The Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB71 is a capable gaming laptop that deliver desktop-level gaming performance thanks to Nvidia’s latest Pascal-based GTX 1060 graphics, a Skylake Intel Core i7 processor, and 16GB memory and 1TB storage, but skimps on SSD for fast boot time. For the high-end gaming category, it outclasses its rivals on design and features.
PROS: Nice gaming-specific design features. Latest GTX 1060 GPU with Nvidia G-Synch and is VR Ready for smoother gaming. Varied port selection. Plenty of storage and a speedy solid-state boot drive.
CONS: Small keyboard for such a large laptop. Would do with an SSD for snappy boot times.
How does a high-end gaming laptop like the Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB71 manage to beat the competition without dominating the gaming benchmark tests? Well, by coming in for far much less and outshining its competitors on the feature-set frontier. That’s basically how the GL702VM-DB71 does it. With the latest Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card, a sixth generation Intel Core i7 processor and a massive 17.3-inch FHD (1,920-by-1080) G-Sync screen. To that, it adds 16GB of memory, a 1TB storage hard drive, it is VR Ready, and ergonomic features that make gaming more comfortable. The fact that it packs so much and still remains reasonably priced, gives it the oomph to jump to the top of the heap; although its other sibling the Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB74 adds a 256GB SSD to the 1TB hard drive which is quite hard to pass by, making it an easy choice to recommend for anyone who wants a solid gaming laptop.
At a glance, you’ll realize that the GL702VM-DB71 isn’t a perfect system, since there isn’t much that distinguishes it from its predecessors. But if I do away with the aesthetic-bias, we have a beast of a machine here that supports G-Sync, is VR Ready and can run visually demanding games at playable rates, even higher than most gaming desktops. If you’re in the market for a new gaming laptop and performance matters, but price doesn’t, you should seriously consider the Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB71.
Design and Features
As mentioned, the chassis hasn’t changed from the mentioned predecessors, safe for a bigger 17-inch, so we’ll keep it short here and focus on some additions and build quality. 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. If you need to carry it around, you can slide it into the Bonvince 18.4″ Laptop Backpack, which has nicely placed compartments for the power adapter, mouse and other peripherals.
As expected, a 17-inch gaming laptops had to be huge, measuring about 0.94 by 16.5 by 10.8 inches (HWD), and weighs about 6 pounds. The large, 15.6-inch, 1,920-by-1,080-resolution display is your window to the online and virtual worlds. The metallic lid mimics the hood of a muscle car, and the big, copper hinge and bold vent on the rear complete the powerful, industrial look. Yes, not everyone will love the design, but if you’re in the market for a flashy statement, this is one laptop you should be looking at.
On the GL702VM-DB71, you have roomy and responsive touchpad, but in the process compromised on the keyboard that seems small as a result. Also, I found the keyboard to be located rather up from the laptop where your hands can rest easily. The red-backlit scissor-switch keys themselves feel good for typing with an ideal key separation distance for seamless tactile keystrokes. On t backlit keyboard, the WASD keys are highlighted for easier access when you need them. However, they are not the same keys as you’d find in most expensive USB gaming keyboards.
This gaming laptop is one of the few that use NVidia’s G-Sync technology to improve graphics quality. The 17.3-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 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. The included Nvidia G-Sync technology is much welcome as it tones-down screen-tearing artifacts and significantly improves the smoothness of gameplay.
Connectivity is excellent and varied. 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.
The well-placed vent on the rear are part of a dust-release, thermal cooling system, which works towards keeping the laptop cool as you play demanding games. It uses heart pipes paired with a dual fan system, that cools the CPU and GPU modules independently. The physicals design harbors some gaming enhancements as well.
The system is powered by a 2.6 GHz Intel Quad-Core i7-6700HQ (Turbo to 3.5 GHz) processor. There’s 16GB of memory on board, which can be upgraded all the way to 32GB. The discrete graphics card is the latest Nvidia GeForce GTX1060, 6GB GDDR5 G-SYNC, a pretty powerful GPU that we’ve seen trickle in most recent desktops. Looking at it, this is a serious gaming laptop that cuts no corners. The main purpose of this system is obviously gaming, but it’s perfectly capable of completing some media and photo editing projects.
It features one of the fastest graphics engines (at least for mobile category), meaning that you can cruise through any game with butter-smooth FPS. For instance, Grant Theft Auto 5, played at ultra settings and 1080p yielded ~57FPS, while Fallout 4 on the same settings yielded ~61FPS and The Witcher 3 played on the same settings yielded ~55FPS. For gaming, its hardware packs quite a punch for most modern games at 1080p resolutions with High to Ultra details.. However, with the UHD Ultra setting, you’ll have to trim the details to have smooth playability.
This is quite impressive considering that the system, even when pushed to ultra-quality settings at the display’s native 1080p resolution, was a lot smoother than most systems in the same category that display less-than-playable frame rates on the same titles. The main purpose of this system is obviously gaming, but it’s perfectly capable of completing some media and photo editing projects.
Previously, we’ve noted that G-Sync technology has an impact on gaming performance, and we attempted testing the laptop with the setting on and off. We noted that it does make games look better and run smoother, but it’s somewhat gets more strenuous on the hardware. As a result, the scores on some games may be generally lower while it’s enabled, but it’s worth it as long as performance doesn’t drop below playable levels.
The 16GB of system memory is upgradable to 32GB via two free DIMM slots. There’s a 1TB hard drive for data storage, though the other iteration of the same model the GL702VM-DB74 includes a 256GB M.2 solid-state drive for fast booting and loading of your programs. While 256GB is a little tight once you install games on the drive, you can install a SSD via the M.2 slot for more SSD storage. Of course, for a gaming laptop, there isn’t much to write home about.
As expected for a large gaming laptop, the ROG GL702VM-DB71‘s battery life is nothing to write home about. The much we got in our testing from the 4-cell battery 3 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, but that’s still at the lower end of the range.
Aside from a quibble about the lack of an SSD in an otherwise perfect gaming laptop – just like its predecessors, it’s easy to recommend the Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB71 for the dedicated gamer who can afford it. Here you get more than what you pay for, and it’s just hard to argue against performance that rivals what you get from even some latest gaming desktops. It’s also true that there’s not much competition out there—yet. In the coming months, there are sure to be less expensive and thinner laptops with the same –or even better– Pascal graphics cards alongside the latest Kaby Lake processors, as we’ve seen in the 12-inch Razer Blade Stealth.
If you can shell out as few more bucks for a gaming laptop, the 17.3-inch ASUS ROG G752VS OC Edition promises even better performance, with superior features including Nvidia GTX 1070 8GB graphics card, 64GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD + 1TB 7200RPM HDD. But if you’ll have to ascertain if the bump in features and price is worth it – if it isn’t. Then, by all metrics, the Asus ROG Strix GL702VM-DB71 delivers, but the additional 256GB SSD in the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM-DB74 makes it quite competitive.