In a world where tech giants such as Razer, Corsair, HyperX etc. dominate the brand market from every left, right and corner, there are a few names that slip through the front lines and actually delivers the quality and performance to match the big dogs. For a much less premium price, you would be surprise to find thrifty gems such as the ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) Strix Scar II to be one of the capable AND formidable laptops in the gaming scene today.
The ROG Strix SCAR II gaming laptop doesn’t reinvent the wheel for PC gaming experience if that’s what you’re expecting from this review. But rather provides a well rounded set of cosmetics and specs to really make you feel like you’ve spent your money well.
Right off the bat, the SCAR II has a sleek metallic gamer look on the outside that really glares rather than screams your passion for gaming. Its aluminium brush finish lets it blend with the rest of its dark grey tone while the ROG logo on the back screen adds distinctive character while also rocking its own light up feature. One fear I constantly had with this gaming laptop was getting any scratches from anything as simple as coins, rings or keys I had on me so if you’re as paranoid as me, be ready to face that.
The light up ROG logo is a nice touch on the top which doesn’t exactly dominate the space but is noticeable enough for others to admire while you’re actively gaming. If you’re not into the RGB feature, leaving the lights off leaves a nice shine to the logo which still looks great with that aluminium finish.
With gaming in mind, ROG was specific about giving the right tools for the right job. You get a full keyboard complete with membrane mechanical keys that have a low profile but still provides that tactile feel.
For some extra styling, the WASD keys are transparent to emphasise on that RGB feature while the rest of the keys have the common underglow and lit up letters.
The surface also includes function keys such as volume, microphone mute and an ROG key that launches the ROG Gaming Center which allows you to tweak gaming settings through profiles as well as the full customisation of the RGB feature.
The display is near bezel-less, rocking a 300cd/m² panel that promises a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms GTG response time which honestly is enough for your gaming needs. The screen is adjusted towards the upper half of the display to accommodate the ROG logo at the bottom centre as well as the oddly positioned 720p webcam at the bottom right. The placement of the latter gives it a strange angle if you intend to use it to livestream yourself while gaming on top of the mediocre video quality that could barely suffice for a Skype call.
Along the front edge of the laptop is a light bar that synchronises with the RGB feature. Depending on what pattern and colour scheme you choose, this light bar gives a great ambience to your gaming experience as a bonus but then again, so does every other RGB feature you find in PC gaming these days.
One of the weakest tools of this laptop is the trackpad and though you won’t be needing it for gaming, it is still an essential piece that should work without any hindrances. Often I would find myself accidentally highlighting texts while scrolling or even pulling tabs when just clicking on my browser that really becomes frustrating over time.
I tried to lighten my finger pressure to see if there was any difference for the trackpad but having your muscle memory work while you’re busy reading or scroll isn’t exactly something worth diverting your attention for. It could just be my model but either way, I still recommend using a mouse whenever you can and please, don’t ever use the trackpad for editing work or gaming!
The SCAR II that was given to test out was rocking a GeForce GTX 1070 so ideally, it could handle a lot of the heavy titles I had in my Steam library.
The first test was CSGO and strangely enough, I found frame stutters at the most random times. I test both online and offline games and just like an itch, I couldn’t scratch what the cause was even after tweaking some of the game settings.
I decided to downgrade my game to something as simple as Hearthstone, a less tasking game graphically and the struggles continued. Frame drops over the simplest animations which then prompted me to check the ROG gaming center software – all green and clear, in fact.
So, coming as a consumer who knows nothing technical about computers, this might be a minor setup for those who just want to start up and play. You may need to adjust the settings here and there to fit your liking on top of everything actually functioning appropriately in order to have smooth gaming.
For productivity, Windows 10 does handle most of the work behind the Intel i7 and 16GB RAM which is more than enough for your photographers/videographers out there looking to squeeze in some editing work as well.
Also note that the fan on the SCAR II does tend to get a bit loud but not enough to be a nuisance. As I am typing this article on Google Docs, the fan is sounding like a constant blow into my ear but thankfully, it does its job at keeping the laptop cool at all times.
The SCAR II does deliver on its aesthetics and its appeal to the right market – gamers. Everything from the subtle black carbon camouflage finish on the deck to its RGB features, the SCAR II is the added personality you would want as a gamer if you want to enjoy your games on the go.
It is relatively light for a gaming laptop and thin enough to slide into the ASUS ROG backpack it comes with but understanding the compromises that such a compact build has to quality, the SCAR II is still an impressive machine to have for various means of uses.
Though the gaming experience I had during the testing of this model may not seem promising, I’m sure the more tech-savvy bunch of you are able to curb around these issues easily and truthfully maximise the SCAR II’s specs to what you ultimately need it for.
If you’re interested in judging the SCAR II yourself, be sure to visit CF King’s ASUS showroom in Kiulap and get a feel of the laptop in person! They are the official dealers for ASUS in Brunei and currently supply the latest models you would want and need when it releases.
ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II – 8/10
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