AT A GLANCE
The ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD brings Nvidia’s Pascal graphics and Intel’s Kaby Lake processor into a nice-looking 15-inch laptop and the result is excellent performance in the midrange price tier. Solid gaming performance and great design make it a good value gaming laptop.
PROS: Reasonably priced. Top-notch gaming performance. Plentiful storage. Appealing, relatively portable design.
CONS: Physical design may be unappealing to some. Ports aren’t well marked.
The ideal midrange gaming laptop must be one that costs less that the sticker prices you see from the realm of high-end gaming systems, but spits tons of power. The 15-inch ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD checks all boxes in that regard, priced several hundred dollars less that the competition while delivering similar–and, in some cases, better–performance.
It boasts of a seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processor, discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, 16GB of memory and 1TB storage. This is the same configuration you get on its bigger brother the 17-inch ASUS ROG Strix GL753VD-DS71, safe for the screen size difference. The combination of a Kaby Lake processor and a Pascal-based graphics card in the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD is a great advantage and represents a great value for folks who want to take mobile gaming seriously.
Design and Features
The ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD is –at least by gaming standards–not large and bulky like predecessors. At 0.8 by 15.1 by 10 inches (HWD) and 5.5 pounds, it won’t take the least of desk space and is somewhat travel friendly as it can slide into a Bonvince 18.4″ Laptop Backpack, though it isn’t heavy as you might expect. The 17-inch model of the same model the ASUS ROG Strix GL753VD-DS71 measures 1.2 by 16.3 by 10.7 inches (HWD) and weighs 6.6 pounds.
Both the aluminum lid and plastic cover on the base still have the metal finish, which might be quick to pick fingerprints and not easy to clean. Certainly, it has the looks of a gaming laptop thanks to a black ROG metallic profile that has red accents, including the Republic of Gamers logo on its lid as well as the palm rest. The base is made of plastic and the lid aluminum, which is a nice balance for a gaming laptop that can be pushed to the core sometimes, thus the need of a stable design.
The 15.6-inch FHD (1,920-by-1,080) resolution panel offers wide viewing angles of up to 160-degrees, but it still keeps the colors vibrant, and the images are sharp. The panel is very bright at up to 349 nits in the center, and the average luminance of the Asus GL753 is not much lower at 337 nits. The jump to 3K and 4K resolution in the gaming category is reserved for other systems like the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 3K (2,880 by 1,620) and the MSI GS60 Ghost Pro 4K-238 (3,860 by 2,160).
In fact, such high resolutions have remained a compromise for gaming systems, since these displays are much more demanding, and the performance is further held down by mobile graphics cards, so you’ll have to choose between size, resolution or performance, but the most important is to choose the best mix. Nvidia’s G-Sync technology isn’t supported here.
On the GL553VD, you have a chiclet-style keyboard with a numeric keypad, which offers some decent key travel, at least for gaming standards. 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.
Connectivity on the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD is excellent and varied. Here you have the I/O ports you might need including: three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type C (gen 2)—doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3, an HDMI port, a miniDisplayPort – for hooking up to external monitors, 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. You also have an optical drive in case you need to play some games or media from DVDs
Overall, the laptop comes with three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Type C (gen 2)—doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3, an HDMI port, a miniDisplayPort – for hooking up to external monitors, 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.
Alongside the brand new 4GB Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics card, the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD is equipped with a similarly new Intel Core i7-7700HQ chip, a quad-core CPU based on the latest Kaby Lake generation. Other specs include 16GB memory provided by two 8GB modules, but can take a maximum of 32GB. For storage, you have a 7200RPM 1TB hard drive (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.
Given the new graphics system, though, it’s the 3D and gaming test results that are of most interest. The new notebook cards are meant to be very similar to their desktop counterparts for the first time, and this can be reflected on GPU scores. The 3DMark benchmarks point to relatively fast rendering on the gaming front, especially, when put side-by-side with its predecessors including the popular GTX 960M.
The next faster models the GTX 1070 are GTX 1080 present an impressive experience of NVidia’s high-end chips that are bringing desktop performance to mobile devices. For gaming, you expect some solid frame rates per second, thanks to a combination of a strong CPU nand equally potent GPU. The GTX 1050 totes some solid frame rates per second (FPS) on most modern titles in HIGH settings including: The Witcher-28FPS, Fallout 4-42FPS, and Battlefield 1-47FPS.
As expected for a large gaming laptop, the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD’s battery life is nothing to write home about. The much we got in our testing from the 4-cell battery 4 hours 21 minutes —although Asus claims up to 5 hours; just drop the hype, it’s a gaming laptop. The demanding hardware in gaming laptops generally drains the battery quickly,the impressive eye candy on the screen requires that you have the system hooked up to the socket at all times.
The Bottom Line
For a very reasonable price given the latest Kaby Lake processor and the GTX 1050, the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD is a very attractive proposition. Its performance rivals, or is even better, than you’ll see on most high-end systems with GTX 980M graphic card that cost more, many of which can’t match its FPS on most modern titles. It also offers a lot of RAM, a good selection of ports and is arguably portable.
The only real concession is the choice of storage, we agree 1TB hard drive storage is quite enough, but we expected even a 128GB SSD for loading programs. Even with that, we applaud the pleasant design that doesn’t feel cheap. At the midrange tier, where bang for buck plays a pivotal role, the ASUS ROG Strix GL553VD is a superior option.