When it comes to gaming, Asus and ROG are the first names that come to mind for a lot of gamers. There’s a reason for it. They make high quality premium gaming PCs, parts, accessories and laptops. They cut no corners with their hardware and if you’re ever lucky enough to game on anything with an ROG label, thank the gaming gods.
In this weird time and pandemic across the country myself and the GStyleGaming crew have been gaming like savages because we work from home but more so than that we’ve been doing a lot more gaming on PC than console. We reached out to Asus awhile back when they had just updated their ROG STRIX gaming laptop lineup and they sent us or rather we requested the ROG STRIX SCAR 15″ gaming laptop. We picked this model because we believe that 15″ strikes the perfect balance of size and portability and I personally feel that 17″ for a laptop is just too much to carry around.
I’ve been using this machine for a little more than 2 weeks and in doing so I’ve not only abandoned my personal gaming rig which is a beast in itself, I’m now feeling anxiety knowing that I have to send this machine back to Asus soon and I’m prepping for withdrawals. This machine is that good. It checks off every box as I/we saw it for a gaming machine.
A LOOK AT THE ROG STRIX SCAR 15″
BUILD, DESIGN & FUNCTION
Asus and their ROG line have always pushed the envelope in design and function and with the Scar 15 you get what you would expect. All black, matte finish, 15.6″ screen and RGB everywhere. This machine is what one would imagine a gaming machine would look like. My favorite design element of this machine is easily the RGB on the undercarriage of this laptop. It gives the Scar 15″ a perfect amount of cool that makes you feel good about this purchase. You can program and setup the RGB with the Armoury Crate and creator apps built into your Windows 10 build when you fire this laptop up so customization is a go here.
On the left hand side you have three USB ports and your audio jack. In the rear aside for the power plug port you have an HDMI port, ethernet and a USB type-C port. The right hand side only has room for a Keystone II reader neatly tucked and very useful. For those that don’t know what the Keystone reader is for, it’s a physical key that allows you save and store your PC’s configuration, settings, quick launch any apps or games as well as having the benefit of encrypted storage for your most sensitive documents and private things you wish to keep private. It’s a great addition to this laptop and while some may not see the need for it, it’s a valuable asset to have on any PC let alone a gaming laptop.
The screen on the ROG Scar 15″ is where this laptop shines. It has a 300Hz refresh rate which is blindingly fast. This is the type of screen that is an esports gamers fantasy BUT anybody who games on this machine will play their games without delay and literally no screen tearing, slowdown or stuttering and with that 1080p max resolution. Games won’t be as taxing on the CPU and GPU so you’ll get the best possible experience at the highest settings in game.
The trackpad on the Scar 15″ is subpar. This is easily my least favorite thing about the Scar 15″. I ultimately reverted to using a gaming mouse with this laptop because the trackpad was so funky acting. It leads a double life as a number pad but I found it to be more gimmicky and a pain in the ass more than anything else. This trackpad was pretty inaccurate and at times it wouldn’t register my swipes and motions when using it or it was seriously delayed. If you’re gaming avoid using the trackpad. Get a mouse.
Weighing 5 lbs this laptop may seem heavy but it’s not. I found this laptop easy to carry around or throw in a bag and take it anywhere I needed to. No problem. This laptop may not be the most portable in a sense but the design of the laptop doesn’t make it an inconvenience. This laptop looks good, has all the functionality you need without gimmicks or unnecessary components.
This variation of the Strix ROG Scar 15″ is a beast. It’s a powerhouse and ideal for really any type of gaming. Here’s what’s under the hood of the version we got.
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, USB-C, Ethernet, 3.5mm Audio, HDMI, Keystone reader
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth
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)
Gaming on the on ROG Strix Scar 15″ was/is what you want from a gaming laptop, an experience similar to a desktop gaming PC and comparable if not better than console gaming. The ROG Strix Scar 15 checks off all of the boxes that PC gamers look for. Under the hood the Strix Scar packs a lot of power. The variation we were sent from Asus comes with an Intel i9-10980HK CPU (Comet Lake), 32 GB of fast DD4 RAM, a 300hz refresh rate screen and a RTX 2070 Super GPU and 2 1tb SSD’s in RAID 0 to maximize speed, storage and performance when loading and running games. It’s setup perfectly for storing your games as well as getting your game on in 1080p at the highest settings to maximize those framerates.
