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Asus ROG Strix Scar III Review

Asus ROG Strix Scar III Review

,Asus ROG Strix Scar III G731GU 04The Asus ROG Strix Scar III – or the Asus ROG Strix Scar III G731GU to give it its full product name – is an interesting gaming laptop. It’s not the flashiest or the fastest machine, but it only costs $1,399 in the US and £1,399 in the UK – which makes it one of the most affordable gaming laptop options on the market.

The competitive pricing is all the more impressive when you consider that the Asus ROG Strix Scar III has a 17.3in 144Hz screen and a Core i7 processor, although it does also mean that graphics power is restricted to an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti card rather than an RTX model. Still, that’s enough power for 1080p gaming and esports.

Read our in-depth Asus ROG Strix Scar III review to find out if this machine is a great bargain – or if you should save up and buy something else.

Asus ROG Strix Scar III Review – Design

The Asus ROG Strix Scar III looks like an unashamed gaming laptop. That marks it out in the market these days – lots of laptops at the moment seem to be trying to hide their gaming ambitions.

There’s no sign of that here. The lid is built from bold, brushed aluminium and it has a huge ROG logo. The wrist-rest has more brushed aluminium alongside bold slats, and there are sizeable air vents at the rear.

Asus ROG Strix Scar III G731GU 07There are loads of RGB LEDs, too – unsurprisingly. The keyboard has per-key RGB LED lighting, and the whole base is ringed with more RGB LEDs that glow across your desk.

The Asus ROG Strix Scar III looks divisive, but there’s no mistaking that this is a gaming laptop.

In some other departments, though, the Asus’ mid-range price does mean that the design is compromised.

Take build quality, for instance. The screen is a little too flimsy, and the metal used on the wrist-rest moves too much. On the underside, the plastic base panel is too creaky. None of this is a terminal issue – the Asus is not so weak that it’s going to cause problems. However, we’ve definitely used stronger laptops, and we’d recommend protecting the Asus with a sleeve when you’re taking it out of the house.

Asus ROG Strix Scar III G731GU 08The Asus isn’t the slimmest or lightest laptop, either, even when considering other 17.3in machines. It weighs a hefty 2.9kg, and it’s 26mm thick – so you’re certainly going to notice this notebook in your backpack.

Connectivity is middling too. There are three USB 3.1 ports and a Type-C connection that supports DisplayPort. The Asus has an HDMI output and one audio jack. We also like the fact that this machine’s ports are all installed on the left-hand side and the rear – it means that right-handed people who use a USB mouse won’t have any irritating wires in the way.

That port selection is fine for mainstream gaming, but the more affordable Asus ROG Strix Scar III doesn’t have a card reader or a second audio jack.

Click here to read our verdict on the best laptops in 2020 for gaming, work and home use!

Asus ROG Strix Scar III Review – Components

Asus ROG Strix Scar III G731GU 01The Asus ROG Strix Scar III relies on an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics core. It’s the full-power mobile version, not the cut-back Max-Q model. That means it has 1,536 stream processors and 6GB of memory alongside decent base and boost clocks of 1,455MHz and 1,590MHz.

It’s easily powerful enough for 1080p gaming and esports, but the Nvidia card remains one of the firm’s more modest options. That means it has no dedicated RTX cores – you’ll need a laptop with an RTX 2060 for that, and they will cost you around $1,500 and £1,500 for comparable 17.3in models.

The Core i7-9750H remains the most popular processor for gaming laptops. It’s a six-core chip that can easily handle the demands of gaming, web-browsing, mainstream work and photo-editing. It has base and boost speeds of 2.6GHz and 4.5GHz, which are impressive.

You’ll only need a more powerful CPU if you want a machine to do high-end work tasks, like video-editing and graphical rendering – and if that’s the case you’ll have to be spending hundreds of dollars or pounds more.

Elsewhere, the Asus ROG Strix Scar III has 16GB of dual-channel memory, a 512GB SSD and a 1TB hard disk, which are all perfectly normal components at this price. There’s dual-band 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5 and Gigabit Ethernet, but no future-proofed WiFi 6.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

Keyboard and Trackpad

There are no surprises when it comes to think machine’s keyboard. It’s a full-size chiclet unit with a numberpad. It’s got full n-key rollover, which makes fast-paced gaming more responsive. The WASD keys are see-through, so they’re highlighted more prominently.

