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ASUS ROG G552 (or rebranded GL552) review – a step up from the GL552, but also a step down from the G551

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When the new version of ASUS ROG GL552 got released a few months back, no one anticipated that the company will present the refreshed aluminum version of the GL552 as a successor to the G552. Well, that’s what happened. Practically, the new G552VW, which can be found under that name in Europe, is the same as the GL552VW but with a different lid and slightly lighter and thinner.

Both, the GL552VW and G552VW feature absolutely the same design signature, but the G552VW (or the US GL552VW) has brushed aluminum plate placed on the lid. However, everything from hardware to input devices and ports remains the same as the GL552VW. Also, the price of the new G552VW is considerably higher than the GL552VW without offering anything too special, to be honest. So here’s our full review of the model.

You can find this notebook under the ROG GL552 name at Amazon.com for US or as G552 in Europe.

Contents

Retail package

The notebook came with the same user manuals, DVD with drivers, cleaning cloth, AC charger, and cable tie as always, but the package also includes an ROG-branded backpack that will help you carry the laptop.


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Design and construction

Let’s face it – the new G552VW is just a rebranded GL552VW and you will notice it the second you open the notebook. It’s nowhere near the former glory of the G551 that had much sturdier construction and better choice of materials. The red chamfered aluminum stripe is missing and the lid doesn’t feel all that stable as before. So the notebook should be treated as another GL552VW variant rather than a successor to the old G551. Unfortunately, the price of the notebook suggests otherwise.


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The back side of the lid now features gray brushed aluminum with the illuminated ASUS ROG logo at the center. There’s also a small plastic stripe at the top, which probably hides the Wi-Fi antennas for better reception. The hinge feels solid, but it’s also a bit overly tightened because it’s impossible to open the notebook with just one hand. Interestingly, the aluminum plate is quite flexible but when pushed harder, it doesn’t cause ripples on the LCD screen on the other side. It’s safe to assume that leaving even heavy objects on the laptop will not damage the screen.


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Going around the sides of the machine, you will instantly notice the strong resemblance to the GL552VW – all ports are placed exactly as the GL552VW and the main exhaust vent is on the left. We’ve got the optical drive, one USB 2.0 and two 3.5 mm audio jacks for microphone and headphones on the right while the left side accommodates the DC charging port, two USB 3.0, LAN, HDMI and one USB 3.1 Type-C connector. The laptop measures at around 33 mm, which is a tad slimmer than the other version of GL552VW.

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Unfortunately, the interior is inherited from the GL552VW instead from the G551. The plastic used for the keyboard tray is a bit bouncy, mostly near the touchpad and wrist rest area, and it’s a huge fingerprint magnet. The front-facing stereo loudspeakers are placed just above the keyboard. We are again happy to see the same keyboard layout and design – keys feel great for typing and gaming, the red LED backlight feels a bit dim, but nothing too serious and the key travel is just perfect. Although, the arrow keys could have been a little separated from the rest of the buttons because they are quite easy to miss when not looking. They easily blend with the surrounding keys. Finally, we would like to note that media player buttons are again missing, which is rather strange for a gaming and multimedia-centric notebook. As for the touchpad, it’s not better than the old G551, since it uses the same GL552VW has, but we’ve used much worse. Let’s just say it’s on par with the competition.


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At the end of the day, ASUS didn’t present an updated G551 but instead, rebranded GL552VW notebook with a different model name on some markets. The design and build quality is a bit improved compared to the standard GL552VW, yet it’s a step backward compared to the G551. Sadly, given the price tag of the notebook, we can’t treat it as a GL552 successor but as a G552 successor. So if you are not so much into the brushed aluminum lid, we suggest you stick with the plastic version of the GL552VW considering the much lower price tag.

Display and sound

The new ASUS ROG G552 (for Europe that is), features the same Full HD IPS panel as the GL552VW, so we will post the same results as before. Here it goes…

The GL552VW has an IPS Full HD panel (1920 x 1080 pixels), model number LP156WF6-SPB5, manufactured by LG Display and it differs from the last generation GL552JX. The diagonal is 15.6″ leading to a pixel density of 141 ppi and 0.18 x 0.18 pixel pitch. The screen can be considered “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal to or greater than 61 cm.

