Unique in methods each good and not-so-good

Asus at all times finds a technique to shock me. It’s an organization that may produce the elegant ROG Zephyrus G14 and G15 gaming laptops — up there with the perfect within the enterprise when it comes to design and thinness. It may make the Flow Z13, a skinny gaming pill with highly effective specs inside. Then, it could actually go fully in the wrong way to make one thing just like the Strix Scar 17, a strong however far much less refined laptop computer that begins at $1,999 and goes up from there. I might say that it’s a tool made explicitly for avid gamers, however I do know loads of avid gamers who wouldn’t need to be seen utilizing this factor.

Its thick chassis is partially translucent, with multi-colored LEDs shining by way of, and the enclosure for its show has an angular reduce out — simply because! You may even swap between a number of included “armor caps” to offer your laptop computer a unique look from the again.

The 2022 mannequin of the Strix Scar 17 is merely a refresh, with little or no of its exterior modified from its predecessors (it nonetheless doesn’t have a webcam, for instance). Most of the main target was on making important upgrades to its internals. It’s a pace machine, with 32GB of quick DDR5 RAM, a strong Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti graphics card, and Intel’s Core i9 12900H processor built-in. And to see all of that energy on show (properly, relying on the video games you play), its 17.3-inch QHD panel has a quick 240Hz refresh fee.

This is a laptop computer the place you possibly can simply see the perks of getting the newest Intel and Nvidia {hardware} in-built. The Strix Scar 17 could be relied upon to play any recreation at a decent body fee. While not essentially distinctive to this mannequin, this laptop computer was greater than succesful sufficient to run lots of these video games properly on the Alienware QD-OLED gaming monitor, which has a better 3440 x 1440 decision than the Strix’s built-in laptop computer show.

This laptop computer can’t go toe-to-toe with the brand new Razer Blade 17 or Alienware X17, at the least when it comes to appears. Both characteristic a skinny, spectacular design with high-end construct supplies. But if these qualities don’t matter to you, the Strix Scar 17 is likely to be priced extra to your liking. While getting both the Blade 17 or X17 with comparable specs will price you properly over $3,000, the mannequin that I examined prices $2,499.99 at Micro Center. So lengthy as you don’t thoughts a few of Asus’ minor cost-cutting measures, like making its laptop computer clad in plastic as an alternative of aluminum, and different annoyances like McAfee anti-virus pop-ups, you’re getting loads of energy on your cash.

This strip of LEDs comes alive — even whereas the laptop computer is sleeping.

The Strix Scar 17’s design is extreme, in a phrase. Like earlier iterations of this laptop computer, it’s dressed to the nines with RGB LED thrives. There’s a big strip of lights going across the entrance of the chassis and beneath the wrist relaxation. The backside fringe of the show options one other mild strip, diffusing mild (considerably tastefully, really) on the raised venting element. The ROG brand on the again of the show is lit and so are every of the keys on Asus’ mechanical keyboard. Needless to say, it’s best to most likely keep away from this laptop computer should you’re after one thing that doesn’t have a visual RGB LED at almost each angle.

When considered from the top-down, the chassis is bisected with a line that divides an all-black, soft-touch part with a smoky translucent part that allows you to see a little bit into the machine, which appears cool.

Taking a tour across the laptop computer, the Strix Scar’s keyboard, as soon as once more, delivers an excellent typing expertise. The keys are almost silent, but they really feel tactile and fulfilling to kind on. It could take a number of days to get accustomed to the keyboard format, however I’m on board with every thing that Asus goes for right here. There are devoted keys raised close to the highest of the keyboard for quantity, and the ability button is way sufficient away from the opposite keys to not be pressed on accident. There are even 4 programmable keys you can customise inside Asus’ Armoury Crate software program that’s pre-installed.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17
This keyboard has every thing I need, precisely the place I need it.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 17
This spacious trackpad can fail to click on should you put an excessive amount of weight on the chassis.

