Choosing a powerful gaming notebook for college or university just got a hell of a lot easier with the release of the Asus Strix GL702M. Released just this year, the GL702M is one of the first notebook lines in its price range to feature an NVIDIA desktop level GPU instead of a weaker mobile graphics card. Equipped with an Intel i7 CPU and 16 GB of GDDR3 memory, this notebook can handle more than just your modern gaming needs.
Aesthetically the GL702VM shares the same chassis design as Asus’ two previous lines of gaming notebooks in this price range. Included ports include: 3x USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3, Ethernet port, HDMI and lastly a mini-display port for hooking up external monitors. While the effective design remains unchanged, the core components within have been updated with new cooling fans and more powerful hardware. The red backlit chicklet keyboard features 32-key ghost rollover to ensure accurate inputs and feels very tactile. There have been complaints that the key spacing feels too cramped, but as a current MacBook Pro user the spacing felt no different from my daily driver. Lastly, the GL702M features a crisp 17.3” native 1080p monitor that can take advantage of NVIDIA’s G-Sync software.
The stars of the GL702M notebook are the partnered i7-6700 HQ CPU and GTX 1060 GPU. Since there are no longer any performance deficits from mobile hardware, consumers can expect excellent results out of these two components. Just comparing the GTX 1060 to the previously included GTX 960M shows over a 20% improvement rate in 3D Mark’s Fire Strike benchmark. When testing the machine in intensive open world games such as Fallout 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Witcher 3 I saw stable results of 55-63 FPS with no stuttering or artifacts. AMD may be the king of budget gaming PC components, but I wouldn’t recommend skimping out on a gaming notebook that you intend to use as your main workstation for school. Both Intel and NVIDIA components are proven more powerful when used in hardware intensive applications such as the Adobe Creative Suite and video editing programs.
Asus reports that you can expect the battery life of the GL702VM to run out after five hours of use, but that’s simply not the case. Outside of web browsing and Microsoft Word, any program or game will easily drain this sucker after 2-3 hours of use. While any mindful student often carries their power brick with them wherever they go, it’s still disappointing to see that notebook batteries haven’t undergone the same design innovations as other key components.
The moment you finish setting up the notebook you will see an included suite of bloatware provided by ASUS. While most of these applications will be deleted the moment you get the chance, the only program I would recommend keeping is the ASUS Gaming Centre. If you’re a gamer who likes to set up component profiles then this is a very effective program to control the GL702M to your specifications. Overclocking a notebook sounds like an extremely terrible idea because of the fear of hardware failure, but the Gaming Centre can accurately tell you when you’re pushing the system too far and will dial back the settings to something more manageable.
The Asus Strix GL702M is a great gaming notebook for the student that can afford its $1399.99 price tag. Unlike previous years where notebook performance would only improve marginally, the inclusion of desktop dedicated hardware has made a substantial difference in the results of this machine. While the GL702M I’ve reviewed is just the standard model, you can further upgrade this system by purchasing SSD storage, 16 more GB of RAM or even a GTX 1070. The included one-year Asus warranty also ensures that if you have any issues, that you can enlist the help of their 24/7 support. If my program didn’t require me to purchase a MacBook Pro this kind of gaming notebook would have been my preferred choice of hardware and would have also saved me almost $1000.