The Asus ROG G701VI (Starting at $2,999, reviewed at $3,499) is a kitchen sink of awesome. For starters, the laptop has an overclockable 7th-gen Intel Kaby Lake processor paired with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU -- currently the most powerful laptop GPU on the market. Next, you have a pair of PCIe m.2 SSDs in RAID 0 for some of the fastest transfer speeds I've seen from a laptop. Then you've got a display with 178-degree viewing angles and Nvidia G-Sync technology. The result is a laptop that can deliver consistently high frame rates, run VR and multitask like a beast -- all while make your friends and family ooh and ahh. If you're willing to splurge, it's a gaming system that should definitely be at the top of your list.
In my heart of hearts, I don't believe that orange and gunmetal gray go together. However, all that logic goes out the window when I look at the G701VI. The brushed gray aluminum lid really brings out the innate beauty of the orange backlit accent surrounding the gleaming Republic of Gamers emblem. The copper-colored chrome at the top of the rather thick hinge distracts you from the sheer bulkiness.
Asus dialed back on the peachy accents on the interior, going with a more gamer-traditional black, gray and red color scheme. There's a thin strip of copper at the top separating the deck from the power button. That small section is imprinted with a circuit-like pattern that I wish would have been incorporated over more of the design.
As it stands, the majority of the keyboard deck is encased in a luxurious, black soft-touch finish surrounded by gunmetal-gray aluminum. At the top left of the deck, you'll find buttons for the webcam along with five macro buttons.
The G701VS has a number of future-forward ports, including the Thunderbolt port and USB Type-C port located on the laptop's right side. There's also a USB 3.0 port, HDMI 2.0, a Mini DisplayPort and Gigabit Ethernet. Housed on the system's left are a pair of USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, jacks for a mic and headphone, and a Kensington lock in the left-side hinge. You'll find a large, proprietary port in the back for the G701VI's massive power cord.
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The 16.9 x 12.2 x 1.3-inch G701VI weighs in at 7.9 pounds, which is on a par with Razer Blade Pro (7.8 pounds, 16.7 x 11 x 0.88 inches) and Aorus X7 v6 (7.2 pounds, 16.1 x 12.2 x 1 inches). It's far lighter than the Origin PC Eon17-SLX and the MSI GT83VR Titan SLI, which tip the scales at 10.5 and 13.1 pounds, respectively.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a bad seat in the house when looking at the G701VI's display, thanks to its generous 178-degree viewing angle. That meant I could sit to the far right of the 17.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 display and watch the 1080p trailer of Girls Trip without any color degradation. And despite its matte display, every red triangle, blue diamond and yellow stripe on actress Tiffany Haddish's dress popped, but not as much as her fire-engine-red lipstick. Details were so sharp that I could see a scant few flyaway strands of hair in her otherwise carefully coiffed hairstyle.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looks gorgeous on the G701VI. The detail was fine enough that I could see the stitching in the pair of scabbards strung across Geralt's back. As I rode into town, my mount's jet-black tail bobbed from side to side, in sync with Geralt's bone-white locks. I saw a lake and stopped long enough to admire the clear blue liquid and the wispy fog floating above as the sky slowly transformed from a deep blush pink to a piercing crystal blue.
The G701VI's panel can reproduce 113 percent of the sRGB gamut, which is great and on a par with the X7 and Titan, both of which hit 114 percent. However, none of these could match the 122 percent desktop-replacement average or the Eon17 and Blade Pro's incredible scores of 178 and 185 percent, respectively.
With a measurement of 1.6 (0 is ideal) on the Delta-E test, the G701VI has one of the more accurate screens. It's better than the 3.5, 2.3 and 2 notched by the X7, Blade Pro and Titan.
At 227 nits, the G701VI's screen is brighter than the X7 (252 nits), but not the 296-nit average, the Titan, the Blade Pro or the Eon17.
In addition to having some seriously wide viewing angles, the G701VI's panel also has Nvidia's G-Sync technology, which syncs up the laptop's display rate with the graphics card. That means that the system is placing a frame cap that matches the panel limit, which allows for instant rendering in both full-screen and windowed modes, thus eliminating any tears, and leaving smooth images and happy gamers.
