Asus G74SX

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 Asus G74SX

If you’re after a machine to play Battlefield 3, Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3, look no further. The Asus G74S is a mammoth gaming laptop, which has the power to play all the latest titles, and while you might not get as much for your money when compared with full form desktops, it’s up there with the best.

Buying a gaming laptop offers fantastic pay offs in terms of space and portability. If you don’t have room for a hulking desktop system, or like to have the option of taking your laptop away from your home, the Asus G74S is perfect.

The G74S is a whopping 17.3″ and features a full HD screen, which makes games look great. The screen is matte, so no pesky reflections will ruin your experience. While this technology takes the life out of images, the full 1920 x 1080 resolution keeps things looking great, and is just as adept at playing movies too.

Bright and beautiful

The panel is stunningly bright – great for gaming in dark rooms, and it’s also 3D-enabled, using Nvidia’s 3D Vision active-shutter technology. This means the panel has super-swift refresh rates, which makes day-to-day tasks feel snappier too.

It’s one of the slickest integrations of 3D tech we’ve seen, and with the receiver built into the body of the G74S, there was no fuss getting it working. All the content we tried looked fantastic.

To play the latest games you need the latest technology, and a top-of-the-range mobile Intel Core i7 2630QM processor is included here, which aced our lab tests. It’s up there with the biggest and baddest systems, and is the same chip found in the more famous Alienware M18x.

Anyone who makes a large gaming laptop will immediately be compared with the Alienware, but we think that the Asus is more than a match for its extra-terrestrial rival. There’s 8GB of RAM, which is double that found on the stingy M18x.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 86 minutes
Cinebench: 16914
3DMark 2006: 15270

The hard drive is also a whopping 1.5TB (that’s 1500GB) which, in today’s terms, means almost unlimited space. The Alienware M18x ships with just 250GB, which gives you an idea of the great value offered by the G74S over its competitors.

What’s more, there’s also a Blu-ray drive to boot, so you can play the latest movies in high-definition.

At 4.6kg, you can get some idea of the build quality of the Asus G74S. It weighs the same as four Toshiba Ultrabooks, and is as solid as any laptop you’ll find.

Looks are uninspiring, and there’s no keyboard back lighting, or flashy extras, but that’s no great loss. The Asus G74S is a fantastic, power-packed gaming machine, which will also appeal to movie lovers looking for a desktop-replacement system too.

The screen and built-in 3D, as well as the colossal storage, make it good value buy, in spite of the high price.

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Medion Erazer X6815

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 Medion Erazer X6815

Medion’s Erazer X6815 is a powerful and impressive all-round laptop with more than enough punch for your pound, thanks to the inclusion of Intel’s sophisticated second-generation Core i7 processor.

Gamers are the intended audience, which is obvious from the included GeForce GT 555M graphics card. Despite the powerful components, Medion has kept the price down to £699, and at this price it’s an absolute steal.

Unfortunately there are some build concessions. For a 15.6-inch laptop, the Erazer is quite the chubbster. At 2.7Kg and with a 37mm chassis, it’s heavy compared to other models of the same size, although it’s still compact enough to carry around without breaking your back in the process.

The glossy black design means it looks cool, but is a magnet for our fingerprints and dust. The glossy design stretches over the touchpad too, which sits with a slight indentation beneath the keyboard so your fingers can find it easily.

Sadly, the pad and keyboard have a cheap unreceptive clack and the individual keys are so loose in the chiclet array that we managed to get a couple caught underneath the casing. While typing is easy because the keys are isolated, we don’t hold out much hope for longevity before they break.

Excellent features

Fortunately, everything else is more than up to scratch. Four USB ports line the edges, with two at the super-fast 3.0 speed. VGA and HDMI connections fill out the right side, with nothing around the back and just a Blu-ray drive on the left. You also get a multi-format card reader, fingerprint scanner and a 1.3MP integrated web-cam.

Audio was solid thanks to the Dolby Home Theater v4 HD audio, provided by two speakers and a subwoofer for reproducing the sort of low-end rumble that underpins movie or games soundtracks. It’s not going to set the world on fire and disintegrated into a cacophony with the volume up, but was resolutely serviceable for film and music.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater ’05: 169 minutes
Cinebench: 16627
3DMark 2006: 10555

Medion did a great job by adding a Full HD 1080p screen. It was less glossy, hence less vibrant, than most and the viewing angles disappoint. However, for a single laptop user in lower lights it played back HD video well, and it’s hard to complain at this price point.

As well as Intel’s excellent CPU and Nvidia graphics, the Erazer has 4GB of memory and 500GB of storage. With a great set of specifications under the hood, we had no issues with multimedia playback or multi-tasking with several apps open.

Kudos to Medion for compiling such a great array of specs at a low price point. Hardcore gamers looking to play the latest titles on maximum detail should look elsewhere, but for gamers and power-seekers on a budget, this is a genuinely great buy.

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