When it comes to gaming laptops, ASUS ROG sure knows how to work its magic, by creating products that offer aesthetics that represent the brand’s values, while delivering the performance that gamers need to have that competitive edge.
Such an example is the ROG Strix GL504GS Scar II. The second iteration of its kind, this one promises to be tons better than its predecessor in many aspects. The question is, can it walk the talk? let’s find out in this review.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB|
|Memory||Up to 32GB 2666MHz DDR4|
|SSD||M.2 NVMe PCIe 512GB SSD|
|HDD||5400rpm 1TB SSHD|
|Display||15.6-inch Non-Glare IPS FHD|
|144Hz Refresh Rate|
|3ms Response Time|
|Keyboard||Backlit Chiclet Keyboard|
|Audio||2 x 3.5W Speaker|
|Ports||1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type-C)|
|2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1|
|1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2|
|1 x mDP 1.2|
|1 x HDMI 2.0|
|1 x LAN Port|
|1 x SD Card Reader|
|1 x Audio Combo Jack|
|1 x Kensington Lock Slot|
|Power||230W Power Adaptor|
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||36.1 x 2.61 x 26.2cm|
It uses the same keyboard layout as the previous version. That means very little separation between the alphanumeric keys and the numpad, which is a nightmare for someone with big hands like me. Maybe it’s just nitpicking, but I would often accidentally press Num Lock instead of Backspace.
The Caps Lock button has an LED indicator to show you when it’s ON. I just hope that they did the same case for the Num Lock button. The ROG key is located at the upper left section, along with the volume control and microphone enabling buttons.
The keyboard feels comfortable to type on. And while It doesn’t give that satisfying clicky sound that you get from mechanical switches, it tends to be rather silent even with rapid typing. At least you won’t disturb the guy on the other room. Except for the Numpad, spacing seems ample for every key.
The RGB lighting effect can be customized using the ROG Aura Core software, which we’ll talk about later. Unfortunately, you can only set the effects on zones instead of individual keys.
One notable upgrade from the previous version is the 15.6-inch display, which uses an IPS panel, and now has 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time. This allows the Scar II to deliver smooth and fluid visuals, and makes it ideal for fast-paced action games and first-person shooters.
As far as ports are concerned, you get 4 USB 3.1 ports, one of which is a Type-C, a Mini DisplayPort and an HDMI 2.0 port for connecting the laptop to an external monitor, a dedicated LAN port, an SD card reader, a Kensington Lock slot, and a 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo jack.
The Scar II runs on an Intel Core i7-8750H, along with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card. Our review unit had 32GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD. At these specs, it should be able to handle most titles at Max settings at 1080p.
Disk performance is also what you would expect from an SSD. Bootup time takes less than 10 seconds, (including that splash screen). I do recommend pairing it with another drive, since 512GB isn’t really a lot when you consider the file size of today’s games.
Memory performance is also satisfactory, beating both the 6th and 7th gen processors by a margin.
Regardless if it’s a fast-paced shooter such as PUBG, an open world RPG like the Witcher 3, or an adrenaline pumping racing game like Project Cars, the Scar II managed to perform very well, with framerates not dipping below 60 fps in most cases, and even at the highest settings.
The Scar II does a good job of managing its GPU temperature across various situations. As for the CPU, I expected the values to be lower, but the good thing is that there seems to be minimal impact on performance.
The improvement is evident in all frequencies. The bass is now easily recognizable, and packs quite a punch for a laptop speaker. The vocals are well-pronounced, and that sweet s-sound is now audible. The highs are now crisp, and are more detailed. They’re loud enough for a small room, and there’s none to minimal distortion at high volume.
The speakers on this thing are so good that i no longer have to use headphones, or an external speaker just to get the sound I want.
The ROG Gaming Center can be accessed by the press of a dedicated button, and allows you to monitor performance metrics, and gives you control over the different settings for your laptop. You’re also given the option to disable the Windows Key, the Touchpad, or even the ROG Key itself.
You can also check out the ROG Game Visual options, which gives you a number of display presets for your activities. I for one, prefer the default or scenery mode, but you have other presets to choose from.
Of course, you do get a couple of ASUS apps, which fortunately, can be uninstalled at your discretion.