Updated: Aug 19, 2021
If you’re into PC gaming, I guess RGB is no stranger to you. With this laptop, you get plenty of it. This is the Asus ROG Strix Scar 15, and it’s a gaming laptop, through and through. It packs an Intel Core i7-10875H, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD.
Now at the time of this review, RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 have already launched for the desktop scene. Although, they are all pretty much out of stock, though that’s a whole other topic for another day. But anyway, here we are, taking a look at a laptop that might arguably be out of date within the next six months or so, once 3000 series arrives for laptops.
So is it still worth your time to take a look at it, or worth a purchase? I would say, yes, but only if you meet either of these criteria.
The first being that, you’re someone who requires a gaming laptop and you need it now. And perhaps, you’re also a fan of Asus.
Or arguably more likely, you’re someone who does not need the best graphics that the market has to offer, and you’re actually looking at past-generation hardware that can give you a similarly great experience at a much lower price.
If you’re any of these two, then I guess, let’s get into the review.
If you’re familiar with the Strix design, this generation of the Scar 15, isn’t too different. It still has that split design on both the lid and the keyboard deck, and though it’s mostly made up of hard plastics, the laptop does feel really robust. And like I mentioned at the start, it does feature RGB, with the most prominent being this RGB strip that runs along the circumference of the chassis.
And honestly, I quite like it.
It gives a slight character to the design, and it isn’t screaming right at you when you’re using the laptop. It does make the laptop stand out from the rest of your stuff in the dark, but at the same time, it’s still quite subtle.
Of course, it’s all connected via Aura Sync, and if you aren’t a fan, you can go ahead and turn it off.
Now you do get a 15.6-inch IPS display that sports a Full HD resolution, covers 100% sRGB, and runs at a blazing fast 300Hz with a 3 millisecond response time.
For gaming, this display is downright great. 300Hz is amazing for gaming, and that short response time of just 3 milliseconds really makes things feel just that much snappier. Of course, it’s perfectly fine for general browsing, YouTube or even some creative work, as long as you’re not too concerned about colour accuracy.
But of course, I still stand by my words that 300Hz isn’t really necessary, and of course, it does affect the max brightness of the display as well, coming in about 320 nits or so.
Now despite the huge chin, just like all the other ROG laptops of this generation, there isn’t a webcam, though you do get microphones.
Moving down, we have the RGB keyboard, and in general, it does feel great for gaming. All the important keys are of the right size and at the right places, and you do even get a few dedicated keys for volume, mute mic, performance profiles and a quick launcher for Armory Crate. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the font, but to each their own.
One thing to note, though, is the material used on the keyboard deck. It’s really smooth, and reminds me of the same kind of texture used on the old Alienware laptops, kind of like a smooth rubber feel? Now, it feels great and it’s really comfortable, but only time will tell if it’ll last.
The trackpad is not too bad. It’s of a decent size, tracks well, and has separate left and right clicks. It does also support the touch numpad should you want to use one, and in all, it’s an all right trackpad.
One cool feature that you get with the Scar 15 is this small little key which Asus calls KeyStone 2. There are a few things you can do with it, but the main gist is that you can actually implement a hidden partition on your main drive, called a Shadow Drive, and that’s only accessible if you have the KeyStone attached to the laptop.
So if say, you have this in your office, or at your friend’s place, and you don’t want your colleagues or friends to be able to scour through your private folders and information. As long as those files are on the Shadow Drive, you can take this KeyStone with you, and you’re good to go.
Asus even includes a strap for you to attach the KeyStone so that you wouldn’t lose it easily, so that’s a nice touch.
As for ports, we do get three standard USB 3.2 ports on the left, along with a headphone/mic combo jack, while the rest is on the back, in which you get your power input, a type-C port, HDMI 2.0b and RJ45 LAN.
So now, we talk about performance, and I think you can kind of expect the results we’re going to see.
In Cinebench R20, the 8 core 16 thread Intel CPU is able to achieve a score of about 3781 on the Multi-Core, and just under 450 for the Single Core. These numbers are pretty much on point with most other laptops featuring the same chip.
In DaVinci Resolve, it managed to render our standard 1080p edit under 8 minutes, while the 4K edit took about 22 minutes. All in all, it’s pretty great and that’s thanks in part to both the Core i7-10875H and the RTX 2070 Super, as Resolve does quite like a beefy GPU.
As for gaming, we ran through our standard test suite, and you basically expect really good frame rates for games like CS:GO, making full use of that 300Hz display, and still really enjoyable frame rates for games like Apex, and even Shadow of the Tomb Raider with RTX ON.
In short, it’s basically what you can expect from an RTX 2070 Super, and it simply provides a great experience.
As for thermals, you needn’t worry too much either, with both the CPU and GPU hovering around the mid-80s under sustained load for both creative work and gaming. I would say that the CPU temperatures are also pretty well-controlled thanks to the liquid metal cooling which Asus has implemented.
Now, of course, battery life isn’t going to be the strong suit, with this laptop lasting around 4 and a half hours of actual usage. It’s not that bad, but it’s definitely not fantastic.
But back to my topic of why this laptop might be interesting. Now at the time of this review, it honestly isn’t.
It’s pretty expensive for what it is, and as I mentioned, if you’re somewhat interested in this, you have to be someone who really needs a gaming laptop, like right now. You’re the former.
But if you’re the latter, this might be interesting because, not only has the 3000 series launched for desktop, which means the laptop variants are definitely on its way, we’re also moving towards the end of the year, in which, there would usually be quite a lot of sales going on.
This goes for above S$3000 at the moment. But if you can snag it up for S$2000 or US$1400 thereabouts… then I would say that this will then definitely be worth it.
Content by Soon Kai Hong