As far as I can tell, most of the included software is “nagware”. You get some basic stuff that lasts for 30 to 60 days (e.g. McAfee antivirus) and then you are expected to upgrade to the paid versions. It’s unclear which is which, but most of this stuff can easily be replaced by free alternatives.
There are some worthy highlights though. First, ASUS has their own branded utilities that are quite good. My favorite is the “Instant On” feature. Unlike a traditional “sleep” function in Windows that only lasts for a couple days and can risk data loss, ASUS’ version can supposedly last for two weeks on a fully charged battery. More than that, if the battery charge becomes too weak, the system will automatically store the computers RAM to hard drive so your data is safe. Nothing beats opening and closing the lid and having a shut-down and wake-up happen in two to three seconds!
While the battery life is abysmal, ASUS’ power management features maximize your flexibility by letting you control the CPU throttling, hard drive timeouts, optical drive and webcam power distribution, and much more. It won’t deliver a holiday miracle by letting your computer shine bright for eight days on a single battery charge, but it’s the next best thing.
Love it or hate it, Windows 8 is here, and is likely to benefit stereoscopic 3D gamers in the long run. While the computer comes equipped with Windows 7 64 bit, you are qualified to get Windows 8 Pro for a whopping $14.99 US plus tax. I haven’t installed it yet, but I will likely make the jump soon.
I don’t really have a lot to say here. The computer is a stereo device with a subwoofer. There is an external headphones jack, but nothing for connecting to surround sound speakers – the exception being the HDMI and DisplayPort connectors (which I have no experience doing!). I’ve played my share of games on the G75VW, and it’s plenty loud. I would have preferred more precise stepping in the hotkey volume control, but it’s adequate.
While there isn’t much in the way of distortion, the speakers are a bit tinny. Great for Call of Duty Black Ops 2, but not a replacement for dedicated surround sound speakers or some really, really good headphones. There is an equalizer, so you will be able to customize things to your liking.
Every notebook computer has a touchpad, and I’m only bringing it up because I made an important discovery that should help fellow 3D gamers. After I got the machine, I was seriously struggling because the touchpad didn’t seem to respond well while playing games, and even on the desktop it regularly went cold and didn’t respond to my gestures.
While ASUS recommended the drivers on their site, the solution was to get the latest version from Synaptics directly and change the “PalmCheck” setting to a more appropriate value. It made a huge difference, and prevented an unnecessary RMA back to the manufacturer. You’ll thank me later.