Review: ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR II Edition GL504GS

Serious gamers who want portability want a gaming laptop that doesn’t feel like a sack of bricks to carry around. But at the same time they want enough power to pwn their opponents in Call Of Duty, Fortnite, or whatever game they’re playing. ASUS can help you with that by serving up the ROG STRIX SCAR II Edition laptop:

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This is your classic gaming laptop with a full sized mechanical keyboard that feels great when you type on it. It’s also capable of lighting up as you can see from the picture. You will also note that besides the keyboard, the underside of the laptop lights up and the ROG logo on the back lights up as well. That’s either going to be cool to you or it will be a bit over the top.

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The left side of the laptop is where most of the ports live, You get gigabit ethernet, HDMI, two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack.

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The right side has a USB-A port and a SD Card reader slot. Plus there’s a security cable lock slot near the back.

It has a 15.6″ IPS panel that does HD resolution and exhibits zero glare which makes it easy on the eye. The bottom of the screen has a really thick bezel and is the location of the HD webcam as illustrated here:

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The reason why I am pointing this out is because the camera makes you want to look at it in a very un-natural way. That might be a problem for someone who does a lot of video calls and the like.

Other specs include:

  • 2.2GHz (up to 3.9GHz) Intel Core i7-8750H processor
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe solid state drive + 1TB FireCuda SSHD
  • GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card with 6GB of dedicated video memory
  • 802.11ac Wave 2 Gigabit WiFi. What’s cool about this is that it has four antennas that provide better WiFi connections to the laptop.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
  • Windows 10

It weighs in at around 5 pounds which isn’t light, but far lighter than a lot of gaming laptops out there. The side-firing speakers are excellent. They have a loud but clear and unmuffled sound profile that’s supported by tons of bass. They’re great if you want to game alone and out loud or if you decide to watch a few videos with friends or roommates. You get a ton of apps to aid in your gameplay. Such as utilities to overclock the system, crank up the fans, or making your gameplay better by helping you to play better. It feels very upscale and classy thanks to the aluminum finish.

To test out the power of this laptop, I tried out Zwift which is an online platform that allows cyclists to ride a variety of real and imagined courses assuming you have a stationary software controlled stationary trainer. In my case, this one. That doesn’t sound exciting. But Zwift really pushes a computer because it has to acquire data such has the riders heart rate via a Bluetooth enabled chest strap, their cadence (how fast they are pedaling) via a Bluetooth enabled sensor, and not only determine how fast you are going via the software controlled trainer, but also to the required math to replicate uphills and downhills in 1% gradient increments. All while trying to replicate roads of London, Innsbruck, or wherever else you happen to be riding. Not to mention the dozens or in some cases hundreds of people around you. In short, that’s not easy for any computer to do as there is a lot that is in play. Now, the actual look of Zwift at HD resolution or higher connected to a 4K TV was dead smooth with no stuttering an no lag. However, I did run into issues with connecting my Bluetooth sensors to the ROG STRIX SCAR II laptop. I was able to connect two sensors with ease. But when you added a third to the mix, it had problems with the third sensor staying connected. I was able to replicate this with another set of sensors connected to the ROG STRIX SCAR II laptop. However I was not able to replicate this behavior with another laptop that I was reviewing at the time. Thus I have to assume that the implementation of Bluetooth 5.0 on this laptop is problematic. But the flip side to that is that I am testing using a pretty extreme use case. Thus if you’re sticking to more straightforward games like Call Of Duty or Fortnite which don’t use the sort of sensors that Zwift does it shouldn’t be an issue. Though it should be something that ASUS should look at.

Finally, while battery life is usually an issue on gaming laptops. The SUS ROG STRIX SCAR II Edition GL504GS isn’t any different. You’ll get about 3.5 to 4 hours on battery if you’re surfing the net and watching videos on YouTube. The take home message is that you should not stray far from a power outlet. Having said that, the target market for this laptop isn’t interested in the best battery life possible.

The ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR II Edition GL504GS goes for $2000 CDN at Best Buy which is great price given the power and capabilities of this laptop. If you want a laptop that will allow you to pwn people with power to spare, the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR II Edition GL504GS should be on your list to look at.

 

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One Response to “Review: ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR II Edition GL504GS”

  1. […] the laptop when I tested it with Zwift. It was the same experience that I ran into when I reviewed this ASUS laptop not too long ago. While I will admit that this is an edge case as most who buy one of these […]

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