With the ROG Strix Scar II, Asus gives the world yet another system with a beautiful design (GL704GM). For $1,899 (starting at $1,699), the Scar II gives you a powerful 8th Gen Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU that can run demanding games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider at maximum settings.
Aside from its loud power, the Scar II has a colourful 17.3-inch screen that runs at a smooth 144Hz and a solid RGB-lit keyboard. For a gaming machine at this price, the audio could be better, but the Strix Scar II is a strong competitor in the 17-inch gaming laptop market.
The brushed-aluminum hood of the Strix Scar II is so tempting that I couldn’t help but sit in a corner and call it “my precious.” The lid has a shiny ROG logo that lights up in RGB when the computer is on. There is also a sleek cutout near the hinge that shows LED lights. The back vent grills are also a bright copper colour.
As soon as I opened the laptop, rainbows of colours came out of the light bar and the keyboard. I loved the inside of the laptop just as much as the outside. The carbon-fiber stitching and badass brown camo made me fall in love with it. Even the edges around the screen are very thin, but the webcam is on the bottom bezel.
With dimensions of 15.7 x 10.7 x 1 inch and a weight of 6.3 pounds, the Strix Scar II is about the same size as its competitors. However, for a 17-inch laptop, it is still fairly thin. The Dell G7 15 (6.3 pounds, 0.9 inches) is the thinnest, while the Acer Predator Helios 300 Special Edition (5.5 pounds, 1.1 inches) and its 17-inch counterpart, the Acer Predator Helios 300 (6.6 pounds, 1.1 inches), are the thickest.
The 17.3-inch, 144Hz, 1080p screen on the Strix Scar II is sharp, colourful, and bright, but our lab tests gave us mixed results. It also has a response time of 3 milliseconds.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I hid behind a truck as its taillights burned a bright, ominous red, illuminating Lara and showing the pounds of mud on her peach-colored skin. I thought I was going to go look for the Predator because the picture was so scary and clear. I could see a rugged laptop across the enemy camp, which made me ask out loud, “Is that a Dell?” As I ran in to find out, the way the water splashed and Lara’s hair moved looked as smooth as silk.
The 17.3-inch, 144Hz, 1080p screen on the Strix Scar II is clear, bright, and full of colour.
I could see every layer and hair on Rami Malek’s wig in the trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody. In the same scene, his bright red jacket and baby blue tank top stood out in the office with wood walls. In the dark crowd at a small venue where the band was playing, I could see details on people’s faces, but the band members looked washed out. Then I realised that the higher colour brightness was meant to make up for the dim screen.
The screen on the Strix Scar II covered 114 percent of the sRGB spectrum, which is more than the average of 111 percent for gaming laptops. It also beat the Dell G7 15 (with a score of 62%), the Helios 300 SE (with a score of 113%), and the 17-inch Helios 300 (with a score of 139%).
Even though it wasn’t a big deal in real-world testing, the Strix Scar II’s display (261 nits) isn’t as bright as the category average (294 nits). It was still brighter than the Dell G7 15 (232 nits), but the Helios twins (312 nits for the Special Edition and 373 nits for the 17-inch) were much brighter.
The Strix Scar II has a lot of ports so you can stream and play games with it.
The power jack, an RJ45 port, a Mini DisplayPort 1.4, an HDMI 2.0 port, three USB 3.1 ports, and a headphone jack are all on the left side.
On the right is a Kensington lock slot, one USB 3.1 port, one USB 3.1 Type-C port, and an SD card reader.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Behind the cool, techy font and transparent WASD keys, the island-style Strix Scar II keyboard has three solid RGB lighting zones. As I tap-danced all over the keys with my fingers, they felt lively and strong.
On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I typed 76 words per minute, which is faster than my average of 66 words per minute. The keys move a good 1.4 millimetres and need 71 grammes of force to work, which isn’t too far from what we’re used to (1.5 to 2.0 mm of travel and a minimum of 60 g of force).