Asus takes full benefit of the chassis actual property by together with a quantity pad, in addition to a generously sized trackpad. The trackpad itself is nice, although it doesn’t click on in on its proper aspect should you lean an excessive amount of weight on the middle of the laptop computer. This shouldn’t be a problem for most individuals, except you’re somebody who leans their weight on the wrist relaxation. The plastic throughout this laptop computer flexes fairly a bit — to not a worrying diploma, however it’s sufficient to influence the performance on this case. Also, the laptop computer’s largely plastic design creaks generally after I decide it up. This isn’t one thing that you just’ll expertise with Razer or Alienware’s laptops, although whether or not that justifies their increased costs will depend upon the individual. It’s price noting that the Strix Scar 17’s construct supplies don’t yield a laptop computer that’s lighter than the competitors, however I wouldn’t name it heavy. It weighs 6.4 kilos, whereas Razer’s all-aluminum Blade 17 is 6.06 kilos. The X17 can go as much as seven kilos.

As for port choice, there’s a headphone jack alongside two USB-A ports across the left aspect (down from three in previous iterations). On the bottom, there’s a proprietary energy connector, a 2.5Gbps Ethernet jack, an HDMI 2.1 port, and two Thunderbolt 4 USB 4 Type-C ports.

Along the fitting aspect, there’s the Keystone II NFC bodily key that can be utilized to securely log into the laptop computer, with all Asus account and system settings in tow. Additionally, it could actually activate a efficiency mode and a delegated app when inserted. Conversely, you possibly can program it to lock the pc or shut down purposes when eliminated. It may give entry to a “shadow drive,” which could be encrypted you probably have Windows 11 Pro. This is a characteristic that I’d count on to see on a business-class laptop computer, so it’s odd to see it included with a gaming laptop computer.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17
Here’s what the plastic Keystone II NFC key appears like when it’s magnetically hooked up to the laptop computer.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 17
The rear options a lot of the great things, together with Ethernet, HDMI 2.1, a Thunderbolt 4 port, and a USB-C port.

Given how horrible most gaming laptop computer audio system are, I wasn’t anticipating considered one of my favourite issues in regards to the Strix Scar 17 can be its audio system. On prime of its full-sized keyboard that varieties like a dream, my music and video games sound higher performed by way of this laptop computer’s audio system than virtually any that I’ve examined earlier than (on par or barely beneath the place Apple’s audio system are within the 16-inch MacBook Pro). Games have much more punch of their sound than what I’ve skilled with different gaming laptops.

The show on the Strix Scar 17 is nice whereas the laptop computer is plugged in, however rather less so whereas working off of its battery. That’s as a result of there’s a characteristic that steadily dims and brightens the panel relying on what’s displayed. It’s on by default, however it may be turned off throughout the Intel Graphics Command Center. Another quirk that’s laborious to disregard is that this laptop computer’s lack of a webcam. Despite including a webcam to this yr’s ROG Zephyrus G14, G15, and others, Asus nonetheless has a handful of gaming laptops with out one — the Strix Scar 17 included. The prime bezel appears sufficiently big to deal with a small lens, so Asus’ determination to omit a webcam simply appears like a miss.

Otherwise, I’ve no complaints in regards to the show. The configuration that I’m testing has a 17.3-inch QHD IPS panel with a 240Hz refresh fee. It helps one hundred pc of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, and its 300 nits of peak brightness make it simply vivid sufficient to learn when it’s basking in pure mild from a window. Asus gives a 1080p show possibility for the Strix Scar 17, however QHD is the fitting decision for a 17-inch gaming laptop computer. 4K continues to be too demanding on even the perfect cell {hardware}. By comparability, QHD isn’t as a lot of a problem, but it nonetheless appears almost nearly as good as 4K (to not point out, it appears dramatically higher than 1080p).

