Now that the next generation video game consoles, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, have launched, maybe you would be interested to know about another medium to play your favorite video games. Did you know there are laptops designed especially for playing video games? Of the many gaming laptops available, one that caught my eye was the Razer Blade. Recently, while browsing in an electronics store, the Razer Blade gaming laptop caused me to take a second look. In additon to the, in my opinion, eye-catching display, the claim that it was the world's thinnest gaming laptop pixed my interest.
I took the opportunity to actually use and navigate sites on the Razer Blade gaming laptop to get a feel of using this technology. In addition to being ultra-thin and light-weight, the Razer Blade gaming laptop was, in my opinion relatively expensive, bordering on a $2,000.00 price tag, $1,999.99 to be exact as of this printing. During my on-hands inspection of this gaming laptop, I looked on the sides of the laptop, searching for the familiar CD rom where discs for PC games and other types CDs/DVDs are inserted -- but there was none. After talking to the saleperson, I found out that even though this particular gaming laptop did not have a CD rom per se, there really was no need for it, since most of the games that would be played on the laptop would probably be downloaded from the internet. He informed me there were other gaming laptops that had a place for discs. We walked to the other side of the store, where more laptops were located. There, he pointed out to me an Asus gaming laptop that had a CD rom slot. I immediately noticed how much heavier and bulkier this gaming laptop seemed to be when compared to the Razer Blade. The Asus laptop was almost half the price of the Razer Blade and I could instinctly tell the Razer Blade gaming laptop appeared to be of a higher quality. The salesperson confirmed my instincts by stating that the Razer Blade gaming laptop was a much better gaming system than the Asus.
Razer Blade Gaming Laptop
When I asked the salesperson what was the difference between the Asus gaming laptop and the Razer Blade, his answer was the Razer Blade displayed better gaming graphics and had a "solid state" configuration. I researched further and found out the Razer Blade is designed especially and primarily for gaming. It weighs a mere 4.1 lbs and has a 14.0 display with an LED backlight. Regarding its thinness -- this laptop's depth is usually compared to the size of a dime -- to give you a visual of just how thin this laptop is. According to the Razer Blade gaming laptop's website, it has an all aluminum chasis, that is seamlessly integrated with gaming grade peripherals that take gaming to a whole new level.
Razer Blade Gaming Laptop keyboard
You may say that this is all well and good -- but at the end of the day -- a gaming laptop is just that -- a gaming laptop. Some may also question why the seemingly exhorbitant price tag for this laptop. There are some people who would disagree with the statement that gaming laptops are similar to PCs. For starters, gaming laptops are distinguishable from other PCs in that they contain high-end hardware, capable of handling the latest graphics and process intensive computer games. Additionally, it's been said that gaming laptops can do what a regular PC does; however, PCs are unable to perform some of the functions of a gaming laptop -- which may also be used as a basis to justify its high price tag.
Of course, video game consoles are expected to be around long into the future. However, if you want to look into another device to play computer and video games, you may want to check out the Razer Blade or even other types of laptops and computers manufacured especially for playing and in some cases developing video games. Just as the genre of video games has expanded from wide varieties and types of games, so has the technology blossomed and spread to provide more choices upon which video games are played -- including gaming laptops such as the Razer Blade.
ASUS sent AllGames a Republic of Gamers G Series GL551J Gaming Laptop to review. And the first step in all reviews is of course, opening the box. Take a look.
When I was younger, I put a pair of house speakers in my used 1979 Mustang . I did that because I was a kid and kids like loud cars. Plus I liked telling people that I have house speakers in the back of my car. A couple of years later, I spent way more money than I should have installing a full blown audio system in my Audi 5000. I did this even though there was a flashing red light on the dash telling me the brakes didn’t actually work. I did that because I was a kid and kid like loud cars. The other night I was riding down the road in my Crown Vic listening to some radio station that claimed to be ‘Hot’ through the stock speakers and I kinda missed having a trunk full of bass. But not really. Because I’m an adult.