The 4.1-by-2.2-inch touchpad makes it easy to move the cursor and has two buttons that feel good to press. But the left and right clicks are too low, so my thumb hits the bottom of the chassis when I use them. It did work well with Windows 10 gestures like scrolling with two fingers and switching between tabs with three fingers.
The speakers on the Strix Scar II didn’t have treble, but they were still loud enough to fill my room with “Hello, World!” by Bump of Chicken. When the drums came in, I could barely hear the tambourine because of how loud the drums were. At the chorus, I could only tell the different tracks apart by the lead guitar and the vocals. I thought I was losing my hearing, but when I played the same song on my own speaker, I could hear every drum beat and bass guitar note.
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I threw a bottle at a guard’s head and heard him scream in agony. It was funny, but even though I was right above him, the sound was a little muffled. I noticed that Lara and the enemies didn’t sound as loud as they could have, and that low-pitched sounds like helicopter blades drowned out everything else. Even so, when I fired an assault rifle at an enemy who was coming at me, the bullets sounded so heavy that they made my ears tingle.
Unfortunately, the Scar II doesn’t have an app that can help fix the sound problems.
Gaming, Graphics and VR
The Strix Scar II’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU (6GB of VRAM) let me play Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Highest settings at 1080p at a smooth 34 frames per second, whether I was turning enemies into cyclopses with my bow and arrow or skewering them with my handy pickaxe.
On the Rise of the Tomb Raider benchmark, with Very High settings and 1080p resolution, the Strix Scar II got 38 fps, which is better than the 34 fps average for a mainstream gaming laptop but not as good as some competitors. The GTX 1060 Max Q in the Dell G7 15 averaged 35 fps, and the Scar II ran at 38 fps on the Helios 300 SE’s GTX 1060. At a speedy 59 fps, the 17-inch Helios 300’s GTX 1060 soared past the other cards.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran smoothly at 34 frames per second on the Strix Scar II, whether I was turning enemies into cyclopses with my bow and arrows or skewering them with my handy pickaxe.
The Strix Scar II won the Hitman benchmark (Ultra, 1080p) with 73 fps, which was better than the category average of 66 fps. The Dell G7 15, the 17-inch Helios 300, and the Helios 300 SE all fell behind (63 fps, 66 fps, and 72 fps, respectively).
On the Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (Very High, 1080p), the Strix Scar II got 51 fps, which blew away the 45-fps category average, the Dell G7 15 (45 fps), and tied the Helios 300 SE (51 fps). The 17-inch Helios 300 put out 73 fps, which was a lot more.
Clean off your VR headset, because the Strix Scar II scored a solid 7.4 out of 11 on the SteamVR performance test. This is better than the average of 6.1 for the category and the Dell G7 15’s score of 6.3. The 17-inch Helios 300 and the Helios 300 SE went a little further, 7.9 and 7.7 miles.
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The Strix Scar II is fully armed with an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 32GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 1TB 5,400-rpm HDD. It didn’t care that I had 40 Google Chrome tabs open, five 1080p YouTube videos playing, and three useless Windows 10 games installed.
On the Geekbench 4 test of overall performance, the Strix Scar II got a score of 18,618, which was just above the average score of 18,451 for mainstream gaming. With Core i7-8750H CPUs, the Dell G7 15 (19,516) and Helios 300 SE (19,428) did much better than the 17-inch Helios 300 (13,972), which had a 7th Gen Core i7-7700HQ CPU.
The Strix Scar II finished our Excel test (matching 65,000 names and addresses) in just 0:46, which is faster than the category average of 0:49 but slower than the Dell G7 15 (0:41) and the Helios 300 SE (0:50). (0:45).
On the Handbrake benchmark, it took the Strix Scar II 11 minutes and 37 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p, which was longer than the 11 minutes and 29 seconds that was the average for the category. The test was done in 10:40 on the Dell G7 15 and 10:30 on the Helios 300 SE.
It only took the Strix Scar II 10 seconds to copy 4.97GB of data, which is a rate of 508 megabytes per second. This is much faster than the average of 287 MBps for the category and beats the competition. The Dell G7 15 only got 102 MBps, and both the Helios 300 SE (363.5) and the 17-inch Helios 300 (318.1) were faster than the Scar II, but not by much.
