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Asus ROG GM703 – Two year review

Asus gaming machine. It turned out to be pretty good, but two years later, I'm looking for something new.
(See online!)

At the time I bought this, ASUS and MSI were the two top contenders. Both were solid brands with good history and all the features I wanted, but MSI has a weird obsession with making the keyboard perfectly rectangular at the expense of shoving all the keys together. As soon as I noticed the ASUS had a more spaced out keyboard and even a few media keys, the choice was obvious. In practice the keyboard is easy and natural to type on, though for some unknowable reason, there's no light indicating Num Lock status and no easily accessed END key which is REALLY annoying.

That aside, the coloration and controls are good, the performance is good, it's much thinner and lighter than my Qosmio and, most importantly, there's an empty RAM slot so I could upgrade from 16GB to 32 very easily (which I did).

The screen is crazy bright and I don't think I've used it on even 50% brightness yet because I'd likely get a burn from the glare. I think the macho ROG symbol is a bit childish but I wouldn't mind it too much if I could at least customize the color of the glowing ROG eye on the back of my screen.

Grr. So manly! Chest thump! WOOO. Look at my menacing laptop!

At the one year mark, I noticed two other problems. The function keys are shifted slightly further right than they should be making it too easy to hit the wrong one or the delete key when you mean F12. Additionally the fun keyboard color feature is less so when the color is weak and without definition. Either it's weakened considerably over the year or it was never as bright to begin with. Either way, the advertised color and reality are starkly different.

It's a shame. It's not an important feature, but I thought the lighted keyboard would be cool; not dim.

Second: I noticed this problem early, but didn't want to deal with it because I waited so long to buy the laptop that I just couldn't bring myself to return it. Every now and then it has problems with the disk hanging. I can move around, click windows, and so on, but disk-heavy programs (in particular VMware which I use for virtual machines) seem to lock hard. After that, the computer becomes incredibly slow in all programs (particularly any that would use the disk). If I try to shut it down, it hangs for so long that I usually just force power it down and when I restart, my login screen is wrong and I have to reset it.

I'm still not entirely sure if it's Windows 10 problem, a VMware problem, or an ASUS problem, but I figured it was better to point it out in case others had a similar issue.

In the end, it's a good laptop that did what I wanted it to. It has a few downsides that aren't critical enough that I wouldn't choose Asus again; but it wasn't great enough that it's my top choice for the next laptop either.
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