To maintain your competitive edge while you game, you can't take your eyes away from the screen -- not even for a second. That's where the Asus ROG G701VI ($2,999.99 to start; $3,499.99 as tested) comes in. Its 1080p G-Sync display offers whopping 178-degree viewing angles, making your fragging visible no matter where you sit (or what snack you move over to reach for). Its Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU delivers monster performance and supports the latest VR headsets, making the G701VI a solid choice for anyone who wants games to look and play their best.
Asus really nailed it with its new design for gaming laptops. The ROG G701VI looks quite a bit like the Asus ROG G752VS OC Edition, and I'm just fine with that. The lid is gunmetal gray with copper accents and the over-the-top ROG logo in between two glowing orange stripes. It looks intense but isn't the cliched red and black we've seen time and time again. There are some seriously large vents on the back of the machine. However, they're all black, unlike the ones on the G752VS, which are decorated with glowing orange lights.
Lifting the lid reveals the 17.3-inch, 1080p display; island-style keyboard with a number pad; and a two-tone deck made of gunmetal aluminum and black soft-touch material.
At 8.2 pounds and 16.1 x 12.2 x 1.5 inches, the G701VI is fairly hefty, but not as backbreaking as some other 17-inch gaming notebooks. The G752VS is slightly larger, at 15.4 x 12.7 x 1.5 inches and 8.9 pounds, and the Origin PC Eon17-SLX 10 Series, with its two graphics cards, is 17 x 12 x 1.9 inches and a muscle-straining 12.8 pounds. The Aorus X7 v6 is about the same size as the G701VI at 16.9 x 12 x 1 inches, but a pound lighter, at 7.2 pounds.
The sides of the G701VI are lined with every port you could possibly need. On the left are two USB 3.0 ports, separate headphone and microphone jacks, and an SD card slot. On the right, there's another USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port and a mini DisplayPort for video output; a pair of USB Type-C ports (one of which supports Thunderbolt 3); and an Ethernet jack.
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The 17.3-inch, 1080p, 120Hz G-Sync display on the G701VI is incredibly sharp, with vivid colors and spectacular viewing angles, but it's a bit dim. When I watched the trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming, the hero's red and blue costume popped against the stone of the Washington Monument, and during a close-up on actor Tom Holland, I could see his freckles and peach fuzz. Asus makes good on its promise of 178-degree viewing angles; I could make out the Vulture's glowing green eyes and furry jacket collar even from the side of the laptop, although it wasn't as bright as it was when I viewed the screen straight-on.
As I soared through the skies of Gotham City in Batman: Arkham Knight, the pink and red lights on buildings popped against the gray skies. I could see beads of rain sticking to Batman's cape and the hairs on the villain Man-Bat's wings and neck.
The G701VI's screen covers an excellent 112 percent of the sRGB color gamut, but its competitors show off even more vivid hues. The desktop-replacement average is 128 percent, and the Aorus (114 percent), G752VS (also 114 percent) and Origin (an incredible 178 percent) offered more magnificent colors than the G701VI.
With a Delta-E color score of 2.4, the G701VI doesn't offer the most exact shades (0 is the ideal score). The average is 1.3, and the Origin (1.0) and G752VS (0.9) were even better. The Aorus was less exact, with a score of 3.5.
At 287 nits of brightness, the G701VI matches the Aorus but is dimmer than the average (298 nits), the G752VS (326 nits) and the Origin (335 nits).
The G701VI's speakers produced clear sound while I was gaming and listening to music. When I played Batman: Arkham Knight, Alfred's voice came through clearly on a call with Batman discussing the results of Man-Bat's vitals, and I could hear the solid click of the grappling hook attaching to buildings as Batman soared from one edifice to the next. Unfortunately, the volume didn't go as high as I would have liked.
The G701VI also makes for a solid jukebox. When I listened to Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," the audio filled our midsize conference room with sound, though I would have preferred it even louder. The vocals and guitar were clear, but I wanted more bass. I used the Sonic Studio II app to go through equalizers and adjust the bass and reverb to get the song exactly how I wanted it.
One note: Don't play games or listen to music on max volume, as the sound tends to get a bit distorted.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The G701VI's keyboard isn't as clicky and responsive as some other gaming keyboards (a few of which are even mechanical), but it was still comfortable to use. Despite the keyboard's shallow 1.3 millimeters of travel and 62 grams of force required to press the keys, I never found myself bottoming out. With my wrists placed firmly on the comfortable, soft-touch deck, I typed 118 words per minute with a 3 percent error rate. That's faster than my usual 107 wpm, but also higher than my usual 2 percent mistake ratio. The keyboard buckled a bit as I typed, but not enough to affect my performance.There are five macro keys at the top of the keyboard that can be customized with the ROG MacroKey software, and the red backlighting can be adjusted slightly in the ROG Gaming Center to only illuminate the keys on the left side of the keyboard most commonly used for gaming. (However, red is the only color option.)
The 4.6 x 2.6-inch touchpad provides more than enough room to navigate the massive display, and was accurate as I two-finger-scrolled through web pages and swiped with three fingers left and right to switch between apps. Asus includes a program that lets you handwrite characters on the touchpad with your finger, but I found that it wasn't terribly accurate (and I'd much rather type than write out letters by hand).
Gaming, Graphics and VR
The Asus ROG G701VI scored high marks on our gaming benchmarks, thanks to its beefy Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM. The 1080 is the highest-end graphics card in Nvidia's Pascal series, which is suitable for use with VR headsets such as the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, as well as intense games.