Even if the Scar II’s webcam was on the top bezel, the blurry and grainy images wouldn’t make up for it. My hair looked like it was put there with photo editing software.
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Surprisingly, though, it did a great job of capturing the red and blue on my Spider-Man PS4 box. Even though the room’s bright light was right above me, it didn’t wash out my face at all in the picture.
The Strix Scar II’s battery didn’t last very long, which is common for gaming laptops. The Scar II’s battery lasted 3 hours and 37 minutes when it was used to surf the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. This is just under the 4:03 mainstream gaming laptop average. The Helios 300 SE’s time of 3 hours wasn’t much better, but the Dell G7 15’s time of 5:39 was very good.
The Strix Scar II is like a wizard who can control heat. After 15 minutes of playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the bottom of the laptop reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit, which is closer to our comfort level of 95 degrees than most gaming laptops. The angle of the centre of the keyboard was 83 degrees, and the angle of the touchpad was 76 degrees. Near the centre of the hinge on the bottom, it got as hot as 107 degrees.
The results of our normal heat test were almost the same. After 15 minutes of streaming an HD video, the bottom, the middle of the keyboard, and the touchpad all reached 103, 96, and 80 degrees, respectively.
Software and Warranty
The Scar II from Asus comes with a few useful gaming tools, such as the Armoury Crate, GameVisual, and GameFirst V. The Armoury Crate keeps an eye on the CPU, GPU, RAM, and fans. The profiles you make can be changed to suit your needs.
The app also lets you free up RAM and customise RGB lighting with presets like Strobing, Breathing, and Rainbow. With presets like Vivid, Scenery, and Cinema, GameVisual lets you change how the colours look on the screen. GameFirst V, on the other hand, keeps an eye on how bandwidth is used for things like file transfers, streaming, and gaming.
But does it come with Windows 10 junk? Yes, the Strix Scar II comes with Dragon Mania Legends, Candy Crush Saga, and its useless twin, Candy Crush Soda Saga, as well as other typical Windows junk.
The Strix Scar II comes with a warranty that is only good for one year. Find out how Asus did in our Tech Support Showdown, our list of the best and worst brands, and our list of the best and worst gaming brands.
The Strix Scar II I tested has an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, 32GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a 1TB 5,400-rpm HDD, and an Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU. This model isn’t sold by Asus, but you can get it for $1,899 from EXcaliberPC on Amazon (opens in new tab). You can even add more storage to the laptop, up to a 2TB Samsung 970 EVO SSD and a 1TB HDD for $2,525.
The 17-inch Scar from Asus, on the other hand, only comes in one model that costs $1,699 and has 16GB of RAM instead of 32GB.
Asus ROG Strix Scar II (GL704GM) Specs
|CPU||Intel Core i7-8750H processor|
|Graphics Card||Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060|
|Hard Drive Size||256GB SSD|
|Hard Drive Type||PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Highest Available Resolution||1920 x 1080|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro|
|Ports (excluding USB)||RJ-45, Mini DisplayPort, Headphone/Mic, USB 3.1 Gen 2, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1, DC-in, Thunderbolt/mini DisplayPort, SD card slot|
|RAM Upgradable to||16GB|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size||1TB|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed||5,400|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type||HDD|
|Size||15.7 x 10.7 x 1 inches|
|Touchpad Size||4.1 x 2.2-inch|
|Video Memory||6 GB|
|Warranty/Support||One-year limited warranty|
The Asus ROG Strix Scar II is a high-fashion piece of hardware with a stunning 17-inch, 144Hz display housed in a rather compact chassis. This beast of a gaming rig has a responsive RGB keyboard and an 8th Gen Core i7 and Nvidia GTX 1060 for tearing through your favourite games at ultra settings with ease. You should bring your own headphones and webcam, though, as the Scar II falls short in these areas.
The Helios 300 Special Edition, which has the same CPU and GPU but a significantly brighter display and costs only $1,399, is a good option if you’re trying to save money. You won’t find many 17-inch laptops with this small profile and minimal bezels for around $1,000.