Asus has spared no expense for its latest ROG Strix Scar 15 gaming notebook. Powered by the latest AMD processor and Nvidia’s top GeForce RTX 3080 graphics, this 15.6-inch laptop is a gaming powerhouse that will easily replace most desktop PCs. But specs aside, the Scar also packs a number of features (300Hz display and optical mechanical keyboard) that give gamers an edge over the competition. Beneath this laptop’s heavily esports influenced facade is a very good gaming computer.
- 15.6-inch (1,920 x 1,080 pixels), 300Hz display
- AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX chip with 32GB system memory and 1TB SSD
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 16GB GDDR6
- Optical mechanical keyboard
The Scar 15 is anything but subtle. It is unmistakably a gaming notebook, with an LED strip along the front of the chassis, and of course, a glowing ROG logo. Asus has also retained the dot-matrix aesthetics introduced in previous models. New, though, is a translucent plastic keyboard deck that offers a peek at the laptop’s internals. There are also snap-on plates (three are included) that lets you slightly tweak the appearance of the laptop’s rear. While I don’t mind the design, the notebook’s matte chassis is prone to fingerprint smudges.
The latest arm race in gaming notebooks revolves around the screen refresh rate. The Scar does not disappoint here with a Full-HD, 300Hz display that offers a low 3ms response rate. It is noticeably smoother than 60Hz displays, but I’m not sure my eyes can distinguish any difference beyond 200Hz. Colours and viewing angles, though, are very good on this “IPS-level screen”. But there is no Nvidia G-Sync, only the VESA standard Adaptive-Sync, which seems like an oversight. The Scar lacks a built-in Web camera, instead favouring narrow bezels on three sides for a more immersive experience.
One of the Scar’s best features is its optical mechanical keyboard. As it is so effortless to use — a light tap is sufficient to actuate a key — it is ideal for fast-paced games. More importantly, the keyboard remains comfortably cool even after a long gaming session — but the cooling fans do get rather loud. The layout of the ports is also gamer-friendly. For one, the Ethernet port and display outputs (HDMI and USB-C) are at the back where cables won’t gum up the mouse. There are still two USB Type-A ports on the left side, so there’s no need to fumble to attach a USB drive. But, this obviously caters more to right-handers than left-handers.
The Scar lived up to my lofty expectation. Running its Turbo preset, the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15 produced 73 frames per second (fps) in Watch Dog Legions at Ultra setting. This is a healthy lead over the 52fps by the mid-range Aftershock Forge 15X. The Scar was equally impressive in Metro Exodus — 74 fps with ray-tracing enabled. In other words, there are no games that this laptop can’t handle at its native 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. Given its high-end specs, I’m unsurprised by the notebook’s hefty S$4,798 price tag. It is, after all, right up there with the best gaming laptops in the market now. Asus has also sweetened the deal somewhat by including a clip-on Web camera, headset and backpack. Get it now at the Asus Store or Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Asus.