- That RGB Lighting is Gorgous
- Strategically Placed Ports
- Impressive Specification & Performance
- Marginal Thermal Improvement
- Loaded with Accessories
- NO SD Card Slot
- The ROG Keystone Feature is a Party Trick, mostly
In the recent years, we have seen ASUS unveiling laptops accordingly to their new series and it has been nothing but pleasing to the eye because it makes the decision making process a lot easier – like which laptop a user want to opt in for. That said, the Strix Scar is a series that we have been following consistently and this time, we got to take the ROG Strix Scar III for a spin for exactly a month to see how it performs and handles things. Not to forget, to highlight things that they have changed with this current generation like the 240Hz Display that it features now.
Design & Build Quality
In terms of design, ASUS retained the similar design language from the previous Scar II but with a little extra at the back where now there’s a vent like design making it look a little different from the rest. It still has the gorgeous dual-tone brushed finish with the ROG Logo on the side making it look – gamer-esque. That said, this time it actually got a lot flashy. The laptop features an RGB Lightstrip at the bottom, which makes the laptop look gorgeous. It’s a very interesting design because it makes a lot of heads turn and make them go – what laptop is that. Definitely, one heck of a laptop that catches attention. Other than that, this time there’s a gem like key on the side – their Keystone to access the Hidden Shadow Drive which is pretty cool and has some nice aesthetics to it.
As for build quality, the laptop is constructed in a high grade material that doesn’t feel cheap in anyway and on the top it still has the metal construction going on. Its pretty darn good. One major improvement on the Strix Scar III is the hinge where it now has an arch like hinge making it much more sturdy and a solid feel overall. Which means very minimal wobble.
This time around the I/O placements on the laptop is much more practical than ever because if you are one of those person who wants to manage your cables in a very clean manner, then you’ll love it. ASUS has moved all the 4 important ports – Ethernet Port, HDMI, DisplayPort and the DC IN to the back – making it the best strategic spot I can ever ask for in a laptop. On the left side, it has 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 and a Headphone/Microphone Combo Port. What bums me out the most is that, it still does not have a full size SD Card slot. If you are like me, who rely heavily on a high performance laptop for pro tools, you might hit a snag and would have to carry an external SD Card reader.
It does have another interesting reader – ASUS calls it the Keystone and that lets you access a hidden drive – called the Shadow Drive. Its an interesting feature but does pretty much as hiding files into a partitioned HDD space in the system.
Specification and Performance
In terms of specification, this laptop rocks the best one can ask for:
- Intel Core i7 9th Generation – 9750H
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 with 8GB GDDR6
- 16GB DDR4 Single Channel On Board Memory
- 512GB M.2 PCIe Gen 3×4 SSD
We benchmarked the Scar III with three different tools – CPU-Z to verify the specification the device rocks, followed by PCMark and Geekbench to give a better score on how well the device can handle. As for the storage, we used CrystalDiskMark to see how fast it is.
As for day-to-day performance, expect to see no glitches as it does offer the best in class performance one could ask for. To test the machine’s capability, we fired up games like Devil May Cry: 5, RE: 2, Sekiro and Overwatch. To our expectation, thanks to the RTX 2070, the laptop was able to give optimal performance and as for the thermals, it was hovering around 90+ degrees and once the AeroActive Cooler is set to max, the system does drop a bit of thermals and hovers around 85+ degrees which isn’t too shabby.
As for the frame rate, when plugged in of course – the display can drive up to 240 Hz and that said playing games like Overwatch, was optimized and delivered frame rates around 100-124 fps by average and as for other games – it was around in the range of 90-95 fps respectively and some games like Witcher 3 takes a huge hit and only gives a frame rate in the range of 55-75 respectively.
The ROG Strix Scar III rocks 15.6” vIPS-level FHD display with a whopping 240Hz Refresh rate and a response time of 3ms. Before we get into the display colors, ASUS has added an anti-glare coating on top of the display, making it easier to use under bright light with little to no reflection. Thanks to the vIPS panel – colors on the Scar III looks good and using it to watch content on Netflix is pretty entertaining. That said, if you are wondering if the display is worth relying for content creation, fret not as it does offer a decent amount of accuracy. Boot up and launch your lightroom and you will have a good time getting content done in this display. It doesn’t end there. The whole point of purchasing the ROG Strix Scar III is to play games at high refresh rate.
Let’s jump into it a little deeper. The variant we reviewed has a 240Hz Display and take note, it’s an Adaptive Display and does not have G-Sync. Which means, you will see a little bit of screen tearing but it isn’t going to be that drastic. It’s no surprise that these displays can be a little intense on battery life. This is where ASUS has managed to do something – I’d say smart. The moment you unplug your DC Power adapter, the display switches to a lower refresh rate (60fps) to give you the best battery life on the move. When you want to experience the 240Hz of goodness, you can just plug the charger back in and you are back to the fluidic experience that you can never get on another laptop.
We fired games like Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, Evil Within 2, Witcher 3 and not to forget Overwatch which I have not played in ages. That said, laptop handles alright. Thing about the 240Hz display is that, you can see it’s true potential when you fire up games like Counter Strike or other FPS games that lets you get the headshot that you love.
The frame rate does take a serious hit if you were to run on RTX On and it’s no surprise because the GPU does push the Ray Tracing Cores to deliver amazing details, but in my opinion – it’s better turned off if you want a good game play.
Oh and goodbye to Webcam on the laptop.
One of the weakest suits of the ROG Strix Scar III is definitely the battery life. It has a 66Whrs, 4 Cell Lithium Ion Battery. Despite the whole clocking the display down to 60Hz still doesn’t make any difference because during my time using it for productivity and some media consumption, the laptop’s Battery indicator started blinking in about 2 hours 25 minutes. If you are playing games on the move, expect it to bite the dust in just an hour or an extra 20 minutes, tops.
To charge the laptop, it comes with the big Power Brick which eventually, you’d have no choice but to bring with you at all times. Something you really REALLY don’t want to leave behind before you leave your home.
Trackpad, Keyboard and Speaker
Starting off with the Trackpad, it pretty much has the same trackpad as the previous generation and there’s nothing wrong about it really. One thing I love about the trackpad is that it has dedicated Left and Right button, which makes it easier to use and makes much more sense on a gaming laptop.
The Keyboard on the Scar III – it’s a Backlit Chiclet styled Keyboard with Per-Key RGB and support for N-Key Rollover. Typing on this keyboard feels a little more like typing on a membrane and has very soft and quiet sound to it. It’s an acquired taste but it gets the job done. This time, you don’t see a Number Pad and I think it’s a smart move because if not the keyboard would be crammed and a little uncomfortable to use.
Finally, the speakers – ROG Laptops in general has pretty good speakers and the Strix Scar III is no different. It has a nice sound staging and this time around, it has side firing speakers – so you wont have any issues of hearing muffled sounds that may make the listening experience unappealing.
The ROG Strix Scar III is still a great laptop to use and in terms of performance, it’s still up there with a lot of manufacturers in offering the best in class specification and a relatively justifiable price tag. What makes this particular Scar III appealing are two things: the amazing Hinge that holds the whole laptop in place and the 240Hz display that’s now on a machine that you can bring on the move.