And before you start worrying, the G701VI is one of the few laptops with a 120-Hz G-Sync panel, so you won't have to sacrifice high frame rates for smooth graphics.
It won't replace a solid Bluetooth speaker, but the G701VI's speakers definitely fill a medium-size room, provided it's a quiet space. I had a good old time jamming to Jamiroquai's "Time Won't Wait, which had nice, strong bass and warm, clear mids and highs. The cymbals were clear and crisp against the lilting vocals on this upbeat track.
However, like most Asus gaming laptops, the speakers are a little too quiet for my taste. When I played Witcher 3, I felt like I had to strain to hear some of the finer details, like my fire spell billowing from my hands. The sound was clear enough to hear metal clanking against metal, but it would have been nice to get just a little more volume.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The G701VI's island-style keyboard isn't the clickiest keyboard I've used. But I still managed to hit my typical 65 words per minute on the 10FastFingers typing test. The keys delivered nice, springy feedback despite their 1.3 millimeters (1.5 to 2 mm is ideal) of key travel with 57 grams (60 g minimum) actuation.
The keyboard's red backlighting is bright enough to see in dim environments, but I'm disappointed that Asus hasn't added the RGB lights you find on the cheaper Asus ROG Strix GL553VD to this system. It seems like a bit of a rip-off to ask people to pay over $3,000 and not let them change the color of their keyboard.
There's more than enough room on the 4.6 x 2.6-inch touchpad for your fingers to meander across its smooth surface. I had no problem performing multitouch gestures such as pinch-zoom, two-finger scroll and three-finger swipe. Instead of using the bottom corners of the pad, the laptop has a pair of discrete buttons that are a bit mushy, but get the job done.
Graphics, Gaming and VR
The G701VI is an absolute gaming beast. I've yet to come across a game that the system's Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM didn't tear through, leaving silky smooth graphics and high frame rates in its wake. Just like other Pascal GPUs, the 1080 is also VR-ready, so you can hook up an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift and unleash digital mayhem.
Cue the This is Spinal Tap jokes. When we ran the SteamVR Performance Test, the system maxed out the score at 11, matching the Blade Pro (GTX 1080s), the Titan and Eon17 (dual GTX 1080 GPUs). It sailed past the 9.1 desktop-replacement average and the X7 with its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU.
To test the system's VR readiness, I hooked up the Rift and launched Insomniac Games' The Unspoken for some good old-fashioned magic dueling. Teleporting from platform to platform was a seamless affair, as was hurling flaming, screaming Chaos Skulls at my opponent. When I launched a row of magical fireworks into the air, I rained beautiful fiery death upon my outmatched opponent.
While exploring the ruins of what I thought was an abandoned settlement in The Witcher 3, I encountered a group of bandits. Unsheathing my steel sword, I quickly went to work, whittling down the crowd, starting with a blast of my fire spell (Igni) for a measure of crowd control. I rushed the archer, dispatching him with a few quick strikes, and from there, battled an ax-wielding lout until I got the upper hand, lopping off his arm. Geralt's Nvidia HairWorks-treated locks whipped realistically around his face, at a stutter-free 70 fps on Ultra at 1920 x 1080.
During the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark (run on Very High at 1920 x 1080), the G701VI achieved a frame rate of 71 fps, dusting the 53-fps average as well as the Blade Pro (65 fps), Titan (58 fps) and X7 (56 fps). The Eon17 was just a little bit better at 81 fps.
On the Grand Theft Auto V test, the G701VI hit 90 fps, besting the 83-fps average. It was enough to topple the Blade Pro and X7, which notched 65 and 74 fps, respectively. But the Eon17 and Titan averaged 121 and 139 fps, respectively.
Packing an overclockable 7th-generation 2.9-GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK processor with a ridiculous 64GB of RAM, the G701VI is a brute when it comes to multitasking and productivity. I confidently watched a Twitch stream while running a full system scan in Windows Defender while having 20 open tabs in Google Chrome. I only noticed the tiniest bit of lag when I launched Tomb Raider.
The Asus achieved 17,404 on the Geekbench 4 synthetic performance test, beating the 13,444 category average. It also surpassed the Blade Pro's (2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-6700HQ) score of 11,702, as well as the Titan's (3.1-GHz Intel Core i7-7920) and the X7's (2.7-GHz Intel Core i7-6820). Overclocked or not, the G701VI was no match for the Eon17's 4.5-GHz Intel Core i7-6700K desktop CPU, which notched 18,317.