It may sound like I’m lamenting the path to adulthood, but I’m actually not. I can fondly look back on the days when it was important to let everyone I drove by know what type of music I was enjoying. These days though, it’s more important to me that I enjoy the music. Because I’m an adult.
A few weeks ago, a package was left at my door containing a shiny new ASUS gaming laptop. A GL551J to be exact. Since it was a ‘gaming laptop’ I had certain expectations when I opened the box. I expected a firebreathing, neon clad, vent covered, wildly shaped beast of a machine ready to rip the throat out of anything I could throw at it. The GL551J did not live up to those expectations. And that made me happy. It seemed to have been built for a group of people that are often overlooked when it comes to high end gaming hardware. Adults. I have no aspirations to lug around a 10 pound machine whose first purpose is to let everyone around me how extreme it is. There’s a demographic of people who like to set up shop in Starbucks, flip open their PC and make sure that anyone within earshot knows that they’re in the middle of an intense firefight on ARMA at 60 frames per second. But I’m an adult, so I don’t go to Starbucks to pimp by computer to strangers. Hell, I don’t even go to Starbucks. I have a Keurig which makes a great cup of coffee in under a minute right in the comfort of my own home. The GL551j is a powerful gaming laptop that does it’s best not to call attention to the fact that it’s a powerful gaming laptop.
The Asus doesn’t fly completely under the radar though. It’s still sports a Republic of Gamers logo on the case along with a keyboard backlit in red. But it’s a far cry from the boy racer looks of offerings from other vendors. You could easily get away with sitting down in the office breakroom and finishing off a few levels of Defense Grid 2 while your co-workers think you’re catching up on some late reports. At 6 pounds the laptop isn’t svelte, but it’s still a good traveling companion. Sitting on a plane while exploring the realms of Dragon Age won’t leave you with a scorched crotch, since the single side exhaust vent does a good job of shooting the heat over to the traveller in seat 15B. As far as power goes, it’s a gaming laptop. So you can play games on it. But if you’re into running benchmarks trying to reach 120fps at 4k resolution, then this isn’t the machine for you. The Intel i7 cpu and Nvidia 860m GPU do a great job at getting you up and running at 1080p all day long (or about 3-4 hours on battery), but you won’t be bragging to all of your friends about your incredible 3DMark numbers at 4k resolution. But adults know that 1: 3DMark isnt a game, and 2: You didn’t just drop $1,099 on a laptop to look at statistics.
At a little over a thousand dollars, the GL551J won’t force you to sit down with your kids and explain to them why they won’t be going to Disney World this year. Asus has managed to pack a lot of performance into the unassuming satin black finish for a price that won’t force you to put in overtime at the office. It’s difficult to find which, if any, corners were cut. Although the 15.6 inch display has a slightly washed out look to it that kept me angling it away from the light. My time with the Asus did have one hiccup. I don’t know if was because I had a well used review unit or because of some other reason, but every so often the screen would go black when I set it down. And it would only come back when I pressed the latch on the battery case. At first it was an annoyance, and then it became frustrating. I’m an adult. I don’t have time to be fiddling with battery latches.
The Asus made me wonder how the kid version of me would have liked it. The version of myself leaning against a mechanically dangerous Audi with a sound system that cost more than the car. Wondering if I should spend my latest paycheck adding another amp or chrome exhaust tips (spoiler, I did both). That kid would not have looked twice at the GL551j. He’d be asking ‘where’s the neon?‘ and ‘why aren’t there more vents all over it?’ The kid me would not have liked it. The adult me however, likes it a lot.
It’s been a long time since I’ve gone through a neighborhood revving my engine while blasting the radio in a car with no brakes. Now my car has more power under the hood, and can stop on a dime and my ears don’t ring when I turn the radio off. Being an adult doesn’t mean you give up all the fun stuff kids have, it just means you don’t spend time and money trying to impress everyone else around you. I don’t have time for that. Because I’m an adult, and I have games to play. And the Asus GL551j is just the machine to play them on.
Take a look at our unboxing of the GL551J