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Asus Rog Strix Scar 15: A Powerful Gaming Laptop

A Powerful Gaming Laptop such as the Asus Rog Strix 15 catches up quickly to their desktop counterparts, showing that without blinking an eye, they too can handle the quickest and most challenging PC games (and hardest creative tasks) out there. That’s while also providing the ease of portability that seems to be consumed by the western world these days.

It is hardly the ultimate portable gaming console for the Asus Rog Strix 15. Its relatively thick and heavy chassis has some catching up to do, now that a few slim gaming laptops already hit the shelves. Given the more generous space inside, its fans are still pretty noisy, and its screen is dimmer than ideal. And, while niftily moonlighting as a Numpad, this annoying trackpad can’t be stable enough to save its life.

It’s still a powerful gaming laptop that packs a great deal of power. For instance, our test model rocks Intel’s flagship i9-10980HK, an Nvidia RTX 2070 Super, and 32 GB of memory. For most AAA games, there is more than enough juice there. And, indeed, it earns a lot of points just for that.

But then, you take in the gorgeous 1080p screen with a delicious refresh rate of 300Hz, a range of additional features such as Keystone II and the amazingly immersive, highly customizable RGB lighting, and the availability of customizations for hardware setting, and you still have a powerful gaming laptop that is worth shelling out for.

Asus Rog Strix Scar 15 Price and availability

You’ll need to look elsewhere if you’re looking for a budget but powerful gaming laptop. The Strix 15 Asus ROG is hardly wallet-friendly.

Our tested unit will set you back $2,760 with an Intel i9-10980HK, Nvidia RTX 2070 Super, and 32GB of RAM. You have a lot more power under the hood with that, a 2TB of storage, and a super-fast IPS-level panel of 300Hz/3ms. Premium specifications come at a hefty price, after all.

Lower-end models are a little more accessible if you have a bit of cash, but not quite as much. With an Intel Core i7, Nvidia RTX 2070 Super and 16GB RAM, with a 240Hz display and 1TB SSD, the lowest is $2,200. It’s still a considerable sum, but while still having a strong GPU, you’re saving a wad of cash.

Asus Rog Strix Scar 15 Design

The Asus ROG Strix 15 is made of strong, durable plastic designed as its predecessor in the same ROG “advanced alien tech” aesthetic and the immersive RGB lighting on the keyboard and fringing its bottom rim on three sides.

There’s quite a bit of RGB lighting that is excellent news for all the RGB loving gamers out there, with eight highly customizable areas through the Aura Builder and Armoury Crate apps. If you have much time and patience to do so, each keyboard’s RGB lighting is adjustable.

The Asus Rog Strix 15 also has a good range of ports, with three USB ports, the Keystone reader on the right, a 3.5mm audio jack on the left-hand side, and USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet ports just below the display on the back.

Unfortunately, no Thunderbolt 3 port is on the side, which can put some people off, and it seems an odd location to position the USB-C port in the back. There’s nothing to worry about here, though, if you’re not nitpicky about your ports.

The Asus Rog Strix 15 is marquee featured; This 1080p panel is standard in terms of resolution, so you might not be wowed by it if you’re all about single-player AAA games. However, for esports players, the 300Hz refresh rate (240Hz for the low-end configuration) and 3ms response time deliver the goods. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, Rocket League, and Doom: Everlasting all look amazing on it at the highest settings, without any signs of screen tearing or stuttering.

Keystone II, a physical button that you insert into the reader on the laptop’s right side, is another selling point here and is designed to set and restore device configurations. This enables you to save settings such as activate sounds and fan settings, light effects, easy launch apps or games of your choice (the Armoury Crate by default), and to access an encrypted virtual drive that can be used as your private storage if you’re not familiar with it.

Especially for users who do a lot of customization and handle sensitive files, it’s a nifty addition. However, it definitely won’t be necessary for everyone. Then again, it isn’t what you’re paying for that hefty amount, so it’s something we can enjoy here without thinking about the price.

The keyboard is decent, user-friendly, and has an extensive range of hotkeys, including one for fan management, disabling the trackpad, and loading the Armoury Crate app.