The Strix Scar 17 talks an enormous recreation about bringing what avid gamers need, and its specs largely ship on that promise. Cyberpunk 2077, presently one of the crucial system-intensive PC video games, can run at virtually 50 frames per second with QHD decision, extremely graphics settings (DLSS on), and ray tracing settings switched on. That result’s about 17fps shy of what the 2022 Razer Blade 17’s RTX 3080 Ti was able to. This is in a laptop computer that prices $1,500 much less.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17
You can swap out the magnetic plate on the rear for a barely totally different look.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 17
The backside of the show splashes some RGB lighting onto the hinge.

Asus’ laptop computer additionally put up a decent efficiency in Red Dead Redemption 2. At extremely settings (no DLSS) in QHD decision, it achieved a easy 65fps, whereas turning DLSS on yielded a 7fps increase. With each recreation that I attempted to run, the Strix Scar 17 didn’t face many obstacles working them at their greatest settings. Its specs can deal with most video games with no need to be amped as much as the laptop computer’s “performance” or “turbo” modes (the keyboard has devoted buttons to do that), which increase the clock speeds of the CPU and graphics card, after which amps up the fan pace accordingly.

The laptop computer’s followers can get loud, however it’s no louder than most different high-end gaming laptops. And even at peak efficiency, the Strix Scar 17’s above-average audio system do an admirable job at hushing the sound of the followers (although, dialogue-heavy video games received’t fare as properly, so use some headphones if that applies to you). Also, on the subject of cooling, solely the rear-most elements of this laptop computer turn out to be toasty throughout gameplay, however not so scorching that it could actually’t be comfortably used or dealt with.

The Strix Scar 17 delivers commendable efficiency outdoors of gaming, primarily in creative-focused purposes like Adobe Premiere Pro. It ripped by way of our export check sooner than most up-to-date laptops that we’ve examined, finishing its render of our 4-minute, 33-second 4K video file in simply two minutes and 9 seconds. It additionally fared very properly within the PugetBench suite of benchmarking instruments for Premiere Pro, scoring 1,001, which beats each laptop computer we’ve examined to this point in 2022 apart from MSI’s pricier GE76 Raider.

Asus ROG Strix Scar 17
Photo by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge
Let’s not neglect the ever-practical USB-A ports and headphone jack on the left aspect.
Asus ROG Strix Scar 17
This laptop computer’s design was clearly impressed by the Two Face character.

It’s virtually a on condition that any highly effective gaming laptop computer may have not-so-great battery life. And sadly, that’s the case right here. Its 90Wh battery can final about three and a half hours below regular use, which I outline as working a dozen or so browser tabs, music streaming, and a chat app like Slack. On the brighter aspect, you possibly can recharge this yr’s Strix Scar 17 through USB-C — as much as 100W with a USB-C PD charger. Previous variations of this laptop computer all however required you to tote round its massive and hefty 280W energy brick. So lengthy as you don’t plan on gaming on the go, USB-C recharging is a viable possibility.

Asus’s Strix Scar 17 proves that you just don’t must lay our a fortune to get entry to a quick Intel Alder Lake processor or Nvidia’s 3070 Ti cell graphics card. And for this mannequin’s $2,499 worth, it delivers loads of different nice issues, like its tactile keyboard, sharp QHD show, booming audio system, and above-average port choice.

Though, you’ll discover lots of its greatest qualities in a few of Asus’ different high-end gaming laptops that supply higher designs. The new ROG Zephyrus G14 doubtless can’t stack up with its energy. But its new ROG Zephyrus M16, for instance, has comparable specs to the Strix, packed right into a sharper design that has a webcam. Additionally, it has a taller 16:10 side ratio, although barely smaller display screen. Crucially, the M16 is $300 lower than the mannequin that I reviewed, costing $2,149.99 — virtually $300 lower than the Strix. While its GPU’s complete graphics energy is probably going lower than the Strix Scar 17’s, the M16 could also be a stable different if you need a highly effective Asus laptop computer.

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