As a long time console gamer, I’ve always shied away from PC gaming primarily because of its expensive and bulky gaming rigs. An average console pleb like me is easily satisfied in terms of gaming as long as visuals are good, the games are great, and framerates are decent – as well as its semi-portability since I take home my console back to the province during long holidays.

Then there are these gaming laptops carrying with it the appeal of portability, as well as being powerful machines at that and the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM beckons me to join the master race with its awesome 4K display panel, powered by the fairly capable GTX 1060 and the powerful Intel Core i7 7th Gen under its hood. Will this finally sway me to the side of the PC master race? Here goes my review.

Right off the bat, the ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM, which we’ll call the GL702VM from here on, is a fantastic gaming laptop rocking a 17″ 4K panel, with a powerful enough hardware to drive 4K gaming. In its internals are the Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, and the NVidia GTX 1060 which makes it fairly capable of running games in full 4K, as well as being VR (Virtual Reality) ready. It comes with NVIDIA G-Sync technology making your games run visually as smooth as butter by removing screen tearing.

In terms of audio performance it comes equipped with 2 front facing speakers that are fairly decent in delivering surround sound-quality audio. While it’s quite powerful at full volume, some tones are inaudible, making the sound quality a bit bland. For gaming, we highly recommend getting a good pair of gaming headphones when playing with this machine.

In terms of build quality, it’s a solid build and its rigidity shows. The signature ROG accents and lighted keyboard are a nice touch, and while its a 17 incher, it’s really light compared to other 17-inch laptops I’ve handled.

It’s equipped with 9.23A battery, which is enough for normal work, browsing, and light applications, but don’t expect it to give you the same performance when gaming when it’s plugged in as it caps/throttles the machine’s performance when it’s running on battery.

The GL702VM comes packed with the ROG Gaming Center which lets you tweak and monitor certain settings. Want you fan to run at full speed to keep the machine cool? Go ahead, and turn it to the max! You can also tweak quite a number of settings including GPU and CPU settings to get the best out of the machine, which is perfect for gaming.

It comes with a 128GB Solid State Drive, and a 1TB Hard Drive, giving the machine one of the of the fastest bootups I’ve seen in a laptop. Plus, with games loaded on the SSD, load times are super fast.

Speaking of gaming, honestly I’m surprised. It packs quite a punch in terms of performance and can handle 4K gaming well, but not perfectly. For testing, I’ve played the following games: DoTA 2, Overwatch, Assassin’s Creed Rogue, and Rocket League.

While not the most graphically demanding game, DoTA 2 still requires a decent framerate to run, and the GL702VM plays it really well even in full 4K on ultra high settings. It clocks a steady 68 FPS and up and rarely gets any framerate drops.

Overwatch on the other hand requires quite a lot more firepower, and running the game on full 4K will be quite a challenge for the GL702VM. Fortunately, this machine runs it quite decently clocking in at a stable 50 FPS at full 4K and settings! Quite impressive really. But if you prefer smoother framerates, you may want to slide back to 1080p resolution, or playing in ultra settings, instead of epic.

While a bit dated, an older game like Assassin’s Creed Rogue posed quite a challenge for the GL702VM. Running the game in its highest settings on 4K netted a steady 30-33 FPS on land based levels, while on ocean based levels, it clocks in at a smooth 50 FPS.

Lastly, I played one of my favorite games on the GL702VM, Rocket League. Like first person shooters, the fast-paced gameplay of Rocket League demands a high and steady framerate. Unfortunately, at its highest settings, the game only runs at about 50 FPS, and drops at around 40FPS. Even at this framerate, gameplay suffers as the cars you drive will feel a lot more sluggish. Lowering it down to 1080p will help with the performance but noticeable jaggies will occur since you’re playing on a 4K monitor.

Full spec sheet:

Display 17.3-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) anti-glare display w/ NVIDIA G-SYNC
CPU Intel Core i7 770HQ CPU
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 w/ 6GB GDDR5 VRAM
RAM 16GB DDR4 2133MHz RAM
Storage 128GB SATA3 SSD + 1TB 7200RPM HDD
Keyboard Illuminated Chiclet Keyboard
Media Multi-format card reader (SDHC/SDXC/MMC)
Webcam HD Web Camera
Networking Wi-Fi
Integrated 802.11b/g/n
Integrated 802.11 AC
Bluetooth
Built-in Bluetooth V4.1
Interface 1 x COMBO audio jack
1 x USB 3.1 TYPE C port(s)
3 x USB 3.0 port(s)
1 x RJ45 LAN Jack for LAN insert
1 x HDMI
1 x mini Display Port
1 x Thunderbolt port
1 x SD card reader
Battery 76 Whrs Polymer Battery
Power Adapter Plug Type :ø5.5 (mm)
Output :
19.5 V DC, 9.23 A, 180 W
Dimensions 415 x 280 x 22 ~24 mm (WxDxH)
Weight 2.7 kg with Battery
Certificates UL, TUV, CE Marking Compliance, FCC Compliance, BSMI, CCC, Energy star, WEEE, RoHS

Overall, in terms of gaming, the GL702VM handles games pretty well, but for performance driven and fast-paced games games like first person shooters that require high framerates to smoothly play, you may want to forego playing in 4K. While it boasts a 4K monitor, it doesn’t quite deliver the firepower needed to push smooth 4K graphics, and the GTX 1060 isn’t that capable to deliver a solid smooth framerates at 4K. I got into this laptop expecting solid performance knowing that this laptop carries with it a 4K panel, and of course, I expected it to deliver. Honestly, I would have preferred a 1080p panel a get higher framerates with little or no noticeable jaggedness, instead of a 4K monitor delivering 1080p scaled graphics with the required framerates. It’s a technical mismatch, and it feels like the mix isn’t quite right yet with this machine. Although the difference between 1080p and 4K gaming and content is noticeable, there’s very little benefit using a 4K panel for a just a 17″ laptop – it’s overkill.

So is this something you should buy? Priced at a whopping P 119,995, we’ll leave that up to you, but my take is you may want to hold back for now. Unfortunately, its 4K panel isn’t big enough of a reason to purchase the machine since you’ll be switching to lower resolutions anyway to squeeze out better and consistent performance. And what good is a 4K monitor if you can’t use it to its fullest? But for the 1080p version of the GL702VM though, it could have been a whole different story.

 

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