Asus ROG Strix Scar III G731GU 06There’s a row of extra buttons that alter the volume and fan speeds and open the Asus Armory Crate application. However, the Asus doesn’t have any dedicated macro keys.

Quality levels are decent. The keyboard’s base is just about strong enough to stand up to trigger-happy gaming sessions, and the buttons have a good amount of travel considering they’re chiclet units. They move reliably, with a good amount of speed and a crisp action. They’re not too loud, either.

For mainstream gaming and for esports, for instance, the Asus’ keyboard is easily good enough: it has ample travel, speed and consistency.

As usual, though, this chiclet keyboard still doesn’t offer the speed, travel and weight of mechanical units, whether they’re discrete peripherals or installed inside laptops. Mechanical keyboards remain the better option if you want a serious piece of hardware for high-end gaming.

The trackpad is mediocre. It’s set too far back from the front of the machine, so the laptop can sometimes dig into your palm or wrist. The buttons are too soft to be satisfying for gaming. A USB mouse will be a far better option.

Click here for all of our in-depth graphics card reviews – including the RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 and all of the Super cards!

Gaming Performance

The Asus ROG Strix Scar III has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti that’s easily good enough for 1080p gaming.

We tested the Asus in eight different games run at their highest quality settings. Here, the Asus’ minimum framerates ranged between 37fps and 77fps. Its averages started at 50fps and ran all the way up to 114fps.

It’s enough speed to ensure that any triple-A game will run at a smooth framerate on this screen. Most games will run beyond 60fps. If they won’t, you’ll easily get beyond 30fps.

This pace also means that any esports game will run at beyond 100fps. You’ll have no problem getting to 144fps in games like Fortnite, League or Legends, CS:GO and Overwatch. That means these games will run at their peak speed and smoothness levels on the 144Hz screen.

The GTX 1660 Ti can’t do everything, however. There isn’t really enough pace here to handle outputting to higher-resolution screens or VR headsets. And, as this isn’t an RTX card, there’s no Ray-Tracing ability here.

If you want to output to widescreens or play games with Ray-Tracing, you’ll need a laptop with an RTX 2060. Those machines are obviously more expensive, but you’ll get between ten and twenty extra frames in most games.

By default, the Asus uses its Performance mode – and that’s what we’ve used to run our tests. A little extra gaming pace is provided by Turbo mode, which overclocks the GPU.

Don’t expect miracles, though: the Asus’ 3D Mark Fire Strike score sat at 12,840 in Performance mode and 13,241 in Turbo mode. It’s enough extra grunt to get you two or three additional frames in games.

Head right here for a primer on Ray-Tracing!

Application Performance

The Core i7-9750H is a reliable performer. In Geekbench 5, it returned single- and multi-threaded benchmark results of 1,066 and 5,292 points.

That’s good speed. It’s enough to avoid any games bottlenecks, for instance. It’s also enough to deliver solid speed and multi-tasking in web browsers, office tools and photo-editing applications.

The i7-9750H is about one-third quicker than the Core i5 parts that you’ll find in many gaming laptops, but it’s about a third again behind the more powerful AMD and Intel CPUs that you’ll find in gaming desktop systems.

The Asus has a Windows performance mode that’s designed to deliver a little more grunt in applications. Don’t expect a huge boost here, though: the Asus’ original Geekbench 5 multi-core result of 5,292 improved to 5,327. It’s not going to make a significant difference to your workflow.

The SSD is mediocre, however. Its read speed of 1,261MB/s is about half as quick as the best NVMe drives, and its write pace of 314MB/s is little better than conventional hard disks. Loading and boot times are not terrible on this machine, but pricier laptops will be noticeably more responsive.

The Asus is a mediocre thermal performer, too. Its peak CPU and GPU temperatures are fine, but the fans are always active, even during undemanding gaming scenarios. The fan noise is high-pitched and noticeable when using the Performance and Windows modes, but it steps up a gear in Turbo mode – which means you’ve got to deal with a lot more noise for only a little gaming gain.

The speakers will easily mask the output, and a headset will handle it too. It must be said that we’ve heard many gaming laptops that are louder than this. However, be aware that the Asus ROG Strix Scar III is not silent by any means.

Battery life is unsurprisingly disappointing, too. During a low-end application benchmark, the Asus lasted for around three hours, but it barely handled an hour of gaming before running out of juice. As with most gaming laptops, you’ll need to plug this machine in if you want a proper gaming session on this notebook.