When I played Batman: Arkham Knight, I chased Man-Bat through the skies over Gotham City's Miagani Island. On High settings at 1080p, I used the grappling hook to race between buildings at 90 frames per second, which is the game's frame-rate cap. To tax the system more, I turned on Nvidia's GameWorks effects, including interactive fog and rain, more realistic lighting, and paper debris floating through the streets. With those enhancements, I continued the pursuit with frame rates between 67 and 87 fps. The entire experience was smooth, with no tearing at all thanks to Nvidia's G-Sync, which synchronizes the screen's refresh rate with the GPU's performance.
On the Hitman benchmark at 1080p and Ultra settings, the G701VI ran at 109 fps, surpassing the desktop-replacement average of 80 fps, the Origin (two GTX 1080s, 103 fps), the Aorus (GTX 1070, 100.6 fps) and the G752VS (GTX 1070, 89 fps).
The G701VI also put on a strong showing in our Grand Theft Auto V benchmark; it ran at 119 fps at 1080p and Very High settings, towering over the average of 91 fps. Only the Origin did better, at 121 fps, while the Aorus and G752VS were weaker performers, at 74 fps and 69 fps, respectively.
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When it comes to VR readiness, the G701VI will serve you well. It earned a high score of 10.9, topped only by the Origin's 11. The average is 9.2, and the G752VS was only slightly behind, at 10.5.
With its 2.7-GHz Intel Core i7-6820HK, 64GB of RAM, two 512GB PCIe M.2 SSDs in a RAID0 setup and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM, the G701VI is ready for any productivity task you throw at it. Heck, it's overkill for most productivity tasks. I was able to stream two 1080p videos from YouTube simultaneously and switch among 40 open tabs in Chrome without experiencing any hint of lag.
The laptop earned a score of 16,120 on the Geekbench 3 overall performance test. That's a bit lower than the desktop-replacement average (Core i7-6700K, 17,348) and the Origin (Core i7-6820HK, 17,639) and just shy of the Aorus (Core i7-6820HK, 16,411), but it surpasses the number the G752VS put up (15,563).
The G701VI took just 8 seconds to transfer 4.97GB of mixed media files. That's a transfer rate of 636.2 megabytes per second, which is faster than the category average (539.9 MBps). It's also speedier than the Aorus (462.7 MBps) and the Origin (424.1 MBps), but slower than the G752VS (848.2 MBps).
It took a quick 3 minutes and 14 seconds for the G701VI to pair 20,000 names and addresses in our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro Test. Although the Origin and Aorus were a few seconds ahead (both finished in 3:09), the G701VI beat the category average (3:35) as well as the G752VS (3:23).
The G701VI is further proof that boasting a Pascal GPU means suffering from paltry battery life. The laptop lasted 3 hours and 18 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves browsing the web continuously over Wi-Fi. That's worse than the 4:28 desktop-replacement average, but better than the Origin's 1:25 -- it has to power two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs -- and the Aorus (2:23). The G752VS lasted a little longer, at 3:42.
The G701VI kept its cool under regular use. After it streamed 15 minutes of HD video from YouTube, the machine measured 94 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom, 92 degrees in the center of the keyboard and 87 degrees on the touchpad. None of those temperatures surpass our 95-degree comfort threshold.
But when I played Batman: Arkham Knight, the machine heated up, reaching 115 degrees on the bottom, 106 degrees between the G and H keys on the keyboard, and 92.5 degrees on the touchpad.
If you don't have an external webcam for streaming your games on Twitch, the one built into the G701VI will do the job. Photos are detailed and color accurate, albeit occasionally a tad dark. In a picture I snapped in our office under challenging lighting conditions, my eyes look bruised and a co-worker behind me looks like he's completely in shadow. However, it did capture the color of my green sweater exactly, and I could make out my dimple even though it was in shadow.
Software and Warranty
The Asus ROG G701VI is stacked with useful software to customize your computer and your gaming experience. The main app is ROG Gaming Center, an insanely comprehensive utility that makes it easy to overclock your CPU, adjust your system fans, and customize your sound and keyboard. Additionally, the Eye Care Switcher app reduces blue light to prevent eyestrain, especially during late-night gaming sessions. Additionally, XSplit Gamecaster comes preinstalled with all of its features unlocked for free, which makes for easy Twitch streaming.
The notebook also has its share of bloatware, including Music Maker Jam, TripAdvisor, Flipboard, PicsArt and Netflix.
Asus sells the notebook with a one-year warranty. See how the company did on our Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands ranking.
The Asus ROG G701VI we reviewed cost $3,500 and came packed with a 2.7-GHz Intel Core i7-6820HK, 64GB of RAM, two 512GB PCIe M.2 SSDs set in a RAID0 configuration, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU with 8GB of VRAM.
Asus sells one other configuration of the laptop: a $3,000 version with the same CPU and GPU, but 32GB of RAM and a single 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD.
The Asus ROG G701VI is a powerful gaming laptop with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU that prepares it for almost any game or VR experience. If you're willing to pay $3,500 for a computer, you'll get one with specs that will deliver high-performance gaming for years on a 1080p display with spectacular viewing angles.
If you want a 17-inch gaming notebook for a bit less, consider the Aorus X7 v6, which starts at $2,300, is slightly lighter and offers solid performance from its GTX 1070 (albeit not as good as what the G701 1080 offers, but hey, you get what you pay for).
But if you want the best viewing angles you can get on a gaming notebook today and a beautiful design that stands out from the crowd, the G701VI will be perfect for your battle station.