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Summary: The Asus GL552VW performs well and runs cool and quiet in pretty much every situation. If you have a little over $1000 and want to buy a full-size all-round laptop, a machine that can handle everyday multitasking, multimedia content and gaming at ease, the Asus ROG GL552VW is one of the options to consider.
Asus have a long history in this segment with their N-series and later on the G-series notebooks. Asus sent in a pre-production sample for us to have a look at, and after spending many hours with it in the last week, I’m left with mixed feelings.
Before we start our analysis though, you must know that Asus plans to offer the GL552VW in two versions, one with a plastic lid-cover, the one we tested here, and another with a more premium aluminum hood.
Update2: The metallic version of the Asus GL552VW is actually a big step forward in terms of build quality over the plastic covered variants, and most configurations actually come in this package these days. The main competitors are a bit lighter (within 0.5 lbs) and some of them way thinner, and the list of competitors includes devices like the Lenovo Y50, the MSI GE62 Apache or the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black-Edition, with similar specs and price tags. Plastic is used for the entire case of our ROG G552VW test unit, with a textured finishing for the lid-cover and a smooth one for the interior.
The more premium version gets a sheet of brushed aluminum on the hood, with a narrow plastic strip for the antennas, but its shape and interior design is identical to the version tested here. Now, once we look past the craftsmanship quality and choice in materials, the GL552VW is actually a fairly good laptop. Still, I can’t stop thinking that this GL552VW is actually a step backwards from the GL551 and the N551 models in terms of build quality and how the laptop feels in daily use. Asus chose a FullHD IPS panel with a matte finishing for this laptop and I can hardly say anything bad about it. Back to that keyboard, well, it’s alright, but someone who types thousands of words per day will probably want to look elsewhere.
The keyboard types alright, and I didn’t need much time to get used to it, as it has a short stroke just like most of the ultraportables available these days. Last but not least, I’m definitely not a fan of the Black and Red color scheme, which makes the keys undistinguishable in dim rooms, but at least the keyboard is backlit and as long as you keep the illumination active and set on the top intensity, the keys should be visible enough. But how about performance, as people are going to buy this computer primarily for what it’s capable of? There are two memory DIMMs, both accessible through the service trail on the laptop’s back, hold in place by just two Philips screws. Now, the Core i7-6700HQ processor is not that much faster than the Core i7-4710HQ used on the previous generation G551, as you can tell from this article, but it does provide a slight performance boost, runs more efficient and cooler. The Cinebench GPU benchmarks are skewed, but all the others show a 5-10% boost for the GL552VW, so not a major increase. The 1920 x 1080 px native resolution is perfectly suited for the chosen graphics chip and personally I wouldn’t get a 4K panel on such a configuration if I was planning on running a lot of games on it. Now, performance on a modern laptop needs to be properly inter-weaved with thermals and acoustics, and the GL552 scores high in these sections as well.
The hardware is cooled by a single fan, as I mentioned before, which spins quietly in everyday use and only ramps up at high loads. Asus did a great job with the connectivity options on this device, adding a fast wireless chip and a Gigabit LAN solution. One final aspect to mention here is the fairly good webcam placed on top of the screen, backed up by an array of dual microphones. Personally, I would have preferred a larger and encased battery, cause in the end the battery life ends up suffering with this approach, as the laptop can only go for a maximum of 5 hours of light use on a single charge, with the screen brightness set at around 120 nits (40%). 27 W (~1 h 50 min of use) – heavy browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 40%, Wi-Fi ON. Asus bundles the GL552 with a 120W power brick and a full-recharge takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes if you use the computer while it charges, and a little over two hours if not.


