It wasn't that long ago a gaming laptop meant significant trade-offs, but with the passage of time, laptops are moving towards striking a good balance. The Asus Strix ROG GL753 is a great example of balance in a gaming laptop. It's a 17-inch machine with decent power, a 7th-gen Intel CPU, aggressive styling, and ample storage at a price that doesn't break the bank.
There are plenty of bigger, badder machines out there, but for just $1,299 (about £1,090, AU$1,700), it's almost surprising how much the GL753 has going for it.
CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor 2.8 GHz (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 16 GB DDR4
Screen: 17.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare matte-type screen
Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD, 1TB HDD (5,400RPM)
Optical drive: 8x Super Multi DVD-RW with Double Layer
Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 3 x USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Type-C, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, SDXC/SD/MMC card reader, Microphone jack, Headphone Jack, Ethernet
Connectivity: 802.11ac+Bluetooth 4.1 (Dual band) 2 x 2
Camera: 720p HD web camera
Weight: 6.6 pounds (2.99kg)
Size: 16.3 x 10.7 x 1.3 inches (W x D x H)
Pricing and availability
Of course, that's where the balance comes in. Sure, there's a lot to like about the GL753, but where other laptops like the go for broke with a GTX 1070 graphics card and a 4K, G-Sync screen, the GL753 plays it more conservative with a GTX 1050 Ti.
Like the HP Omen, the GL753 chassis is mostly plastic, another way to keep the price down while still delivering a solid product. However, the GL753 doesn't feel "cheap."
It also manages to squeeze in quite a lot of features for the price, making it just $150 more than Dell's similarly-equipped, but smaller, New Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming laptop. That $150 gets you more than just a bigger screen, as the GL753 also includes a backlit RGB keyboard, and a bygone device for reading and writing DVDs.
As far as gaming laptops go, the GL753 design is almost minimalist. It looks the part but isn't quite as audacious as some gaming laptops. The lid is brushed aluminum, with a snarling orange Republic of Gamers logo flanked by two lit strips on either side.
The two dashes of orange on the sides look like air intakes on a stealth fighter jet. The downward angled grills of aluminum are functional and aesthetically draw your attention without being over the top. That said, then vents on the bottom don't pop to the same level as the HP Omen 17.
The very tip of the lid is plastic, but it matches the brushed aluminum look of both the lid and the plastic interior.
The rest of the laptop is plastic, but for the most part, it feels sturdy. The bottom is all black, save for four orange feet to help facilitate air circulation. There's an engraving on the bottom that doesn't serve any purpose other than look cool.
The front facing speakers are the same orange as the rest of the laptop's highlights, giving them just a little visual pop. Otherwise, they're hard to see at all.
Inside is a hard plastic keyboard deck with a faux brushed-aluminum finish that follows up the sides before cutting sharply across the top of the RGB keyboard. It looks nice, but it's prone to pick up smudges no matter how clean you think your hands are.
The trackpad has a charming orange pinstripe around its interior, matching the rest of the orange highlights found on the GL753. Moving around the trackpad feels nice to the touch, but lacks a satisfying click. It feels mushy and unsatisfying.
That mushiness extends to the keyboard. Hitting any one key flexes the entire keyboard around it, an effect that's especially pronounced in the middle where the whole thing just sort of sags.
Key travel itself is fine, with a good tactile feel and a satisfying stop, but the lack of stiffness in the keyboard deck detracts from any positive effects the individual key switches offer.
On the plus side, this is Asus' first laptop with a backlit RGB keyboard, which, in proper gaming fashion, is customizable with the included Republic of Gamers software suite.
Most gaming laptops have backlit keys, so giving gamers the option of customization is going the extra mile. There are 4 different customizable color zones and the choice between static or simple animated displays like breathing.
At 6.6 pounds (2.99kg), the GL753 is just a bit lighter than the HP Omen 17. The power brick is much smaller than the absolute beast powering the Omen, making the GL753 easier to pack into a laptop bag and haul around. Even though it's a 17-inch laptop, it doesn't feel ungainly.