By Aaron Lim

Pros

  • Keyboard is great
  • Build quality is good
  • Good selection of IO & included card reader
  • Screen flex is minimal

Cons

  • Trackpad clickiness is not great
  • Keyboard flex is pretty bad
  • Fan noise is loud
  • Caps Lock, Num Lock and etc have indicators in front of the chassis

Mehs

  • Backplate is difficult to remove but easy to upgrade
  • The one vent on the left can get hot
  • Included DVD Drive (in 2017)
  • Gamer-ish accents

The ASUS ROG GL553VD is ASUS’ stab at tackling the mid-range gaming laptop market under their Republic of Gamers branding. Advertised as a laptop that has “Gaming without Limits,” the flashy design and relatively powerful internal specifications practically scream designed for hardcore gamers – which can be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective. But does it have what it takes to be worth the expense? I spent a few days with it to find out.

Pricing

GL553V-DDM635T
Product Spec SRP (RM) with GST
i7-7700HQ/4G/1TB SATA/GTX1050 4G/ODD/WIN 10/FHD TN 200nits/Bagpack 4199
GL553V-DDM282T
Product Spec SRP (RM) with GST
i7-7700HQ/8G/1TB+128G SATA/GTX1050 4G/ODD/Win 10/FHD TN 200nits/Bagpack 4599

For our review, we went with the GL553V-DDM282T model.

Specifications

The GL553VD pretty much has all the specifications you’d expect from an entry-level gaming laptop released in early 2017. The processor is a higher end i7-7700HQ clocked at 2.8GHz which should have no problems with everyday tasks and most triple-A games released up to 2017 (as of writing). It has a stick of 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD combo for fast boot ups and large game installations (which honestly needs to be the bare minimum in any laptop if you ask me) and you have a standard NVIDIA GTX 1050 providing the graphical horsepower.

Personally, I think the GTX 1050 Ti would’ve been the better choice but the 1050 should still be enough to run most modern triple-A games at low to medium settings at acceptable frame rates. At this price range however, not having the Ti model feels slightly disappointing considering how much more cost effective it is over the 1050.

As for IO, the ROG is actually quite stacked, coming in with one Type-C port, two more Type-A USB 3.0’s and one USB 2.0, an Ethernet port, one HDMI 2.0 port and an audio combo jack on the bottom left of the chassis. It also comes with a card reader which is awkwardly placed under the front of the laptop body, but it’s a nice addition nonetheless.

There’s a DVD drive too, which is rather odd. I’d gotten rather used to carrying around my data in external hard drives and USBs so seeing a DVD drive on a laptop in 2017 was confusing. It might be nice for people who still need to handle a lot of optical storage, but considering how cheap external DVD writers are nowadays, its inclusion was a bit of a head-scratcher.

All in all, there was enough choices here that I never felt compelled to carry around an extra USB hub or limit myself too much in terms of peripherals – and it’s always great to see a Type-C port on a mid-range laptop, something that we really don’t see enough of in laptops around this price range.

Build

In terms of build quality, the ROG hits sort of a mixed bag here. On one hand, the external metal plating on the top shell of the laptop is a great touch – making it feel like a premium laptop when lying face down on a table – and on the other, you have a plastic chassis for the rest of the laptop, which feels less fancy in comparison. This isn’t necessarily a bad combo when pulled off correctly, but in the GL553VD’s case (no pun intended) there are some glaring flaws which make it less than ideal.

For example, the flex. Oh god, the flex. The screen flex is okay because of the metal construction on the lid, but press down on the keyboard hard enough and you’ll find a worrying amount of leeway between the top and bottom of the chassis. It shouldn’t be an issue for the most part, but if you’re the type (no pun intended – again) who types with hard strokes, then you might find yourself straining the chassis quite a bit.

Which brings me to my next point – the highlight of this laptop – the keyboard. I really, really like this keyboard. It’s a 4-area RGB illuminated chiclet keyboard with red scissor switch keys, which have great travel and provide nice tactile feedback when pressed. Now, typing is a subjective experience, and some people have different preferences when it comes to keyboards, but in my personal opinion, the GL553VD’s keys are probably the best one you can find for a laptop under RM5k.The only other laptop I’ve reviewed which has come close is probably the HP Omen ce031tx, but the travel distance is a lot smaller compared to the GL553VD.

