AT A GLANCE
The ASUS ROG GL702VM-DS74 is a reasonably priced entry point into Pascal graphics and midrange gaming. This laptop packs a couple of nice features including plenty of storage, good connectivity and solid performance.
PROS: Reliable 1080p performance. Plenty of storage and connectivity. Nvidia G-Sync support. Nice display
CONS: Physical design may be unappealing to some. Not ideal for VR.
With Nvidia’s Pascal graphics architecture hitting the market “fast en’ furious,” gamers and power users are getting more bang for the buck than ever before. We’re now seeing powerful –yet affordable– cards making their ways into the gaming laptop category. Its GTX 1060 makes the ASUS ROG GL702VM-DS74 a capable 1080p gaming machine while keeping the cost down. This laptop is among the affordable ones with a solid feature-set including a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, tons of storage and a Full-HD G-Sync panel with impressive viewing angle; all set in a new lightweight, metallic design.
It is a 17-inch system, and if you need something smaller that can fit in a backpack, the Editors’ Choice ASUS ROG GL502VM-DS74 is set on a 15-inch panel, but features a similar configuration. Both systems have a nice build, same strong graphics cards, and either is a recommendable choice for a gaming laptop that will last longer into the future.
Asus didn’t innovate much in way of shape or size, but the 17-inch ROG still looks great at 0.9 by 16.5 by 10.8 inches (HWD) and 6 pounds. It’s portable enough than most rivals, but not much so, but after you lug it home, I wouldn’t recommend toting it around frequently. Oher gaming laptops remain noticeably meatier, like the 9.67-pound Acer Predator 17 (G9-973-78CM), but majority remain in the same ballpark. Take for instance, the 6.6 pound Asus ROG Strix GL753V which is relatively thinner, and the HP Omen 17 is also a smidge heavier at 6.3 pounds.
We might have seen the same design in previous ROGs, but the aesthetics have changed, albeit slightly. The lid is made of brushed aluminum, which looks awesome, and it comes accented with big orange lines and a Republic of Gamers logo. This moves from the bark theme to a silvery profile, which carries from Asus’ visually Appealing laptops from the past–I myself own an older ROG GL551JM, it is sleek and uses some metal– but I can say they are missing a mark with newer designs. This isn’t a budget laptop, and it almost looks and feels the way it should at its price.
On the GL702VM, you have a red-lit scissor-switch keyboard with good travel distance, which is great, at least for gaming standards. The WASD keys are highlight for seamless gaming. To that, add a responsive touchpad with two touch areas; the same we’ve seen in previous modes in the ROG line. Similarly, it maintains the familiar ROG logo on the lid and the curves and corners give the system a rugged look that is acceptable among most gamers.
The display is one of the Strix’s best features. It looks very sharp, colors are nice and bright, and reflection is culled by the matte finish. And going by the components, full HD (1,920-by-1,080) is a smart choice for a gaming system. The GTX 1060 can handle 1080p well enough, though, any other resolution might cause it to drop frames. Still, you’ll be able to run more demanding games at maximum settings regardless, something you might not achieve with GTX 1050 Ti graphic cards.
Connectivity does benefit from the beefier chassis, in both number and variety. On the DS74 you get three regular 3.0 USB ports, one USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen 2) with the rare Thunderbolt support. Having such a versatile USB 3.1 port means that you can use it with Thunderbolt supported devices, HDMI or any other appropriate adapter, which marks the future of USB ports as we’re seeing some laptops enter the market with USB Type C ports, nothing else.
To that, it adds an additional HDMI-output and mini DisplayPort for folks who want to connect to external displays without necessarily using adapters. Internet connectivity comes via a Gigabit LAN and 802.11 Wi-Fi Ac adapter and Bluetooth 4.1. The slim profile means that you won’t get an optical drive on this sides, but you can use an external DVD drive on one of the USB ports, and the 3-in-1 card reader comes handy too.
In 2017, gaming laptops are all over, in plenty at insanely affordable prices. With a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 16GB of memory, and the 6GB GTX 1060, this laptop performs admirably on both productivity and multimedia tasks. These rely largely on the quick, seventh-generation processor, so you’re not compromising, in this regard, side projects and work tasks compared with more expensive gaming systems. For storage, you have a hybrid configuration consisting of 128GB SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (in our review unit), although we get that Asus will offer different memory and storage configurations over time for the different variants of the same base model.
At this price point, finding direct comparisons with the same configuartion can be a bit tricky, considering that most 17-inch Pascal laptops contain at least a GTX 1070, with the GTX 1060 mostly reserved for the 15-inch category or smaller. That said, the Strix stacks up nicely for the most part, offering a more cost-effective big-screen option.
The Aspire 15 excels in graphics applications, thanks to the Pascal-based GTX 1060 graphics card. This is enhanced by G-Sync technology, the graphics-sipping Far Cry 4 played smoothly at native resolution, looked vibrant, and was very responsive. However, it should be noted that the Nvidia GTX 1060 is far much better than the older GTX 970M and GTX 965M, so they are just entry-level gaming GPUs. In the new graphic cards, the real ball starts to roll when you bring GTX 1060, 1070 & 1080 into the picture, as they yield better frame rates per second (FPS) on even the most graphic-intensive modern titles.
For gaming, the GTX 1060 will give smooth playability and decent frames per second (FPS), even on most demanding games. It does crunch the numbers on most games at 1080p settings–Hitman average 61FPS, GTA 5 average 60FPS and 62FPS on Rise of the Tomb Raider, although you expect more numbers as you reduce the settings. Even though the 1060 isn’t the top of the new graphics line, the entry of Pascal provides a clear boost in gaming muscle over previous generation’s graphic cards.
Notably present is support for Nvidia G-Sync, which eliminates the stuttering and tearing in games by matching what’s being displayed to what’s actually being rendered by the GPU. While it’s not a must-have feature in gaming laptop, G-Sync improves your overall experience by eliminating common animation glitches that could distract you and prompt you to spend some time adjusting the display and game quality settings.
Finally, the battery will last roughly 2 hours 42 minutes on general use, though, you expect it to drop to even less than 2 hours during intense gaming sessions. This is typical for the category, and is far much shorter than a desktop replacement or ultrabooks that can last all day on a single charge.
While it isn’t that stylish, the ASUS ROG GL702VM-DS74 does undercut much of the Pascal-bearing laptop competition with a light-weight for folks who are after portability to play games on the go. As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as well, so I might be biased about the design, but generally you’re getting a fully featured 1080p gaming machine. If you’re thinking that the DS74’s pricing is pushing your to the edge, be assured you’re not getting more power without spending a couple of hundred dollars extra.
It’s is one of the affordable entry points into the Pascal line, and it packs tons of storage and decent connectivity. That said, I prefer the more minimalist styling and nice-build of the VR-ready Editors’ Choice HP Omen 17, and depending on your needs, you can configure either to a cost that meets your budget.