Laptop: Asus G550JJK

Take a mid-range entertainment laptop, add some red trim, a glowing logo and it is now a gaming machine.

That seems to be the recipe for Asus' G550JK gaming laptop. Ostensibly, this 15.6-inch laptop belongs to the company's Republic of Gamers line of gaming hardware. But it looks a lot like Asus' N-series notebooks.

Given that the N-series laptops usually have hardware capable enough to run games at modest graphics settings, it probably did not take too much effort to make this gaming edition.

The G550JK is suitable for those reluctant to spend big money for top-of-the-line hardware. This mid-range model costs $1,898. Compare this with premium gaming laptops, which easily break the $2,000 mark.

And you are not short-changed on features: there is a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel matte IPS screen (non-touch), a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and a Blu-ray drive. The wireless adaptor supports the latest Wi-Fi 802.11ac technology. Asus even includes a small, external subwoofer to give the audio more oomph.

However, the Nvidia graphics chip is admittedly not as powerful as those in high-end gaming machines. It will still run older games, such as Bioshock Infinite, at the highest settings, but you may have to adjust the graphics settings to play newer and more demanding titles.

The laptop is not as bulky as Asus' higher-end gaming laptops and weighs 2.3kg. Open its brushed metal lid and there is a nice bit of symmetry inside with two silver buttons at the top left and top right corner, just above the keyboard.

The one on the right is easily recognised as the power button. As for the one on the left, it can be mapped to certain functions, from toggling Wi-Fi connectivity to launching a webpage. By default, it opens Asus' cloud storage service.

With its red backlight, the keyboard looks at home in a gaming machine. More importantly, it does not feel mushy and has good key travel. Asus manages to squeeze in a number pad, although the keys are narrower than usual.

The touchpad supports multi-touch gestures which can be configured using an app from Asus. As a bonus for its target market of gamers, a gaming mouse is bundled with the laptop.

A note of caution: The zone between the keyboard and the screen can get really warm. Performance was not affected, but you should not touch that part or place the notebook on your lap while running a graphically intensive game.

Battery life is about four hours, which is decent for a 15-inch gaming laptop.

Good for games and entertainment, this Asus laptop won't put a huge dent in your wallet.



Price: $1,898

Processor: Intel Core i7-4700HQ (2.4GHz)

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M 4GB DDR3


Screen size: 15.6 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

Connectivity: 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini-DisplayPort, SD card reader, Ethernet, combo audio jack


Features 4/5

Design 3/5

Performance 4/5

Value for money 4/5

Battery life 3/5

Overall 4/5

This article was published on Aug 20 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.

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