If you want an instant takeaway from this review then this is it. If you are looking for an affordable gaming laptop that comes bundled with a spacious and comfy backpack and respectable optical mouse then the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T is definitely worth your consideration. It can play today's latest, most graphically demanding games, it's got a mature and understated design, and it boasts a crisp anti-glare matte-type that makes both work and play a pleasure.
You want to SEE how good it is at the whole play thing? Then watch this video of T3 playing gore-tastic shooter DOOM on the system now:
The Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T isn't the most powerful gaming laptop on the market - indeed, the 3DMark benchmark scores don't mislead (see below) - and it certainly isn't perfect, however, it delivers everything a PC gamer could want and does so at an affordable price point.
Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T specs
CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 4GB GDDR5
RAM: 8GB DDR4
Screen: 17.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare matte-type screen
Storage: 128GB SATA3 SSD, 1TB HDD (7,200RPM)
Optical drive: 8x Super Multi DVD-RW with Double Layer
Ports: 1 x USB-C Gen 1, 2 x USB 2.0, 3 x USB 3.0, HDMI, SDXC/SD/MMC card reader, Microphone jack, Headphone Jack, Ethernet
Connectivity: 802.11ac+Bluetooth 4.1
Camera: 720p HD web camera
Weight: 3 kg (6.6 pounds)
Size: 415 x 273 x 32 mm (W x D x H)
OS: Windows 10 Home
Key to the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T's attraction lies in the quality of the components, which while mid-tier in terms of power are premium brand (read Nvidia and Intel), and how well balanced they are together, arguably creating an all-round experience that is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.
As we mentioned last month while covering Asus' sub-£1000 gaming laptop, not enough credit is attributed currently to gaming laptop makers who through component alchemy manage to deliver high frame rates and a low price point at the same time. Most PC gamers don't have more than £2000 to blow on a new gaming laptop, or demand only the absolute highest 4K+ resolutions and post processing, but instead want well-priced systems that just allow them to play their games at a high spec.
And that is where we feel the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T slots in to the current market very well. For the full details of how it does this, however, then read on.
Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T design
One of the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T's strengths is its slim, mature and understated design. The whole system at first glance appears matte black, however, when you get up close you see that the body sports a neat brushed metal-style finish. The only branding you get is Asus' logo at the bottom centre of the screen surround (and on the screen's back panel), as well as a series of removable badges boasting the system's quality internal components.
The design is clean and straightforward, forgoing any radical angles or colourways that are typical of the gaming laptop market, and instead uses slight highlights or design flourishes to give the game away that it is far from a system for word processing only. Light futuristic indentations are carved around the keyboard surround, while the touch pad is encircled with a thin red line, both hinting at power under the hood rather than screaming about it.
The rear of the laptop is completely portless, which means the screen can rock one of those new-style dropped hinges that, when the screen is open, takes the bottom of the screen casing lower than keyboard level, almost stretching down to the flat surface you have the laptop on.
Lastly, a series of five small engraved symbols sit in front of the touch pad, each with a corresponding LED light slightly below on the front side of the machine. These indicate statuses such as whether the machine is receiving mains power or running on battery, as well as if flight mode is activated.
Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T hardware
The Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T comes packing a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, 8GB of DDR4 system RAM, a 128GB SATA3 SSD installed with Windows 10 Home, a secondary storage 1TB HDD (7,200RPM) and a 17.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) anti-glare matte-type screen.
The system also comes installed with 8x Super Multi DVD-RW with Double Layer drive, integrated 720p HD web camera, multi-format card reader and a host of ports including HDMI and USB-C (for full list see specs boxout).
Rounding up the equipment is the machine's specially-designed, scissor-switched keyboard, which boasts a travel distance of just 2.5mm, highlighted WASD keys, an engorged space bar and deep red backlighting. Embedded in the system's case in front of the keyboard is a spacious multi-button touchpad, while located either side of the card reader on the front of the laptop are a brace of Icepower® speakers.
