I once again found myself in need of a new computer, after my HP laptop started dying recently. My friend had a great experience with a similar laptop, the ASUS G50Vt-X5, so I decided to take a look at this one. Being a student, I didn’t have that big of a budget, but I still wanted something that could handle the latest games reasonably well. I kept coming back to this one, and after I found a refurbished one from Ecom Electronics for $800 including shipping, I decided to give it a go.

Basic Specs

Processor: 2.25 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (overclockable with factory-installed software to ~2.5 GHz)
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Drive: ~300 GB
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 9800M GS
Display Resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels
Operating System: Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit

Features: 9 out of 10

This laptop has a lot of interesting features. There are a few pre-installed ASUS utilities which are a lot more functional and less annoying than the usual bloatware. The most useful of these is ASUS Direct Console, which controls the lights on the lid and the small display above the keyboard, and allows you to overclock the processor. There is a built-in microphone and webcam, and high quality Altec Lansing speakers along with a nice Synaptics touchpad. In addition, the keyboard is optimized for gaming with a full numpad and textured WASD keys.The most noticeable feature that is uncommon in computers in this price range is the video card, which is one of the greatest selling point of this laptop.

Performance: 9 out of 10

The ASUS handled everything I threw at it. It ran fine playing Borderlands at maximum settings, it encoded video and MP3s very quickly, and it even managed to run Crysis at pretty high settings without a significant drop in framerate. Games ran better on this computer than on an HP that cost more than twice as much.

Looks: 10 out of 10

This is definitely one of the flashier laptops out there. It has a blue high-tech looking graphic on the lid and comes complete with flashing lights. The black, blue and silver color scheme is quite striking, but not gaudy.

Comfort: 9 out of 10

The keyboard is comfortable to use and the laptop rests nicely on my lap when using it on the go. I especially liked that the vent was on the side rather than the bottom so hot air isn’t blowing on my legs all the time. Considering the amount of power this thing is packing, it stays fairly cool.

Overall: 9 out of 10

This is one of the best laptops I’ve ever used, period and the same was said from expert reviewers TheTechInsider.org. It handles gaming great, it’s not very expensive considering, and it has no problem running the productivity programs that students like me need to use on a regular basis. If you consider yourself a gamer, but you’re not either willing or able to shell out big bucks for a laptop, this laptop (or a similar ASUS laptop) is probably your best bet.