Now, Asus will release a few other configurations later this year or early into 2016, and those of you that are not comfortable with what I described above will find models with an included SSD, while those on a lower budget will find cheaper versions with a Core i5-6300HQ processor and probably 16 GB of RAM, for under $1000.
As we draw the line on the Asus ROG GL552VW, I can’t really recommend the unit tested here, with the plastic lid cover.
The the end of the day, the GL552VW could have been a great buy, if not for the poor build quality and choice in materials.
You know, because it is not compatible with the Samsung 950 Pro because of NVMe standard not supported, can run 951 sm AHCI? Would you recommend it (with the aluminum hood, IPS screen and SSD) for photo and video editing ?
I was really hoping this to be a powerfull yet lightweighted new gaming laptop, but after reading your review and other reviews about the somewhat weak geforce 960m, I wont be buying this one. The GL552VW is one of their latest launches at the time of this article, bundling a matte IPS display, a Skylake quad-core processor, dual-storage options and Nvidia GTX 960M graphics. And when you buy an all-round computer and plan to keep it for a few years, reliability and build quality should be important criteria on your list.
The dimpled outer shell feels rather cheap and that silver shield on the hood is also made from plastic. The lid is weak and flexible, as you can see in the video, so don’t put anything heavy on this computer and be extra careful when you carry it around in your backpack.
The interior is roomy and houses a full-size chiclet keyboard, the IO on the sides includes 4 USB slots, one of them being an USB TypeC connector, plus full-size HDMI video output, a card-reader, an optical drive and a LAN port, while the matte screen is a pleasure to look at. They replaced the Samsung panel used on the G551 with an better LG Philips one, and the numbers below talk for themselves. You might want to calibrate the screen if you want to use the computer for color-accurate work, as out of the box it has a cold tint. Our test unit came with serious light-bleeding in the upper right corner, and I blame this once again on the poor craftsmanship, as the plastic bezel puts pressure on the panel in that certain point, which causes the bleeding. However, the keys feel a bit mushy and lack a precise click, which leads to occasional missed strokes if you don’t hit each key vigorously and preferably in its middle, not on the sides. It handles taps and gestures well most of the time, but even in their case I did ran into some occasional stuttering when scrolling in Edge or occasional missed taps, especially those gentle ones, so the experience leaves something to be desired.
The computer runs Windows 10 and the preinstalled software package is frugal, with an Office and McAfee Trial, Dropbox and only a few other programs.
However, compared to the GL551JM, the newer laptop does run cooler, as you can see in the pictures below. I’d reckon this is a safety measure implemented by Asus here in other to prevent overheating and potential damage and is a limitation imposed by the single-fan cooling solution with linked heat-pipes. It’s also easy to upgrade, which is a welcomed bonus and would allow you to get a lower end configuration and then upgrade the RAM and storage when you get extra funds. Despite that, both the inner components and the outer case remain cool, with very few areas going past 40 degrees mark, even when running games for a long time, as you can see in the pictures below. I’ve used the GL552VW mostly on wireless and it was able to max-out my connection easily, both when right near the router, but also at 30 feet with 2 walls in between. Should be decent, since they are placed on top of the keyboard and push the sound towards the user’s ears, although some reviewers complained about the audio quality on the GL552JX model, which probably bundles the exact same speakers. And then you just have to place it inside and reinstall Windows, which should be a walk in the park.
However, make sure you pick the IPS screen option and not the TN HD or FHD panels that will be bundled with some lower-end models.
And that might sound harsh, but shows how one bad design decision can ruin an otherwise good laptop. The battery life is average, while both the keyboard and the trackpad leave something to be desired.


It’s not the absolute best pick out there, but for the right price, it can be the one to get.
Let me know if you have anything to add to this post or get in touch in the comments if you have any questions, I’m around and will help out if I can. Since 2007, I've only owned smaller than 12.5" laptops and I've been testing tens, if not hundreds of mini laptops. I’m looking at the version with 1 terabyte ssd and 16 gig ram, but I do heavy 3D modeling (not gaming) and a better graphics card really improves performing. Is there any news on when the metallic version will become available (in the UK) or when you might review it?
On the other hand, the design and especially the build-quality are a step backwards when compared to the the older G-series 15-inchers, or the competition available today, plus the keyboard and trackpad need a breath of fresh air.
So at least on paper, it looks like a great buy, but in keep in mind this is a rather chunky and heavy machine, thus not an ultraportable.
The soft interior shows smudges and prints extremely easily, especially on the palm-rest are the area around the trackpad.
The screen’s hinges are weak as well, so fragile that the display actually wobbles when typing. I mean, how on earth can you take a rather chunky, yet strong body, and turn it into a still chunky, yet weak one? I’m using a Spyder4 sensor for my measurements and the Spyder4 Elite software package. So make sure you check your unit for any problems when you get it out of the box and send it back if it doesn’t meet your standards.
It can cope well with more demanding software too, like Photoshop or Premiere, and that Nvidia 960M graphics chip can tackle some games, as long as you don’t expect to run the most recent titles with maximum details. Keep in mind the Nvidia 960M chip is a mid-level solution, so don’t expect to run smoothly the latest games with maximum settings, but as long as you trim them down to High or even Medium, you should be able to enjoy most titles.
That means the antennas are really capable on this machine and will allow it to perform well even in those areas with dodgy Wi-Fi signal. This computer looks super great in terms of specs but I want a durable machine if I’m spending that much. If you decide to get one of these though, make sure you pick the version with a metallic lid-cover, the plastic variants are poorly built. On the other hand, I like how the interior actually looks and feels, with the dark background, the few red accents and the graphic design of the area on top of the keyboard. So if you end up getting one of these computers, make sure you treat it nicely and take special care on how you lift up the screen: always grab it from the middle, never from the corners. Slight bleeding is acceptable on matte panels, but this kind of bleeding is only visible at high brightness on a dark background, and shouldn’t be visible in everyday use.
You might think I’m getting carried away here, but from my experience, those who buy this kind of computers expect to keep them for a long time. I also appreciate the subtle ROG logo on the hood, which is backlit, but glows mildly and is not as obvious as on other computers. And they expect them to work flawlessly during this period, which can’t be the case if the screen breaks, can it?



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