingers with regular use. Overall, the system’s Xotic PC skin blends well with the rest of the chassis, but stays clear of the usual bling you’d find on most ROG gaming laptops. The keyboard deck is sturdy, but gets some flex with intentional force; otherwise it remains strong for rigorous gaming.
Display and Ports
The system’s 15.6-inch full HD display features IPS technology, has a 45% NTSC color gamut and a matte finish that does an excellent job in reducing glare. An In Plane Switching (IPS) panel is preferable over Twisted Nematic (TN) technology, as it offers wider viewing angles and delivers better quality colors. Some might prefer a 4K display, only that the pricing and GTX 1050 in the Asus FX503VD-EH73 isn’t muscular enough to deliver butter-smooth gaming on most titles to make them playable at 4K resolution.
If 4K resolution is a must-have, you might have to spend slightly more on a GTX 1080 GPU –and a screen to render it. Also, if you need a touchscreen, you’ll have to look elsewhere. This laptop gets a standard selection of I/O ports, including: three USB 3.0 ports, a HDMI port, an Ethernet jack, and mic-in, headphone-out, and line-out jacks, as well as an SD card reader. The system also features Bluetooth 4.1 and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi for wireless connectivity, as well as an HD Web camera.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The backlit keyboard has scissor-switched keys, with a red theme that’s very visible night or day. The WASD buttons are easily identifiable, with its 1.8mm key travel distance making it a safe bet for rigorous gaming. Apart from the WASD buttons that have a thicker profile, the rest of the keys aren’t very easy to identify, especially in a poorly lit room.
About the best part of the keyboard is that Asus manages to include both a number pad and full-sized directional arrow keys. Not always found on a 15-inch laptop. Below it is a 105mm by 75mm touchpad that sports a false glass finish, but sends accurate gestures to the screen. Still, the experience isn’t as top-notch, something that will make most gamers use a mouse.
You have no excuse to complain of not finding more bang for your buck than the FX503VD’s Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 8GB of memory (maximum 32GB) and 4GB of Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 at this price. It is the prime choice for general productivity and multitasking, with more than adequate gaming prowess. As the year begun, we’ve seen Intel’s Kaby Lake processor and Nvidia’s Pascal GPUs outfitted in laptops and desktops with very good performance benchmarks.
Right now, you can easily get systems with better performing laptops in the same line with the FX503VD but they can be pricier. After all, it’s not a world of difference for daily productivity like web browsing, word processing or enthusiast-level photo editing –we are looking at gaming prowess here, and ability to endure intense productivity. Inside, the storage is both speedy and spacious, thanks to a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) which is better than the slower hard drives, and an additional 1TB 5400 RPM hard drive for storing all your downloads and files.
Given that Nvidia’s Pascal architecture is fairly new, a number of entry-level gaming laptops are getting the GTX 1050 and 1050 Ti graphics cards. On the game grid, these cards do crunch numbers on most modern games, albeit at medium-quality (1,366 by 768 resolution) settings, although you can still do 1080p at reduced frames per second (FPS), which doesn’t deliver much eye candy.
Gaming laptops are never good with battery life, except for a few. The Asus EH73 belongs to the class of juice-sipping notebooks, with a 64 WHrs battery that will last about 3 hours on a single charge, but can drop to 1 hour 26 minutes when gaming. To be safe, you’ll have to be carrying along your adapter, and have a socket around.
The Bottom Line
The Asus FX503VD-EH73 combines the same top-notch design as its predecessor, with cutting-edge components, a full HD screen, and plenty of extras for one of the most formidable gaming laptops in the market. The aesthetic is sweet, it weighs and is thinner than most of its competitors, costs fairly less than most GTX 1050 laptops, and plays games at maximum settings seamlessly, above 49 fps, typical of a midrange laptop. I particularly prefer the restrained styling of the Asus EH73, high quality builds and top-tier components used. For all these, it deserves a top spot among our Editors’ Choice for midrange gaming laptops.