Like Jake Peralta, the first thing that came to mind when ASUS delivered the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III for review was, ‘Nooooooooooooooiiiiiiice.’
You’ll never mistake it for being anything BUT a hardcore gaming machine, with its intense lines and black and crimson coloring.
Still, looks can be deceiving and it’s the innards that’ll ultimately give a laptop its true value.
So…is it any good?
What is the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III?
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar III is a premium gaming notebook. It’s under ASUS’ Republic of Gamers brand, which like its name suggests, caters towards the hardcore gaming crowd.
The machine follows that to a T, with its sleek lines, lighted keyboard (and back logo!) and a snazzy startup sequence that reminds me of Knight Rider’s K.I.T.T. for some weird reason.
Like K.I.T.T., the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III (ours was the GL531GW variant) is a top of the line machine, almost cutting edge even. Our review unit’s certainly no slouch.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the specs and judge for yourself.
It boasted an Intel Core i7-9750H (2.6GHz) CPU, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 (8GB), 16GB RAM and a 1TB PCIe storage. On the display side, it’s paired with an vIPS 15.6′ 1080p screen with a 3ms response time and a 144hz refresh rate.
As for ports, it comes with an Ethernet LAN port, 3 USB 3.1 ports, a USB Type-C 3.1 port, a HDMI 2.0 port and of course, a 3.5mm audio jack.
Normally, I’d be estatic that there are so many USB 3.1 ports. Then I noticed that they were ALL on the same side. It’s not an issue if you’re using one or two ports, but using three at once can be a tad problematic, especially if your USB connectors are thick.
I don’t know why ASUS didn’t space out the ports and include them on the right side as well as that side’s empty other than the Keystone.
With its sleek looks, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III is certainly an impressive machine. I was really taken with its Keystone feature, which is a removable NFC-enable device that you can slot into any ROG Strix Scar III machine.
It carries within it your gaming profiles and settings, allowing you to easily move between machines. Even cooler, it also lets you access a hidden Shadow Drive for private storage. Yes, you’ll probably be able to use it to hide your porn.
One thing that I really like about the machine is how its screen is opened on a special hinge. The first time I flipped the machine open, I nearly crapped myself cause I thought I’d broken the chassis.
Then I realized it’s ASUS’ new cooling system, which vents the air out in ways you’d probably never seen on a normal laptop, through the sides AND the back. It’s supposed to keep the keyboard cool and it does work…for awhile.
It did get warm after a long session of gaming though, especially if you’re pushing the system hard. I played Metro Exodus using the keyboard and mouse for a few hours and I did find that the keys did noticeably get a tad warmer.
Another plus point for the machine has got to be the keyboard, which comes with wonderfully tactile keys. There are also the prerequisite shortcuts built into it, along with an awesome raised power button.
The trackpad is decently responsive too. I love that it has buttons you can click (instead of double tapping the trackpad or pushing it). It’s no mouse substitute though and you’ll definitely want to pair a good one with this machine.
Might I suggest the Razer Basilisk Ultimate gaming mouse? It’s damn awesome.
The machine’s blinged out in more ways than one too; you already know about the hardware but did you also know that it comes with cool glowy lights?
Oh yes it does!
Not only do you get the requisite glowy keyboard, but ASUS went beyond that and decked out the underside with lighting too! Hell, they’ve even gone and did it to the logo behind the display!
Most impressive, right? I definitely think so.
Ok, now that the hardware’s over, let’s go to how it performs.
In our tests, the machine certainly delivered, whether it’s on PCmark, multiple 3Dmark benchmarks or via in-game stress tests.
Very respectable scores. If you need to do work on the machine, know that it’ll blow pretty much any normal notebook out of the water. Hell, it even gives the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo a run for its money!
The power in the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III’s only fully unleashed when you take it to 3D applications. Here, its 3Dmark scores are stunning, cleanly blowing away even the massively powerful ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo.
When you get down to brass tacks and try the machine out on games, it continues to impress.
I went off on the deep end right off the bat; pitting the machine against Final Fantasy XV on 4K. Even with everything maxed out (in the Custom benchmark screenshot), it still managed to return a respectable Standard experience level rating.
Of course, you can see the writing on the wall right? On 1080p settings, the machine will blow through anything you throw at it.
Case in point, here are Final Fantasy XV’s benchmarks on 1080p.
Weirdly, I was unable to set everything to Max on 1080p, as the resolution automatically switched to 4K. Even then, you can clearly see what sort of experience (hint: a very good one) you’re going to have.
Of course, that’s just on Final Fantasy XV.
We also tried the notebook on Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Even with everything turned up, the game still manages to keep itself above the 60FPS standard. 79FPS on Ultra is pretty good, especially considering Tomb Raider’s relatively new.
Finally I put the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III to our battery life test.
As per the usual, I put it on 50% volume and brightness, and then played a YouTube video on loop. It took the machine 5 hours and 22 mins to run out of juice. Not a bad time, considering the average battery life of most gaming laptops is about 3 – 4 hours.
The Bottom Line.
No matter how you cut it, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III is a great machine. It looks damn good, but more importantly, it has the chops to perform as a hardcore gaming rig.
While its performance and looks are great, I wish that it had better USB port placement. It’s really an annoying issue if you’re one to use all of the ports at once.
That minor stumble aside, there’s not much that can be faulted with the machine. If you’re in the market for a top of the line machine (and want it to look the part too), you’re definitely going to want to consider the ASUS ROG Strix Scar III.
Great performance and looks make for a stellar gaming notebook.
- Looks awesome.
- Great keyboard.
- USB port placement.
- No card reader.