The trackpad is alright – the surface area is a little small, but passable for a laptop. It has Windows Precision drivers which feel a little too responsive on first usage, but a quick trip to the settings to dial down acceleration fixed the issue pretty quickly. My main issue with the trackpad is probably the click responsiveness. Tapping works fine and registers clicks like it should, but actually pressing down on the pad to click can be frustrating sometimes.

As for upgradeability, the ASUS GL553VD gets a passable score. The backplate has a lot of screws with one hidden behind a rubber sticker, and you need to remove the entire backplate in order to open it up, but all the storage slots for RAM and hard drive connections are easy to access so it’s not that big a deal. The HDD comes with a metal caddy attached to the pre-existing enclosure, which I felt was a nice touch for that extra bit of sturdiness. You’ll find the battery tucked away in the recesses of the hinge.

Performance

Benchmarks are pretty standard for the GL553VD. Throttling isn’t heavily pronounced, but it did get very severe during harder workloads, which is a little of a drag on overall performance. You should be seeing around 60 fps during games like Tomb Raider on high however.   Battery life on the ASUS GL553VD is… not great. Upon testing, the GL553VD only lasts for about one and a half hours during a regular gaming session – even after the system starts throttling performance to increase efficiency. Regular workloads didn’t fare much better, lasting between 3-4 hours for heavy web browsing, and averaging around 2-3 for video content, sometimes less. I suspect the culprit lies in the smaller real estate afforded by the DVD drive – the entire battery takes up very little space in the hinge, and it feels like ASUS could’ve omitted the drive for a bigger battery. Temperatures around the laptop were actually pretty decent most of the time – never breaking past 60 degrees on most of the laptop. The vents did reach an alarming 80 during one intense gaming session, but I suppose that’s just the caveats of having a laptop with a single fan design instead of dual vents like some other competing laptops (like the Dell Gaming 7577). The fans do get very loud at max bearing however, and it’s definitely noticeable if you don’t have headphones on.

Conclusion

So, here’s the verdict. Is the ASUS ROG GL553VD worth your hard earned money for the features it offers? The short answer is… Probably not. For a laptop that sits on the higher end of the RM3k to RM4k++ spectrum, the ASUS GL553VD suffers from one too many setbacks to be a compelling purchase when a few competing laptops from other brands have better executions for less. It’s a sad notion, for sure, since I feel like the ASUS has gotten a lot of the formula right – with a little more spit and shine, the GL553VD could have been something really special for any prospective buyer out there. But as it stands, there are too many flaws that blemish the reputation of this laptop for me to call it a good value buy in the year 2018. It was a nice computer in 2017, but with stiff competition in terms of pricing – you can do better with some modding.

KASPERSKY SETS NEW RECORD IN MALAYSIA BOOK OF RECORDS!

By Magdelena Long Kaspersky Lab, one of the famous anti-virus developers in the world, now has set a new Malaysian record as it has managed to activate 1,931 signups of its mobile phone anti-virus program at an education and awareness program in Tunku...

REVIEW: VIVO V9

PROS Fast Charging Dual Camera 24MP Selfie Camera 4K Video CONS No Wireless Charging Non-removable Battery Average Hardware Lacks Video Stabilization Vivo is proud to presents its newest flagship phone, the Vivo V9, but will it make us proud too? We can see adverts...

Sony Malaysia’s First Ever Lifestyle Concept Store in SEA Opens in Sunway Pyramid

By Maruxa Lynd Sony Malaysia’s first ever lifestyle concept store opened its doors to the public with the launch of their EXTRA BASS concept store in Asian Avenue , Sunway Pyramid. Despite the physical stores having a setback in competing with online...

Asus Launches the Zenfone 5 and Max Pro M1 (Lazada Promotion)

Asus Malaysia has recently announced their latest model of smartphones to enter the Malaysian market - the Asus Zenfone 5 and the Asus Zenfone Max M1. Both of these smartphones come equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 CPU and an Adreno 509 GPU making...

GamesBond robbed, PS4 stock stolen

By Magdelena Long Some sad news to share that happened during the weekend, one of our local gaming stores, Gamesbond, was robbed. People can be so cruel these days, stealing things in the holy month of Ramadhan. I hope the perpetrator(s) will be caught and...

