I’ve always been more of a console gamer, though as I get older I’m starting to appreciate a good gaming PC. My home rig is a decent desktop, but my laptops are only really used for work.
Neither of them is current or powerful enough to run games well. So when I was able to spend some time with the Asus ROG Strix SCAR II, I was pretty pumped. It certainly helps that the ROG Strix SCAR II is an absolute beast. Playing games never felt so good.
The best part about the ROG Strix SCAR II is that like the Asus Zephyrus M GM 501, it’s a slim laptop and playing games on the go is (almost) possible. Battery life still has a ways to go.
ROG Strix SCAR II Review
The ROG Strix SCAR II is one of Asus’ top-performing Republic of Gamers laptops and is available in both 15 and 17-inch models. The screen is incredible and according to Asus features;
the world’s first 144Hz super-narrow-bezel display with a 3ms GTG response time. The new design also results in a less distracting frame, allowing for a more compact body that’s narrower and lighter than its predecessor.
Performance of the ROG Strix SCAR II is excellent and never skips a beat. It’s not quite perfect, but as far as gaming laptops go, it’s right up there at the top. At least in my experience.
A Thing of Beauty
The ROG Strix SCAR II is also impressive to look at. The brushed metal finish makes it look almost futuristic and it’s surprisingly light even though it’s ultra-thin. The 36cm width and 26cm depth are coupled with a slightly taller 2.6cm height. However, the ultra-slim moniker certainly suits. Opening the lid leaves an exposed vent at the rear — top of the keyboard — which sits behind the screen.
A curved section of the lid sits above this vent to allow maximum removal of heat. The ROG Strix SCAR II never once felt hot or ran hot, though the heat coming from the vent was pretty intense.
Connecting peripherals to your SCAR II is easy as it comes with five USB ports; one USB-C, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports and one USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. It certainly beats the hell out of some other laptops I’ve gotten my hands on that only have one port. Connecting your mouse, HDD, controller and more is a breeze and certainly makes the laptop more useful than for JUST gaming.
The 144Hz screen is an absolute beauty to behold and gaming or watching videos on the ROG Strix SCAR II is a sumptuous visual feast. Blacks are especially dark and the colours leap from the screen. Especially when you’re gaming.
I tested For Honor, DarkSiders 3, Forza Horizon 4 and Destiny 2 on the ROG Strix SCAR II and not only did the laptop perform incredibly, but the 144Hz screen also made everything run smoothly and look amazing.
Viewing angles on the screen are really wide, though you’re not likely to need it when gaming. It’s nice to have it though.
When playing those games, the power of the Intel Core i7-8750H Six core processor and the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM meant that framerates were cranking along. DarkSiders 3 ran at a constant 60 fps and both For Honor and Destiny 2 ran at 120 fps. Forza Horizon 4 sat somewhere between 90 and 110 fps, depending on the geometry on screen at the time.
Benchmarking the ROG Strix SCAR II using Time Spy resulted in a score of about 3600.
Unlike the issues we experienced with the Asus Zephyrus M GM 501, there were no performance issues due to NVIDIA Whisper Mode. In fact, I was unable to even locate the setting. Either it’s not featured in the SCAR II or it didn’t cause any issues. Another great feature I tested with this laptop was NVIDIA Shield game streaming.
Using the GeForce experience, I was able to stream games from the SCAR II to the shield. I tested Destiny 2, For Honor, DarkSiders 3, Forza Horizon 4 and they all ran flawlessly. Using the SHIELD TV is a great way to get your games onto your TV in 4K and kicking back on your couch, controller in hand. The power of the SCAR II means that you’re able to play how you want when you want with very few limitations.
One limitation is battery life. The unit that I used had a pretty terrible battery life and when unplugged would drain within 60-minutes. If I was gaming, the battery would be dead much sooner. It may have been that the battery in the unit was less than functional, but it certainly soured the experience somewhat.
It’s not like you’re really able to play on the go anyway. That’s still a few years off.
Personally, the keyboard felt great to use, but the addition of the numeric keypad threw me off. My hands always felt like they were in the wrong position so I would often press the wrong keys. I understand the need for the extra keys on a gaming-centric laptop, but it certainly takes some getting used to.
Overall, the ROG Strix SCAR II is an excellent gaming laptop and one that’s certainly worth the money. Power coupled with good looks and an incredible screen make this perfect for anyone looking to get a machine that can do it all and handle whatever you throw at it.
The ROG Strix SCAR II was reviewed using a loan unit supplied to PowerUp! by Asus.