All right. Let’s get one thing straight. Personally, I’m not a big fan of gaming laptops, but I can see their appeal. I like playing my games as much as the next guy, and popping over to a friend’s house with your weapon of choice will always be a good time. I’m a person of simple tastes, though. I like my food hot, my room well lit, and my games stationary. That’s one of the reasons I built my own computer, with the others being I’d never done it before and I appreciate a challenge. But, if I were so inclined to purchase a laptop for gaming purposes, whether it’s due to not having enough room for a computer in your home or because you prefer laptops, ASUS is a good place to turn your attention. This laptop however, is a different story.
The past few weeks I’ve been sitting down and on the move with the ASUS GL552, using it to play some new games and for general purpose. Sadly, my time with it had to come to an end and I reluctantly handed it back over—I even started getting attached to the little guy, too. With the time I invested into the laptop, I’ve been able to reach this conclusion: I wasn’t that blown away by it, but I wasn’t let down, either. It’s a good laptop, but it’s not the greatest. New games looked amazing on it and the laptop itself boasts a beautiful design. However, certain games experienced performance issues and drained the battery in no time at all and track pads are something I’ll think I’ll remain horrible at using so I just stuck with my mouse.
Our first step is something I mentioned earlier: computer towers versus laptops. Again, if you like laptops, fine. That’s your personal preference and I won’t attempt to change your opinions. I myself prefer to build things, which is what first sparked my interest in PC’s. I have heard of companies offering laptops that allow for replaceable parts, but from what I understand some of those parts will need to be custom made and could end up burning quite the hole in your bank account. I’m all about getting great quality for little money, especially when I’ve seen budget computers built in the <$500 range that can run modern games on decent settings. The GL552 isn’t slacking when it comes to running games, but it isn’t top of the line.
The first game I toyed around with was ADR1FT, an indie-space game where you take the role of an astronaut who wakes up after a cataclysmic event destroys the space station you were in. You must find a way to survive and make it back to Earth, all while trying to find out what happened to the station and your crew. When I first saw pictures of this game, I was blown away with how gorgeous it looked and I couldn’t wait to try it out, especially after getting the GL552. Getting to experience the game was something otherworldly and I was amazed at how colourful space could be. I cranked that baby’s graphics up to get a better view but in doing so, the framerate decided to tank. A lot. Packed inside the GL552 is a GTX 960M with 2 GB of VRAM along with an i7-6700HQ Processor and 16 GB of RAM, whichbasically means there’s a good amount of horsepower in this laptop and it shouldn’t be doing this. I actually had to turn ADR1FT’s graphics down to low just to make the game playable.
I was disappointed at first, but thought it might be the game itself so I tried out another space title by the name of Star Citizen. There’s no easy way to explain what Star Citizen is other than it might be the most ambitious game title to date and you should definitely look into it because I certainly can’t explain it in short length. A free week was being offered to try out features of the game currently available so I figured why the heck not, let’s give it a whirl. Cue the sad trombone when I was once again hit with performance issues.
One game I had no issues running was Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. Armada is based the tabletop game Battlefleet Gothic which takes place in the Warhammer 40k universe. It’s a tactical game where you maneuver ships the size of cities around a battle map and engage in combat with other giant ships. It’s loads of fun but more importantly, ran nearly perfect. I was a little confused due to my experience with the other two games; I went in to this expecting the worst.
There’s one thing these games all held in common though: the laptop heated up a lot and when left unplugged, the battery drained very quickly. I’m used to laptops getting hot because I spent three years in college with a Mac laptop that could fry eggs. The GL552 was reaching heat levels of that degree and made me thankful I kept it on a desk at all times. But hey, if you live somewhere with cold winters it’s a fine portable heater.
Is there any good news with this laptop? Yes, as a matter of fact. For general-purpose use, like using it to write articles and browse the web in-between gaming I had no problems. The GL552 was also one of the most beautifully designed laptops I’ve gotten my hands on—if that’s your sort of thing. It wasn’t unnecessarily bulky in places or full of weird designs. The keyboard was very responsive and the keys felt like nothing, as though I was typing air. It was simple, smooth, and the colouring of the laptop itself was a gorgeous mixture of black, silver and red.
So at the end of it all, can I recommend this laptop? Not at its price point. $1400 or more for a laptop giving performance issues on new games when it boasts a relatively a new video card and beastly processor just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. For everyday use aside from gaming, it does its job very well and looks nice to boot. But it’s marketed as a gaming laptop. It says “Republic of Gamers” right on the box, but you better enjoy playing simpler games. If the GL552 for some reason ever went half-price, I’d recommend it then, but if you have the budget to afford its current price, there’s far better options floating around.