Asus GL551 review

The best entry-level gaming laptop available

Asus GL551 review
Great Value

The Asus GL551 is one of the most heavyset 15.6-inch gaming laptops around, weighing in at a solid 6 pounds and measuring 15.0 x 10 x 1.3 inches. The comparable 15.6-inch Lenovo Y50, meanwhile, does away with a optical drive for a thinner 15.23 x 10.37 x 0.9 inch frame that weighs 5.29 pounds.

Of course, the Maingear Pulse 14 wins the lightweight competition, thanks to its smaller 14-inch form factor. The Pulse 14 tips the scales at 3.8 pounds with 13.31 x 9.5 x 1 inch dimensions.

Asus GL551 review

Here is the Asus ROG GL551 configuration sent to TechRadar:

Spec Sheet

  • CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-4710HQ Processor (quad-core, 6M cache, up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M (2GB GDDR5 RAM); Intel HD Graphics 4600
  • RAM: 16GB DDR3L (2x 8GB at 1600MHz)
  • Screen: 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) display, matte finish
  • Storage: 1TB HDD (7,200 rpm)
  • Optical drive: 8x DL DVD±RW/CD-RW Drive
  • Ports: 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x HDMI, 1x mini DisplayPort. SDXC card reader, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 1.2MP, 720p webcam
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Size: 15.0 x 10 x 1.3 inches (W x D x H)

Asus has packed a lot into the GL551 for just $1,099 (about £673, AU$1249). Out of the trio of GL551 configurations, Asus sent TechRadar the middle tier, JM-DH71 variant. The GL551JK saves you $50 (about £30, AU$57), but as a consequence, you will have only have access to 12GB of RAM, a less capable GTX 850M GPU and downgraded storage that only amounts to 750GB. These trade offs are hardly worth the tiny savings, so ponying the tiny bit of cash to get the configuration I've listed above.

Asus GL551 review

Alternatively, you can score the top end GL551JM-EH71 for $1,199 (about £738, AU$1,375). However, this swaps out the 1TB hard disk drive for a 256GB solid-state drive. The price of this SSD upgrade matches up with the cost of buying your own unit. So, it's definitely economical, if you seek the extra speed bump and don't want to replace the storage unit on your own.

The Asus GL551 is one of the most affordable gaming laptops I've reviewed thus far, going head to head with the similarly specced – but thinner – Lenovo Y50. Also starting at $1,099 (about £673, AU$1249), the Lenovo comes with the same 2.5Ghz Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor, Nvidia GTX 860M graphics card and a 1080p full HD display. The only down sides is the Y50 features 8GB of RAM and a half the storage space (albeit with the advantage of an 8GB SSD cache).

Despite being the smallest and least equipped rig of the bunch, the Maingear Pulse 14 is also the most expensive, starting at $1,324 (about £814, AU$1,514). On paper, the Maingear fails to to merit its bigger price tag, equipped with a less capable Intel Core i5 chip and GTX 850M GPU. The only advantage this machine has over its two competitors is that it packs a 1080p screen in a smaller 14-inch package.

Asus GL551 review