At least for me as a PC gamer I prefer constant and consistent framerates over resolution so gaming in 1080p and 1440p is perfect for me. While the Scar 15″ doesn’t support 1440p because it has a max resolution of 1080p this didn’t in any way hamper or diminish the experience I had overall. The screen was crisp, clear, good looking and the games I played were smooth at all times averaging framerates well over 100+ in basically any game I played.
I played the most complex and graphically demanding games on the ROG Strix Scar 15 just so I can put it through it’s paces. I played Destiny 2, Gears 5, Red Dead Redemption 2, Doom Eternal and Need for Speed Heat at max settings or ultra and this laptop shined. I had a hiccup or two with Gears 5 freezing from time to time but that was the only game that I had an issue with and I was able my games for to play hours on end without any problem at all.
Asus ROG GameFirst VI software gives you the ability to change the performance settings based on the games that you play and you can setup custom profiles tailored to that. Overclocking is simple and doesn’t require any BIOS experience to do it. Just load up GameFirst and you’re good to go. It’s a nice addition to the overall gaming experience although I found that once the laptop is under heavy load because of the games your playing saved profile settings most likely will be overridden IF they’re too conservative because of the RAM requirements and heat disbursement needed to play complex games for extended periods of time. The fans will run fairly loud once you really get into your games and most times when I would check the temps on the GPU they were somewhere in the 75 – 80 Celsius range. This is pretty hot but what I would consider normal for a gaming laptop of this type and power under gaming load. Not that big of a deal for me. Fans run loud when you’re gaming, that’s that.
Battery life on Asus Strix ROG Scar 15″ is not great but on gaming laptops they’re rarely great. You’ll typically get 2.5 hours or less with this laptop but that’s standard. If you were ever to base your decision to buy a gaming laptop on it’s battery life you would never want to buy one and that’s holds true here so don’t judge this laptop solely by it’s battery life.
ONE OF THE BEST GAMING LAPTOPS I’VE EVER USED
Asus’ ROG Strix line of laptops have always been solid and in my view always worth the money depending on your gaming needs and Asus has made it so that anyone can get what they’re looking for from the ROG lineup. It does so much right. Yes, you’ll spend a little more and in some cases a lot more BUT what you get for the money is an incredible gaming machine and experience. The machine we’ve been using is futureproof for the next few years although it’s kind of hard to believe that at the rate that AMD, Nvidia and Intel are challenging each other to put forth the best CPU’s and GPU’s every 6 months. But the reality is, most of what you’ll want to play for at least the next two years to three years can be played smoothly and simply on this machine. The technology and games aren’t going to change so drastically that this laptop would become obsolete.
Playing your games in 1080p can be seen as a downside if you’re a high-res gamer but then you probably wouldn’t buy this machine so this review ain’t for you. For those of us who don’t mind gaming in 1080p on a well designed, sturdy and really good looking gaming laptop by one of the best in gaming like ROG then this review is for you.
The Asus ROG Strix Scar 15″ has good portability because of it’s somewhat slim form factor and relatively low weight for a gaming laptop. If you have the right backpack you can carry it around, pull it out and game anywhere. That plug though? It’ll weigh you down. This machine has decent enough battery life in the context of gaming machines of this type. Typically, gaming laptops have horrible battery life that averages anywhere between 2-3 hrs and this machine is right where it should be in terms of averages but if you’re buying a high end powerful gaming laptop you should already expect this.
There aren’t many downsides that I can come up with for the Asus Strix ROG Scar 15. I mean, I could but I’d only be nitpicking. But ok, there’s no webcam. That could be a problem if you really want to have a webcam but are you willing to have a webcam at the risk of less screen real estate and bigger bezels for a webcam that probably won’t be that good anyway? Probably not, so let’s just overlook that “con”. Built in webcams are overrated and they genuinely suck.
If you’re looking to game on a budget then this machine is NOT for you. At $2200 this is not a budget machine. This is a high-end machine that was built to deliver a high quality gaming experience for hours of full use on end. You might even consider it a desktop replacement. This could also be a “con” but only if this was the only gaming laptop that Asus and ROG sold. It isn’t. You have choices. So if you’re looking to be on the higher end of a PC gaming laptop landscape then $1800 – $2500 is where you’ll most likely be, I won’t complain about the price. Neither should you. Asus has other less expensive quality gaming laptop options. As far as this gaming machine goes, this is one of the best gaming laptops I’ve ever used. Period.