The G701VI and its dual 512GB PCIe m.2 SSDs in RAID 0 configuration is the fastest setup I've had the pleasure of playing with. The system duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in an amazing 4 seconds. That translates into a transfer rate of 1,272.4 megabytes per second, soundly thrashing the 512-MBps desktop-replacement average. The Titan's pair of 512GB PCIe SSDs took second place with 1,018 MBps, while the X7 (512GB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD) and Eon17 (dual 256GB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSDs) notched 463 MBps and 424.1MBps, respectively. The Blade Pro's dual 256GB PCIe SSDs finished last with 391.5 MBps.
On the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test, the G701VI paired 20,000 names and addresses in 2 minutes and 59 seconds, besting the 3:33 average. The X7, Titan and Eon17 were in a dead heat at 3:09, while the Blade Pro completed the task in 4:06.
During the battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi), the G701VI lasted 3 hours and 27 minutes, which is short of the 4:27 desktop-replacement average. But that's still longer than Blade Pro, X7, Titan and Eon17, which all lasted under 3 hours.
I ran a mission in Witcher 3 for 15 minutes, and after my romp, measured the system's temperature in several spots. The touchpad measured 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while the center of the system reached 104 degrees, which is above our 95-degree comfort threshold. The laptop's undercarriage was noticeably warmer at 113 degrees, but due to its size, I doubt many people will be using the G701VI in their laps.
Once the laptop cooled down, we streamed an HD YouTube video for 15 minutes and remeasured everything. The touchpad was a cool 88 degrees, with the space between the G and H keys reaching 92 degrees. The system's bottom measured 89 degrees.
The 720p integrated camera takes surprisingly color-accurate stills and video. After reviewing a few test shots taken at my desk, the camera captured my violet locs along with the various shades of blue in my shirt. Although the details were fuzzy, I could still make out some of the print on the headphone box in the background.
Software and Warranty
Asus' usual cast of characters make their appearance in the software. You've got the ROG Center, which lets you keep track of your system diagnostics such as clock and fan speed, storage and RAM space. Splendid Utility adjusts color temperature the display for an optimal image, no matter what you're watching. There's also ROG MacroKey to help you program the Macro keys.
Third-party gamer fare includes Nvidia GeForce Experience and its suite of apps, including Battery Boost, Game Optimization and GameStream. And if you prefer a more robust livestreaming service, Asus has included a one-year free license to XSplit Gamecaster.
Bloatware apps include Drawboard PDF, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Asphalt 8 and Royal Revolt 2.
I got to take the $3,499 Asus ROG G701VI out for a spin. It's got a lot under the hood, including a 2.9-GHz Intel Core i7-7820HK processor with 64GB of RAM, dual 512GB PCIe m.2 SSDs in RAID 0 configuration and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. The $2,999 base model has the same CPU and GPU, but cuts the RAM down to 32GB and only has one 512GB PCIe m.2 SSD.
Asus ROG G701VI vs. the Competition
If you're searching for a powerful laptop that won't put such a hurting on your bottom line, there's the Aorus X7 v6. For $2,499, you get a laptop that's pretty svelte for its size with comparable performance and graphics, despite having a 6th-gen CPU and an Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU. If having an extremely bright and vivid display is your priority, than the $3,699 Razer Blade Pro is the system for you, although you'll be sacrificing those insane viewing angles and G-Sync tech.
The $3,499 Asus ROG G701VI is one of those laptops that has to be seen to be believed. The system's gray-and-orange design sets it apart from the scores of laptops clad in red and black. But beyond the aesthetics, this system is kick ass, packing an overclockable 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processor and an Nvidia GTX 1080 GPU under its alluring chassis. It that's not enough, its pair of PCIe SSDs are some of the fastest I've encountered, and you get a lovely display with Nvidia G-Sync and 178-degree viewing angles. However, for the price, I would expect the system to have a configurable RGB keyboard like its cheaper cousins. And it would be nice if Asus could deliver louder, richer audio..
Overall, though, the G701VI is the ideal laptop for gamers looking for serious power for gaming, VR or productivity.