Micr-ASUS GL552V

The display has excellent viewing angles as you can see from the image below.

Angles-ASUS GL552V

We measured the maximum brightness of the display – 311 cd/m2 with a maximum deviation of only 8%. Also, the color temperature (6600K) aligns almost perfectly to the optimal of 6500K and we observed no unacceptable deviations on the surface of the display.

BefMax-ASUS GL552V

Color reproduction

To put things into perspective, we would like to give you a little introduction into the sRGB and Adobe RGB color gamuts. The CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram represents the spectrum of colors visible to the human eye, thus giving you a better perception of color gamut coverage and color accuracy. Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB), used by millions of people in HDTV and on the Web. As for Adobe RGB, it is used to work with professional cameras and monitors when preparing print. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone, and so reproducing them accurately is key in a quality display.

The yellow triangle represents the ability of ASUS GL552VW to cover the sRGB color gamut – 91% in this case.

Gamut-ASUS GL552V

The graph below is the same but with recorded results – the one on the left is pre-calibration while the one on the right is after. The colored circles represent the reference colors, the white circles being the result. You can see the main and additional colors with 100% and 50% saturation inside the sRGB gamut.

Colors-ASUS GL552V

Below you can see the gamma curve that aligns with the 2.2 standard.

Gamma-ASUS GL552V

We tuned the display at 140 cd/m2 brightness and 6500K color temperature.

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X-Rite i1Display Pro was used for the calibration.

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We tested the display using 24 commonly used sample colors like skin tones, grass, blue sky, orange etc. After profiling the display had an average DeltaE 2000 deviation of only 0.72, while the contrast was 1100:1 before calibration and 1060:1 after. Pretty good results.

Result-ASUS GL552VREPORT-ASUS GL552V

Another representation of the colors we’ve tested.
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Pulse-width modulation (PWM, Screen flickering)

Unfortunately, while the display has awesome picture quality, the panel uses PWM across all brightness levels and it becomes user-friendly only at 100%. Although, the frequency of the emitted light is 20.6 kHz, which is considered to be high enough to greatly reduce the negative impact on human vision.

PWM-ASUS GL552V

Conclusion

We are quite pleased with the picture quality of the notebook as it provides great viewing angles, vivid colors, high contrast ratio and high maximum brightness. The gamma curve and the color temperature are also pretty close to the optimal so this leaves us only with the PWM as a major complaint, yet the frequency of the emitted light is less harmful to to one’s eyesight.

Screen comparison

If we assume a distance of 58cm (~23in) between the human eye and the notebook monitor, then normal (20/20) vision would require a pixel density of at least 150ppi in order to interpret an image as perfectly detailed.

LaptopResultsResult
difference
PricePrice
difference
ASUS ROG GL552VW 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB5, 1920 x 1080 pixels141.21
ASUS ROG G551JW (GeForce GTX 960M) 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels141-0.15%
ASUS ROG GL552VW 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB5, 1920 x 1080 pixels141.21
Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-592G) 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB1, 1920 x 1080 pixels141.21
Lenovo ideapad Y700 (15″) 15.6-inch, Samsung LTN156HL09-401, 1920 x 1080 pixels141.21

Higher panel brightness is of key importance for visual comfort when working outside or in a brightly lit room.

LaptopResultsResult
difference
PricePrice
difference
ASUS ROG GL552VW 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB5, 1920 x 1080 pixels311
ASUS ROG G551JW (GeForce GTX 960M) 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels292-6.11%
ASUS ROG GL552VW 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB5, 1920 x 1080 pixels311
Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-592G) 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB1, 1920 x 1080 pixels321+3.22%
Lenovo ideapad Y700 (15″) 15.6-inch, Samsung LTN156HL09-401, 1920 x 1080 pixels218-29.9%

Delta E is a CIE measurement unit of color difference. Higher values indicate that the display produces less accurate colors. (lower results are desirable).

