The Asus G1 is the first gaming machine from the company. In quite a few respects this machine stands out from the crowd. For one, weighing in at 3.3kg, it's almost 1kg lighter than it's nearest rival and at £1399 (inc. VAT) it's considerably cheaper than anything else in its class.

The reason for these differences is that the Asus G1 isn't so much an extreme gaming machine, more a mainstream compromise - something you can carry around as well as play the latest games on. Asus has designed it this way, believing gamers will sacrifice graphics for portability.

To this end, the GPU is the Nvidia GeForce Go 7700 with 512MB of dedicated memory. This card is the same generation as the norm in this class, it just doesn't have the same punch. This can clearly be seen in the 3DMark 2003 scores, with the G1 falling 10,000 points behind its nearest rival. What this means in real terms is that, while we were able to have a full game of F.E.A.R. with little or no signs of lag, we weren't able to run it in full-screen resolution.

Mixed bag

The design is very much a hybrid of gaming style and standard Asus laptops. So while the styling is clearly Asus with carbon fibre on the lid and palm rests, there are nods directly at the gamer, such as the highlighted WASD keys - used for FPS games primarily - and coloured lights around the edge and the on the mouse buttons. The overall build quality is highly impressive and while the keyboard isn't as robust as on the W6 it's certainly up to Asus's usual standard.

The 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen has a native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels (WXGA), which isn't ideal for gaming, but produces reasonably sharp images.

When not using it for gaming, this laptop doesn't make any compromises. Designed around Intels Core 2 Duo T7200 chip and backed by 2048MB of DDR2 memory, you'll be able to run tasks with no delay. In daily use, we found this as much an impressive work tool as it was an after-hours shooter.

With an average battery life of 265 minutes, this machine has an understanding of the true notion of mobility. Connectivity is to the fore with Gigabit Ethernet for fixed networks and 802.11a/ b/g for Wi-Fi connections.

Clearly, the Asus G1 isn't intended to be a bleeding-edge, state-of-the-art gaming machine. The size of the chassis just doesn't allow for a high-end GPU. However, if you're looking for a machine that offers good mainstream gaming performance, but with performance and portability on its side, it simply can't be ignored.