However, it’s not the perfect one. Some keys were shifted to the right in a column, like the Home, Page Up, and Page Down keys, slightly moving the entire keyboard to the left. Combined with the fact that the main symbols are harder to see, if you are gaming in the dark, you can’t get away without RGB lighting. If you plan to use the Reactive RGB present in the Auro Creator program, make sure that this new configuration is already used.

With the touchpad on the Asus Strix Scar 15, we have a bone to pick. It has this nifty moonlighting feature as a Numpad, triggered when you hold down the trackpad’s upper right corner, and that makes things easier. For ease, you might also use them as hotkeys in games when using an external mouse.

However, to the point of being distracting, the trackpad itself is pretty inconsistent. It’s not very sensitive or precise, and it moves too quickly, making it an unstable gaming tool. If you intend to play while travelling, make sure you pack the gaming mouse you also have at home.

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Performance

With an Intel Comet Lake Processor and the RTX 2070 Super, there was no question that this particular Asus Strix Scar 15 configuration was going to be healthy. The RTX 2070 Super is intended for 1440p gaming with ray tracing, after all, and it only works here at 1080p resolution. But even its lowest configuration should be able to run high-configuration graphics-intensive games.

Of course, we’re looking at the former for this review-the highest configuration in this series. It’s good enough to contend with any other powerful gaming laptop out there. Right now, it can run the most demanding games at 300Hz and, due to those specifications mentioned above, its response time can be pushed down to 3ms by the software.

The Asus Rog Strix 15 can run Horizon Zero Dawn as immersive as it would be on a reasonably efficient gaming desktop at the highest settings. Without any signs of ghosting, stuttering, or lag, as with Red Dead Redemption 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

And, as we described earlier, fast-paced games like Rocket League: Mirror’s Edge and  Catalyst, where you make quick moves and turns, look smooth and crisp.

The first time we tried it with Marvel’s Avengers, there were pixelation indications with the maximum 300Hz refresh rate level. Since that game is quite buggy, however, we chose to restart the game. The second test ran smoothly, and since then, we have not had any problems, so we are chalking it up to the game’s issues.

One thing worth noting here, too, is that this setup has two RAID 0 SSDs that give you a whopping 2 TB of space. On this thing, we have at least 20 games installed-not all of the AAA, but a decent chunk of them-and; there were no drive problems or bottlenecks here.

You can adjust the fans’ settings for thermal efficiency through the Armoury Crate app allows you to set them to Windows, Silent, Turbo, Speed, or Manual. So, to keep your laptop reasonably cool for the most challenging games, you can put them in one of the highest settings. The internal ones get hot in Silent mode, with the CPU reaching into the 90s Celsius and the GPU getting into the 70s.

You end up with better heat control, putting them on Output or Turbo, 70s Celsius for the CPU, and 60s for the GPU. However, the fans also get pretty noisy and blow hot air from the side and back out. When you’re about to play something crazy, make sure to keep your headphones handy and your external mouse a reasonable distance away. Fortunately, though the keyboard heats up during gaming and can get a little challenging to use, we’ve certainly encountered worse.

Battery life

The battery life of the Asus Strix Scar 15 is not something to talk about at home. It’s typical of gaming laptops, for both our movie and PCMark 8 battery checks, coming in at under two and a half hours. Other gaming laptops with battery life worthy of Ultrabooks are available, such as the Asus TUF A15, which can offer up to 12.5 hours. We also found a bit of stuttering every 10-20 seconds during our film battery test, when the battery was very tiny.

However, given that a heavy-duty RTX 2070 Superpowers this laptop, the battery life is not poor at all. If you plan on gaming on-the-go, bring the charger with you and maybe a portable laptop charger if you understand there won’t be power sockets where you’re going.

The Asus Rog Strix 15 Specifications:

  • CPU: Intel i9-10980HK @2.4GHz, boost to 3.10GHz
  • Graphics: Nvidia RTX 2070 Super 8 VRAM
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4
  • Screen: 15.6″ FHD 300Hz IPS-level
  • Storage: 2TB (1TB + 1TB Raid 0) SSD
  • Ports: 3 x USB 3.2 A, Ethernet, USB-C, HDMI, 3.5mm Audio, Keystone reader
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth
  • Cameras: N/A
  • Weight: 5lbs (2.27kg)
  • Size: 10.75 x 14.2 x 1 inches (273.1 x 360.7 x 25.4 mm; W x D x H)

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