LaptopResultsResult
difference
PricePrice
difference
ASUS ROG GL552VW 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB5, 1920 x 1080 pixels0.70
ASUS ROG G551JW (GeForce GTX 960M) 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels1.31+87.14%
ASUS ROG GL552VW 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB5, 1920 x 1080 pixels0.70
Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-592G) 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB1, 1920 x 1080 pixels0.7
Lenovo ideapad Y700 (15″) 15.6-inch, Samsung LTN156HL09-401, 1920 x 1080 pixels1.05+50%

The sRGB color gamut, introduced as a standard for the Web, shows the percentage of colors used on the Web that can be displayed on the screen of the device being tested (higher values are better).

LaptopResultsResult
difference
PricePrice
difference
ASUS ROG GL552VW 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB5, 1920 x 1080 pixels91
ASUS ROG G551JW (GeForce GTX 960M) 15.6-inch, LG, 1920 x 1080 pixels84-7.69%
ASUS ROG GL552VW 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB5, 1920 x 1080 pixels91
Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition (VN7-592G) 15.6-inch, LG LP156WF6-SPB1, 1920 x 1080 pixels90-1.1%
Lenovo ideapad Y700 (15″) 15.6-inch, Samsung LTN156HL09-401, 1920 x 1080 pixels52-42.86%

Sound

We are quite satisfied with the sound quality. The stereo loudspeakers provide excellent high, mid and low frequencies, and everything sounds clear and deep.

Sound-ASUS GL552V

Specs sheet

The specs sheet provided below is for the model used in this review. Hardware specification may vary depending on your region.

CPUIntel Core i7-6700HQ (4-core, 2.60 -3.50 GHz, 6MB cache)
RAM16GB (2x 8192MB) – DDR4, 2133GHz
GPUNVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M (4GB GDDR5)
HDD/SSD1TB HDD (7200 rpm)
Display15.6-inch (39.62 cm.) – 1920×1080 (Full HD), IPS matte
Optical driveDVD burner
ConnectivityLAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11a/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
Other features
  • 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 (Type-C)
  • built-in webcam
  • built-in microphone
  • 2x 3.5 mm jack for headphones and external microphone
  • LAN
  • HDMI
  • card reader (SD, MMC, MS)
  • Sonic Master loudspeakers
  • keyboard LED backlight
Battery4-cell 47Wh (3200 mAh) Li-Polymer Battery
Thickness33.02 mm (1.3″)
Weight2.54 kg (5.6 lbs)

ASUS ROG GL552VX (7th Gen Intel Core) configurations

Battery

The G552VW got similar results in our battery test as the GL552VW because they share the same hardware and the same 4-cell 48Wh battery. The results are somehow on par with the competition but show much better battery runtimes compared to the G551. All tests include the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, battery saver turned on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.

Web browsing

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for to automatically browse through over 70 websites.

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This is a significant increase in battery performance – 318 minutes (5 hours and 18 minutes).

Video playback

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

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This result seems to be lower and more appropriate for a gaming notebook – 305 minutes (5 hours and 5 minutes).

Gaming

We recently changed our method for testing the battery’s performance when gaming. Now we use F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop.

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As expected, the gaming test took a toll on the battery with only 156 minutes (2 hours and 36 minutes) of play time.

CPU

Intel_Core_i7_logoIntel Core i7-6700HQ represents the Skylake H family and it’s considered a high-performance chip with high voltage – 45W TDP. This is a step down from its direct predecessor – Core i7-4700HQ, but matches its short-lived predecessor Core i7-5700HQ. The Core i7-6700HQ has four cores ticking at 2.6GHz and can go up to 3.5 GHz for one active core and 3.1 GHz for four active cores. The silicon supports the so-called Hyper-Threading technology that emulates one virtual core for each physical, thus establishing a total of 8 threads.

Furthermore, the chip is manufactured using 14nm FinFET process and integrates Intel HD Graphics 530 GPU with 24 EU (Executable Units) clocked at 350 – 1050 MHz. The memory controller supports up to 64GB of DDR3 or DDR4 RAM at 1600 or 2133 MHz respectively. The CPU is suitable for heavy applications and gaming.

You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-6700hq/

Fritz

Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-6700HQ reached 12.467 million moves per second. By comparison, one of the most powerful PCs, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.