Time Spy (DirectX 12): 1,750
Sky Diver: 15,044
Fire Strike: 5,075
Combined, the core components deliver respectable benchmark scores across the board, despite the system flagging a little under the demanding weight of the DirectX 12 Time Spy benchmark in 3DMark (see 3DMark benchmarks boxout). Of course, the demands made on a system in 3DMark are far in advanced of any game currently on the market, and from our testing the system's DirectX 12 performance in games (see below) was rock solid.
We we're impressed with the fidelity and viewing angles of the wide-view 17.3-inch Full HD screen too, with the matte finish successfully swallowing reflections and bright lights, while the DVD player and SD card reader are easily accessible and functional, the former allowing you to make the most of any classic games or films you may have on DVD.
All the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T's ports are located on the sides of the machines, save for the multi-format card reader that is located front-centre, with power left-back. Accessibility is excellent, and we were pleased to see the most useful connector of the moment, USB-C, was positioned left-front, making plugging in devices incredibly hassle free.
Finally, we were also impressed with the system's speakers, which delivered genuine power and volume. As audiophiles here at T3 Towers we would always recommend you hook a laptop up to a dedicated speaker system or pair of cans while at home, however it was nice to see that the in-built speakers were not a tinny write-off.
Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T gaming
As a gaming laptop, we naturally tried out the system with a host of recent PC gaming titles, including: DOOM, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Dishonored 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Torment Tides of Numenera, Gwent, Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Here we have image galleries taken from gameplay on the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T from three of those titles.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looked superb on the Strix, with the visuals benefiting from the fact we could switch on DirectX 12 mode thanks to the installed Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050. Even during special moves where particle effects were thrown around, we got hardly any slow down and the whole game ran consistently at a high, 30fps plus framerate. Also, damn, what a game that is!
We chose Rise of the Tomb Raider to test out the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T as it is not just a great, stunning to look at game, but it is also supportive of DirectX 12 too, meaning that we could put the system properly through its paces once more. The result was impressive. With DirectX 12 turned on and almost all settings turned up high (although not to max on a few things) the game ran incredibly smooth, even when Lara found herself in volumetric fog or areas where lots of physics work was being done. Running the benchmark from the start of the game returned an average framerate at these high settings of 37fps.
We chose DOOM because, well, it kicks ass! It also looks lovely and really relies on a stable super high framerate to be enjoyed how the developers intended. As you can see from the video at the top of this review, the performance was top draw with most things turned up to max, with our one-man mission against the daemonic invasion proceeding incredibly slickly and with gore-tastic crispness. We literally installed the game, tweaked the settings for all of about 30 seconds, and then started blowing things away with that iconic shotgun.
Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T extras
Bundled with the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T are both a Republic of Gamers backpack and ROG Sica gaming mouse. The ROG backpack comes in black with red detailing and features multiple internal compartments. It is very comfortable to wear and spacious enough to carry round not just the laptop and mouse, but additional gaming peripherals too, such as a gaming headset and controller.
The Sica mouse is firmly mid-tier in terms of sensor, with a 5000 DPI PMW3310 optical sensor sitting at its heart. The Sica is capable of tracking speeds of up to 130-inches per second and 30g of acceleration though, as well as delivering main left and right buttons that sit separately from its body to improve responsiveness.
In addition, the Sica comes with an easy-swap switch socket that lets you customise click resistance. As you would expect from a modern gaming mouse, the Sica also comes with built in flash memory which, in partnership with Asus' Armoury software, allows you to customise button functions, performance and light effects.
We personally found the Sica a little small for our tastes.
Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T verdict
We like the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T here at T3 Towers and we think if you're a PC gamer then you will too. We were impressed with Asus' sub-£1000 ROG Strix GL753VD on review and this system takes that and then dials up the CPU's power a notch, as well as throwing in some rock-solid accessories to create a more all-round gaming package.
As you can see from the benchmarks, the system is not a desktop-crushing powerhouse, however, it played all the latest games we threw at it with most graphical options turned up to max and it impressed us with its stylish, premium design and build.
The question therefore comes down to how much you want to spend on a gaming laptop. And if the answer to that is "just over a grand," then the Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T should be high up among your list of candidates.
Asus ROG Strix ZX753VD-GC266T image gallery
For more information about Asus' range of gaming laptops then head on over the company's official website.