Battery Life, Portability, Software and Other Features
One glance at the G53 will tell you everything you need to know about this laptop’s portability. This is a big sucker, and even if it were light, it would be difficult to tote around. My full-size backpack, which is large enough to fit most “normal” 15.6” laptops easily, is just barely capable of consuming the G53’s girth. Those of you toting around messenger bags will, with a few exceptions, be unable to carry this laptop securely. Nor would you likely want to, as the laptop weighs over 7 pounds. That’s only half the story, as well, because the G53’s beefy power supply weighs several pounds and is twice the size of a “normal” supply.
And you’ll need to pack the power brick, as the G53’s battery life is predictably short. Although it proved no worse than the Lenovo T410s in the demanding Battery Eater Standard test, the Reader’s test placed the ASUS G53 at just over two and a half hours, which is extremely short for that benchmark. In standard use I found that the laptop could last about 15 minutes shy of the two hour mark.
In all fairness, these results are not bad for a gaming laptop. Still, you’ll usually have to find a power socket if you plan to use laptop away from home.
Other Features and Software
Obviously, the major feature added to the ASUS G53JW-3DE is support of Nvidia’s 3D Vision. This is no longer new technology, but I had yet to experience it myself outside of a demo stand, so I slapped on the Nvidia goggles to the stereoscopic 3D effects could justify the substantial increase in price.
It didn’t take long for the answer to become obvious – no, they can’t. Yes, the stereoscopic 3D is cool at first, and the low-resolution display of this G53 model significantly lightens the load on the GPU, as well, which means that the 3D effects are available at a playable framerate in many games.
However, the performance impact is still present, which means you’re faced with a choice; turn up the detail settings or keep them low and use stereoscopic 3D. I imagine most users will have a personal preference, but I didn’t find turning on 3D to be the obviously better choice. I was also dissatisfied with the paper-cutout appearance of objects in the games I played. Although individual objects are given depth, there is little depth within the objects themselves. This makes it appear as if a parade of paper cutouts is marching across the display.
Another strike against Nvidia 3D Vision on the G53 is the need to use glasses to view the effects. Stereoscopic 3D technology has come a long way, but the glasses still look dorky, and they’re still uncomfortable. The glasses are also substantially tinted – apparently this is a side-effect of the technology being used to generate the 3D effects – and this diminishes the “pop” of colors in games.
Headaches were a problem as well. This doesn’t seem to affect everyone, or even the majority of users, but it certainly forced me to pop some Advil after an hour of gaming.
3D Vision wasn’t the only interesting extra that came along with the G53. The laptop also shipped with a laptop bag, an extra that could have been awesome, as most laptop bags will have difficulty accommodating the girth of this laptop. Just one issue – the laptop bag ASUS provided doesn’t fit the G53, either! Yes, it will close, but the top of the laptop bag has to distort noticeably in order to contain the gigantic laptop inside. You can certainly carry the G53 around with this bag, but don’t count on it affording the laptop any protection should the bag be knocked off a table or chair.
The G53’s other features are a 2-megapixel webcam and Bluetooth support. There isn’t much to say about Bluetooth – isn’t there, and it works – but the webcam is a noticeably better than average. It seemed particularly quick to deal with changes in lighting and was able to provide accurate colors. It would likely be able to serve as your only webcam even if you frequently make video calls or create amateur video podcasts.