GPU

geforce_gtx_960m_0The GeForce GTX 960M (4GB GDDR5) is located in the high-end graphics card niche, but is used mostly in budget gaming laptops. It is part of the Maxwell family of GPUs. It features 640 CUDA cores or simply – shading units, along with 32 ROPs and 53 texture units. It has 2GB of dedicated VRAM (GDDR5 in this case). The bandwidth of the memory is 80.2 GB/s and the bus is 128-bit wide.

The GTX 960M uses the same GM107 GPU core that we’ve seen in last year’s 860M, but this one is mainly aimed at bumping the notebook’s battery life and adding some extra performance, but that’s not stressed as much. However, the GM107 is clocked a bit higher than last year’s model – 1097MHz of base clock and boost up to 1176MHz. It also supports a resolution of 2048×1536 through the VGA port and 3840×2160 with DisplayPort and HDMI.

You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-gtx-960m/

ASUS ROG GL552VW GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the ASUS ROG GL552VW models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which ASUS ROG GL552VW model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Gaming tests

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Tomb Raider (1080p, Low)Tomb Raider (1080p, Medium)Tomb Raider (1080p, Max)
152 fps72 fps34 fps

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F1 2015 (1080p, Low)F1 2015 (1080p, Medium)F1 2015 (1080p, Max)
60 fps46 fps34 fps

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Thief (1080p, Low)Thief (1080p, Medium)Thief (1080p, Max)
53 fps46 fps30 fps

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GTA 5 (1080p, Low)GTA 5 (1080p, Medium)GTA 5 (1080p, Max)
101 fps42 fps13 fps

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Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Low)Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Medium)Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Max)
76 fps51 fps33 fps

Temperatures

Since the new G552VW features the same cooling system presented in the GL552VW, we expect it to perform just as good. Anyway, we ran our two-staged temperature tests with 100% CPU and 100% GPU load.

We left the notebook running for one hour with 100% CPU load and as you can see from the graph below, the system maintained relatively low temperatures without any signs of throttling with solid 3.1 GHz operating frequency. The red lie below represents the temperature while the green line stands for CPU load.

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After an hour, we ran the GPU stress test as well. Temperatures rose and the CPU started ticking at 2.8 GHz, which is still in the Turbo Boost range, and the GPU ran at its maximum frequency without reaching excessively high temperatures.

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Despite the relatively high inner temperatures, the notebook’s casing didn’t get hot at all. The temperature map below is here to prove that.

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Verdict

As we said earlier, it’s hard to assess the notebook given the fact that the new G552VW is actually the GL552VW. On American soil, the laptop sells under the GL552VW name while in Europe the notebook is known as a successor to the G552. The latter, unfortunately, is further from the truth. The G552VW costs, at least, €150 more than the GL552VW but doesn’t offer anything in return. The lid gets an aluminum overhaul, but the rest of the chassis remains the same – flexible plastic and not enough sturdiness. We kind of miss the aluminum chamfered edges from the old G551. It’s definitely a step down in terms of design and build quality. Also, the old touchpad (of the G551) felt kind of sturdier, more reliable.

However, our expectations were met when it comes to performance and cooling design. It’s a worthy successor to the GL552 and G551 sporting Core i7-6700HQ and GTX 960M GPU and quality IPS panel with excellent properties. Still, if you are looking for a slimmer, more refined notebook with sturdier construction, the new Lenovo Y700, and Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition might be the way to go. They both offer the same specs but have the same, if not lower, asking price and better build quality.

Anyway, everything that you’ve read in our previous ASUS ROG GL552VW review applies to the current ASUS ROG G552VW (or USA version of the GL552VW) notebook. So if you are from Europe and you are looking for a good price/performance ratio and build quality and design isn’t of great importance to you, the ASUS ROG GL552VW is a reasonable choice.

You can find this notebook under the ROG GL552 name at Amazon.com for US or as G552 in Europe.

Pros

  • Same comfortable keyboard
  • High-quality IPS panel
  • Relatively good sound quality with front-facing stereo loudspeakers
  • Improved battery life from the previous generation
  • Effective cooling system
  • M.2 SATA SSD slot and USB Type-C port for fast data transfer and external display


Cons

  • We expected more premium materials and sturdier construction
  • Bulky and heavy compared to its direct competitors
  • PWM across almost all brightness levels
  • It’s just a rebranded version of the GL552VW with considerably higher price tag