Head here for our full guide to AMD Ryzen 3000 and AMD X570 motherboards

Screen and Sound

The Asus ROG Strix Scar III has a 17.3in IPS screen with a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. It’s a solid specification: the 1080p display is crisp enough for mainstream gaming and esports, and the 17.3in size means it’s more immersive than 15.6in gaming notebooks.

The 144Hz refresh rate means that esports games can run smoothly at speeds of up to 144Hz, which means fast-paced action will be animated without the vast majority of tearing or ghosting issues.

Asus ROG Strix Scar III G731GU 06 - headerThis mid-priced Asus machine doesn’t have any Nvidia G-Sync, though, so the screen’s refresh rate won’t be synchronised to the GPU’s output. It’s not a huge deal, though: gaming on this display will still be very smooth – easily smooth enough for esports and other fast-paced games. You’ll have to spend significantly more to get the minor improvement to smooth rendering that G-Sync will deliver.

The Asus has a brightness level of 314cd/m2, which is good enough for gaming indoors and outdoors. The black level of 0.19cd/m2 is superb – better than most gaming laptops, and low enough to deliver truly impressive depth in darker scenes of games and movies.

The contrast ratio that emerges from those brightness and black points is a fantastic 1,652:1. It’s a better level than most gaming laptops deliver, and it means that the Asus’ screen serves up huge punch and vibrancy at every point on the colour scale.

Colour accuracy is reasonable. The Delta E of 2.52 is good enough to render colours well in games. The colour temperature of 7,083K is a little chilly. That means the screen looks a tiny bit cool in brighter areas. However, in the vast majority of gaming scenarios this just isn’t noticeable.

The Asus rendered 97.7% of the sRGB colour gamut. Therefore, the screen can produce virtually every shade required to play modern games.

The Asus’ screen arguably punches above its weight considering this laptop’s price. The speakers performed similarly: they’ve got enough volume to fill a bedroom, the high-end is relatively crisp, and the treble range is reasonably clear. There’s even a bit of bass.

A headset will still offer more quality, and pricier gaming laptops will have more depth and punch to their audio range – but the Asus ROG Strix Scar III has speakers that are easily usable for mainstream and esports gaming.

Here’s Our Guide to the Best PCs for Work, Play and Everything In Between

Asus ROG Strix Scar III Review – Conclusion

Asus ROG Strix Scar III G731GU 03Our Asus ROG Strix Scar III review proves that this is a very impressive and affordable gaming option – but that the lower price also means inevitable compromise.

Let’s start with the positives. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is a solid GPU that has ample power for mainstream 1080p gaming and esports. The Core i7 CPU is good for work and play, and there’s good memory and plenty of storage.

This machine looks decent, too, with lots of RGB LEDs – and it has an impressive keyboard, punchy speakers and an excellent 1080p screen.

The GTX 1660 Ti can’t handle anything beyond those gaming scenarios, though, and it has no Ray-Tracing. There’s no screen syncing, build quality is a little inconsistent and it can be loud. Battery life is not particularly good.

For this price, though, there’s a lot to like. The Asus ROG Strix Scar III has the speed and the screen quality to handle today’s top games, and it serves up solid core quality for a reasonable price. If you don’t need any more power or don’t want to spend more, this 17.3in gaming laptop is effective and well-balanced.

The Asus ROG Strix Scar III costs £1,399 in the UK and $1,399 in the USDiscuss our Asus ROG Strix Scar III review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading our Asus ROG Strix Scar III review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The Good

  • Solid 1080p gaming pace
  • Great screen quality
  • Decent keyboard with RGB LEDs
  • Affordable for a 17.3in machine

The Bad

  • Inconsistent build quality
  • Unsurprisingly poor battery life
  • No Ray-Tracing
  • Frequent fan noise

The Specs

CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
Memory: 16GB 2,666MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB
Screen: 17.3in 1,920 x 1,080 IPS 144Hz
Dimensions: 399 x 293 x 26mm
Weight: 2.9kg
Connectivity: Dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5
Ports: 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C/DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 2 x audio jack
Storage: 512GB SK Hynix BC501 M.2 SSD, 1TB Seagate FireCuda hard disk
Warranty: 1yr RTB

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Asus ROG Strix Scar III

About Author

Mike Jennings

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