Oppo announcing its new phone: Oppo R15 Pro

By Magdelena Long Oppo will launch its newest smartphone model which is the Oppo R15 Pro at RM2399 starting on 1st of June 2018 - but pre-orders can be made from 31th of May 2018. The smartphone has the full screen concept with a 6.28 inch beautiful OLED...

GRINDING FOR GEAR WORLD 3 DUNGEON 3: HAN SOLO – JUST FLY AWAY

The new Han Solo movie has been out in the cinemas and probably many will love this new adventurous and thrilling movie. What else is better to do when we can look for great Han Solo merchandises. So for this week Grinding for Gear, we bring you 5 Han Solo...

GRINDING FOR GEAR WORLD 3 DUNGEON 2: DEADPOOL – BE CRAZY OR BEGONE

By Magdelena Long We are back again in our Grinding for Gear episode! Now that Deadpool 2 is out in the cinema, why not we pick 5 crazy Deadpool merchandises? This must be fun, since it’s Deadpool! Be prepared to see us go wild! Lady Deadpool Bishoujo...

Review: Samsung Galaxy S9 – The S8 Doppelganger

PROS AMOLED Display Dust and Waterproof Design (IP68) One of the fastest Android phones when released Stereo Speakers Variable aperture camera for low light pictures Slow Motion Capture at 960fps Great video at 4k 60fps Great OIS They moved the Fingerprint Sensor...

The New Oppo F7

By Magdelena Long Oppo is up with a new model which is the F7. This new model is compact with a powerful selfie camera and beautiful HD screen. The new model also receive great sales throughout its first sales in the weekend. The F7 comes with an 6.23...

Omen Hack Hour – Win RM100 Steam Wallet

The people at HP Malaysia launched their new web series, Omen Hack Hour, last month on the 31st March 2018. Hosted by local YouTuber, Reuben Kang, watch as he invites guests ranging from professional gamers to complete noobs to play some games and learn...

Acer releases Limited Edition Infinity War Laptops

By Magdelena Long Acer is proud to present to you its limited edition Avengers: Infinity War laptops and it will be available starting 18th of April onwards. As the movie is just right around the corner, it is sure good timing for Acer to release its...

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra – The Larger than Life Phablet Selfie Snapper

By Aaron Lim Everything about this phone is large - from the picture quality, to the build, to the screen and battery. However,  if you’re a phablet enthusiast, it may be hard to swallow the RM500 price increase from the regular XA2 - even the spec sheet is...

Asus Roadshow April 2018

Written by Magdelena Long Asus Roadshow is back again with great and stunning devices for everyone to experience and enjoy. From beautiful HD touch-screen monitor to smooth desktop PC. Date: 4th till 8th April 2018 Location: Mid Valley Megamall, Centre...

Review: Samsung Galaxy A8+

Written by Angel Tong So a few weeks ago, I managed to get my hands on the new waterproof Samsung A8+ which was launched in January 2018. My first response? OMG this thing is heavy compared to my Samsung S8 (muahaha, my bias). I’m not much of a tech person...

Vivo V9 Launching in Malaysia – The Android With a Notch

Vivo released their Vivo V9 all-new FullView Display smartphone, which I should note, is essentially a midrange “clone” of the iPhone X. Now this in of itself is not a bad thing, especially when the Vivo V9 looks to be a good mid-range smartphone that has...

The Making of a Gamer – Omen By HP 15

By Jasmine Lim It’s kind of surprising how I’ve never really picked up gaming, despite how much I love watching people play. Some of my colleagues have tried to get me started with Overwatch, but that’s a teeny little bit of a start-stop experiment despite...

Coming Back To Gaming After 8 years – Omen By HP 17

Written by Govind Raj Gaming was a passion of mine, it was a way of life that allowed me to bond with others. I could even say happily that it even helped me bond with my girlfriend back then. Soon though, work started to take away those fun times with old...

CLOVR: Bringing VR to the masses

CLOVR, a brand new VR initiative founded by Gan Chee Yong, will be launching on Kickstarter this 6th of March, 2018. Together with his team and help from current Chief Business of Development, Jan Wong - who is also the founder of OpenMinds™ Resources -...

The Surface Book 2 and Surface Laptop Arrive in Malaysia

Microsoft expands its range of products for the Surface family in Malaysia. We finally get the much anticipated Surface Book 2 on the 15th March and the Surface Laptop, which is already available at authorized retailers. The Surface Book 2, a great...